In a new column, let’s examine the biggest moment from Raw and what this means moving forward for those involved.
We’re trying something a little different here in the new year that is 2021. Every week shortly after the Raw, I’ll analyze what I think to be the moment (match, angle, promo, etc.) with the most impact and discuss the implications for those involved.
For example, if we look at the notorious episode of Raw to close 2020, the moment I would have chosen to examine would have been Keith Lee becoming #1 contender to the WWE Championship and NOT the attempted murder by immolation angle. With the WWE Championship being the top championship on the show, Lee becoming the next challenger to McIntyre supersedes even homicidal segments (one is believable, at least).
Without further ado, let’s look at the Jan.4, 2021 episode.
MOMENT: Goldberg appears and challenges Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble
Where do I begin? I guess the only positive I see from this is WWE may have a higher buy rate for their “Big Four” pay-per-view, but if the only positive is about short-term business, then it’s no positive at all.
What infuriates me the most about Goldberg’s appearance is that it wiped away a solid WWE Championship match between McIntyre & Keith Lee. Lee acquitted himself well, particularly considering he has faced criticisms in recent weeks about his conditioning and in-ring work. Having Goldberg appear right after as McIntyre as about to address Lee on the mic just erased Lee from the minds of viewers.
I get it, the match went long and they were cramped for time (evidenced by the sudden ending), but that doesn’t detract from the fact that Lee was basically stricken from the record.
My subjectivity aside, approaching this objectively, I just don’t see how this is a positive for McIntyre long-term. He’s been as great a WWE Champion as WWE could have hoped for during this ongoing pandemic (or “trying times” in WWE parlance), carried himself as a Champion, and has put on great match after great match.
He didn’t need the Hulk Hogan rub, nor does he need a match with Goldberg. In fact, playing along with Hogan (and Jimmy Hart) portrayed McIntyre as more buffoon than having a sense of humor. Adding to that sense, the very last thing we saw before USA cut to Steve Austin’s show was Goldberg shoving McIntyre onto his behind.
If McIntyre does anything except defeat Goldberg in less than two minutes or draw out some kind of epic eight-minute match from Goldberg a la Brock Lesnar, McIntyre comes out of Royal Rumble defined lower than when he went in, even more if he loses (and please DO NOT HAVE MCINTYRE LOSE).
On the Goldberg side, none of his matches in the past few years have instilled any kind of optimism that a match involving him would even be passable. I can still picture the gifs of Goldberg planting The Undertaker and The Fiend on their heads.
If you looked closely, Goldberg was winded and sweating in the 90 seconds he was on television. Pacing has never been even a minimal skill Goldberg’s displayed, and that was reinforced here. His matches are pretty much like his promos: yelling from the moment it starts.
Further, I thought Goldberg achieved his final goal of becoming WWE/Universal Champion for his son; why does he need to return? Why does he immediately receive a title shot when his last match (in my memory) was him losing the Universal Championship to Braun Strowman at last year’s WrestleMania?
Finally, what exactly does Goldberg and WWE gain from this aside from the aforementioned short-term business goals?
If Goldberg wins, I doubt he’s going to be on Raw every Monday building toward a title defense at WrestleMania. I doubt he’s going to have a match on television every week, let alone a 15-minute main event that’s become the territory of McIntyre.
If he loses, there are plenty of wrestlers who could have been the “challenger of the month.” As colleague (and dope dude) Raphael Garcia said, why not have the Goldberg match on “Legends Night” having advertised it, which probably would have popped a huge rating, and have the same McIntyre-Lee match from Raw at Royal Rumble?
It’s just another example of WWE’s insistence on backwards and/or incomprehensible booking.
I was hoping to have a more positive moment to discuss for this first iteration, but I just cannot see how any positives (if any) outweigh the numerous negatives of Goldberg appearing to challenge McIntyre. I’m hoping this doesn’t go further than the PPV, but considering this is WWE, Goldberg will probably win only for McIntyre to regain the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
What are your thoughts on the Goldberg moment? Would you have chosen a different moment? What positives/negatives do you see? Let us know!