Although Bill Goldberg remained noncommittal about a potential WWE return in an interview with Jonathan Coachman on SportsCenter this week, the fact that he got the opportunity to speak in the segment suggests that a comeback is probably in the works. Maybe this was both parties dipping their toe in the water to see if the fan interest for a return was there and whether they could play nice with each other?
Indeed, it would be highly unlike WWE to allow a major match (Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar) to be teased so publicly that they have absolutely no intent on delivering, so that suggests that they are at the very least open-minded to the idea. It should be noted that Dave Meltzer is still insisting that Goldberg vs. Lesnar is scheduled as the main event of Survivor Series, despite what Goldberg said on ESPN, so it was likely a tease that they do indeed plan on paying off imminently.
If so, then it would be perfectly in keeping with Vince McMahon finding sticking plaster solutions to overcome the slow but steady erosion in WWE ratings caused by the lack of star power on his roster.
When injuries derailed his WrestleMania plans one time too many earlier this year, he chose his amateur stuntman son Shane to face The Undertaker at the event. Although the surprise of the prodigal son returning out of the blue to attempt to snatch control of Monday Night Raw from his dear old Dad delivered a needed nostalgia boost to a lacklustre card, Shane’s momentum as a character quickly fizzled out once he was nonsensically awarded power despite losing anyway.
With SmackDown’s ratings sinking to below acceptable levels for the USA Network, Vince shook his snow globe up again this summer by going back to the previously failed brand split formula, with Stephanie and Shane McMahon, together with their handpicked General Managers, Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan, respectively, running the two brands. Unsurprisingly that has solved one problem whilst creating another. Although SmackDown viewership is healthily up by being the only place to watch John Cena amongst others, now Monday Night Raw’s numbers are struggling more than ever due to less headliners being on the show.
Like Shane’s return, Sting’s debut and many others before them, Goldberg showing his face again on WWE programming should generate another short term boost in product interest. It too will have little, if any, long term positive effect on WWE business, as Goldberg will almost certainly lose his first match in with Lesnar, who doesn’t need the rub from anyone anyway. In fact, Lesnar should be used to make a new star who carries the company on the road whilst he’s too busy hunting, instead of killing the current generation’s momentum by suplexing them all over the shop and squashing them like little bugs. This feud would just delay that much needed process.
It would be one thing if Lesnar vs. Goldberg could be relied upon to have a decent scrap, but that would be a miracle. Although a disaster of WrestleMania XX proportions should be nigh on impossible, Goldberg hasn’t wrestled since then, so ring rust is inevitable, and at age 49 he will lack the intense speed of his youth. The most likely end result is thus a bout that doesn’t live up to its billing again. And so the slow downward trending cycle in WWE popularity with brief spikes upwards continues on.