Suppose you have never read or maybe seen the play or film of Bill Shakesphere’s Hamlet; it would be safe to say you have heard one of the most famous quotes from his writing “To be, or not to be? That is the question” many times. That is the question I have about the rumors going around about WWE possibly wanting Bill Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 37.
I have never met Bill Goldberg, and my problem is not with him whatsoever. I appreciate what Goldberg has accomplished during his time in WCW and WWE. I cannot and will not ever fault a person for making money to provide for his family and provide for them well after they have long passed. Sure, Goldberg has plenty of money, but that’s neither here nor there for us to have any say in the matter. I do not need Bill Goldberg in a WWE ring. I have no ill will toward Bill Goldberg, and by all accounts, with some of the stories I have read, he seems like a great person. If you need or want someone to blame, you blame Vince McMahon, and whoever else in the WWE thinks this is something that fans want to see.
Goldberg no longer brings excitement like he used to. If you exclude the Royal Rumble appearances, Goldberg has not wrestled in a match that has lasted longer than twenty minutes since 2003. The last six singles matches altogether have been under twenty-five minutes. Like many fans, I question the motives and logic behind the decisions that Vince McMahon tends to make. If it made sense business-wise, then sure, why not? If he’s worth it, he’s worth it, but is he?
When Goldberg returned to the WWE in early 2020 to start his WrestleMania run, his first appearance was one of the highest-rated Smackdown episodes in 2020 so far. The highest-rated episodes of WWE Smackdown in 2020 were on January 17th and February 28th, 2020. Those two episodes both hit at a .80 in the 18-49 demographic. Goldberg was on the February 28th episode, so the logic says he probably did help the episode’s ratings.
The January 2020 Smackdown’s show that the demographic and ratings have since gone down considerably. To give you an example, the December 4th, 2020 Smackdown numbers have gone down almost 27%, and these are numbers that they regularly see now. The numbers say Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment has lost an estimated around 680,000 viewers. These numbers are not part of this article to show if Goldberg is needed; these numbers are here to show you how bad Vince McMahon and the WWE are doing with keeping their viewers.
Would Bill Goldberg help with bringing the viewers back to WWE? It is tough to say; he might for a week or two, but that is about it, and this is me basing it off the four episodes of Smackdown that he was on during the year.
Why is the WWE losing viewers, or better yet, why is Vince losing viewers? Are the wrestlers just not good enough anymore? I can assure you that is not the problem whatsoever. WWE brings in athletes that are in excellent condition compared to what we were accustomed to seeing in their rings from yesteryear. I am talking about the 1980s and 90s; these performers are better and healthier than ever before.
WWE will recruit anyone they believe could or would be an investment, and for obvious reasons, that is smart business, and that should be the goal of every business. WWE’s goal is the same as any other company, and it is to make money. The problem the WWE runs into is that the person-in-charge is 75 years old, and he believes he knows what a random 17-year old adult male wants to see in his wrestling ring. I have said numerous times that the WWE is one of the very best companies at adapting… Technology-wise. They do better than most companies, but their single most significant issue is adapting for their viewers. Why do they have a problem adjusting to the fans? It is a long and complicated answer, and many have theories.
In July 2013, WWE opened the WWE Performance Center, or as it’s commonly called “The PC.” The WWE PC idea came from a conversation that Triple H and Vince McMahon had at a time when they were talking about the future of the WWE. It recently had a significant facelift and a name change. It is officially now known as the Capitol Wrestling Center, and it is a place where WWE can train between 65 and 70 wrestlers. Triple H, in an interview with SI’s Justin Barrasso in June 2018. “I thought that we were a victim of our success, The indies had dried up, and there was no system to find new talent.”
It’s true, and it did dry up to an extent. The people the WWE were bringing in were ex-College Football Players, Track and Field athletes, etc. The ability to get actual Pro Wrestlers with experience was more challenging because they got very picky with the talent they chose, and that was to no fault of their own.
The biggest problem, though, is Independent Pro Wrestling was resuscitated in-part by Vince McMahon. The more die-hard Wrestling fans got tired of the same week in and week out content and they wanted something different, and Bill Goldberg is not “something” that is different.
What about AEW bringing in Sting from the WWE? It’s relatively simple Sting is not Goldberg. Sting brings more to the table because Tony Khan and the company will earn that money back in merchandise sales alone. Sting is one of the most beloved characters in the wrestling business. He is up there with The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and I will even put John Cena on that list. I could name a few more wrestlers, especially from the 1980s. I have no idea who would say this to Vince; it could be Stephanie, Triple H, Bruce Pritchard, etc., but someone needs to tell Vincent Kennedy McMahon that “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” AEW is right on WWE’s tale, and for the first time, they passed Raw in several demos. The numbers get charted in the following ways persons aged 18-49, person ages 18-34, a person aged 18-49, females aged between 12-34, and males 18-49 for the days December 9th-16th. It would be too plausible for you to ask, “well, if he’s better, why did the WWE just not keep him?” It’s a great question to ask because some stories state that Vince McMahon wasn’t that high on Sting. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer recently noted on his radio show, “It is known Sting wanted to do a Cinematic match with Undertaker. For whatever reason, while fans have clamored for Undertaker vs. Sting for years, it has never been a match that appealed to McMahon.”
WWE Hall of Fame member Arn Anderson on his podcast The Arn Show, said, “I know this was fed to [the announcers] they just buried Sting. ‘Minnow in a big pond.’ Just total condescending. ‘Guy’s out of his element.’ “This is WrestleMania now.’ ‘You’re just a small minnow in a huge lake. ”The appeal? The appeal is this match would have made money, and it would have made a lot of money. The problem is Vince McMahon does what Vince McMahon wants to do, and he has that right because he owns the company. However, that said, he can only go so far to an extent. The extent ends when you are jeopardizing potential profits for your shareholders. Does Goldberg help the value of the WWE? Probably, however, not as much as Sting would have. WWE losing Sting will be one of the biggest head-scratchers that the WWE deals with; in this decade. If Vince wants to call a WWE veteran who will get people to talk, he should not call Bill and instead call a guy named Phil. Give him the ball and give him the money and then get the hell out of his way and let CM Punk do his thing.
I also want people to know the Bill Shakesphere line in the first sentence was done in tribute to Chris Farley, who died twenty-three years ago today, on December 18th, 1997. Yes, this is a sports site but sometimes we just need to laugh and maybe this might just do it.