The Goldberg speculation has been running rampant for the better part of a year, increasing significantly when it was revealed he had come to an agreement with 2K Sports to appear in the newest WWE video game (though Brock Lesnar got the cover). But the speculation reached new heights this week, leading to reports that a Goldberg and Lesnar match was all but confirmed for the Survivor Series pay-per-view this November.
Despite fierce competition from the National League Wild Card game, wrestling fans tuned into Wednesday night’s SportsCenter in waves, where Goldberg was the guest of Jonathan Coachman for his weekly wrestling segment.
The Coach asked all the right questions, but Goldberg did not provide a definitive answer about a return to the ring. He did mention Brock Lesnar as a potential opponent if he were to return but claimed he had not spoken one word with Vince McMahon since departing from the WWE back in 2004.
That doesn’t necessarily mean there hasn’t been any communication, because there clearly has. Keep in mind that it was Triple H who helped facilitate arrangements with the likes of Sting, Ultimate Warrior, and Bruno Sammartino. But the hope is that Goldberg was trying to throw people off his scent, even though many assumed he agreed to the ESPN segment to announce something significant. Like a match with Brock Lesnar, for instance.
It became clear that Goldberg was more interested in promoting the WWE 2K17 video game than revealing anything concrete about an actual return to the WWE. And according to the Daily Wrestling News, that is part of the reason WWE officials are planning on Goldberg facing Lesnar at Survivor Series instead of next year’s WrestleMania.
The WWE is going all-in with the promotion of the video game, which comes out on October 11. Survivor Series is the next major pay-per-view on the calendar, so WWE officials will look to bring Goldberg in to have the match and promote the game at the same time, rather than wait for WrestleMania, which would be too far down the road to boost game sales.
The other reason behind booking the match for November instead of the biggest show of 2017 is because WWE officials already have Brock Lesnar’s next opponents all lined up, and they are unwilling to adjust. Previous reports indicated that Vince was pushing for Lesnar to face The Rock at WrestleMania 33, but the new leading candidate to face The Beast is now Shane McMahon.
The seeds for a Shane-Lesnar program were planted back at SummerSlam with the intention of putting the two together, likely around ‘Mania season. The top three matches rumored for WrestleMania 33 continue to include Shane and Brock, Undertaker and John Cena, and Triple H going up against Seth Rollins. Injuries forced the company to scramble and re-book on several occasions this past year, so anything can happen, but those are the plans as of now.
It was not noted who the other opponents for Lesnar would be that WWE officials have penciled in, but the likeliest challengers remain Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, and perhaps Randy Orton again. There has been a groundswell for Brock to face either Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura, but those plans have likely been pushed back if they’ve even been discussed at all.
You noticed that Goldberg’s name wasn’t mentioned as one of the marquee matches at WrestleMania, and that’s because as of now, it appears that the match with Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series would be a one-time deal. That would indicate no rematch with Lesnar, and no final sendoff match at WrestleMania aside from an expected induction into next year’s Hall of Fame class.
Again, maybe it was Goldberg trying to throw people off, but during his interview with the Coach, he said he’d prefer to train for the rest of the year before considering a return to the ring. That gave some people the impression that he’d rather wrestle one final match at WrestleMania, and who could blame him. Survivor Series is less than two months away, so if he’s not ready yet, he might not be ready for November at all.
Vince McMahon has apparently felt for a while that a Lesnar-Shane match would draw better than Brock and Goldberg on the bigger stage. Vince is also the person who was surprised that Sting was received so well when he finally made his WWE debut, so there’s a chance that may have changed his perception of characters he did not create.
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