Who Is the Best Opponent for Goldberg's Final Match on WWE Contract?January 6, 2022
Who Is the Best Opponent for Goldberg's Final Match on WWE Contract?
Following a five-year run, Goldberg's WWE days could be coming to an end in the not-too-distant future.
The WWE Hall of Famer told The Pat McAfee Show last week that he has one more match left on his current contract with the company. It's entirely possible he re-signs for more contests beyond 2022, but he addressed the subject as if it will be his swan song in his conversation on the podcast.
His return run with WWE has been a bit of a roller coaster as far as his matches have been concerned. For every thrilling hoss fight he's had with Brock Lesnar and Drew McIntyre, he's also had a handful of stinkers against Bray Wyatt, Bobby Lashley and The Undertaker.
He's held the Universal Championship on two occasions, headlined multiple pay-per-views, and has always brought the crowd to their feet every time he's resurfaced on television. At 55, Goldberg's best days inside the squared circle are behind him, yet he remains in phenomenal shape and connects with the audience like few others.
WrestleMania 38 season is fast approaching, and WWE will need as much star power as possible to fill out the two-night card. Regardless of whether Goldberg has his last match on The Grandest Stage of Them All or at another event down the road, these are the seven strongest candidates to be his final opponent.
The one opponent Goldberg has teased facing in recent years but has yet to lock horns with is Roman Reigns.
Their WrestleMania match in 2020 was put together on a whim when Reigns randomly challenged the veteran for the Universal Championship. The build was weak, but fans looked forward to seeing how their clash of Spears would play out.
Unfortunately, The Tribal Chief pulled out of the pay-per-view at the last minute due to health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. He returned to win the universal title later in the year, but he and Goldberg never rekindled their rivalry.
The jabs they've traded on social media since then have made it pretty apparent they have unfinished business with each other. Reigns is a much more compelling character than he was two years ago as a result of turning heel, so revisiting this match in the next few months could be interesting.
There are other opponents more worthy of a 'Mania match with The Tribal Chief this year than Goldberg, but SummerSlam would be a fine place for the bout to be booked. Either way, Reigns could forever boast about ending his career and add to the long list of legends he's already beaten.
Speaking of Spears, Edge is also known for putting opponents away with the devastating maneuver. Shockingly, he and Goldberg have never crossed paths to determine who the move is most synonymous with.
For the one year Goldberg ran rampant on the Raw roster from 2003 to 2004, he was always exclusive to the red brand. Interestingly, Edge was out injured that entire time and only after Goldberg was gone did he return to the ring.
Since 2020, they've both gone back and forth between Raw and SmackDown but have never been on the same show at the same time. WWE has largely stayed away from booking legends/part-timers against each other, but an exception could be made for this colossal clash at WrestleMania 38.
Edge needs a high-profile opponent for this year's Show of Shows on April 2-3, and Goldberg would be a perfectly fine choice if it isn't AJ Styles or Kevin Owens. This has the potential to be an explosive spectacle if paced properly and could be a fun attraction on either night of the event.
Neither guy would necessarily have to turn heel, but Goldberg going rogue for the first time in years to rival the beloved Rated-R Superstar would make for a fun dynamic.
It's baffling that WWE never bothered to book Randy Orton against a legend the caliber of Goldberg at any point in the last two decades.
Technically, Goldberg and Randy Orton did square off on an episode of Raw in August 2003, but that was shortly before Orton adopted the Legend Killer moniker. Rather, it was a forgettable affair that saw Goldberg mow down the rookie in pursuit of Orton's Evolution stablemate Triple H.
Goldberg left WWE just as The Viper started to come into his own as a singles star, and they have not come close to doing battle at any point in the last five years.
It would have made sense for Goldberg to target Orton last year when he went back to being The Legend Killer and was going after icons such as Ric Flair, Big Show and Mark Henry. Instead, the former WCW world heavyweight champion set his sights on Drew McIntyre.
