The WWE Universe has been in a state of euphoria ever since Goldberg appeared on the trailer for WWE 2K17. Fanning the fire, he had dropped some thoughts concerning his opponent, supposing he ever returned to the ring.
Most of these, directed at Brock Lesnar, were either carefully concealed under the covers of the upcoming video game or dismissed as casual jabs based on their previous encounter 12 years ago.
However, the story took an official turn when the former Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle conveyed the same in an episode of ESPN’s Off the Top Rope, only this time extending the scenario to an actual WWE return.
The quickness of Paul Heyman’s response on Raw following this comment goes on to show how knee-deep in negotiations the two parties actually were. Goldberg’s return has been confirmed by the man himself, but whether it occurs in an active in-ring capacity, or is just a presence floating around Lesnar’s matches, is yet to be seen.
The possibility of the latter, though, seems unlikely, since the hype and tension has been too strong for the WWE to not see this through. It is heavily rumoured that Goldberg will be facing Lesnar inside the Survivor Series ring.
The decision is laudable because the pay-per-view’s constituting star power would easily pull it out of the shadows into the top tier of annual WWE events. Given how Brock Lesnar’s appearances on Raw are a little shy of sporadic, there is much scope for Goldberg to be booked, once the dust has settled on this feud.
This list takes into account two factors: that Goldberg’s run is extended for some more time and that he remain on Raw for all of it :
#5 Samoa Joe’s debut opponent:
Samoa Joe’s move up the ladder to the main roster has been the subject of intense speculation and anxiety. He is one of the most intimidating performers in the NXT brand, has years of ring experience behind him and exhibits an infused brew of athleticism, strength, technique and mic skills which is astounding in its rarity.
So far, the NXT Championship scene had been a stretch of dust spewing aridity and with the move of Finn Balor to the main roster, the ground became further vacant. Dutifully handling his feuds with both Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura, Joe has had an incredibly dominating run as the champion.
However, with the introduction of already popular stars and newfound pushes for existing talent, the Samoan Submission Machine can afford to sharpen his claws for even greater glory. Joe’s main roster debut could see him go up against a man quite similar to himself in terms in-ring aggression.
Goldberg’s fantastic, or by some accounts fantastical, WCW streak attests to the reverential status that his persona had acquired in 1998. Even in the WWE, he was a monster, flaring wrecking-ball arrogance and displaying a physical dominance which more than made up for his lack of brusque technique.
The slate of injured or vanquished performers that both men have left in their wake, despite being decades apart, could morph into a feud over who has the greater credibility and dominance. It is natural that Samoa Joe would not be booked anywhere close to the WWE Championship within such a short period.
Yet, as the recent run of AJ Styles has proven, industry veterans such as Joe might not, after all, have to sift through sand for a long time. However long Goldberg’s renewed run turns out to be, a rivalry with Joe could push the latter onto the proper track, besides introducing him to the casual viewer.
A feud with Goldberg over the pecking order, by having Joe intimidate the former over his sudden reappearance at the age of 49, or even the nature of what constitutes a legend and if Goldberg fits the bill because of his short-lived career, could churn out interesting matches.
Not to mention, Joe’s potential at playing an incredible heel would add further flavour to the mix.