Goldberg versus Roman Reigns seemed “inevitable” to some, especially after the two traded barbs on social media following “Da Man” appearing on The Bump. The match is one we could have seen—or should’ve seen—at WrestleMania 36, and as of a few weeks ago, it felt like WWE was dead set on making that fantasy match reality at this year’s big event.
Goldberg has his sights set on WWE’s top championship once more—but it isn’t Roman’s Universal Championship. Likely a surprise to almost everyone, Goldberg showed up at RAW Legends Night and called Drew McIntyre out, citing Drew’s apparent lack of respect for the legends. It’s certainly an odd way to bring him back, as McIntyre has shown over the last year—and most of his career, aside from his initial “Chosen One” days—that he does respect those that came before him. It just seems like they’re unnecessarily making Drew the bad guy here just to make sure Goldberg is the good guy that he sees himself as.
Goldberg sees himself as a superhero to children, and it’s hard to argue against him in that respect, but he shouldn’t be going into this match as the de facto “babyface” in spite of changing what made McIntyre so relatable in 2020. Drew talked about Goldberg being a shell of himself, claiming the challenge “would be like fighting my own dad, mate.” Here’s the problem with that approach—Goldberg isn’t just coming back after being away for a decade, he just wrestled in March and showed he’s still in tremendous shape.
We’ve also seen this story from Goldberg before—he was ‘away for too long’ in 2016, but ended up shocking the world and beat Brock Lesnar in a dominant fashion. That story made sense because Brock Lesnar was the blemish on Goldberg’s WWE record to that point. Goldberg looked great in eliminating Lesnar from that year’s Royal Rumble match as well, and he looked primed for a rubber match with Lesnar at WrestleMania. Goldberg’s WWE renaissance was successful and well-received… until he faced Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane. For whatever reason, Goldberg vs. Lesnar “needed to be bigger” and that meant throwing the title on one of them was the best way to do that, and that’s exactly the problem people have with Goldberg’s continued appearances now.
How does Drew McIntyre benefit by beating the guy he was making fun of for being old, and the guy who clearly proved that he can still go in the ring?
Goldberg has worked eight matches since returning in 2016, but most people are quick to point out the negatives before the positives he’s been part of. Most will point to the Super ShowDown blunder as a low point, and rightfully so—Goldberg was concussed during the match and The Undertaker even called the bout “really close to being catastrophic” in hindsight—but let’s not ignore the good work he’s done in his second WWE run.
His post-WrestleMania 33 promo was heartfelt and well-stated, his match against Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam 2019 was hard-hitting and a trademark “Goldberg” match, and his last two WrestleMania matches (33 and 36) were fun to watch. In this time, Goldberg also beat Kevin Owens and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for their respective titles, and in the case of the latter, completely killed the momentum the character had built up in recent months.
Goldberg doesn’t need a title to be over, he just needs to be the “Goldberg” fans remember. Dominant, short matches, kicking ass and taking names. That’s Goldberg. He shouldn’t be shoehorned into title runs that come at the expense of WWE’s current roster. If you want to see what he does best, why not put him in a match against Elias or Sheamus, two guys that can talk trash for weeks on end and look good in losing? Look back at the Ziggler feud to see exactly what we mean, and why that formula can be successful once more.
To speak to the title of this article, no, I won’t actually stop watching—but you sure are going to hear that sentiment in the weeks to come. I cover professional wrestling for a living and find other ways to enjoy the product, but it might be enough to make others turn away. For how long? Who knows, but there’s clearly a vocal group that doesn’t want to see the “inevitable” happen. Will this time be different, or will the very definition of insanity be proven true once more? We’ll just have to wait and see.
WWE is still a successful company from a corporate and financial standpoint, but the decline in ratings shouldn’t be ignored. Goldberg can be a superhero and he can shut cocky Superstars up, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of derailing a title run that’s just getting started. For years, fans have complained that WWE doesn’t build stars and for the most part, it’s not untrue. Sure, you have Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Sasha Banks, all famous and stars in their own right, but nothing close to the level of a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or The Rock. Drew McIntyre got himself over in spite of never appearing in front of a live crowd as champion, and that should mean something to WWE, more than a temporary ratings pop.