Last June at WWE’s Super ShowDown, the main event attraction was a dream match pitting Undertaker against Goldberg. It quickly fell apart and turned into one of the worst matches of the year. Goldberg later said that he knocked himself out during the match, which helped explain why the ending was severely botched and the overall match was such a struggle.
The risk of something going wrong like that increases when you have a match with two performers who are over 50 years old, especially in the sweltering heat. WWE made a mistake putting that match together in the first place. But once the match was made, they made another mistake in deciding to put Undertaker over Goldberg.
As long as Goldberg can maintain his physique, he can play this babyface character very effectively. Unlike Undertaker, Goldberg’s matches are designed to be short bursts of intense action. Goldberg’s style of match is something that he can do for a few more years in this part-time role. When he does show up, audiences respond extremely well to him and still treat him like a massive babyface superstar.
Undertaker could very well be the most respected wrestler in the history of the company, but it’s much harder for him to pull off his style of match at this point in his career. Undertaker usually wrestles very long matches, but he can’t do it nearly as well anymore, and his body shouldn’t be asked to withstand that kind of punishment. It might sound bizarre to say that Goldberg can pull off his style of match better than Undertaker given that Goldberg knocked himself out last year, but there’s an adjustment Goldberg should be able to make to reduce the chance of that happening again. In the Undertaker’s case, there isn’t really any adjustment he can make to get around the reality that he has spent the last 30+ years sacrificing his body for the wrestling business.
Both of these guys are near the end of the road when it comes to their time as active competitors in the ring, but it’s clear that Goldberg has more left in the tank than the Undertaker. That is true now, and it was true last year when they met at Super ShowDown. That’s why Goldberg should have beaten the Undertaker last year.
Goldberg now has a Universal championship match today (Feb. 27) at Super ShowDown against Bray Wyatt, one of the hottest acts in WWE, which makes last year’s booking decision seem even more misguided. Goldberg actually has a chance to win this match and main event WrestleMania 36, particularly now that Goldberg is rumored to be wrestling Roman Reigns on that night. And in the case where The Fiend defeats Goldberg, that win would mean more for Wyatt if Goldberg had not lost to Undertaker last year.
It’s easy to dismiss this argument because Goldberg did in fact knock himself out last year, so the idea of him going on to win the match sounds like a head-scratcher. I understand that perspective, but I’m focusing my argument on the booking decision going into the match. It’s up to WWE to identify which superstar can be booked in more big money main event level matches going forward. Goldberg still has matches potentially waiting for him against top stars like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, John Cena, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, and Matt Riddle.
Goldberg is the guy who WWE can make more money with as an in-ring competitor going forward. He should have been booked to beat the Undertaker last year.