If internet rumors and “subject to change” live event cards are to be trusted, Kevin Owens will have to survive title matches against both Brock Lesnar and Goldberg to be the WWE Universal Champion headed into WrestleMania 33. With Paul Heyman issuing a challenge to Goldberg for Lesnar on last week’s Monday Night Raw, it is all but set in stone that Goldberg vs. Lesnar is happening at WrestleMania 33. But now, it appears as though WWE may be adding the Universal Championship to the end of the Lesnar/Goldberg feud, with Owens expected to drop the title at WWE Fastlane.
To be fair, many rumors prior to WWE Royal Rumble 2017 claimed that WWE Fastlane 2017 would be headlined by Roman Reigns defending the title against Goldberg. While that obviously didn’t pan out, if Reigns was supposed to drop the title to Goldberg — which seems unlikely — then the result would be the same no matter who the champion is going into Fastlane. The red brand’s March PPV is scheduled for the 5th, one week before WWE returns to the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden. Although all WWE programming and live events are “subject to change,” a special Universal Championship Match between Kevin Owens and Brock Lesnar is scheduled for the event, which will be an otherwise SmackDown-exclusive, non-televised show.
At this point, however, does the final payoff for Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg need to include the Universal Championship? In recent years, Vince McMahon has promoted WrestleMania as having a Triple Main Event. Allowing Kevin Owens to defend the Universal title — while Lesnar and Goldberg conclude their feud without any championship implications — could lead to WWE’s first Quadruple Main Event.
It appears as though The Undertaker’s opponent this year will be Roman Reigns, and neither of them are anywhere near the Universal Championship at this point. Randy Orton will likely be challenging John Cena or Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship. With the SmackDown title match and The Undertaker’s annual foray, Raw could add their Universal Championship Match and Lesnar vs. Goldberg, giving WrestleMania 33 four main event matches.
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Of course, if WWE wants everyone to treat the Universal Championship with the same level of respect that they treat the more traditional WWE Championship, then perhaps putting it around Goldberg’s waist in the main event of WrestleMania 33 against Brock Lesnar makes sense. If that’s the case, it makes more sense for Owens to drop the title prior to WrestleMania 33 — but it might say something about how the WWE Universe views the red brand’s belt versus John Cena’s WWE Championship belt on SmackDown LIVE.
Inevitably, the team of Jeri-KO will have to split, ending in a marquee match between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Rather than having Owens drop the title to Goldberg at Fast Lane, wouldn’t it make more sense for Lesnar to prevent Goldberg from winning the title at Fast Lane — with Goldberg returning the favor a week later at MSG — setting up a champion vs. champion match between Kevin Owens and United States Champion Chris Jericho? Then, WrestleMania 33 could have four main event-level matches that include:
- Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
- Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho — Universal Championship & United States Championship Match
- John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles — WWE Championship Triple Threat Match
- The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
On top of that, there is the rumored Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal match, and the definite possibility that Triple H will return the ring. Charlotte Flair will likely be putting her PPV championship defense streak on the line, and names like Finn Balor, Shane McMahon and even Kurt Angle aren’t out of the question.
Goldberg vs. Lesnar doesn’t need the Universal Championship for the match to be worthy of a WrestleMania main event. Leaving the title around the waist of Kevin Owens would make his match at WrestleMania 33 one of the main events. However, if the WWE is trying to show their fans that the Universal Championship is as good as, if not better than, the WWE Championship, then perhaps the smart move is to have Goldberg and Lesnar fight over it in the final match at this year’s biggest event.
Where To Watch WWE WrestleMania 33
WrestleMania 33 will air live on the WWE Network on Sunday, April 2. The event will take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. For fans who are unable to watch the event live, it will be made available to stream on-demand via the WWE Network immediately. The only Raw-exclusive PPV before WrestleMania 33 is WWE Fastlane, which will air on the WWE Network on Sunday, March 5.
Episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw air live on the USA Network at 8/7c. Replays of WWE Raw aren’t made available on the WWE Network until several weeks after the original air date. However, a 90-minute version of Monday Night Raw is available to stream on-demand the following day with a Hulu subscription.
[Featured Image by WWE]