Days after the event, Bill Goldberg's win at Survivor Series is still something wrestling fans are trying to process. It's also one of the most shocking booking decisions in recent pro wrestling history. But that's the way it was all meant to be, as the returning WCW and WWE legend admitted in a new interview.
In the lead-up to Sunday's pay-per-view event, most people were expecting Brock Lesnar to defeat, if not outright destroy Goldberg in the rematch of their poorly-received WrestleMania XX encounter. However, when Goldberg took only 86 seconds to pull off the upset win, some had decried the rematch as even worse than the original from 12 years back. And while it was a polarizing move to give the 49-year-old Goldberg the surprise win in his first wrestling match in over a decade, it wasn't exactly the kind of move that would have made #CancelWWENetwork trend like it did following Roman Reigns' 2015 Royal Rumble victory.
With fan opinion divided over whether Bill Goldberg's Survivor Series win was a good or a bad kind of booking swerve, the wrestler took some time out on Tuesday to speak with ESPN's Brian Campbell and talk about Sunday's big match against Brock Lesnar. And when he was asked about his victory over "The Beast," he talked about wanting to surprise the legion of "smart marks" or "smarks" among wrestling fans, or fans who know wrestling is a pre-determined hybrid of sports and entertainment, yet willingly suspend their disbelief, often making prognostications on who's "going over," or winning a match."I think at this time in my career, the best way to take (Lesnar) down was shock and awe, to do something that nobody would expect against a monster like that," Goldberg admitted to Campbell. "At the end of the day, you have smart marks all over the world thinking that they know the outcome of a match. I don't believe any of them thought that was going to be it."
Forbes previously reported that Goldberg's confirmed appearance in the titular 30-man battle royal at Royal Rumble could potentially lead to a third chapter to the Goldberg vs. Lesnar rivalry at WrestleMania 33. That's certainly different from what fans were expecting from the Bill Goldberg return at Survivor Series to begin with – a one-off match against Brock Lesnar that would allow his wife and son to finally see him wrestle. And since he isn't saying much about that possibility, all that matters now is to take things one appearance at a time.
"I'm only as good as my next appearance and my next match. I'm concentrating on the Royal Rumble and that's it. I don't have any plans of doing anything afterwards. My focus is on the 29 other men that I'm going to have to crucify to win that damn match."
Goldberg also played his cards close to his chest when talking to ESPN about when it was decided his WWE comeback would be more than a one-time thing. But it was acknowledged that his comeback got a much better reaction than anticipated, considering how many boos he received at the end of his last WWE run. That run, as mentioned, ended when Goldberg and Lesnar fought at WrestleMania XX, a match where both men went through the motions in front of fans who mostly knew they were leaving the company after the match.
Going back to Goldberg at Survivor Series, ESPN's Campbell described his victory as one that was "more realistic to a real fight" than the majority of WWE match endings. And Goldberg himself tended to agree, considering that both he and Lesnar have experience in mixed martial arts, with Lesnar having once held UFC's heavyweight title during his time away from professional wrestling.
"To be able to be booked (to win) against a guy like Brock Lesnar is a dream come true. You're looking in a lot of ways at a mirror image of yourself. I think we bring something to the table that is completely different than any other two people in the sport of professional wrestling. And I am proud of that, and I think that we've got that market pretty much cornered."
It may take a while before most fans can truly comprehend the fact that Brock Lesnar was destroyed by Bill Goldberg in their Survivor Series rematch. But if the goal of such a booking decision was to shock the smarks in the live and at-home audience, it did what it was supposed to do, and it all means WWE hasn't seen the last of Goldberg.
[Featured Image by WWE]