Goldberg laid waste to Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series last night. In the parlance of professional wrestling, the expedience with which he accomplished this signified that there were major plans for him in the immediate future.
And now we have an idea of what those are: James McKenna at Pro Wrestling Sheet is reporting that Goldberg will be in the Royal Rumble match in January in San Antonio.
Again, everyone watching Goldberg decimate Lesnar was aware that was scripted, and nonetheless astonished that it was written that way. Brock Lesnar has been built up the past few years to be totally unassailable. He squashed John Cena. He ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, which is an honor that probably means more in kayfabe than winning the WWE championship belt. He even won a real heavyweight UFC match recently; that the result of that fight is clouded is not of major importance in his WWE story.
There were a lot of people mad online last night that the time Lesnar got his comeuppance was to put over an old, established star who’s pushing 50, as opposed to building the credibility of a hot up-and-comer. It’s certainly a fair critique that WWE has struggled to build new megastars of late, and arguable that it’s attributable more to the way the program is written than the talents’ “not grabbing the brass ring,” in Vince McMahon’s words.
However, pro wrestling is at its best when you can suspend disbelief and find yourself completely gobsmacked. Last night was one of those occasions. We know Goldberg wouldn’t beat Brock Lesnar if they were fighting for real, but the wrestling ring isn’t the same thing as a real fight. Goldberg, as Paul Heyman alluded to in a promo last Monday, has always had a mythology about him. Capitalizing on that right now, when you factor in how he looks and what the attention has been like, is good business.
As for Lesnar, he’d gotten stale. For as talented as Paul Heyman is, there’s only so many ways he can go out there and say the same thing. The conqueror was conquered, and what happens next will be pretty interesting. Goldberg is 2-0 against him now. This ain’t over.