WWE ‘Survivor Series’ 2016: Goldberg & Lesnar—That Was Then, This Is Now

On Sunday, November 20 at 7:00 pm EST, Survivor Series 2016 will air on the WWE Network and it features the highly anticipated rematch between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg.

To promote his match with Brock at Survivor Series 2016, Goldberg recently had his first WWE photo shoot in over a decade. At 49 years old, Goldberg looks as if he is in as good of shape as a 20-year-old. But it’s been 12 years since Goldberg wrestled Brock at Wrestlemania XX, which was Goldberg’s last WWE match, and the story of these two combatants leading up to Survivor Series is a compelling one.

[Image by WWE]

Brock Lesnar—Then And Now

When Brock arrived in the WWE in 2002, Paul Heyman gave him the moniker of “The Next Big Thing”—and that’s exactly what he became. Though Brock was a rookie when it came to professional wrestling, the two-time NCAA heavyweight champion was no stranger to the sport of wrestling.

In his first year with the company, Brock Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament which earned him a match against The Rock for the WWE Undisputed Championship (the main title at the time). At the time, he was the youngest WWE champion at age 25. Through the next two years he would continue to dominate the WWE, and he had notable feuds with The Undertaker and Kurt Angle. Then in 2004 at Wrestlemania XX, he wrestled Goldberg and lost; this was his last match with the WWE until 2012.

[Image by WWE]

Brock Lesnar decided to leave the WWE because he was worn out from the travel schedule, wrestling injured, and as he indicates in the video below, he was also addicted to Vicodin. He would go on to pursue a career with the NFL. He did very well at the NFL Combine and signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but he was soon released.

Lesnar then wrestled off and on for New Japan Pro Wrestling before pursuing a career in mixed martial arts (MMA). He signed a contract with the UFC in 2008, and would eventually become the UFC heavyweight champion. After a battle with diverticulitis, he left the UFC with an MMA record of 6-3.

Brock, alongside Paul Heyman, returned to the WWE in 2012, on a part-time basis. In the last four years Lesnar has been more dominate than ever: he ended the Wrestlemania streak of The Undertaker, squashed John Cena in a one-sided match to once again become the WWE champion, did a historic one-off match in the UFC where he was victorious, beat Triple H in two out of their three matches, beat The Undertaker in two out of their three matches, and most recently, pummeled Randy Orton to the point where he would need 10 staples in his head. And now, he is set to face Goldberg in a historic rematch.

Goldberg—Then And Now

Bill Goldberg, often regarded by just his last name, is one of the most popular superstars of all-time. After playing professional football in the NFL, he began his professional wrestling career for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1997. For the next year he would have a historical undefeated streak. Most of his matches would only last a minute or two, and they had the same formula: the crowd would chant “Goldberg,” he would head to the ring, hit his two big moves, pin his opponent, and the crowd would erupt! His winning streak came to an end when he was defeated by Kevin Nash.

During his time with WCW, Goldberg held numerous titles including the WCW title that he beat Hulk Hogan to win. He debuted in the WWE in 2003, on a memorable episode of Raw. One year later, Goldberg wrestled his last match for the WWE when he faced “The Next Big Thing.” Many feel that he wasn’t booked correctly during that year, and that they never could fully recapture the excitement of Goldberg’s WCW run. In the video below, Goldberg explains why he left the WWE in 2004.

For the last twelve years Goldberg has hosted a few different shows, has done a ton of charity work, and has also been training in Muay Thai Kickboxing.

[Image by WWE]

Lesnar vs. Goldberg—Then And Now

Many expected the match between these two at Wrestlemania XX to be a monumental one—it was not. By the time the event rolled around, the audience was well aware that both men were leaving the company. Chants of “you sold out” could be heard, and it was clear that both men had already checked out. Cageside Seats called the Brock Lesnar and Goldberg match a “disaster.”

Now 12 years later, at Survivor Series 2016, Goldberg has returned for one last match (presumably) against “The Beast.” Many think this match will be another disappointment. Forbes explains some other concerns for Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WWE’s Survivor Series 2016.

“Take this for what it’s worth, but Goldberg was breathing pretty heavy after his 10-second skirmish with Rusev on Monday. Are we supposed to believe he and Lesnar can work a solid main event match that lasts 15-25 minutes?

“When it comes to presence, few performers have been more imposing or polarizing than Lesnar. That said, his move set consists of German Suplexes, punches, shoulder thrusts in the corner and the F5…Mix this limited set of moves with Goldberg’s potential lack of conditioning and you have the formula for a disappointing match.”