Could Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar, which is expected to take place at Survivor Series 2016, turn out to be an unsatisfying trip to “Suplex City” for the returning legend? That’s Ric Flair’s fearless forecast for the much-ballyhooed match, which will mark Goldberg’s first WWE match after 12 years away from the company.
On this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW, Goldberg appeared at the Pepsi Center in Denver to personally accept Paul Heyman’s challenge on behalf of his client, Brock Lesnar. This confirmed the plethora of rumors that had been swirling regarding the wrestler’s return to WWE and set the stage for what should be a match between both men at this year’s Survivor Series pay-per-view.
However, there have been many who have questioned the wisdom of Goldberg returning to WWE competition at age 49, even for just one night. In 2004, Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX was widely considered a dud of a match – fans knew both men were leaving WWE after that match, and had responded by vociferously booing the two competitors, who weren’t performing up to par. Then there’s the belief that Goldberg’s return to WWE is nothing but a short-term fix for flagging ratings. As posited by Sports Illustrated Philippines, “fatigue will soon set in” and ratings may likely go back down to their usual levels once the magic of the Bill Goldberg comeback wears off.
Apparently, WWE legend Ric Flair is one of the many skeptics who don’t see much upside in Goldberg vs. Lesnar. Speaking on The Ric Flair Show (transcription c/o Wrestling Inc), the “Nature Boy” admitted to liking Goldberg but cited his extreme case of ring rust – 12 years away from the ring – as the main reason why his match against Lesnar might not turn out as good as many are hoping.
“Not that Bill’s fragile by any means, but when you’ve been away that long, your body hasn’t been in the ring, that’s why I say all the time, ‘time off is a wrestler’s worst enemy’. And he (has) been off a long time and to jump in there against Brock who is in peak condition all the time, because of his dual roles, either MMA or professional wrestling, he stays in top shape and I don’t know that Bill has.”
Specifically, Flair believes Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar may see the former getting the short end of the stick, as “The Beast” isn’t likely to change his aggressive, suplex-heavy wrestling style for anyone, not even someone who hasn’t wrestled in over a decade. And while professional wrestling is, as almost every fan knows, a predetermined affair, the match may very well turn out to be a lopsided one, due to Lesnar’s extremely physical style, which Flair says is “10 times more aggressive” than it was back in 2004.
“You’re off for a couple of months, much less 10 years, you’re going to get in the ring and you’re going to wrestle Brock Lesnar the first time around? Ha! Good luck with that!”
Indeed, Goldberg’s WWE return has been beneficial to the company’s business so far. The Inquisitr reported earlier this week that his Monday Night RAW appearance was good for the show’s ratings, just as many had expected. And ratings may continue to be better than usual in the run-up to Survivor Series 2016, as Lesnar (most likely with Paul Heyman doing most of the talking) is expected to respond to Goldberg on next Monday’s episode of RAW.
Will Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar Part II turn out to be much ado about nothing, and, as Flair predicts, a glorified squash match skewed toward Lesnar’s favor? As of now, there’s a solid chance it might not be a classic match by any stretch, but the nostalgia factor and the potential to make up for 2004’s WrestleMania XX debacle make it a very interesting one.
[Featured Image by WWE]