Goldberg on WWE Raw: Recap and Analysis of Star's Return

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2016

GoldbergCredit: WWE.com

Brock Lesnar is not only next; he's last.

Goldberg made his return to WWE on October 17, and he made it clear he's back for a good reason. Longtime fans have been waiting for this moment for 12 years, and now it's become reality; Goldberg and Lesnar will indeed face off once again.

Goldberg had not stepped into a WWE ring since 2004, and in all that time, fans speculated on a possible return.

Anytime a "mystery opponent" was to be revealed, Goldberg's name came up. Whenever an anniversary event took place for the company, fans mentioned the former WCW champion. When Lesnar restarted his tour of destruction back in 2012, fans immediately wondered when Goldberg would come back.

They finally got their wish on Monday Night Raw.

Paul Heyman issued the challenge, yet was not present for Goldberg's return. Lesnar's advocate seemed content to criticize via satellite and was evidently not there when pro wrestling's missing star finally walked the aisle again.

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He walked that aisle to a hero's welcome.

Goldberg received a thunderous ovation from a crowd that had been prepped throughout the three-hour program. Anyone that believed he would not be welcomed back with open arms was proved wrong, as the clock seemed to turn back 12 years.

Goldberg looked great, and it was as though he never left.

"It's been a long time, and you didn't forget!" Goldberg had tears in his eyes when he said those words, and several moments passed before the chants finally subsided long enough for him to speak. The man that had always been considered one of the toughest to ever compete in the business was humbled by the reaction.

Goldberg was arguably shown more respect in one night than he was in his entire WWE run.

Fans appreciated him, and more importantly, they wanted him back. Of course, much of this is due to who he is as a talent.

When Goldberg got out of the business, he got on with his life. He never made a full-time commitment to another company. He never wrote a scathing tell-all book on WWE, and he never came back to WWE's door wanting another shot. 

Goldberg left on his own terms, and he left when he thought the time was right.

But the legend he left behind never died. Thanks to WWE, fans never got the chance to forget about him. Goldberg's name was once mentioned as the breakout star of a dead company, and then as the star that just couldn't make it in WWE. 

However, those stories did nothing but build him up in the eyes of the fans that once cheered for him. He was also built up for fans that did not bear witness to his rise in WCW. During the past 12 years, Goldberg evolved from the man to the myth to the legend.

His return could not have come at a better time; fans were ready for him.

But much of the reaction he received also has a lot to do with Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate has been unstoppable for his entire WWE career. Despite how many matches he's lost, he always comes back to best the man that beat him.

Triple H, The Undertaker, Kurt Angle and John Cena all share that distinction. Hulk Hogan, The Rock and CM Punk all fell after one match. Today's new stars like Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose can't touch him. Lesnar has never looked better, though he's likely got more career behind him than in front of him. He is an anomaly, and he's growing more dominant as time goes on.

However, one man in the course of Lesnar's career has had bragging rights over The Beast. For 12 of the 14 years that Lesnar has been associated with WWE, only one opponent has had the last word on him: Goldberg.

Fans want this rematch, if only to see Lesnar fall.

There is surely respect among the WWE faithful for Lesnar, but his booking has made him nearly untouchable. It's been this way for four years, and fans are ready to see him be taken down. That's why WWE had no choice but to use Goldberg; he's the one man that has the answer.

Like Heyman, Lesnar was also not present for Goldberg's return. But that did not matter; Lesnar and Heyman will likely cut a promo in response on the October 24 edition of Raw. That will be their time to shine. 

October 17 was Goldberg's time, and he took full advantage of it.

He was clear, concise and straight to the point. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and he did not disappoint. Goldberg was the quintessential tough guy, but he was human at the same time. He knew what the moment called for, and he delivered.

Goldberg accepted Lesnar's challenge, and now the two will wage war once again.

This was perhaps the best return any Superstar has had in recent WWE history, and it happened for a guy that many believed would never come back. Goldberg re-established himself as a star, and now he will have the chance to show he still has what it takes to be a star in the ring as well.

If the match with Lesnar goes anything like the return, then Goldberg will exceed everyone's expectations.


Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here.


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