The fans in Portland showering the ring with GOLDBERG chants were solidly behind the former WCW legend as he staked his claim for RAW's biggest prize, but the Internet Wrestling Community was not so kind.
While I understand the thinking that Goldberg and Brock Lesnar don't need the Universal Championship to sell their Wrestlemania match, that line of thinking is missing the point. Goldberg doesn't need the Universal Championship.
The Universal Championship needs Goldberg. Here's why.
Added Value to the Championship
Hardcore wrestling fans who watch the product religiously will often complain about part timers being brought in for Wrestlemania season and "stealing the spotlight" from younger stars. While it is true this happens every year, it is these big name part-timers who pop the revenue and Network subscriptions to allow the rest of the roster to build their brand for the other eight months of the year.
The real problem has not been part-timers getting prime spots at Mania. For too long, the WWE has devalued their championships by having these part-timers not even mention a passing interest in wanting to compete for them.
Several months ago when Goldberg announced that he wanted "one more title run", he immediately added value to the Championship. Now that he's chasing down the strap, even with a Brock Lesnar match looming, it makes the Championship feel like a big deal.prevnext
This elevates Kevin Owens
Many have argued Goldberg defeating Owens will "bury" KO after his championship run. I believe the opposite is true. When Owens first burst onto the main event scene he was booked as a bad ass. He ran through Sami Zayn and John Cena with zero fear in his game.
Since winning the Universal Championship, Owens has been the victim of classic WWE cowardly heel champion booking. KO has needed his pal, Chris Jericho, to help him retain his championship in nearly every title defense.
Now that Goldberg has KO in his sights it symbolically lets the WWE Universe know that Owens is on par with Goldberg's Mania opponent, Brock Lesnar. While many expect Goldberg to go over Owens at Fastlane, the odds are that KO will put up a much longer match than Lesnar did at Survivor Series. Considering how Goldberg has been booked, Owens' performance against him will do wonders for his future status; win or lose,
Even if Goldberg does lose the strap to Lesnar at Mania, Owens will immediately be seen as a top challenger.prevnext
The Universal Championship is less than a year old. Despite being RAW's top prize, the belt feels like the WWE's second place championship. If Goldberg is able to claim the red leather strap at Fastlane, it will instantly connect the Universal Championship's lineage with Goldberg's own Championship history.
Goldberg has held the WCW World, United States, and WWE World championships in his prime. To add the Universal strap to his resume will forever connect these championships in wrestling history.prevnext
All roads lead to Brock Lesnar
Whether you like it or not, Brock Lesnar has been the most dominantly booked World Champion of the last decade. When Lesnar delivered 16 german suplexes on his way to completely decimating John Cena for the WWE Championship at Summerslam, 2014, he began a 7 month reign of invincibility that is rarely seen in the modern, 50/50 booking era of the WWE.
Unlike other champions, Lesnar never lost a non-title match. He was rarely put on the ground by any of his competitors. Even when he lost the championship, it was Roman Reigns who got pinned in the Wrestlemania triple threat match.
Will Lesnar be on RAW every week to defend the Universal Championship? No and he shouldn't be. There was a time when champions were treated as special attractions. Not seeing them compete every week made it feel special when they did finally step into the ring.
Having Goldberg win the championship and handing it to Brock Lesnar before he walks away is the right move. With Lesnar as the champion leaving Wrestlemania, it will give every New Era superstar a chance to make a name for themselves by slaying the beast.
When Finn Balor returns from his injury, will he benefit more from defeating Kevin Owens or Brock Lesnar? Yeah, I thought so.prevnext
Best for business
While many will say Lesnar and Goldberg's Wrestlemania match doesn't need the Universal Championship, I would argue that Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are the ones who don't need it. Owens has had a lengthy first championship run. He's thwarted the challenges of both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. As their friendship deteriorates, Owens' conflict with Jericho will be extremely personal.0comments
RAW has been seen as the repetitive, less exciting WWE wrestling show ever since the 2016 brand split. How many times have we seen Owens and Jericho face Rolins and Reigns? I've lost count. While this is more of a booking problem than a Kevin Owens' problem, it's time to spice things up heading into Wrestlemania. It's time to reel in the casual viewers and there is no better way to do that than to throw the red belt over Goldberg's shoulder.
The Universal Championship needs Goldberg. At least for a little while.prev