For years now, WWE has been openly criticized for pushing part-timers over a stacked roster of full-time, up and coming talent. Now one of the hottest acts in wrestling has dropped a major title to a man who has a total of fewer than five years in-ring over four decades.
The WWE decided to have The Fiend, arguably the company’s #2 heel behind Brock Lesnar, drop the WWE Universal Championship to the 53-year-old Bill Goldberg. And not only did he lose this massive title match, but the match was also over in less than three minutes.
Since debuting The Fiend gimmick last Summer, Bray Wyatt’s horror-themed persona has become the best monster heel WWE has seen in years. While his Universal championship match with Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell was a weird draw, WWE made up for its hiccup by awarding The Fiend the title at Crown Jewel, and it looked like the company were setting up a Universal title match at WrestleMania with one of WWE’s top babyfaces, Roman Reigns.
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Leading into WrestleMania was an opportunity to build up The Fiend by going over a legend in Bill Goldberg at Super Showdown. Over the last few months, Fiend has been built up as a monster heel in compelling title defenses over the likes of Seth Rollins, The Miz and Daniel Bryan, three of the best full-time wrestlers in WWE today. Fiend bested all of them in brutal matches that pushed everyone to their limits. Now not only does Fiend look like a joke after losing to Goldberg, those he beat look worse for not being able to do what someone who wrestles only a few times a year could.
To its credit, WWE has given The Fiend a decent consolation prize, positioning him as John Cena’s opponent at WrestleMania. Wyatt and Cena squared off six years ago in Bray’s first WrestleMania match, but Cena pulled off the win. Given Cena’s only part-time as he focuses on his film career, the tables may be turned for their rematch. And it may be for the best if that happens. Fans have long complained about WWE’s reliability on the part-timers, and have called for full-timers to be in more prominent positions on the company’s cards. There have been plenty of young WWE superstars who had success but would’ve been even bigger names if they were featured more heavily in Pay-Per-Views and special events.
The Fiend losing to Goldberg at Super ShowDown may have been the most egregious of those scenarios. The Fiend may not be able to regain the same aura and momentum he had before. We’re also missing out on two great potential matches. The Fiend versus Roman Reigns for the Universal title at WrestleMania would have been both a better match and a more interesting story. Goldberg and John Cena going against one another would have been an exciting dream match, especially considering it could likely be the final match for both competitors. Hopefully, Wyatt can at least capture a victory over Cena at the Show of Shows and regain that lost momentum.
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