Since making his WWE return, Goldberg has been universally loved by the WWE Universe, but the powers that be are concerned about the fans turning on Goldberg during the Royal Rumble‘ match this Sunday. On paper, it doesn’t seem like something WWE officials should be worried about, especially since Goldberg has received nothing but overwhelming admiration from the WWE Universe since returning to WWE television.
The fact is the WWE Universe asked for Goldberg’s return. It was rumored for several months that he could be returning. It’s not even clear what the fans wanted from his return, but they’ve gotten much more than a lot of people were expecting. For instance, Goldberg could have finished his comeback after defeating Brock Lesnar at WWE Survivor Series. Instead, he’s signed on with WWE through Wrestlemania 34 next year.
Goldberg will be one of thirty men entering the Royal Rumble match this Sunday. There has been a lot of speculation and big reports, but Goldberg has a realistic chance of winning the match. However, there could be some concern from WWE officials about another Royal Rumble crowd ruining the PPV and forcing the powers that be to make some major changes to Wrestlemania 33.
Over the past few years, the WWE Universe has been very vocal during the WWE Royal Rumble to air their grievances about the direction of the WWE product. Back in 2014 and 2015, their support of Daniel Bryan ruined two Royal Rumble matches, and WWE officials made specific booking choices last year to ensure the PPV wouldn’t end in similar fashion. This year, WWE officials may be concerned about Goldberg’s reaction.
It’s being discussed that WWE is walking a thin line with Goldberg because his current run in WWE has had a few small mistakes, but not any big ones yet. Goldberg bleeding from the head during a promo or tripping during a move is something the WWE Universe will joke about, but the Royal Rumble will create a lot of situations that may make the fans think differently about Goldberg’s comeback heading into Wrestlemania.
For instance, WWE officials did a great thing on Raw this week by featuring Goldberg, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar in the same ring as the show went off the air. Goldberg and The Undertaker crossing paths for the first time is really interesting for the WWE Universe, but forcing them to choose between the two men if they end up being the final two. What if the fans decide they’d rather see Undertaker win the Royal Rumble over Goldberg and resent him for taking that away? The same thing happened to Batista a few years back.
Another example would be AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One has been so good over the past few months as a heel that the WWE fans are showing a lot of appreciation and they’re pushing hard for him to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. Goldberg eliminating Styles could force the fans to choose, and it’s not a guarantee they would pick the former. It may be nothing to worry about, but WWE crowds can be very unpredictable.
The WWE Royal Rumble has been an event where the WWE Universe will “hijack” a show and force WWE to make some creative changes as a result. As of this writing, this is all speculation. For all the same reasons the fans could turn on Goldberg, they could turn on any other babyface. However, Goldberg doesn’t have the time to earn back the admiration of the WWE Universe the same way someone like Seth Rollins would have.
It will only take one big mistake for Goldberg’s comeback to be derailed. He’s been great thus far for WWE since his return, but he’s 50, has never been a strong wrestler, and has been in the ring for two minutes over the last 12 years. Goldberg is playing a short-term game, so the odds of the fans losing interest in his comeback could happen at any time. The overall point is WWE doesn’t necessarily need to be concerned, but they need to be careful about how they booked Goldberg in the “Royal Rumble” match on Sunday.
[Featured Image by WWE]