Following his failure in capturing the WWE Universal Championship from Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel, Goldberg’s contract reportedly expired and there are no reports on whether the WWE Hall of Famer will re-sign with the company. On a positive note, following the ill-advised mistake of having Goldberg beat Kevin Owens and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal title, the company wisely used him as a tool to put over Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, and Reigns. However, after he lost to Strowman, each win over the WWE Hall of Famer felt meaningless. Goldberg’s purpose shouldn’t have been in the main event. The right move was putting over the talent of tomorrow. The wrong idea was at the expense of logic and reasoning.
Following Goldberg’s shocking WWE return in 2016, it appears that the company gave up on any interest in telling stories with Goldberg. The former WWE Universal Champion’s feud with Brock Lesnar was simple. The “Beast Incarnate” wanted revenge for his embarrassing loss at WrestleMania 20. The problem was that Goldberg kept getting the better of him until Lesnar finally beat the HOF at WrestleMania 33. After his “stunning” loss to Lesnar, Goldberg teased retirement. This was essentially the perfect storyline that could’ve had so much mileage. Understandably, Goldberg isn’t a full-time worker so this wasn’t something that they could really tap into immediately, but the “old veteran still looking to prove himself” arc is one that rarely pops in professional wrestling these days. Instead, that tease was essentially forgotten about in favor of a match that was 10 years too late: Goldberg vs. The Undertaker. There was no rhyme or reason for these two legends to be fighting, it was just because of Saudia Arabia. Even if this match had the perfect story, Taker and Goldberg shouldn’t have stepped into the ring during the twilight years of their careers. The match was more than horrible but dangerous, and it further exemplified that these guys should no longer be wrestling at this point in their careers.
The only time that creative got Goldberg right was when he destroyed Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam that same year. It was the smart way to put over Goldberg without burying any young talent or forcing him into the main event scene. Then, the unthinkable happened. Goldberg beat The Fiend. The monster that was deemed nearly invincible leading up to the match was beaten by the Hall of Famer with ease. The story was incredibly lazy and a clear sign that Vince McMahon wanted Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36. The issue is the fact that Goldberg was taking the main event spot. With the right story, he could’ve been slotted within that main event scene. Regardless, The Fiend vs. Goldberg shouldn’t have happened. Despite Bray Wyatt’s title reign not working, this company had been putting over The Fiend strongly. Naturally, it only makes sense to have a up-and-coming babyface beat the unstoppable monster. This also effectively killed whatever momentum that The Fiend had because WWE opted to choose quick money.
That’s the crux of Goldberg’s second WWE run, quick money. There’s no denying that Goldberg is a draw. There’s nothing wrong with using him to boost the appeal of the WWE product. However, the purpose of Godberg’s reign was to showcase the future talents, not tell fans who returned to watch the former WWE Universal Champion that the modern names suck and the past rules over them. So the combination of WWE failing to tell any compelling stories with the Hall of Famer and choosing quick money is what killed most of his steam. Over time, there stopped being an incentive to watch him wrestle again. What made Goldberg special and unique was destroyed with each meaningless return. Sure, there was a story when Goldberg feuded with Bobby Lashley, but all it came down to is a non-sensical shouting match about each man wanting to murder each other. His long “awaited” bout against Roman Reigns at Crown Jewel was not a story that many could invest into because the end goal was clear. Yes, he put over Roman Reigns, but he’s a star by now. The match only fulfilled Vince McMahon’s wild fantasy of seeing these two finally fighting one-on-one. There was nothing to cling onto when it came to Goldberg’s story, and him being a massive draw had faded at this point in his career. WWE had the right mindset, but they failed to really do anything meaningful with Goldberg overall. Once the pattern of his matches became predictable, most fans stopped caring, and even though he continuously received huge pops whenever he appeared, Goldberg’s appearances weren’t exactly setting the ratings on fire. Whether he comes back or not, his second run was a missed opportunity.
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