The idea of Goldberg challenging for the WWE title in 2021 feels wrong. When he returned in 2016 the initial thought was that we were getting the legend back for “one more match” with Brock Lesnar, and then one match turned into a Rumble appearance and a trilogy match with Lesnar at Mania. For the most part, Goldberg’s return had gone well, except for when they decided to make his Mania contest with Lesnar a Universal title match and put the belt on Goldberg.
It wasn’t grotesquely hated that Goldberg would carry the belt, but the issue was taken with the fact that while Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho at the time had been building an eventual blood feud with the Universal title as the centerpiece for months, whereas Goldberg had only appeared at Survivor Series and Royal Rumble before capturing the belt. Following his loss to Lesnar, it very much felt like Goldberg had finished his final run.
That was 2017, and four years later, we still have Goldberg competing for gold. The shine of his return has truly diminished and it leaves the question being asked, why? If Goldberg wins, where does he take the title? And if Drew wins, what does it do for him?
Shouldn’t WWE build their full-time talent?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. WWE has an immense roster full of talent, and it’s proving near on impossible for a lot of full-time talent to get screen time and a spot on the card. That job is made infinitely harder when part-time legends like Goldberg return immediately to be inserted into the main event scene.
Raw plays host to the likes of Keith Lee, Ricochet, and Mustafa Ali just to name a few. Instead of affording those who can operate with the belt all year round on a full-time basis, Goldberg has the opportunity, despite only working February to April last year.
Raw is running thin on credible challengers for the belt, and this is plainly and simply because WWE hasn’t made the effort to build their talent up. Is it believable that someone like Ricochet could win the WWE title? Yes. But is it believable that he be the one to beat Drew McIntyre? No. When you have main event caliber talent with show opener momentum and this is indicative of the show’s roster, then there is a problem, and throwing a legend into the mix isn’t going to fix that.
Goldberg is 54 years old
This strongly links back to the previous reason. Goldberg is unable to operate on a full-time basis as among other reasons, he is 54 years old. I’m not saying he is in bad shape for his age, in fact, he is in good shape for someone half his age. The issue is, there is no longevity in Goldberg. We have seen with legends like The Undertaker, that no matter what shape you’re in, wrestling takes a toll on your body and it gets harder and harder to recover.
Goldberg has won two world titles since his return and could very well be set to win his third at the Royal Rumble. But what does it do to McIntyre and thus the main roster if he beats someone who is nearly 20 years younger than him? WWE’s use of Goldberg at the moment can be likened to a bull in a pottery shop, once he has run through and gone, can they turn around and assess the damage done.
The match is unlikely to be very good
The last time we looked at a Goldberg match and went wow that was amazing was his Mania match with Brock Lesnar. That was 2017. There has never been much credit afforded to Goldberg for his wrestling ability, but instead, his superstar aura and persona made him. His match with The Undertaker was terrible, his match with Dolph Ziggler was a headscratcher, why was it even on the card? And last year’s WrestleMania clash with Braun Strowman felt empty and pointless.
His matches are predictable for their offense, we will see some kicks to the gut, we will see a spear (impressive as it may be) and we will see a possibly botched jackhammer.
As well as this, the likelihood of Drew being able to give more than a Glasgow Kiss headbutt, a Future Shock DDT and Claymore are really low too. So we will be treated to a WWE title match consisting of signatures and finishers with nothing in between. That just feels empty to me.
Face vs Face?
You might be better off going into this match having seen none of the builds to the match. There was obviously a huge speed bump on the way with Drew testing positive for COVID, but the build surrounding that has been awful. The focus has been more on The Miz and Morrison’s antics and the feud itself started with a botched segment on Raw Legends Night which came off as incoherent and out of place.
Although they teased the prospect of Drew turning heel and being disrespectful there has been no sign of that since and on the go-home episode of Raw, we had a face-to-face, a “you’re next” and a beatdown of Miz and Mo. This feels like when you simulate through all the shows on WWE 2k Universe mode, and you just have a title match that’s there.
What could have been done better?
Goldberg is without a doubt a legend, and although I don’t believe he should be in the title picture I’m not completely against having his name on a match card. A name like Goldberg can be used to cement the credibility of a future main eventer. And as such, I believe that Royal Rumble would have been better served to have Goldberg compete against Mustafa Ali or in the Rumble match. Mustafa Ali cut the best promo of his career on Raw Talk following Legends Night and would have been instantly the best opponent for Goldberg. No one believes that Ali would beat Goldberg, but playing up his speed and agility and having him come close even in a loss will make him look good. Or the bolder option, have Retribution beat Goldberg to a pulp and stand over the beaten legend.
Or the other option is to have Goldberg in the Rumble, where whoever eliminates him will get the rub. Either way, slotting him into the title picture is not the move to make for the WWE Universe.