Does Bill Goldberg’s quick Survivor Series win over Brock Lesnar mean that the latter is leaving WWE after WrestleMania 33 in April 2017? Nothing has been confirmed, but there have been some whispers about that possibility, considering how quickly and easily “The Beast Incarnate” lost to the returning Goldberg.
Survivor Series 2016 has just concluded, and that show’s main event was the long-awaited rematch between Goldberg and Lesnar, 12 years after they had first fought at WrestleMania XX. It was Goldberg’s first match since then, and despite the hype, many had expected Survivor Series to be another day at the office for Lesnar, another dominant performance, and another wrestler to conquer after breaking The Undertaker’s WrestleMania winning streak in 2014. Instead, what fans got was a quick “squash match,” where all it took was two spears and a Jackhammer from Goldberg, and all of 90 seconds to beat Lesnar.
— Lara G (@MINISAN__) November 21, 2016
Fans and wrestling writers alike were shocked at the outcome, and some had outright pilloried the match. The Inquisitr published an op-ed on the match soon after it finished, referring to Goldberg vs. Lesnar at Survivor Series, and the pay-per-view itself, as a “disgrace.” And Bleacher Report gave the match a rare “F” rating, calling the outcome a “cop-out.” Writer Ryan Dilbert referred to Goldberg’s quick win over Lesnar as “the worst decision WWE has made on PPV this year.”
“Rather than actually build on all the massive hype of the past few weeks, WWE ended Survivor Series with a 30-second [sic] match. Yes, it’s shocking, but stunning the audience isn’t the same as satisfying them. After selling fans on Lesnar being an unstoppable monster as he took down Undertaker and John Cena, WWE let a guy who may wrestle one or two (more) matches in his life get the career-making rub.”
Beyond the criticism, there’s also been a lot of speculation as to why Lesnar had lost so easily and so quickly. After emerging as one of the company’s top young wrestlers in a short period of time, Brock Lesnar left WWE for the first time in 2004 to play in the NFL. When pro football didn’t work out for him, he turned his sights to mixed martial arts, where he was once the UFC heavyweight champion, and one of its most-feared competitors after wins over the likes of Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. And when he returned to WWE in 2012, he made the most out of his often-sporadic appearances, looking dominant in most of the angles and matches he took part in.
It’s that history of dominance on Brock’s part that made the Goldberg vs. Lesnar result so shocking, and writers such as Forbes’ Brian Mazique believe there may be another explanation or two, aside from Goldberg supposedly signing a deal to appear in WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January 2017, as the Inquisitr had also reported earlier today.
According to Mazique, Lesnar’s WWE deal is set to expire after WrestleMania 33, which will be held in April 2017, giving him just six months more in the company. As such, it’s possible he may have already informed WWE that he has other plans, such as making a full-time return to mixed martial arts. Brock had defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July, and that in itself had set off rumors of a UFC return.
“Who knows, [Lesnar] may have told the WWE he plans on pursuing a career in MMA full time. Lesnar has been the WWE’s unconquerable beast for the past four years, but if he’s now a short-timer it may not make any sense to keep him on that level.”
While earlier reports had quoted Brock as saying he was signed to a three-year deal early in 2015, newer reports from this year, such as this one from Daily Wrestling News, suggested that the contract was only for two years, and due to expire in April 2017.
If Brock Lesnar isn’t leaving WWE in April, could it be that the company was belatedly punishing him for his failed doping tests in the aftermath of UFC 200? Forbes’ Mazique also brought that up a possibility, citing the example of Roman Reigns and his recent WWE Wellness Policy suspension.
“Perhaps this burial is punishment for Lesnar’s mishap. Roman Reigns was suspended for violating the Wellness Policy and was temporarily relegated to second-tier status. He lost cleanly to newcomer Finn Balor and began his chase of the United States championship rather (than) remain in the (Universal Championship) title picture.”
Or it could simply be WWE’s way of disguising the fact that Bill Goldberg hadn’t wrestled in over a decade, and was arguably suffering from “ring rust.” Mazique admitted that this was the most plausible of his theories on the Lesnar loss, as Goldberg hadn’t exactly looked as confident or as strong as he should have been in brief physical encounters with Lesnar and Rusev ahead of Survivor Series.
Goldberg winning over Lesnar in 90 seconds does appear to be one of the more polarizing booking decisions of 2016. It could lead to both men having a final match at some point in the future, as The Mirror predicted. But does it also mean Brock Lesnar is leaving WWE in the near future, or was it merely a case of WWE wanting to “protect” an older, returning talent who may not have been ready for even five minutes of wrestling action? It’s too early to tell, but there’s a chance there may be more to that 90-second loss than meets the eye.
[Featured Image by JP Yim/Getty Images]