Hello all and welcome to a somewhat unexpected column. I did expect to post something about the annual Survivor Series PPV that aired last night on the WWE Network, but not this. Regardless of how you felt about the PPV, it certainly was an interesting night, wasn't it? And at the very least WWE deserves credit for that much.
Brock Lesnar: Lesson Learned, Or Did WWE Just Shoot Themselves In The Foot?
Nov 21, 2016 - 12:28:21 PM
When I was watching the final moments of the Survivor Series match between RAW and Smackdown, very good match with some fantastic spots in it by the way (mostly Orton), I noticed the time. As the match was wrapping up there was only a small fraction of time remaining for the main event between Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar.
Now I kind of expected the match to only go about roughly 10 minutes, as Bill Goldberg had practically no time to get into wrestling shape (being in shape and being in wrestling shape are two entirely different things as many of you know), mixed with various sources stating Lesnar is not one to choreograph much, but as the video packages and entrances were done we were left with less than 6 minutes left for the entire PPV, and there was no way WWE would end a PPV exactly as the referee signaled for the bell. So I sat there realizing at best this match had less than 5 minutes in its entirety.
When that thought hit me I started wondering what could be done in such a short amount of time. I thought it would be outlandish for us to see a squash either way, so I wondered if we would see interference leading us to a rubber match at Wrestlemania. That thought dissapointed me, as if WWE went that route, then this match was a complete throwaway, and a total waste of everyone's time who had anticipated this for over a month, or even a decade plus for some.
The last thing I thought would happen would be Goldberg annihilating Lesnar, as then a rubber match between them would seemingly make no sense, as Goldberg was already up 1-0 over Lesnar for a career head to head record. Why would the feud carry on from there?
I honestly figured we would see a Goldberg win, but after a tough fought mid length match that might have seen Lesnar disqualified for one reason or another. Essentially a Goldberg win on paper, but a moral victory for Lesnar, or vice versa. What actually happened was much different as many of you now know. Goldberg obliterated Brock Lesnar's entire build since coming back to WWE a few years back, and he did it in about 2 minutes.
To say I was stunned was an understatement, as I figure I wasn't the only one collecting my jaw off the floor as the bell rang. When Goldberg hit his first spear I expected Lesnar to shrug it off in typical Lesnar fashion, but he didn't. And as Goldberg nailed him with another, then the Jackhammer, I could not believe what I was watching.
The first things that popped into my head were Lesnar beating Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, and then the thought that Lesnar's WWE contract is a multi year deal north of 5 million dollars, while Goldberg literally signed on for just that one match. Those thoughts made me wonder why WWE would do something like this, and only 2 thoughts have occurred to me since-
1) WWE negotiated a bigger deal for Goldberg since his arrival to RAW a month ago.
2) Lesnar is being punished by WWE.
When Goldberg came back to RAW and got the reaction he did, I commented on a thread in the Columns Forum section of this very website (Go sign up! Great place to talk wrestling and or write about it!) that if I were Vince, based on that crowd reaction, I would toss the bank at Goldberg in order for him to wrestle 3 PPVs concluding at the upcoming Wrestlemania. But even if that is what went down, which seems highly likely, as numerous websites are reporting this morning that Goldberg is signed on to be in the Royal Rumble, it still did not make a ton of sense for WWE to dog Lesnar out the way they did last night unless he has some heat backstage, does it?
If you go back through Lesnar's run in WWE since he has come back you will see a run that WWE has put so much tender loving care in to, so much thoughtful booking to ensure Lesnar came out looking like an absolute force of nature. Last night's match didn't fit that narrative at all. And even if Goldberg has signed on for more matches, it still doesn't add up for WWE to squash Lesnar like that, considering he still has matches and time left in his contract.
