WWE TLC: Goldberg and Lesnar must stick around

Barnaby Read 21:59 06/03/2017
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  • Goldberg destroyed Kevin Owens.

    Another RAW pay-per-view, another dominant Goldberg performance.

    The 50-year-old wrestler was at it once again in Milwaukee at Fast Lane on Monday morning [UAE], with a crushing victory over Kevin Owens.

    All very routine so far, but the significance of this latest bout was that Goldberg left the arena as the newly anointed Universal Champion.

    He had a belt round his waist for the first time since September 2003, officially crowning his return to the fold of professional wrestling.

    It means Goldberg will now head to WrestleMania to take on Brock Lesnar in what is one of the most high-profile title matches in the history of the company.

    Again, all very routine.

    However, that leaves the WWE with their premier championship belt in the hands of a part-time wrestler only signed on with the company until WrestleMania, where he will face his fellow part-time foe.

    Instead of Owens holding the title and being rewarded for his stellar year at the fore of the WWE’s New Era and defending it at the pinnacle of wrestling, it will be a hark back to a feud that reached its first nadir at WrestleMania XX.

    That was way back in March, 2004 and resulted in a match that many believe is one of the worst headline events in the history of WWE pay-per- views, let alone WrestleMania.

    There should be no repeat of that debacle, Goldberg’s run thus far – including the demolition of Lesnar at Survivor Series – near enough guarantees that.

    The major concern is beyond WrestleMania.

    The futures of neither party are secured with any real longevity beyond that date.

    Goldberg is only signed up until Mania, while Lesnar’s three-year extension signed in 2016 still limits his appearances and keeps him at arm’s length of a full-time player on the roster.

    For someone like Owens, who is committed to the company for 365 days a year, that will be hard to take unless the WWE can secure the futures of Lesnar and Goldberg on a more regular basis.

    If they can do that then this third instalment to the rivalry will be as glorious as it suggests on paper.

    If not, there is concern that the company will have put two of its most marketable, old-school Superstars at the head of the queue and, in doing so, limit the appearance of its title.

    There would be a real chance of seeing the title only reeled out at marquee pay-per- views, it limited to an accessory to the occasional promo outside of the big shows.

    One way of avoiding that would be to see the title quickly change hands but if that were to happen then the prestige of the belt and the incumbent of it after Mania would be diluted.

    It would also beg the question: What was the point of having Lesnar vs Goldberg for a title when the two would bring in pay-per-view buys on name alone without the gold?

    For now, we must wait and see but either way, the WWE and its WrestleMania headliners have questions to answer that go way beyond putting their 2004 woes behind them.