Editor's Note: Originally published on Monday.
Alright, we've all had some time to let Survivor Series seep through our brains so that we can analyze it a little better. Many of us have slept on it, and we should be refreshed enough to look at what happened with enough objectivity so that we aren't simply prisoners of the moment.
Last night, I tweeted that the booking of the Survivor Series main event was the worst in WWE history. Bold words, I know. If you look back at the history of the company, some very poor booking decisions have taken place. How about when CM Punk won the WWE Title at the 2011 Money In The Bank and "left the company", only to return after missing a single episode of Raw? Remember when The Nexus got off to one of the hottest starts the business has ever seen, only to flounder and basically be toppled by a single man (John Cena) within two months? What about when it seemed like the company had to backtrack on its decisions not to make Daniel Bryan THE guy in 2013 and 2014 before finally going for it at WrestleMania 30? The entire Invasion angle also stands out in this discussion, as well. As I said, plenty of poor decisions have been made, and that's fine. Nobody is perfect, and even the best of writers, bookers and creative team members can have an occasional stumble here and there.
When I tweeted my thoughts, I wasn't exactly met with a lot of differing opinions. People were stunned. People were angry. As of the very second that I type this, I've had 13 hours to think about it, including a very restful night's sleep, and my opinion is as follows...
The match we got between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar last night, and the way it went down, is the worst booking decision in WWE history. By far.
In what world does what happened make any sense? In Goldberg, you have a man who is a month away from being 50 years old, and who hasn't wrestled a match in 12 years. In Brock Lesnar, you have someone that, since the 2013 Extreme Rules event, has been as dominant as any wrestler has looked in any company. So, naturally, Goldberg defeated Lesnar in less than 90 seconds without even so much as taking a single slap from the man known as "The Conqueror". Even now, thinking about all of it makes me feel like my brain is leaking out of my ears.
People, people... I'm aware that Goldberg is the cover boy of the WWE 2K17 video game. I'm also aware that it probably cost a pretty penny to get Goldberg to come back. You can't just spend all of that money and have HIM get destroyed in 90 seconds. Fine. Because of his age and time away from the ring, it wouldn't have looked bad at all if he was in a competitive match before finally being put away by a man who might not actually be a human being. Who would have complained about that, other than maybe Goldberg's son?
One of the big problems this brings up is how weak it makes the current WWE roster look. There isn't anyone on the roster who has been booked to look like they can defeat Brock Lesnar in the last three years. Now, a man who is older than everyone on the WWE roster except for The Undertaker beat him in less time than it takes to microwave a Hot Pocket to the exact temperature of the Earth's core. What does this mean for the rest of the roster? Goldberg would beat Seth Rollins in less than a minute? 45 seconds or so to beat Roman Reigns? Poor John Cena loses to him in the time it takes to make a taco fart? WWE is supposed to be making the here and now look strong while building for an even bigger and brighter future. Here, they're taking someone who is a part-timer from a different "era", making him look better than everyone else, only to have him get destroyed by someone from an "era" before that who hasn't wrestled in well over a decade.
With any other WWE wrestler, taking a loss like this could be a good thing, as it might be entertaining to watch them lose their mind over the loss. They would go on a rampage and mow through people left and right until they got their revenge. Brock isn't any other WWE wrestler, though, and we all know this. He simply isn't around enough for something like this to happen properly. Remember after he lost at WrestleMania 31? Fans were expecting him to murder people, and he started to do so on the following night's episode of Raw, but he was "suspended" so that they had an excuse not to have him on television again for a couple months. That robbed us of what could have been must-see TV, with Brock doing anything he wanted to, trying to get his title back from the weasely heel champion Seth Rollins.
If you want to look at things fairly, let's look at the opposing point of view here. Since the match happened, word came out that this wasn't going to be Goldberg's final match after all. He signed a deal to compete at the upcoming Royal Rumble, and now the fantasy bookers are already going into overdrive. I've already seen several scenarios posted on social media that closely follow the angle that led to the first Goldberg VS Lesnar match at WrestleMania 20. Basically, it would be something like this:
- Goldberg is an entrant in the Royal Rumble
- An angry Lesnar comes out and causes Goldberg to be eliminated from the match
- Lesnar is competing for the WWE Universal Title in the main event
- An angry Goldberg comes out and causes Lesnar to lose his match
- An angry Lesnar and an angry Goldberg are angry together
- Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley sign Goldberg VS Lesnar PART TRES for WrestleMania 33
It makes sense, doesn't it? However, by a show of hands right now, how many people are truly excited to see them face off again? Their first match should have been pretty decent, but once fans realized both men were leaving the company after Mania was over, they promptly took a steaming dump all over everything, and neither wrestler knew how to draw those fans back in. Their second match wasn't exactly something that anyone other than casual fans were looking forward to, and then it ended in such a short fashion. Survivor Series turned more people off than on, so how do you put together a third match and have people say that it's something they actually want to see? In no way, shape or form do I want to see them square off again, even on the stage of WrestleMania, where "spectacles" are commonplace. For my money, I'd rather see Lesnar against someone like Kevin Owens, or if you want to get really kooky, Samoa Joe.
Unpredictability is fine. Unpredictability, when done right, is an incredible thing in the world of pro wrestling. Doing it simply for the sake of doing it, however, is what leads companies to do things like put their top title on folks like David Arquette. You can be unpredictable and still make sense. You can be unpredictable without doing things like ending main event matches in a minute.
I'm willing to give this time to play out. I, like many of you reading this, suffer from Stockholm syndrome. Wrestling pulls me in and does terrible things, and through time, not only do I find myself not detesting the sport, I find myself loving it and defending it to people who just "don't understand". My name is Aaron Hyden, and I have a problem.