We’re just a few days away from WWE’s epic Survivor Series pay-per-view (Monday on the WWE Network, Astro Ch 820/840) and it’s shaping up to be a beast of an event. Sure, there are all those competing teams from Raw and Smackdown facing off to bring honour to their respective brands.
But the match all eyes will be on is a rematch 12 years after its combatants collided for the first and only time in their careers: Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, who brought the house down at WrestleMania XX in 2004 (for all the wrong reasons, but we’ll get to that later).
Goldberg has a 1-0 win-loss record against Lesnar, a fact that has no doubt burrowed under the skin of the Beast and bugs him like a hyperactive tick on steroids.
Lesnar was dismissive of Goldberg ahead of their rematch, promising a beatdown that would horrify his opponent’s wife and young son.
But when he was reminded on Raw just a couple of nights ago that he has never beaten Goldberg, Lesnar looked close to losing it. Ultimately, though, it was Paul Heyman’s motormouth that pushed Goldberg too far.
After Heyman said that Goldberg would be so unrecognisable after his beating at Survivor Series that his son would call Lesnar “daddy”, the big guy snapped. Demolishing the line of “security” men standing between him and Lesnar, he dared the Beast to get the party started six days early. For a moment, it looked like both he and the fans would get their wish … and then the Beast backed down.
Wait, what? Hmm, apparently Lesnar’s appearance clause for the night only covered glowering, not grappling.
Anyway, it was clear at the time and ever since Goldberg’s return last month that the fans are firmly behind him.
Then again, Lesnar’s crushing wins over all comers since he broke The Undertaker’s streak show that WWE seems firmly behind him, even though he doesn’t work a full schedule like most of the locker room.
Lesnar winning at this point seems like a no-brainer given how he has performed against the company’s top stars to date.
But think of how much mileage WWE could get from a wounded Beast with two losses to Goldberg on his record. If Goldberg rides off into the sunset victorious once again, having Lesnar go on a rage-fuelled rampage through the ranks of Raw could make for some intense promos and even more intense matches. Or other superstars could smell blood in the water and try to emboss their names on an unsettled Lesnar’s record with wins over him – for example, the thus-far-unstoppable Braun Strowman.
So in the Dwaynester’s book, a Lesnar win would be business as usual, while a Goldberg victory would be what’s best for business – sending the fans away happy for the evening and paving the way for interesting Lesnar angles in the future. But what does the Dwaynester know, he’s no businessman.
Though he does have a long memory, and it would be remiss of him to not remind everyone what actually happened when Goldberg and Lesnar fought the first time.
The fans already knew that both men were leaving WWE after their match at WMXX, and they let them know it. Chants of “You sold out!”, “Goldberg sucks!”, “Na Na Na Na (x2), Hey Hey Goodbye”, “We want Bret” and even “Hogan” echoed throughout New York’s Madison Square Garden. The “Goldberg!” chants that did come up seemed derisive rather than supportive. And special referee Stone Cold Steve Austin received the biggest crowd pops, especially after he delivered post-match Stunners to both Lesnar and Goldberg.
Judging from the anticipation and hype for their rematch, I’d say time has a way of putting a sugary frosting on everything, eh?
Smackdown till you’re Raw
Putting aside Lesnar-Goldberg II for a moment, let’s not forget that there are big stakes at Survivor Series for both the Raw and Smackdown brands. Besides prestige and bragging rights, there are some potentially big shifts in the championship picture between the two. Let’s see what WWE has in store for viewers so far.
Traditional Survivor Series elimination matches:
Men’s division: Raw is fielding Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns against Smackdown’s AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Shane McMahon. Look for potential disruptions/surprise returns on the night itself.
Women’s division: Charlotte leads the Raw team of Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox and Nia Jakks against Smackdown’s Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Naomi.
Tag team division: This could be one gigantic confused mess – or it could be full of entertaining trademark spots, routines and gags, as five tag teams from each brand square off. From Raw, it’s the New Day, Sheamus & Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson, Enzo & Cash and the Shining Stars. Smackdown is fielding Heath Slater & Rhyno, the Hype Bros, American Alpha, the Usos and Breezango. I’d say Team Smackdown wins on catchy names alone.
Intercontinental championship: The man with a Helluva Kick, Sami Zayn, will attempt to bring the title back to Raw when he faces (Smackdown spoiler alert!) The Miz, who won the belt from Dolph Ziggler on Tuesday’s Smackdown with (of course) an assist from his wife Maryse.
Cruiserweight championship: Raw’s Brian Kendrick will defend his title against Smackdown fan favourite Kalisto. If the luchador wins, he doesn’t just take the title back to Smackdown – the entire Cruiserweight division will follow him!
Ail to the Chief
Did you know that not only is Donald Trump the only US President to be a WWE Hall of Famer, but he’s also the only Chief Executive to have received a Stone Cold Stunner?
He hosted WrestleMania IV and V at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was part of the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23 (which saw WWE head honcho Vince McMahon getting his head shaved after his man Umaga lost to Trump-backed Bobby Lashley). After helping Trump shave Vince bald, Steve Austin promptly delivered a Stunner to The Donald!
For those and other, um, contributions, Trump was inducted into the Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing in 2013.
The polarising figure that he is, it immediately sparked outrage in the WWE Universe with fans petitioning for his removal. Uh … wow, looks like the party’s still going on.
Oh no, Rhyno!
JESSE Ventura may have started something, by becoming Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.
Terry Gerin, aka the Man-Beast Rhyno, ran for a seat in Michigan state’s House of Representatives on a Republican Party ticket but lost his bid to the Democrats’ Abdullah Hamoud, who bagged 61.8% of the vote against his 38.2%.
Although Gerin appeared to be a favourite going in to the polls, observers felt that his absence during the last lap of campaigning – he was away on Smackdown’s European tour – cost him momentum. Looks like there’s room for only one Gore in US politics.