Goldberg Says His WrestleMania 36 Match Was Almost Re-Shot With Roman Reigns

As bizarre as it was, WrestleMania week officially came to an end last Friday with the post-Mania episode of Smackdown ushering in the Braun Strowman era. Strowman was a last-minute substitution in the Universal Championship match against Goldberg, taking the place of Roman Reigns, who bowed out of the WrestleMania 36 card due to health concerns. This worked out well for the Monster Among Men, who left the WWE Performance Center as the new Universal Champion. But according to Goldberg, that match was almost wiped from history. Appearing on the CarCast podcast last week, the WWE Hall Of Famer had this to say:

“Obviously I had a change of opponents at the very last minute. Roman Reigns, everybody knows he has leukemia. He’s in remission, but obviously his immune system’s down. I don’t know why [the match] was even considered in the beginning except for the fact that we’d invested time and WWE invested money in the angle and in the match. Literally until the 23rd hour, it was still a possibility he and I were gonna wrestle. Plans kinda changed at the very last minute. I did the match with Braun, and then it was possible I could wrestle Roman again before the 5th. That obviously fell through. […]

My obligations were complete for the year. My second match was already wrestled. So I come back [home] on Friday and don’t go to the gym for five days, then I get a phone call in the middle of the week that it’s still a possibility. It was still a possibility on [Roman’s] end that he could go through with the match. […]

I think what happened was somebody was sick and Roman heard about it. They just had the flu. But just the fact that somebody was sick in those circumstances, at the end of the day he just couldn’t do it. More power to him to continually want to get it done, whether that’s realistic or unrealistic for a person in his shoes are concerned, but you’ve got to love the guy because up to the 11th hour, he was still willing to do it.”

As for Goldberg’s actual WrestleMania match with Braun Strowman, he wasn’t the only person who was disappointed in the lack of an explanation, but he was able to be zen about the whole thing:

“I’d never wrestled Braun before. We had no story. There was no lead-up to it whatsoever. [But] it was a reality check. Everybody knows Roman’s situation. This isn’t a fabricated story; it’s reality. Reality was literally playing out right in front of everybody’s eyes, Braun and I’s included. He had no clue he was going to be doing that match, nor did I. But in this business, you gotta learn to roll with the punches, you gotta satiate everybody and you gotta look at the big picture. You gotta take everything into consideration at the same time. You can’t risk injury or whatever it is. We just had to do our jobs, no matter how unprepared we were for it.”

The former two-time Universal Champion went on to discuss the complicated feelings surrounding performing during a pandemic. commenting:

“You feel as though you have a responsibility to the public, because you do. We’re one of the very few entities that are going on right now. At the same time, you feel as though you’re being irresponsible. So it’s a fine line. But it’s a business. Vince McMahon’s a businessman. He was there. He’s not going to ask anybody to do what he wouldn’t do. So he at least showed up and people could see that and understand that he was willing to put himself in a situation that was obviously good enough for an older person like himself to be there.”

Granted, we can’t all be Genetic Jackhammers like Mr. McMahon. So can we please just let wrestlers stay home?