So, this was an interesting year to say the least; "uproar" would an appropriate theme for 2016.
It all started when a Gorilla (that went by the name Harambe) got shot at the Cincinnati zoo. Society's uproar then escalated when Donald Trump got elected as president in the biggest come from behind victory in the history of U.S politics. It then culminated with naturally the biggest jaw-dropper of the year...Goldberg squashing Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series.
The masses seem to be divided on the outcome of this match. There are a lot of fans that are really digging the fact that it came out of left field, rather than a predictable outcome that we've all become susceptible to. Other fans are absolutely apoplectic at the notion that Lesnar's reign of dominance has been ended by a retired and washed-up Goldberg (who arguably was never even that good).
Since we're so divided, let's take a gander at 8 reasons to love Goldberg squashing Lesnar, and 7 reasons to hate it.
16 Love: Presence
Love him or hate him, Bill Goldberg has one hell of a presence out there. At 6'4, 285 lbs, and a shaved head to boot, that is what a "tough guy" is supposed to look like. The crowd is dialed in from the time that he kicks the door open backstage, until the moment he enters the ring.
In-ring presence has very little to do with actual wrestling ability. Hulk Hogan had much of the same tendencies but was able to do very much with very little, in regards to his wrestling skills. He'd wag his finger, throw a body slam, and drop a big boot; rinse, wash, repeat. But he still arguably had the most successful gimmick of all time and was a damn good performer. Goldberg has been able to do much of the same due to his mere presence alone.
15 Hate: He Can't Wrestle
While the outcome of the Lesnar vs. Goldberg match was a shocker; the manner in which it occurred was more rehearsed than Cirque de Soleil. Had it gone the other way around (Lesnar getting the win), it still likely would have been a very quick match because Goldberg simply can only wrestle short matches. This isn't exactly a bold proclamation either. The vast majority of his contests in WCW and WWE have been squash matches.
Of course, he's had some matches that have gone a little longer...but he just really sucks. Part of being a pro wrestler is being able to put on a tight looking match, without injuring your opponent. Two of the greatest in-ring technicians in Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have both gone on record saying that Goldberg is the most reckless wrestler that they've ever worked with. We all know that Goldberg ended Hart's career with a head kick, but it flies under the radar that he also worked with The Heartbreak Kid in the Elimination Chamber at SummerSlam in 2003. Michaels aired his grievances in his autobiography.
14 Love: Emotional Reaction
Let's be honest here, it's tough to sit through an entire episode of RAW nowadays. For one, the show is too damn long, as there's really no need for the extra hour. It's also an era where most people record the episode so they can blast through the commercials. But that Fast Forward button is like a gun, and we're all a little trigger happy when a boring match/segment commences *cough Braun Strowman cough.*
In a nut shell; there is a lot of time that needs to be filled in a three hour broadcast, and we do not hesitate to blitz through the "filler matches" with our handy dandy remote. This leads to a disconnect between the product in that viewers because are simply not as engaged.
Make no mistake about it; nobody is fast forwarding when Goldberg comes out. Seeing him squash Lesnar at Survivor Series left the crowd in a sheer state of shock. It was definitely nowhere near the level of the crowd's reaction at WrestleMania XXX when "The Streak" ended, but it was still refreshing.
13 Hate: Their Match Sucked 12 Years Ago
As we're all aware, Goldberg and Lesnar previously locked horns at WrestleMania XX in 2004. The match was dreadful as Lesnar did not care to perform as this was his last match before he left the WWE, and well...Goldberg struggles even with the best of times.
Naturally, the two beasts are going to face each other once again, likely at WrestleMania. But if we look at their body of work with each other, it leaves much to be desired. As stated above, their first match was bad...really bad. Their second contest can't even be classified as a match because the only moves performed were two Spheres and a Jackhammer. Can we really expect a quality match the third time around?
12 Love: Nostalgia
There's just something about bringing back wrestling stars from the late '90s that gets our mojo going. Heck, the roof almost blew off the building earlier this year when Shane McMahon came out of hiding, and he's not even (technically) a wrestler!
Think about how much time is spent on wrestling forums (and this very site) speculating and dissecting the possibilities that Kurt Angle could come back to the WWE, or that Shawn Michaels could come back for one more match. The best example of the nostalgia factor is when The Rock returned from Hollywood and casually headlined back to back WrestleManias. Full time wrestlers had been busting their humps for that opportunity, but The Rock had some free time on his schedule, and the fans ate it all up as his reaction was deafening week after week.
Goldberg isn't half the star that The Rock is, but he still brings back that "blast from the past" feeling that some people are currently enjoying.
11 Hate: Relic Of The Past
This begs the question: why do we keep desiring the stars of yesterday?
Some will argue that the grass always seems greener in hindsight and that we'll always have a soft spot for idols of our youth. This is true to a degree, but let's take a look at the Attitude Era. WWE's roster was at its absolute peek in the very early 2000s as you could turn on RAW and see the likes of: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, and Triple H all at once. With the exception of Hulk Hogan (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash fell flat on their face), there was really no desire to see yesteryear's glory.
WWE is just struggling to produce stars, which makes us inclined to revert back to the past. Granted, the company has had some bad luck along the way; Daniel Bryan was so over with the fans and could not have gotten injured at a worst possible time. The roster was also severely hampered by injuries this year. At one point, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and Randy Orton were all injured at the exact same time. Side note: not enough credit goes out to Dean Ambrose for carrying the ball during that spell.
10 Love: Mainstream Attention
Everything about the Goldberg vs. Lesnar feud had garnered a staggering amount of mainstream attention. Even people that don't even follow wrestling are throwing their two cents in. The most concrete example of this notion is that fact that Goldberg was on ESPN's First Take, and getting interviewed by Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. Smith and Kellerman are regarded as of the best sports television personalities in the world, and never "eeeeeeever" cover anything related to professional wrestling.
It was an incredible interview because Goldberg did not break kayfabe, which is something that is next to impossible nowadays because everyone knows that wrestling is predetermined. Smith and Kellerman also deserve a lot of credit for not scoffing at pro wrestling and conducting it as a legitimate interview to promote the feud.
9 Hate: Goldberg Isn't Actually That Likeable
In Goldberg's FIRST promo after being gone for 12 years, he boldly proclaimed: "The biggest thing that I miss (other than kicking ass), is being a superhero for the kids all around the world...in this day and age, there ain't enough of us." He also referenced that he missed being a "superhero" multiple times in the First Take interview.
First of all, the kids in the audience don't know who the hell he is because they weren't even born the last time he was in the ring. Secondly, the opinions of his fellow wrestlers have soured the image of Goldberg being anything close to a superhero or a good guy. There have been countless testimonials that his ego grew with his undefeated steak, and that he'd flat out just refuse to work with people (notably Chris Jericho). There were even some reports that Vince McMahon flipped out when the crowd was booing Goldberg in Minnesota a month back. Goldberg is undoubtedly a special attraction, but he is certainly not a superhero.
8 Love: Goldberg's An Enigma
Goldberg's winning streak officially ended at "173-1." The concept of being "indestructible" is one of the oldest gimmicks in the book. The fans get bored of a wrestler that never loses, and demolishes his/her opponents in under two minutes. Even if there is a degree of interest, all mystique will be gone once that wrestler finally loses.
The Ultimate Warrior had a similar run, where he'd sprint to the ring and decimate anything in his path. But fans even got weary of him after a while, because there's only so much "squashing" once can do before people want to see an actual wrestling match.
Not so much with Goldberg as the WCW faithful had their eyes glued for every win during the streak, and there was still a heavy degree of interest even after Kevin Nash handed him his first loss. The proof's in the pudding, as people are still flocking even 12 years after his last match.
7 Hate: Unknown If He Will Return The Favor
Considering that Goldberg has been very reluctant to put people over in the past, and that all he's done so far is squash Brock Lesnar, and proclaim that he's a "superhero" on countless occasions; let's just say it's unclear if he'll be willing to put over younger/smaller talent in the near future.
This is a guy that went "173-0" and is still complaining about losing to Kevin Nash 18 years ago. We have to come to grips with the fact that he may just have another "squash match" at WrestleMania and be on his merry way. Let's hope this is not that case, and that he returns the favor and helps a wrestler out that the company can build around. But at this point, it remains murky.
6 Love: Significance Of The Win
It's not like he rolled in and defeated R-Truth or Bo Dallas. Goldberg got a squash win over BRRRRRRRRROCK LESNAR (had to do it).
WWE has spent near five freaking years building up The Beast Incarnate, essentially making him look indestructible in pay-per-view matches. They even had him end The Undertaker's streak which was the most shocking moment in WrestleMania history. Given that Goldberg just steamrolled someone that the WWE spent five years building up; could you imagine (going forward) what a clean victory over Goldberg would mean for a guy like Seth Rollins or A.J Styles? Or dare we say it...Roman Reigns?! It could potentially set the table for WWE's next mainstream Superstar.
Of course, such a scenario would only play out if "the super hero" is willing to do business and put one of them over.
5 Hate: Jealousy/Resentment
When you bring back a 49 year old that hasn't wrestled in 12 years, and promptly stick him in the main event, there's a risk of ruffling a few feathers on the current roster. Think about a guy like Dean Ambrose that has worked his tail off night in and night out for the better part of two years. There were matches where he was beaten like a Pinata, yet never missed a RAW or SmackDown. What was his payoff? Getting suplexed to hell by Lesnar at WrestleMania. Ambrose also maintained on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast that he had all kinds of ideas to make the match great (despite being on the losing end), and was met with sheer laziness.
When you go with the old egomaniac that's been gone for 12 years, vs. the lazy guy who openly hates the business (and is just there for money) in the main event of a pay-per-view, there's bound to be some ruffled feathers.
4 Love: He WILL Be In The Royal Rumble
They always say to prepare yourself for the worst, but hope for the best. The utmost WORST possible scenario would have been for Goldberg to squash Lesnar at Survivor Series, and then call it a day.
At least we know for a fact that he will be participating in the Royal Rumble, and it does add a little spice to the event. The Royal Rumble was arguably the most fun pay-per-view of the year because of its uniqueness. But the last three Rumbles have been stale and extremely predictable.
In 2014, a returning Batista won the Rumble and was met with a chorus of boos that would put even Roman Reigns to shame. Speak of the devil...Reigns won the following year but was put in a no-win situation because the crowd was so irate that Daniel Bryan had been eliminated so quickly (not even The Rock could save the day). Last, and certainly least; Triple H won last year in an all too predictable outcome.
Having Goldberg in the mix will at least be different and kind of cool.
3 Hate: Risking Another CM Punk Fiasco
CM Punk had an assortment of reasons as to why he left pro wrestling (he's been very open about every single one of them). But the catalyst of his departure was always the fact that he felt disrespected; particularly when he got passed up for WrestleMania main events for "Dwayne."
Think about it, The Rock is well respected and widely regarded as a good guy, and still caught heat for coming back and sliding into the main event spot. Goldberg isn't particularly popular backstage, and isn't even a WWE guy. One would think that the heat would be nuclear in his case.
There has already been some grumblings that John Cena is less than thrilled with Goldberg's return (particularly with how much money he's making for such little output). Goldberg keeps claiming that he is a superhero for the kids, but we all know Cena is far and away the most popular wrestler with the younger audience. Is it really worth it for WWE to have their meal ticket unhappy, all for a 49 year old Goldberg to have one more run?
1 Love: We Marked Out
If you're reading this article; it's very likely that you're a die hard wrestling fan.
Us die hard's are fickle because we want to be surprised, but we also take a sick joy in predicting the outcome of a match, and even how it's going to play out, down to the finest detail. If the prediction comes to fruition, we then take great pride in our "wrestling IQ" and then proceed to crap on WWE writers for being predictable. It's quite the paradox.
Admit it! We all figured there was no way a returning relic would go over The Beast Incarnate that WWE has spent five years building up - it just didn't make sense.
Yours truly will admit it, we marked out, and loved it.
Sadly, the way that we imagine things playing out is indeed the way that it ends up playing out. It's difficult to shock a knowledgeable fan nowadays, especially with the internet catching wind of any type of potential swerves. It was nice to feel like a mark again and truly be taken by surprise.