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Report details WWE’s plans for the Universal title at WrestleMania (potential spoilers)

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Fair warning - if you’re feeling angry about some of the booking decisions from Royal Rumble and how those might play out on the Road to WrestleMania 33, this news probably isn’t going to cheer you up.

To keep things in perspective, we shouldn’t even think about it as “news”, as it’s really just connecting the dots on reports from Dave Meltzer and Wrestling Observer (subscription required but recommended), which themselves might be Dave connecting the dots.

But these things do turn out to be correct often enough, and the way these dots connect is in line with Vince McMahon’s usual Mania booking philosophy.

Here goes. Potential spoilers ahoy.

Per the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, the plan for the next Raw pay-per-view (PPV), March 5’s Fastlane, calls for Goldberg to get a Universal title shot against Kevin Owens. And win the belt, so his long-planned match with Brock Lesnar in Orlando will be for the championship.

This fits with earlier reports that neither of the men who took the WWE titles into Royal Rumble would carry them to WrestleMania.

Meltzer also points out that this would mean the Universal title will not be on the road with Raw live events heading into the Show of Shows, something which is becoming standard operating procedure. In three of the past four years, the top prize from Raw (or all of WWE, pre-brand split) has been brought to Mania on the shoulder of a part-timer: Rock in 2013, Brock in 2015 and Triple H last year.

With Goldberg not working house shows leading up to Fastlane, either, WWE will reportedly fill the time on live events with Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the Universal title. And that will be a beneath the main event of Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, itself a filler feud since, Roman’s alleged Mania opponent, Undertaker, only works television, too.

It’s a lot to digest.

On the one hand, it’s hard to get too worked up about the older, part-time, Hall of Fame-caliber names getting prime spots on the Mania card. It’s clearly WWE’s model for this time of year, and we have to accept that or... not watch, pretty much.

On the other, why does Goldberg vs. Lesnar need the Universal title? Isn’t it enough of a marquee match on its own? And how does that story resolve itself down the road? The most obvious answer to this writer - with Reigns finally getting his win back from Lesnar - is only going to anger a lot of hardcore fans even more.

But that’s all part of the fun in the “any reaction is good” era, I suppose.

What do you make of this report, Cagesiders?