It feels like the Goldberg era in WWE is sputtering to a stop.
Some might classify it as a merciful stop, as the legendary wrestler has become something of a parody of his former self in recent years. There was the botch-filled match with Undertaker at Super ShowDown in 2019, forgettable feuds (remember when he had the world title and fought Braun Strowman?) and now there's this mostly boring, random rivalry with Bobby Lashley.
So what can WWE do to salvage what might be the end of Goldberg's WWE run?
The move—and idea—is simple: Put over others on his way out.
And it would seem that's what the man himself has in mind. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso, he reflected on his career to date and where it's going: "Serving the business is a responsibility. That includes getting butts in seats and making sure people invest in the product, but it also means you have to give back. I didn't always do that before. But that's my duty, and that's a big reason why I am here. I owe the business a lot more than I have given."
He followed that up with an interview on The Bump in which he revealed he only has a couple of matches left on his contract and that he would like to stand opposite John Cena or Roman Reigns in the ring.
That works, right?
A self-contained feud with Cena would be a way to put over other performers on the roster because it would keep two part-timers in their own feud and not derail other storylines and momentum.
That, plus it would just be amazing to see the two square off in a match that fans have fantasy-booked for more than a decade. WWE flopped when it had the chance to give fans, say, Sting vs. Undertaker and other dream feuds, so why not make this one a reality?
Perhaps even better is the Reigns idea. SmackDown doesn't have many, if any, realistic challengers to Reigns' throne. While the rest of the programming works on building up actual challengers, why not throw him into a feud with Goldberg?
The idea there is Goldberg taking a brutal loss on his way out the door in a passing-of-the-torch moment. It wouldn't exactly be the most entertaining in-ring match we have ever seen, but the symbolism of Reigns being the one to put down the legend one last time—like he should have done with Undertaker—would speak volumes.
That sort of outcome as Goldberg says goodbye would be one of the only ways to build up the mythology of this Reigns run as it heads toward legendary status. And it would help to dramatically build up whoever ends up dethroning Reigns.
Granted, much of this hinges on WWE properly handling Goldberg between now and then. His taking down Lashley would ruin things. It wouldn't make much sense, either—not after the company tripped up Drew McIntyre's momentum just to build up this long Lashley run in the first place. But other recent usage—like his brief squash matches against Strowman and McIntyre—hints that this won't end up being a problem given how rare his appearances are these days.
The counterargument to this sort of usage for Goldberg is that he could be more useful by propping up younger talents like Big E or even Keith Lee. But the forgettable nature of all of Goldberg's recent matches says otherwise. His matches with Brock Lesnar early on were legendary stuff. His defeating The Fiend, on the other hand, is remembered for all the wrong reasons. And the losses to Strowman and McIntyre didn't do much for those guys.
The reality is that we are talking about a 54-year-old legend with a limited in-ring skillset. At this point, it's more about the story. Part of that is why the Lesnar feud was so memorable and most everything else not so much.
To that end, Goldberg giving fans the must-see showdown with Cena or going out on his back for Reigns is the only sort of move that makes sense as his run comes to an end. And in many ways, if it sticks the landing like that, many of the past missteps will go overlooked.
In a perfect world, Goldberg's run would have reached legendary status—but there's no reason the finale can't do so.