For more than 20 years, one of the dream matches in professional wrestling was Goldberg vs. The Undertaker. And fans finally got to see the two legends clash for the first time at WWE Super ShowDown on Friday.
The question of who would win was also answered, as The Phenom managed to take down the erstwhile unstoppable juggernaut, but it was far from a five-star classic that will be fondly remembered.
Because of what seemed to be a concussion to Goldberg, the fight was short, sloppy, dangerous and scary, and it made for a depressing end that was a downer for those who have followed their careers over the years and put them on the highest pedestals.
Despite The Deadman’s victory, this was a Goldberg loss, not an Undertaker win, and it is not something to celebrate. Very serious injuries were narrowly avoided, and instead of this being a triumph, it was more of an embarrassment.
Bill Goldberg @Goldberg
Knocked myself out and thought I could finish…. love my fans…..but let u down. Everyone else that found “pleasure” ….. hope ur happy
So what is the next step? How does The Undertaker recalibrate from this experience, and where does he go from here?
Truth be told, the real answer is likely that nobody knows what direction he will take, including The Undertaker himself. Everything with his career in the past few years has felt like it’s happened without much of a game plan, so it’s possible there are no ideas in mind of what to do next.
Before anything else, The Phenom’s most immediate course of action is going to be to take a step back.
His body has held up much better than those of plenty of others his age, but that doesn’t mean he’s in the same condition as the kids in NXT. Surely, even wrestling for just a few minutes at this event is something he will be feeling much harder tomorrow than he ever would have 20 years ago, when he and Goldberg were in their primes.
That will lead to another elongated absence that we have grown accustomed to with The Undertaker, who transitioned several years ago to being a special feature rather than a regular member of the roster.
Michael Cole even stressed on commentary that we should all take in these moments while we can because they are running out. While we are looking ahead and trying to figure out when we will see The Undertaker again, there’s always a chance this was his final match.
But that idea has come up multiple times before, and he’s always come back. So let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and look at the calendar for inspiration.
The next big event will be SummerSlam in August, but that should revolve around the roster’s big stars like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston and more. There’s no need for The Deadman to rise again at that show.
He will, however, likely be called back to action at the next Saudi Arabia event, which is scheduled for November 1. He’s competed at all three previous Saudi Arabia shows, as well as Australia’s Super Show-Down in October.
His name has the biggest appeal out of everyone on these special international cards, so unless he’s not physically up for it, he’s going to be given another large sum of money to perform at November’s show.
The #Undertaker prevails. @Goldberg was NEXT! #WWESSD https://t.co/74Iwmwm9BA
The identity of his opponent is anybody’s guess. He could be paired with another legend-like he was against Triple H, D-Generation X and Goldberg-or he could have another match against a younger Superstar, such as when he faced Rusev at Greatest Royal Rumble.
For the most part, it doesn’t matter. He alone will be the biggest draw, more so than his opponent, even if it’s a big name like Randy Orton, with the two rekindling their feud from the Legend Killer days.
Going four for four at these special events is a track record we have to assume will continue, especially if the money stays as good as it’s supposedly been. So long as he’s healthy, there would be no reason to believe that isn’t when we will see him next since that will likely have provided enough time to rest between shows.
If he doesn’t compete at that event, the next pay-per-view that would make sense would be WrestleMania 36, or possibly even the Saudi Arabia show that follows that. It would have to be a big spectacle rather than some random appearance at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs or Fastlane.
In a worst-case scenario, it will be hard for WWE to let Survivor Series 2020 pass without The Undertaker’s involvement, as it will be the 30th anniversary of his unforgettable debut.
That may be the endgame for The Undertaker, so this next appearance, be it in November in Saudi Arabia, at WrestleMania 36 or afterward, is definitely getting closer and closer to his finale. Hopefully, Friday’s match with Goldberg at Super ShowDown was not how it all ended.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.