It took approximately 1:19 for Bill Goldberg to remind us all just why history remembers him as one of the most feared and dominant wrestlers of all time – tearing into Brock Lesnar as if he was nothing.
In what some may describe as a show saving series of events, the WWE Universe was turned upside down after the recently un-retired Goldberg landed two of his signature spears at .27 and .40 respectively, followed up by devastating jackhammer .53 into the match.
As if the company didn’t drive home its ‘Fantasy Warfare’ promotion enough throughout the show, it certainly became reality in this bout – as the company built on Goldberg’s historically dominant persona, one which saw him run through scores of opponents the way he did Lesnar on Sunday.
After all the hype and vitriol shared between the two men in lead-up to last night’s match, it took only 1:19 from start to finish, for Goldberg to deliver that one last win he swore he had left in him.
With a stunned Paul Hayman pleading to a battered Lesnar to get up and walk away, a triumphant Goldberg looked into the crowd as if to say “forgive me for being so impressive.”
As cheers and looks of amazement filled the Air Canada Center in Toronto, it was clear that the WWE, for the first time since Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s undefeated streak, truly stunned those watching.
Many wondered if Lesnar could ever be beaten after seeing him physically break John Cena at Night of Champions and mauling Randy Orton at Summerslam – fear no more, the Beast Incarnate has fallen.
While WWE writers appeared divided on the match’s finish, they were united on their overall grade for Sunday’s event – with terms like “horrid”, “failure” and “uncoordinated” being tossed around to describe the show.
Away from the show’s spectacular ending, WWE management could do very little to make up for the lackluster matches carded for the annual Survivor Series.
While many of these matches looked good on paper, in live action, many failed to deliver on the buildup presented in the weeks leading up to the show.
SmackDown vs Raw
The ‘brand rivalry’ theme promoted by the WWE for its SmackDown vs Raw traditional survivor series match, quickly went out the window, giving way to internal conflicts and mediocre plot points that should have been left for the weekly shows.
The five on five matchup had its flashes of brilliance:
Surprising shield reunion –
Stroman/Wyatt standoff –
Death defying leap by Shane McMahon –
But all of that was nothing, as the match got lost in stretches of long, drawn out, scripted interactions.
With SmackDown eventually coming out victorious, one now has to wonder what was that entire Undertaker ‘prep rally’ for? The WWE went out of its way to pitch the idea that outcome of Sunday’s match would correspond to what a now ‘year-round’ Taker would do moving into the new year.
We all expected SmackDown to come out on the losing end to set-up a Deadman/Styles matchup as retribution for Team SmackDown ’embarrassing’ the brand on Taker’s second favorite stage – Survivor Series.
Well I guess not.
This ending was just one of many finishes that failed to deliver a quality conclusion.
The Intercontinental title proved to serve very little purpose, neither did the tag team match or the cruiserweight bout; all failing to present clear narratives and story building themes.
Team Raw (Charlotte, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks) defeated Team SmackDown (Natalya, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Naomi)
The Miz (c) defeated Sami Zayn to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Team Raw (The New Day, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro, Enzo Amore and Big Cass and The Shining Stars) defeated Team SmackDown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos and Breezango
Brian Kendrick (c) retained the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto
The WWE is truly in trouble, and the writers seem to be more lost than ever before.
Certainly, this is not the ‘New Era’ we were promised back in July: