Once in a lifetime matches are great. They’re special because, you know, there’s only one of them. In a lifetime.
Until…there’s another one.
Sequels rarely hold the same appeal, like Jaws: The Revenge. The way around this is to increase the stakes. After The Rock beat John Cena at Wrestlemania 28, Vince McMahon made sure the WWE Championship was on the line for their Wrestlemania 29 rematch. Unfortunately, you can’t put a title belt on a shark.
If the currently reported Road to Wrestlemania plans are to be believed, the just ‘chuck a title on it’ way of thinking might be happening again.
Goldberg and Brock Lesnar have now clashed twice since the former’s WWE return. First at Survivor Series for a total of 1 minute 26 seconds, and then in the Royal Rumble match for a further 22. That means both encounters haven’t even made up two minutes of in-ring action.
Paul Heyman challenged Goldberg to a rematch at Wrestlemania on his client Brock Lesnar’s behalf on this week’s episode of Raw. Goldberg hasn’t responded yet, but thanks to the Wrestling Observer, we have an idea of the backstage plans for where all this is going.
According to their Newsletter, both Goldberg and Lesnar will appear on next week’s episode of Raw, where Goldberg’s challenge for the Universal title at WWE Fastlane will be set up.
The current plans don’t have Kevin Owens going into WWE’s biggest show of the year as the Universal champion, and Dave Meltzer has reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that Goldberg is expected to win the belt at WWE Fastlane to defend it against Brock at Wrestlemania 33. CageSideSeats’ rumor section adds that the Lesnar/Goldberg feud is “a Vince McMahon project that he is heavily focused on going into Wrestlemania.”
Which is all probably a roundabout way of setting up either Lesnar or Goldberg to eventually lose to Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman.
Hey, at least they’re not part timers.
This year’s WWE Fastlane takes place on the 5th March, but just over a week later, WWE are advertising Brock Lesnar vs Kevin Owens for the Universal Title at a Madison Square Garden live event for the Smackdown brand on the 13th.
The most revealing aspect of that peculiar live event booking to me is how it plays into the Goldberg/Lesnar Wrestlemania plans. WWE love to book games of one-upmanship in their storyline builds. If Goldberg defeats Owens one week, it fits in with WWE’s booking strategy to make Lesnar beat Owens the week after.
Despite having a rather stacked card for Wrestlemania so far, that hasn’t stopped WWE approaching one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the world, UFC fighter and Water Bottle Throwing champion 2016 Conor McGregor.
The current UFC Lightweight title holder is playing a strange game right now. Despite being under contract with UFC, he’s publically trying to make a boxing match happen with Floyd Mayweather – another big money draw who once appeared at Wrestlemania.
McGregor has told Fox Sports, “I’d love to go to that WWE and have a real knock. Let one of them have a real knock and see what’s what. We’ll see. There’s conversations ongoing. I’ve turned down some things, conversations still ongoing.”
British tabloid The Sun found out more on those ‘conversations’: “Because he’s taking time off from the UFC, there was a talk about doing something at this year’s Wrestlemania in April, but it wasn’t to be despite a hefty offer.”
To give a reference point for that ‘hefty offer’, Mayweather made a reported $20 million for his Wrestlemania 24 appearance.
After losing his debut fight in the UFC, CM Punk isn’t in the position to negotiate on earnings. Instead, he’d just be happy with getting another fight at all, as he told Fox Sports:
“I am working on it feverishly. I’m throwing names at Dana [White], opponents, dates. I don’t know if he’s waiting for a Chicago show or what the deal is but if it doesn’t happen in the UFC, it will happen somewhere else. I’m dedicated to fighting and training. We’ll get there.”
Do you think Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar needs the Universal Title at Wrestlemania? Tell me how, if anything, it needs an ironman stipulation in the comments below.