The Undertaker vs Goldberg: What Went Wrong?

Decades in the making, stuff of fantasy, but how did it completely fall apart?

The Undertaker vs Goldberg

The dream match main event of WWE Super ShowDown was abysmal, which came as a surprise to no one. Both Goldberg and The Undertaker are obviously way past their prime and shouldn’t have been relied upon to put together a stellar main event.

While I respect both men for everything they’ve done in and for the industry, for them to still have the same presence they did during their peak is astonishing. Seeing the two veterans face off after decades of speculation and build-up was something of fantasy, but everything that followed was a testament to why WWE should let the past go and let sleeping dogs lie.

Once the initial hype of seeing both legends suited and booted died down, the match fell apart at the seams. Goldberg’s ring rust mixed with the toll that years of physical abuse have taken on The Undertaker left both men scrambling to find ways of stringing a decent match together.

Admittedly the match started well, like most of Goldberg’s recent performances, with an explosive spear right off the bat, leaving the Saudi crowd thinking that he had Taker’s number. Thankfully, the match wasn’t booked to end so soon. As much as they would have benefited from having a very succinct in-ring affair, if this dream match was to wrap up in similar vein to the Goldberg/Lesnar Survivor Series bout, we’d probably be whining for those reasons.

Undertaker vs Goldberg
Source: WWE

Undertaker quickly pulled the match back in his favour and hit some of his usual spots – big boots, chokeslam, old school – as Michael Cole would say; “Vintage Undertaker”. But that’s when things took a real bad turn. Goldberg collided head-first into the turnbuckle and presumably bladed himself whilst the camera’s attention was on ‘The Deadman’. Word is that this particular spot, on top of an overzealous pre-match warm-up in the locker room, left Goldberg with a serious concussion.

Naturally, Goldberg was in no fit state to be in the ring with anyone, let alone another superstar that needs to rely on their opponent to help them through the 10-15 minutes of in-ring action. Backstage officials were aware of this, but must have cleared him out of fear of not delivering the promised blockbuster main event. Goldberg was all over the place, he could barely pick the 300lb Undertaker up off the floor and botched the majority of his spots.

At one point, I genuinely feared for Undertaker’s safety. I’m sure if I refer to it as ‘the botched jackhammer’, you’ll remember exactly which spot I’m talking about. Taker was dropped right on his head and seemed visibly rattled. Luckily, he managed to shake it off and decided to take it home with a tombstone piledriver. But at this point, even The Undertaker wasn’t able to nail his signature spots. Taker rammed Goldberg’s head right into the match, which when watching it back, looks like it could have permanently ended his career. Goldberg kicked out, and attempted to hit Undertaker with a tombstone of his own, but lost his footing and faltered under Taker’s weight.

The torture was put to an end when Undertaker barely managed to lift the former WCW champion up for a chokeslam, nailing the three count and closing Super ShowDown on a rather sombre note.

Following the match, fans on social media were extremely vocal about how awful the contest was. A match that, at one time, could have redefined professional wrestling and offered a perfect bookend to the lingering rivalry between WWE and WCW. It’s a real shame that their match will go down as one of the worst main events in recent history, and, quite possibly, of all time.

The blame should rest solely on the shoulders of Vince McMahon and his incessant need to dwell on the past. Of course, both individuals are still huge draws for the company, even in the most minor capacity. But those 15 minutes should be a case study in how even the greatest of all time get to a point of no return. They no longer have the physical capabilities to compete in a feature wrestling match. Yeah, sure, give them the occasional cameo at WrestleMania where they can hit the flavour heel of the month with their signature moves, but there’s no way these guys should have to wrestle in a main event marathon.

It seems that the exact same sentiment is shared by ‘The Deadman’ himself, who took to Instagram to support fans’ criticisms of the Super ShowDown matchup. I imagine that Taker is only in this now for the financial gain. Vince throws unimaginable paydays out to his favoured part-timers; Brock Lesnar and Undertaker included. The man behind the mystique is looking out for him and his family, a respectable notion. All the while, that aura of being WWE’s foundation is slowly being worn away by these sub-par performances.

Source: Instagram

If it were down to me, Undertaker would have stayed ‘retired’ after his leaving his iconic gear in the ring at WrestleMania 33. It was the ideal conclusion to one of the most decorated careers in wrestling history. But of course, Vince knows best and he’ll never not rely on the stars that in his mind could never fail him from a business point of view. The fact is, names like The Undertaker and Goldberg will always make money if they’re seen competing in yet another comeback performance. I just hope that both performers will heed this as a lesson that no matter the price-tag, one more match could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Ten or twenty years ago, this could have been the match of the century. In 2019, it was far from that. What are your thoughts on the Undertaker/Goldberg main event? Should they be brought back for one more run, or should that be the two legend’s final swansong. Let us know in the comments below.

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