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Two days later on AEW Dynamite, Sting went to the ring and defended Darby Allin from an attack by Team Taz.
The two segments served as the perfect juxtaposition to how legends should be used in pro wrestling.
Let’s first look at Sting’s effect on AEW since he arrived in the company last month. I’d argue that AEW hasn’t done enough with Sting, and most of his segments feel redundant. For five weeks, all we have seen him do is come to the defense of Allin or be interviewed where he talked about how excited he is to be in AEW without stating why he was there to begin with.
Notwithstanding, while he can’t explicitly say this on television, his purpose is to get Darby Allin over by association. Not by “putting him over,” per se, but by simply being around him. The fact that Sting wants to endorse and defend Darby Allin will make Darby Allin feel more important.
At this stage in his career, that’s what Sting should be doing.
Over on Raw, Goldberg went face-to-face with Drew McIntyre after he successfully defended the WWE Championship against Keith Lee. Goldberg – likely responding to a promo that McIntyre never had a chance to give due to time constraints – nonsensically accused McIntyre of disrespecting the legends who were on the stage as part of WWE’s Legends Night.
It’s now expected the two will face each other at the Royal Rumble later this month.
Goldberg being in a match on a big pay-per-view like the Royal Rumble isn’t the problem. There are plenty of fans who still want to relive their childhood and will tune in for nostalgia. The problem isn’t even that Goldberg can only have three-minute matches at this point in his career. The problem is that Goldberg shouldn’t be involved in the WWE Championship picture.
Let’s call it like it is: Goldberg was never a great wrestler. He was a great character, but long matches were never his forte. Fans who want to see Goldberg want to see him walk through the smoke, breathe fire, snort a few times, hit a spear and a jackhammer, and walk out victorious.
Those fans don’t want to see Goldberg lose to Drew McIntyre.
Four of Goldberg’s last six matches have been title matches. His last three matches combined have lasted 7:20 and in his last five matches, he’s only won twice. How is beating Goldberg three out of five times serving the audience that’s excited to see him return?
There’s a better way to use him. He doesn’t have to take the route AEW is taking with Sting, where he’s in the background supporting an up-and-coming babyface. Goldberg is under contract for two matches per year, reportedly, and WWE should milk as much out of that as possible. But, use him correctly.
Instead of booking Goldberg to return at the top of the card, why not book him in a spot where fans can enjoy the nostalgia he provides? They even have a heel who was built specifically for a situation like this: The Miz.
Is there anyone on the roster more annoying than Miz? WWE could have played out the same angle. Miz could have cut a promo disrespecting the legends, only for Goldberg to defend them. Then at the Royal Rumble, Goldberg can destroy Miz in two minutes. He can breathe smoke, hit a spear and a few jackhamers, and then walk out victorious. The fans who tuned in to see Goldberg’s nostalgia act would love it.
Sure, you beat the Miz, but he’s not a heel at the top of the card. Besides, he’s slimy enough that he could have gone on television the next week and claim he was never beaten.
In other words, Goldberg should be used like he was at SummerSlam 2019, when he beat Dolph Ziggler in under two minutes.
Miz and Ziggler are mid-card heels. They’ve been spinning their tires in that mud for years, and a loss to Goldberg won’t hurt them. For the Goldberg fans, they’re going to enjoy him kicking someone’s ass far more than they’re going to enjoy Drew McIntyre beating him in three minutes.
The same story could play out over and over again. Ziggler, Miz, Bobby Roode, John Morrison, Jinder Mahal (when he returns), Sami Zayn … WWE has a roster full of stuck-in-the-mud heels that they failed to invest in over the years. If Goldberg beats them quickly, who cares? It doesn’t hurt them.
WWE needs to figure out a way to build more stars. Putting returning legends consistently in main-event spots – defining them as more important and more deserving than your current roster – doesn’t accomplish that.
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