Well, that was interesting.
Last night’s Survivor Series was packed with inconsequential elimination matches, which can be fun, but won’t have much impact on the overall storyline. No titles changed hands, as both the Intercontinental champion, The Miz, and the Cruiserweight champion, Brian Kendrick, were able to retain. Other than that, the Heavyweight champions from both brands were involved in the Raw vs. Smackdown match. This event was a shining example of how objectively better of a show NXT can produce, as TakeOver: Toronto was a top-to-bottom success. There wasn’t a weak match on the card, whereas Survivor Series seemed like a lot of fluff. And hey, I love fluff. I have no issue with fluff. But compared to NXT’s five-course meal, it just wasn’t very satiating.
Except for one moment. Right at the end.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg was built up for a couple for months and was speculated on since the release of the video game’s teaser trailer. This was the dream match of the year, but not many people, including yours truly, expected it to be a good match. It was never going to be a great match. It couldn’t possibly be. Goldberg is a poor worker if I’m being generous, and built his reputation and his legendary streak on squash matches. Quick and easy. In and out burger. If you mix that with the fact that Brock has little experience with being a ring general in his own right, you have yourselves in a little pickle.
We didn’t want a repeat of WrestleMania 20’s bout, so we got...a squash match!
I was expecting a squash match more akin to Lesnar vs. Cena, where The Beast would dominate to an easy victory, in step with many of his recent matches. Lesnar would become the new Undertaker in that he just couldn’t be stopped. By some magic, Lesnar would remain the unstoppable Goro-esque video game boss he was always destined to be. But what a curveball this was. In what might seem obvious to Goldberg fans: Bill came in, kicked ass, and left. All in a matter of about two minutes.
The unbeatable Mayor of Suplex City was taken off guard by a surprisingly virile Goldberg. With a couple of patented spears and a perfectly executed jackhammer, it was over. A classic Goldberg squash. You live by the spear, you die by the spear, especially if you have a sword tattooed on your chest. Lesnar’s sword tattoo was tattooed with a spear, followed by a jackhammer...look, this is all just blacksmith imagery and it’s getting us nowhere, so I’ll move on. Anyhow, that was truly the best option for this match.
But now, this creates with it an intriguing dynamic. In the build up to this match, Goldberg was saying that he had “one more jackhammer” left in him, indicating that this would be his final performance. Will they really leave us hanging? While the crushing defeat of the God of Violent Retribution, Brock Lesnar, is sure to weigh heavily on his subconscious, Bill Goldberg has already proved his point. We will find out in coming weeks if there will be a rematch at Royal Rumble or WrestleMania, but for now, we can let the significance of a Brock Lesnar defeat sink in.
It’s one of those rare moments that shocks you out of your seat. When Lesnar didn’t kick out of the jackhammer, it was one of those guttural “wow” moments. Oddly enough, these stunning moments tend to involve the same handful of people. Perhaps not on par with Lesnar conquering the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania, it’s in the same category. Also, in this category - Lesnar’s aforementioned match against Cena. And finally, when the Undertaker threw Mankind off of the cell, we were afforded yet another unforgettable and shocking moment in time. Very brief moments in time, but moments in time nonetheless.
The way the WWE had built up Lesnar for the past couple of years as a legitimate threat to any Superstar because of his UFC success lends credibility to his loss. Lesnar’s loss is art imitating life; or rather, art imitating MMA. In the same way that in a real fight anything can happen, and a guy like Conor McGregor can upset an odds-on favorite like Jose Aldo with a one punch knockout, so too can Goldberg deliver a critical spear to an unbreakable monster like Brock Lesnar. And that’s how Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar will be able to play this one off. It was a lucky shot. Brock underestimated Goldberg. And within the first five minutes of the match is the ONLY way that Goldberg can win.
It makes total sense to have Goldberg be the only man who can defeat The Beast. There always needs to be the one guy who has your Achilles heel by the balls. Does that make sense? Sure it does.
These are two guys who made their names as legitimate MMA athletes. And the fact that one of them actually is and the other actually isn’t...is irrelevant. What matters is that we now know that Brock can be humbled. But what happens when Goldberg leaves that comfort zone of the first five minutes? If there is a rematch, we could also see Lesnar use a little strategy by way of bringing Goldberg past that first round and inching him closer and closer toward Suplex City.
Goldberg will likely get a Hall of Fame nod very soon, but it will be interesting to watch Lesnar and Heyman wrought with the obsession of being so handily defeated. This match was not only a new precious wrestling moment, but it also leaves us wanting more. This was an old carnival trick. The strongman competition. Lesnar being the unbeatable Beast he is, losing to an unlikely challenger. And it roped me in, hook, line, and spear. It’s one of those times where it just feels good to be a mark.