Goldberg made his first appearance on WWE television since WrestleMania 36 this past Friday when he watched the Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman via one of the ThunderDome LED boards on SmackDown. The WWE Hall of Famer shockingly won the Universal title from Bray Wyatt back in February and was supposed to face Reigns at WrestleMania, but "The Big Dog" opted out of the show due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was promptly replaced by Strowman. Reigns retained his title against Strowman via a Guillotine choke, then turned his full attention to Jey Uso ahead of their I Quit Match next week at Hell in a Cell.
So why was Goldberg there? According to Inside the Ropes, it was for a number of reasons. WWE hoped his involvement might help the ratings for SmackDown's "Season Premiere" on FOX (it didn't, the show's viewership actually dropped back under two million for the first time in a month), and wanted to put "some wheels in motion" regarding the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. This could mean Reigns will be defending his title against Goldberg in the coming months.
The report also stated that if WWE were running another Saudi Arabia event this year (the company can't due to the pandemic), Goldberg would be involved. WWE's decision to book the 53-year-old at such a high level has been met with criticism, especially when he beat Wyatt to become Universal Champion for the second time. Vince McMahon is reportedly aware of that criticism but doesn't care.
"We're also told 'Vince McMahon couldn't care less what anyone thinks about him using Goldberg' and the head honcho still believes there is value in the Goldberg name," the report read.
Goldberg confirmed back in August that his WWE contract has him booked for two matches a year for several more years.
"I am contracted with the WWE for the next two years through 2022, '23. I've got two matches per year. I've exhausted my limit this year quite early on April the fifth with WrestleMania under these really weird circumstances," he told The Pop Culture Podcast. "But I've got a couple other extremely interesting projects right on the cusp, but as you guys know in the entertainment business right now everything's on hold unless it's a production of 10 or under pretty much.
"We got a lot of cool things that people are going to find out about pretty soon," he continued. "My WWE commitment is still going strong. At 53, I never would've imagined especially after making fun of Flair when he was doing it in his early 40s."
How do you feel about WWE's plans for Goldberg? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!