On paper the WrestleMania XX clash between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns had all of the makings of an old-school WWE/WWF main event. After all, the two combatants were two freakishly athletic guys who loved to fight.
While the match was never going to be a technical masterclass in the ring, as their later bouts showed there was still potential to make magic. However, the contest was doomed before it even got into the ring. The Madison Square Garden crowd knew that both men were leaving the company after the event and they let everyone know they were not happy about it.
The packed house booed, jeered and chastised the plodding action in the ring, only cheering after the match when special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin delivered a Stunner to both men.
Jim Ross Claims Goldberg Vs. Brock Lesnar Never Stood A Chance
Rarely had fans turned on such a high profile match, on such a grand stage to such a degree. The sheer anger on display from all involved ensured that the match has been remembered all of the wrong reasons.
Speaking on his podcast, Grilling JR, Jim Ross who called the action that night, reflected on the match in the ring almost being irrelevant to how the crowd responded.
“Here’s the thing about this. This match was impacted more by social media than any match I could remember until that point, or maybe something after that, that you know, I forgot or you didn’t bring it up or whatever. But the issue is that the crowd was ready to kill those guys, cause they’re leaving them. You know, Goldberg’s deal was up and he was out of there. Brock, Brock was just being Brock.
They didn’t understand how to manage that high strung athlete, at that time Vince did, because he never was around too many athletes. I’m not saying the boys that he hired weren’t good athletes. I’m just saying he never took it upon himself to study the true athlete, and Brock Lesnar is a true athlete. He’s not a brother, and a hey dude, you know, all that sh*t to do. He just wasn’t. So when you see a guy like that, get frayed on the edges, ie, burning out, you can take him out of the fire, and you do that by paying attention to communicating with your talents.
And Brock was almost non-communicable. He was angry, he’s mad at the world, he wanted to get out, he’s burned out. So well, by the those guys made their entrances, the jury had already convicted those guys. They didn’t have a trial. Trial was over, the trial was over when they first made the scene.
The only thing I really [think] saved the day was the fact that Austin was a referee. So the fans got to see Steve, and they had not been seeing Steve that much up until that point, because of the injuries. So it was a stacked deck, they did Goldberg and Brock. If they had a five star match, nobody was going to notice. They’re mad at them, they’re p*ssed because you’re leaving us, daddy’s leaving home. So get over it. And so anyway, that’s the kind of these guys are up sh*ts creek without a paddle.”
Following his WWE exit, Goldberg spent years adamant that he wouldn’t return to the company, before finally making a comeback in 2016.
For his part Brock Lesnar headed to the NFL where he attempted to launch a career as a football star. Once that dream fell by the wayside, he became UFC Heavyweight Champion before returning to WWE in 2012.
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