Why Goldberg vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania may get rejected by the fans…again
Surely Goldberg vs Lesnar at WrestleMania won't go as bad as their previous Mania match, will it?
Arguably the most talked about match heading into this year’s WrestleMania is the showdown between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. Since Goldberg embarrassed Lesnar at last year’s Survivor Series, by defeating him in just 1 minute and 26 seconds, anticipation and intrigue has grown as to how the ‘Beast incarnate’ will exact his revenge on his old foe.
That anticipation has grown since Lesnar was again embarrassed by Goldberg in January’s Royal Rumble match and the match at ‘Mania was made official.
However, since the rumours began that the match between the two behemoths at the biggest show of the year will be for the WWE Universal Championship, the excitement amongst the fans for this bout has been somewhat dampened, but why is that?
Firstly, the majority of fans are of the opinion that the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match does not need the title. It doesn’t add anything to the bout since their feud thus far has not been over a Championship and is more about professional pride and the legacy of their respective careers.
A Goldberg vs. Lesnar match sells itself, it’s two of the biggest Superstars of the last 20 years, both in name value and sheer size, squaring off against each other to see who the more dominant man is.
With neither man working a full-time schedule nowadays, especially Goldberg who has only recently returned from a 12-year hiatus from professional wrestling, their upcoming contest has something of a ‘special attraction’ feel to it. While that certainly has a place at a marquee event such as WrestleMania, it shouldn’t be for the biggest Championship in the company.
Instead of being the event that concludes the biggest feuds of the year, modern WrestleManias have almost become stand alone events where the stories of the previous 12 months are shoved to the side to make way for the part-time performers to return and take the top spots.
That’s exactly what appears to be happening in the build to this year’s event.
AJ Styles and Kevin Owens have held the two top Championships in the company, the Universal and WWE Championships for the best part of the last six months and were both in contention for 2016’s ‘Superstar of the year’ award at the turn of the year.
They are well-respected by the fans and were at the forefront of their minds when dreaming up their fantasy WrestleMania cards for this year, but AJ Styles has recently lost his Championship and seems unlikely to be involved in the title picture at the grandest stage of them all, and it is expected that Owens will soon follow suit.
While Styles’ ‘Mania’ plans are unclear, it appears as though Owens will face his former best friend, Chris Jericho, at the event for the United States championship, but is that what their feud deserves?
‘Jeri-KO’ have carried Monday Night Raw for the last six months and have been by far the most entertaining aspect of the show since the brand split.
Kevin Owens, with Jericho by his side, has main evented most of Raw’s PPVs during the second half of 2016 and so far in 2017, so it would seem unjust if he is to be demoted to a mid-card feud just before the biggest show of the year, especially if he is to be replaced by two part-timers.
Also, since the implosion of Jeri-KO during the ‘Festival of Friendship’ promo, one of the best segments of Raw in recent memory, that feud arguably has more momentum behind it than the Goldberg vs Lesnar feud. There is more of a story between Jericho, Owens and the Universal championship too, as there are doubts as to whether Owens would have held onto the Title for as long as he has without Jericho’s help.
A match for the US Title, which has been heavily rumoured, seems fairly pointless considering the history between the two former friends. Jericho and Owens missing out on their Universal Championship match at WrestleMania is just one of the reasons that fans may reject the Goldberg vs. Lesnar match.
Another is that WrestleMania looks set to be headlined by a part-time talent for the fifth year in a row, it’s one thing to have one part-timer headline the event, but for both men in the match to not be regular performers throughout the year, might rub a lot of fans up the wrong way.
There is a growing frustration amongst WWE’s fanbase that talents such as The Rock, Undertaker and Lesnar work a limited schedule yet still get rewarded with the top spots when it comes to the biggest show of the year.
The trend of part-timers returning for big matches began when WWE’s roster was severely lacking in star power, and while that could still be argued, the roster is a lot healthier than it was five years ago.
Raw and Smackdown now include Superstars such as AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn, to name a few, who have headlined events all over the world and have been plying their trade for many years, yet WWE seem reluctant to pull the trigger and allow any of these talents to headline the ‘showcase of the immortals’.
Goldberg and Lesnar are no strangers to having matches rejected at WrestleMania after their infamous WrestleMania 20 bout was hijacked by fans when they learned that both men would be leaving the company. While I don’t think the backlash would be as severe as their previous Mania match, if WWE goes ahead with plans to have them fight for the Universal Title, fans will not be happy.
Fans want to see something new and would love to see the likes of Styles and Owens headline WWE’s landmark events, if it doesn’t happen this year and the workhorses of the roster are once again passed over in favour of part-time talents, Goldberg vs. Lesnar may be the time that fans choose to voice their displeasure.
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