It’s not about you.
Now that I’ve gotten your attention, here’s something you need to hear, even if you don’t agree with it. WWE was 100% in the right to give Goldberg the Universal title heading into Wrestlemania 33. And they were in the right to do it in 22 seconds .
Yeah, go ahead. Take my “smark card” away. I don’t care.
Something that a lot of us fans seem to forget is that WWE is a BUSINESS first, a wrestling company second. This isn’t new: four years ago, they passed on an obvious John Cena-CM Punk Wrestlemania main event in favor of “Twice in a Lifetime”. Yes, the match was something awful, but you know what it grossed? $72 million worldwide, the most for any event in the history of wrestling.
You know why “Twice in a Lifetime” happened? “Once in a Lifetime” made a lot of money: $67 million worldwide, again the most in wrestling history. Oh, and it’s also the most-purchased PPV in wrestling history.
You see where I’m getting at? It’s the cult of nostalgia. Every business traffics on it. They make money on the things you liked back then because nothing now could possibly compare to back in the day.
Goldberg was a hot item at the height of the Monday Night War. He had a disappointing WWE run in the early aughts simply because HE WASN’T MONDAY NIGHT WARS GOLDBERG. WWE, to their credit, learned from their mistake when they brought him back and gave the world MONDAY NIGHT WARS GOLDBERG.
You know who Monday Night Wars Goldberg was? One of the most five compelling figures in all of wrestling. It didn’t matter he was limited in the ring. All that mattered was not who he was gonna beat, but how fast would he do it.
The same could be said for Brock Lesnar, who was at one point the baddest man on the planet. People wanted the old Brock Lesnar when he first returned in 2012. It took until the summer of 2014 before Prime Brock resurfaced. The Brock you remembered went unchecked for two full years until the Goldberg you remembered killed him dead in less than two minutes.
As I mentioned in my preview (you… you did read it, yeah?), WWE’s got a stadium to fill in a month. They could have done it with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, but again… this isn’t about you. “Marks” and “casuals” buy tickets too. And they’ll be among the 70,000+ at the Citrus Bowl less than a month. There’ll be plenty of people excited at the thought of Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg. If you’re not one of these people, that’s fine.
But this has been Wrestlemania’s modus operandi for a while now. The last time Wrestlemania featured two full-time performers: Triple H versus Randy Orton from Wrestlemania 25. You remember that match, don’t you? It died a death. Not that it ever had a chance following Undertaker-Shawn Michaels. Every Mania main event since has featured at least one part-time performer. And they’ve ALL done record numbers for the company. It’s probably not a coincidence.
If a Goldberg-Lesnar event is going to prevent you from watching Wrestlemania, that’s fine. If you’re upset about Kevin Owens not getting his Wrestlemania main event after an inconsistent six-month title run (in which he was the lesser half of a comedy act for more than half of it), that’s fine. But you and I both know you’re watching Wrestlemania. You don’t wanna be out of the loop on April 3. WWE has your time, they have your emotion, they have your money. In the end, they’ve already won. Your only defense against it is to not watch, not care, and not give them your money.
As the good ReverendKain always says (and I’m gonna bold it so you cannot miss it), “there's something out there for you. There's a pro wrestling product that can hit you in the right spot and make you love wrestling like you thought you'd never be able to love it again. It's there, I promise. You just gotta reach out and find it”. Wrestlemania 33 may not be for you but there’s about, oh, I don’t know, maybe five dozen or so other shows happening on that weekend that likely will be.
Wrestlemania 33 is for the fan base at large, not just a small section of them. It’s not about you.