WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has given his take on why the WrestleMania 20 encounter between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg did not live up to the hype.
Some of the greatest matches in wrestling history have taken place at WrestleMania, Savage & Steamboat, Bret & Owen, The Undertaker & Shawn Michaels. But The Show of Shows played host to one of the most infamous bouts in WWE history when Brock Lesnar met Goldberg at WrestleMania 20.
What could have been a dream match fell to pieces before the bell even rang with the New York crowd showering both men with boos and jeers as the news had broken that it would be both men’s last match in the company at the time.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross explained how he thinks WWE mishandled the situation regarding Brock Lesnar feeling burnout after his two years in the company full-time which led to the WrestleMania debacle:
“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 time 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.”
Jim Ross explained that having Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special referee was the match’s one saving grace but at the end of the day, the fans were unhappy with both Goldberg and Brock Lesnar so it was only ever going to get one reaction:
“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*t creek without a paddle.”