Orton is still in the middle of teaming with Riddle and likely won't be back to doing anything near the main event level until that has run its course, but it's still a match that people would want to see in 2022.
Much like Randy Orton and Edge, John Cena was another major name who dominated the Ruthless Aggression era but never had the chance to compete against Goldberg.
That was also an issue of the two being on separate shows. Goldberg was a Raw Superstar and fighting for the top title while Cena was still trying to find his footing as a rookie on the rise with SmackDown.
Goldberg vs. Cena could have happened at WrestleMania 36 as an attraction for the blue brand, but plans for Roman Reigns vs. The Fiend for the Universal Championship fell apart and Goldberg and Cena were shifted into storylines with them instead.
Both men are clearly in the twilight of their in-ring careers, so it's worth wondering how captivating a bout between them would actually be. However, Cena had an above-average match with Reigns at SummerSlam 2021 while Goldberg went all-out against Bobby Lashley at Crown Jewel two months later, so they've proved they have just enough left in the tank to be able to rise to the occasion.
The only issue is that Cena's wrestling schedule is so sporadic due to his expanding acting commitments and movie roles that the timing could be tough. If WWE can find a way to make it happen, it would no doubt be a blockbuster bout for Goldberg to end his career on.
Bron Breakker is a name that will stand out on this list compared to the rest because he has yet to reach the main roster. In fact, he's only been a part of the NXT brand for five months and is still an extremely fresh face to the WWE audience.
That said, the 24-year-old has a high ceiling for success and has already shown he possesses every tool necessary to be a big deal for years to come. Despite capturing the NXT Championship this week, there's a strong chance he hits Raw or SmackDown within the next six months if he continues to progress at such a rapid rate.
This second-generation star is the ultimate powerhouse. Look no further than his matches with Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and LA Knight and how he manhandled all three of those veterans with ease.
That, combined with his unmatched intensity, would make him a very believable threat to someone such as Goldberg. Plus, there's always the family tie-in there with Goldberg having history with Breakker's dad Rick Steiner and uncle Scott Steiner.
Regardless of whether they played off that or not, this could be quite the fight. A win over the WWE Hall of Famer would instantly establish Breakker as the company's next top star.
It's safe to assume no one on the current WWE roster has more of a bone to pick with Goldberg than Kevin Owens after what went down at Fastlane 2017.
KO was the reigning universal champion of seven months at the time and was weeks away from walking into WrestleMania 33 with the title. Unfortunately, he had his run spoiled by Goldberg, who swiftly beat him in under a minute to take the belt.
It should be noted that a distraction from Chris Jericho on the stage was what cost Owens the win. However, The Prizefighter shifted his focus toward exacting revenge on Jericho heading into WrestleMania instead of invoking his automatic rematch clause.
Owens has contended for top titles here and there since then but has never been a mainstay at the main event level. In storyline, he can have Goldberg to blame for that, and now that KO is back to being a heel, it's plausible that this rematch could happen at some point this year.
It would also give WWE an opportunity to right its wrong with these two from five years ago, assuming Owens redeems himself with a victory.
If WWE has no plans to keep Big E in the WWE Championship picture going into WrestleMania 38, a match against one of his longtime favorites in Goldberg could be the next best thing.
Despite not having the most memorable reign, Big E played his role as WWE champion as well as possible. But he must maintain his status as a main event player going forward and in order to do that, he needs to be matched up against elite competitors.
The former New Day man owns victories over plenty of WWE's top talent, but he lacks that one defining win over a legend the level of Goldberg. If anyone can benefit from beating the WWE Hall of Famer, it's Big E.
The Powerhouse of Positivity has spoken at length for years about wanting to wage war with Goldberg in the ring. Unless WWE has something else lined up for him at The Show of Shows, a match with the former universal champion would an excellent use of him.
Ideally, Goldberg's swan song should be all about passing the torch. Big E can gain a ton from not only sharing a ring with him on such a stage but also being the one to close out his career, not to mention that it would be an exhilarating, hard-hitting affair enjoyed by all.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.