Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg: The Inevitable WWE Return Match?
Lesnar vs. Goldberg didn't work the first time, but would it work now?
Goldberg’s inclusion as the featured Superstar of WWE 2K17 was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. The former WCW and WWE world champion has had no tangible connection to the company since 2004, following his departure after WrestleMania 20.
But Goldberg’s Mania opponent has definitely been around. Brock Lesnar has tore a path of destruction in WWE since he came back in 2012, and now he has perhaps come full circle to the man that beat him 16 years ago. What are the chances that WWE will book this match for WrestleMania 33?
At first glance, it seems like the most obvious booking. Goldberg’s presence is being felt again on WWE programming, as the WWE 2K 17 commercial is running every week during Raw and SmackDown. Much of the negativity over Goldberg’s one and only WWE run is likely not being felt that much anymore, thanks to the length of time that’s passed since he last competed there.
The idea of an iconic figure like Goldberg coming back to once again slay The Beast is an extremely intriguing one. Brock has basically been untouchable over the past couple of years, and at this point its unlikely WWE can actually build anyone quickly enough to give him a run for his money.
That’s the real key when it comes to Brock. His name alone is enough to get fans into the building, but the name beside his is just as important. How many fans would pay to see Lesnar versus Sin Cara? But Lesnar versus Undertaker? That is a massive marquee match up. But of course, Taker is out of the picture, and that feud is over.
With very few exceptions, there is really no one currently in WWE that could believably step into the ring against Brock and actually draw a house. The Rock, Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena and maybe Chris Jericho are the ones that immediately jump to mind here; each man indeed has great name recognition.
But other than Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe or possibly Kevin Owens, who else from the New Era could face Brock and make it look good? This is not to suggest that it’s an impossible booking, but WWE has certainly backed itself into a corner creatively with Lesnar.
He’s too big to do the job unless the opponent is already a solid main event draw. But he’s not in the business of putting over any of the younger talent, and if he did, it would kill his momentum. It could even tarnish his character, which is an absolute monster that cannot be stopped. The fact is that if anyone from today’s crop of Superstars actually does beat Brock, that guy goes on to super-stardom in WWE.
But Goldberg has been there, done that. He stared into the eyes of The Beast Incarnate and he did not blink. Lesnar was an athletic powerhouse then as well, and it made no difference. Goldberg was an established talent that needed a top-tier opponent, and that’s exactly what he got with The Next Big Thing. So why not put the two back in the same ring again?
The truth is that despite how much time has passed, anyone that saw the first match at WrestleMania 20 has likely not forgotten it. Each guy was on his way out of the company, and that did not help the situation at all. But the biggest problem was the match itself. There was just no chemistry there, and it was obvious from the moment the bell rang.
Had the bout been an instant classic, there would have been no backlash. Fans may not have been very happy that the two men were jumping ship, but that would not have mattered in the end. The most important thing was entertaining the crowd, which was arguably not done in this match. So why in the world would WWE want to rehash this feud, merely for the sake of a video game?
The fact is they’re running out of options. Not only is Brock out of opponents, but who could Goldberg face if he decides he wants one more match? Sting’s WWE run may have been a major disappointment in terms of wins and losses, but he did perform at WrestleMania against Triple H. That match was a payday for all involved, and maybe that’s all that matters for Goldberg here. Maybe it’s just about getting back in the ring one more time to prove he can do it at a high level.
The list of guys he could face is just as short as Brock’s. If a return match were to happen, it would need to feature someone that could make him look good in the ring, and draw immense fan interest. That cannot arguably not be done with anyone from The New Era.
Of course, this is all assuming that Goldberg even wants to come back. He may be happy where he is in life, and if that’s the case, then maybe working one more match is not a desire for him. But if and when the time comes that he does decide to lace up the boots one more time, it’s hard to believe WWE would not reignite the rivalry between him and Lesnar.
It looks good from a distance, but upon further inspection, there are possibly too many flaws for it to work. The last thing WWE wants is to set up Goldberg or Brock Lesnar to fail, and both men surely agree on that. But no one can deny that it would definitely sell tickets, and that may be the only reason WWE needs to make it happen.
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