Goldberg vs. Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane is the warm-up for WrestleMania 33
Goldberg and Kevin Owens will square off at WWE Fastlane, but it's just a warm-up for their other matches at WrestleMania 33
WWE fans are waiting, and debating, on the company’s upcoming Fastlane event.
The March 5 epic will feature Kevin Owens defending the WWE Universal Championship against Goldberg. That match alone would be worth the price of admission, but it’s being overshadowed by two outside Superstars.
Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar are those Superstars, and fans fully expect one or both of them to make an appearance at Fastlane. In any other scenario, this would not be a problem. But it’s become somewhat of a sticky situation thanks to WrestleMania 33.
The key is the booking, which is always the case, of course. Owens’ heat with Goldberg is nothing compared to Goldberg’s heat with Lesnar. The two behemoths will face off at Mania in what will likely be their last confrontation. It’s not exactly a rubber match, but it will probably wrap up the rivalry.
Goldberg, of course, doesn’t have heat with Owens the way Jericho does. Y2J was left for dead on Monday Night Raw after KO viciously attacked him. He did so again during an event in Germany, where Jericho was flat on his back in the end.
It could be said that both Owens and Goldberg have more compelling matches awaiting them outside of Fastlane and fans know that going into March 5, but it doesn’t mean that Goldberg versus Owens won’t be fun.
The only question is, how much fun could the match possibly be?
Again, the booking is crucial because neither man can really afford a loss. WWE is walking a tightrope with this match, mostly because of what each man will be doing after it’s over. If Fastlane is not handled properly, then WrestleMania will be directly affected. That’s a scary prospect indeed.
It’s scary because WWE has two bonafide winners with Owens versus Jericho and Goldberg versus Lesnar. Each feud has a lot to offer, and each feud has immense drawing power.
Mania will be that much bigger and that much more important because of these two matches. But Fastlane comes first.
An Owens loss at Fastlane arguably destroys all the momentum he has gained since attacking his former best friend. Up to that moment, Owens had become something of a clown, meant to amuse the crowd and put a smile on their faces while he maintained his deadpan delivery.
Gone was the prizefighter, the man that fearlessly stepped up to John Cena, and questioned the status quo of WWE. Owens had no respect, he had no responsibility and he had no remorse. KO was there to do his job and do it better than anyone else. No one was going to stand in his way.
He was a breath of fresh air for WWE, a throwback to the classic old school heel.
He didn’t look like a bodybuilder because he wasn’t one. He didn’t have a million dollar smile and a future career in Hollywood because that wasn’t who he was. Owens wanted to punish his opponents and step over them to get to the top. Fans loved to hate him, but they respected him as well.
But when he and Jericho began their famous friendship, the old KO disappeared. In his place was the lovable guy that wanted to laugh at Jericho’s jokes but held back. He mocked the backstage personalities; he made snarky side comments and delivered hilarious one-liners.
Owens became a comedian. He and Jericho had better timing than any duo that the fans had seen in years, and perhaps ever. They were a natural fit and it was obvious that they were having a blast together. Fans loved to laugh at their antics, and they joined in on the fun every week on TV.
But when Owens finally turned on Jericho, everything changed. He regained his momentum, he sharpened his edge, and he once again found his inner villain. This was the KO fans initially hated, and this was the man that had finally rediscovered himself again.
However, if he drops the pin to Goldberg at Fastlane, then he will be stopped dead in his tracks.
Owens has the edge over Jericho, but not if he’s coming off a loss to Goldberg. Jericho may cost Owens the win, but then the Universal Championship will not be in the mix for their inevitable WrestleMania showdown.
By the same token, Goldberg is also a man that has rediscovered himself. For the first time since his heydey in WCW, Goldberg once again looks superhuman. Everything that made him special during his prime is now working again to get him over as the hottest star in WWE.
This was the Goldberg that fans deserved in 2004, but never got. Instead, they saw the watered down version that came up second next to Triple H, and couldn’t get over if his life depended on it. Indeed, Goldberg’s first run in WWE was a frustrating failure.
But this Goldberg is untouchable. He’s so over that he could likely do or say anything, and fans would pop for him regardless.
He’s earned his spot, and he’s more comfortable in his own skin than he’s perhaps ever been. Years from now, this run will be talked about as one of the most exciting that WWE fans have ever seen.
However, if Goldberg goes longer than 10 minutes against Owens, then his age may start showing. WWE has protected Goldberg to this point, but that may not be an option on March 5.
If Goldberg slows down or looks weak at all against Owens, then fans may turn on him in the end. That’s an outcome WWE surely doesn’t want.
Goldberg versus Lesnar needs the Universal Championship, which won’t be possible if Owens wins at Fastlane. So with a match that neither participant can afford to lose, and with the biggest event of the year looming just over the horizon, Fastlane is really nothing more than just a means to an end.
Fans want Owens versus Jericho and Goldberg versus Lesnar. Fastlane exists merely as a method to get the Universal Championship to Mania on April 2. Who WWE chooses to put the title on going into the biggest night of the year, remains to be seen.
Never let it be said that booking can’t be fun!
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Sportskeeda. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here
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