We knew it was too good to be true when Chris Jericho teased us with a best friend vs best friend match for the WWE Universal Title at Wrestlemania 33. Everyone knows we are getting a Jericho vs Kevin Owens match but the WWE Universal Title likely won’t be up for grabs because a few minutes after Y2J made the challenge to Owens Goldberg came to the ring and screwed it all up. Instead of the hottest heels on RAW battling it out for the belt now we will get Goldberg as the champ at Mania.
Goldberg has been a huge draw for Vince McMahon since making his return late last year. He pinned Brock Lesnar clean at Survivor Series then eliminated him from the Rumble match at the Royal Rumble last month. We know he’s facing Lesnar at Wrestlemania and now it’s going to be for the Universal Title.
McMahon didn’t bring Goldberg back to lose to Owens at Fastlane. Owens is a guy who the WWE brass view as a top tier mid-card act who won’t ever beat a top act like Lesnar, Goldberg or Roman Reigns clean. If he does it’s because he cheated or had help from Jericho.
If I were McMahon I would keep the title on KO and have him destroy Jericho at Wrestlemania. We all know Jericho is taking some time off after Mania as he has talked about it publicly on his podcast in recent weeks. Y2J isn’t going to win so he will have to put Owens over strong before walking away from the WWE to pursue music. The WWE could even make it interesting by having Jericho put his career on the line in return for a title shot against Owens.
But now we know Goldberg will hold the title going in Wrestlemania to face Lesnar who will be getting his comeuppance after coming up short against the former WCW legend several times.
Putting the title on Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33 doesn’t do much for the former UFC champ. Lesnar doesn’t need the title to be taken seriously as he’s shown the past two years. When “The Beast” shows up on RAW you know it’s a big deal. Now he will hold the belt and won’t be on TV very often and only show up for pay per views and an occasional RAW due to his hefty appearance fee McMahon has to pay everytime Lesnar shows up.
Goldberg isn’t going to beat Lesnar for the third time on the WWE’s biggest show. He signed on for three matches after Survivor Series after getting a huge reaction from the crowd and Mania is the last on his current deal. It’s likely we see Goldberg again but it will be at another big show later in the year like Summerslam. Another match at Wrestlemania 34 and a spot in the Hall of Fame isn’t out of the question.
Goldberg and Lesnar are part-time WWE Superstars who make a handful of appearances a year. I don’t mind them being dominant when they are on RAW but they need to be used to put over younger talent who are going to be there full-time and be focal points of the WWE going forward on big shows like Wrestlemania. Roman Reigns vs Goldberg and Baron Corbin vs Lesnar does more for the WWE long-term than Goldberg vs Lesnar 3. Let Reigns pin Goldberg and make him THE GUY on RAW. Same with Corbin have him beat Lesnar and leave him beaten and bloody in the middle of the ring. Corbin is now a huge star. Lesnar can come back and get revenge at Summerslam but until then Corbin can win the WWE Title on Smackdown and be the guy who took out “The Beast”.
The problem is that the WWE booking committee can lay out a great storyline for months that culminates in a great pay off. Vince McMahon gets a wild hair up his butt in the middle of the storyline and scraps it and the fans get no payoff and are left scratching their heads.
One great example of this was Wrestlemania 31. At that show Roman Reigns was supposed to beat Lesnar to become the face of the WWE. The year before Lesnar beat Undertaker clean at Wrestlamania 30 to end his streak. It was a huge deal and Lesnar was built up as a monster that year and even won the title from John Cena in dominant fashion. Roman Reigns was groomed and put in position to take out Lesnar at Mania 31 and vanquish the big nasty heel who ended the fabled streak and beat John Cena. Instead Seth Rollins came out in the middle of the main event to cash in his Money in the Bank and wound up pinning Reigns to win the belt. Reigns character never recovered and Taker’s streak was ended for nothing.
Everyone knows that Lesnar is beating Goldberg at Wrestlemania 33. McMahon needs to change course and shake things up and build towards the future. The future of his company depends on it.