Welcome to the IMTDFSIS Advent Calendar! This is the first in a daily series in the lead up to Christmas detailing 25 wrestling matches which defined the year 2016. This is not a “Best of 2016”. These will be matches that have affected the course of professional wrestling in the year 2016, either positively or negatively. Of course, this list will contain some contenders for match of the year but it will also contain bad matches as well. By the end, it should give you a good view of the professional wrestling landscape this year. So, without further ado, here is the first entry…
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Survivor Series 2016
20th of November 2016
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Match: They square off. Lesnar tries to charge Goldberg, ramming him into the corner. Goldberg punks Lesnar and shoves him onto his backside. Lesnar looks visibly phased, but laughs it off. Lesnar turns his back to Goldberg only to turn round into a Spear. Goldberg decides to go for the jugular and hits a second Spear. Lesnar is selling as if he has broken ribs. Goldberg lifts him up and PLANTS him with a Jackhammer to pick up the 1-2-3 at 1:25.
Why Does It Define 2016?: As of the date I am writing this, Hibs are the Scottish Cup holders. The Chicago Cubs are the World Series champions. Leicester City currently possess the English Premier League title. despite being 5000/1 outsiders. Britain has voted to leave the European Union and a racist, transphobic, conspiracy theory spouting game show host who brags about sexually assaulting women, mocks the disabled, and ran his own pyramid scheme is the President Elect of the United States of America. In case you didn’t realise, 2016 hasn’t been playing by the rules. So, what the hell could be more 2016 than giving the most valued accomplishment in the modern-day WWE climate to a 49 year old WCW veteran who hasn’t wrestled in twelve years?
My Thoughts: I personally view Goldberg vs. Lesnar as a MOTY contender. Whereas a lot of people view their MOTY contenders as simply being the best matches bell-to-bell from that year, I tend to look at extenuating circumstances and everything that surrounds it. The prime example of this would be that Taker vs. Lesnar from WM30 was my 2014 MOTY. The match itself is fairly dogshit, but the emotional reaction to the finish is something that wrestling never has invoked in me before or since and because it was this match that invoked that response for me, I couldn’t justifiably choose another match as my MOTY. While I don’t think it’s number 1 on my list for 2016, this is the same thing as Lesnar/Taker. This is the closest that I have come to that feeling of the earth collapsing in on itself and leaving you just dumbfounded since the Streak ended.
Also, this is clearly building to Lesnar killing Goldberg in the rematch. Lesnar has coasted throughout 2016, relying on “Suplex City”, just chucking all of his opponents about with an apparent lack of motivation. People complain about Lesnar losing and the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak being devalued, despite the fact he has already lost since breaking the streak at Summerslam 2015 against the Undertaker. The whole point with that loss was that Lesnar then beat Undertaker to claim the feud, which is what he’ll do here. This is almost identical to Conor McGregor’s exploits through 2016. Jose Aldo slipped up against McGregor and got knocked out with a killshot in no time. Now, Aldo has spent the rest of the year wanting a rematch against McGregor.
Similarly, Nate Diaz laid waste to McGregor after exposing his weaknesses in their first match, and McGregor bounced back to get his revenge. Losses don’t affect drawing power, if effectively handled. If anything, a well-tmed loss can ADD to someone’s aura if they are able to effectively comeback from it. Now, Lesnar has motivation for the first time in a long time. Lesnar’s entire spiel has revolved around people stepping up to face him and him swatting off challengers. Now, Lesnar is reeling. Lesnar has been shown to be mortal and given hope to everyone that they can exploit the weakness. Lesnar has a point to prove. Lesnar has to consolidate his power and reclaim his throne.
Lesnar losing does nothing to diminish his status because Lesnar will prevail in the;rematch and win the final battle. Like he did with Undertaker. Like he did with John Cena. Like he always does. The idea of giving someone that big rub is that they will be the person Lesnar can never beat. That when they have the final battle to settle it all, Lesnar does not prevail. Goldberg is not that person. Goldberg will fall like everyone else does. The person who finally puts Lesnar down permanently is still to come, and when it happens, it will still be as special.
This match was unbelievable. It sent the entire wrestling world into a state of shock. It has caused no end of chatter and given the product a buzz it has sorely missed for a while now. Long term booking quibbles aside, there is another very important point to make about this match. I am a Goldberg mark. Always have been. Always will be. But even I, the most optimistic person in the world about this return, could not foresee how good his return would be. He is cutting the best promos of his life and is a superhero. Goldberg is the hottest babyface in WWE right now, and we should not overlook that.
For me, I’ve always maintained that my love of wrestling boils down to my deep urge to forever remain nine years old. I will gladly admit that I fucking lost it during this match. I was SCREAMING at my TV for Goldberg to finish it and nothing else has illicited that raw an emotion from me all year. This is James McFadden scoring a screamer against France in Paris. This is Rocky defeating Apollo Creed. A moment where time stands still and only one thing matters. For those eighty-five seconds, I forgot I had a shit job, loads of credit card debt and will probably die at the age of 42 because of a cholesterol-induced heart attack and, for that, I can’t say this wasn’t one of my favourite matches this year.
— UnderhookDDT (@UnderhookDDT) November 21, 2016