Braun Strowman will reportedly replace Roman Reigns as Universal champion Goldberg's opponent at WrestleMania 36.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Raj Giri), the Goldberg vs. Strowman match has already been taped for WrestleMania, and an angle shot between them at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, will be included in Friday's episode of SmackDown.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first to report Thursday that Reigns had decided to pull himself from the match since his immune system is weakened after he twice needed to undergo treatment for leukemia, and he didn't want to risk his health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 outbreak forced WWE to move WrestleMania from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to the WWE Performance Center with no fans in attendance. WWE also reportedly taped the WrestleMania matches ahead of time in case coronavirus-related restrictions eventually force them to shut down production.
WWE has also made WrestleMania a two-night event for the first time in its history, and it will air on WWE Network on April 4 and 5.
Meltzer reported that Reigns was actually at the WWE Performance Center when he made the decision to pull himself from the match. Meltzer noted that The Miz being sick and The Usos "not being happy about it" played a role in Reigns' decision.
The 36-year-old Strowman has been on the WWE main roster since 2005, and he has come close to winning a world title on multiple occasions since then.
Strowman has had championship matches against the likes of Reigns and Brock Lesnar, but he was never quite able to get over the hump.
He won his first singles title in WWE in January when he beat Shinsuke Nakamura on SmackDown, but he dropped the title to Sami Zayn in a handicap match at Elimination Chamber.
With Daniel Bryan emerging as the top challenger for Zayn and the IC title, it was looking like Strowman wasn't going to have a spot on the card. Now, The Monster Among Men will reportedly be part of one WrestleMania's biggest matches.
Reigns seemed like a sure bet to beat Goldberg, which means Strowman may be favored to do so as well. If WWE was able to convince the 53-year-old Goldberg to stick around a while longer, however, perhaps he will successfully defend the Universal Championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
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