WWE could have easily had Goldberg win in a manner that still kept Lesnar strong, but clearly they did not go that route last night. Doesn't that seem like a squandered investment, or a wasted opportunity? It sure does to me. Which made me question why WWE would do something like this, why would they shoot themselves in their own foot like that? The only conclusions I can draw are either WWE is punishing Lesnar, and my best guess as to why on the outside of the industry looking in is his failed drug tests while fighting for UFC (which made WWE look bad after they took a risk they never take), or Goldberg is getting the rub before putting over Lesnar at a future PPV like Wrestlemania, and or WWE is changing course now, and deem the Lesnar push as an overall failure.
All of these make perfect sense, as when Lesnar first beat Taker and Cena he had nuclear heat, and now it has simmered substantially, mainly due to how much time has elapsed without Lesnar giving a rub to one of the wrestlers from the current roster- in short, WWE took too long to payoff that angle and it has since backfired due to fan apathy (WWE didn't strike while the iron was hot, and fans grew bored.) And on the punishment front, most of us are well aware of Vince's vindictive streak. If he feels he needs to make a point or make an example of someone, rationale and logic fly out the window fast. And it also makes sense for WWE to throw Goldberg such a big bone to pad the impending loss in the future.
If it is both WWE being mad at Lesnar, and scrapping his push, what does last night's result mean for the rest of Lesnar's run? If WWE has shifted the top unstoppable monster booking to Goldberg, where does that leave Lesnar creatively in the meantime? As of now I have little to no guess or idea. I can only think that there is no way they leave the feud like this unless Lesnar goes on an absolute roster wide rampage in the coming months, lending to the notion that the only person that can do that to Lesnar is Goldberg- thus we get 2 unstoppable monsters from this. Either that or we haven't seen the last chapter of Goldberg vs Lesnar.
If it is something else, if it is Lesnar simply getting his ass handed to him and not retaliating (kayfabe) in order for WWE to teach him a lesson, then WWE might have just pissed away over 5 million dollars, and shot themselves right in the foot. And if this is true, I'd sincerely hope WWE learned their own lesson about striking while the iron is hot. Regardless of how much heat Lesnar could have on him backstage, or WWE brass feeling the Lesnar experiment was a bit of a failure, I cannot believe WWE would do this.
So a little over 12 hours after Survivor Series has concluded, I am left with 3 thoughts on this topic- either WWE is gearing up for a 3rd chapter in this feud, a potential no win scenario for Goldberg, which means Lesnar will need to do something to provoke Goldberg into a 3rd match (hello Lesnar costing Goldberg the Royal Rumble, Lesnar being the World Title holder come Mania and Goldberg wins the Royal Rumble, and or Lesnar and Heyman making things way more personal between the 2 men), or WWE just added a bigger shark to the waters while slightly phasing out Brock Lesnar.
Despite what I watched last night I refuse to believe Vince, and WWE would toss out all that money and effort on Lesnar just to phase him out and scrap it, regardless of if they are pissed at him, or if they feel they waited too long for the payoff to the Lesnar storyline, or both.
Which leaves the biggest question- are you ready for chapter 3 of Goldberg vs Lesnar? Because despite what we watched last night, all the signs I can see point to exactly that. Maybe most of us think this was a very bad way of going about it, but as I've layed out here in this column, it appears to be the only logical course of action from here that I can see.
So Goldberg gets the big morale booster of both winning last night in completely dominant fashion, and ultimately winning the feud 2-1 in the end, but Lesnar gets the last laugh come Wrestlemania. And maybe that is all scenarios combined. So in closing I don't think WWE shot themselves in the foot after having some time to think about it. I think they are just going a roundabout, unpredictable way of telling the final 2 chapters of this feud, and showing Brock Lesnar that while he is under WWE contract, he needs to understand that he needs to represent them well- a lesson in humility. Most likely a pointless lesson, but Vince likes making a point regardless.
What are your thoughts on this? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below, or shoot me an email by clicking my name up top. Until then I am Kleckamania, and thanks for reading!