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The Gorilla Position: McIntyre v. Goldberg

The phrase "Gorilla Position" might be a bit offputting for those who may not keep up with the extended world of wrestling, and the terms that spring from it.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term "Gorilla Position," fret not. The "Gorilla Position," commonly used at wrestling events, is named after former wrestler and announcer, Gorilla Monsoon, and the position itself is the waiting area right before a wrestler hits the top of the stage for their entrance. It's also where the final details of the match get laid out and the finish is determined. Yes, that's right, we aren't going to pretend the pro wrestling outcomes aren't predetermined, so if we report an injury update, it's because it's a legitimate injury and not part of a storyline. The Gorilla Position aims to serve as a pseudo "green room" for a pro wrestling informative beat.

This week, we wanted to discuss the Royal Rumble match between WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre, and WWE Hall-of-Famer, Bill Goldberg for the championship. It should be noted and disclaimed that this pilot for The Gorilla Position was written prior to January 11, 2021. Backstage notes from the Wrestling Observer and other outlets claim this match came together over the previous week because WWE officials, such as Vince McMahon for example, didn't believe there was a big enough name currently on the roster for the champion to defend against. While this may be true, it's because McMahon himself does not like to push his Superstars over the top anymore, partly in fear they become bigger than the world of Sports Entertainment themselves, like one Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, or even someone such as John Cena.

Goldberg vs. McIntyre seems like a fun concept on paper, but the story doesn't measure up. Goldberg came out and claimed McIntyre wasn't respecting the legends, when earlier in the night, he was seen with Hulk Hogan, and months before that, he was defending the honor of the legends against Randy "The Legend Killer" Orton. I'm sure Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair would feel that Goldberg's statements were untrue, so the reason for Goldberg to not come out and shake McIntyre's hand is a head-scratcher. Goldberg pushing McIntyre to the ground also lines him up as the "heel" from our purview or the "bad guy" for those who are new to the sport.

Here's the other part of the problem, Goldberg has gone on the record saying his WWE wrestling contract is only for two matches per year, and while we assume he's paid whether or not he wrestles those two matches, this one seems like a throwaway, or at the very least, there are only two outcomes here. If he wins the title, he'll go on to defend (and lose it) at Wrestlemania, or if he loses here what does he do? Sure, he could be helped up after losing to McIntyre's finisher, The Claymore Kick, shake his hand and back away, but it seems more likely WWE is backing themselves into a corner of having the former outcome. The problem here isn't that Goldberg wouldn't get people to subscribe to the WWE Network to watch Wrestlemania, but if you already know the outcome, it takes away the mystique of what we enjoy about it.

The match may be fun to watch, but there are too many reasons why Goldberg should be part of the Royal Rumble Battle Royale match, rather than going against the champion at the event. This would have allowed him to eliminate lower-tiered talent, hitting his coveted Spear or Jackhammer on a couple of them, and then been eliminated by the man they want him to face at Wrestlemania, in a tried and true storyline builder, but instead, they went the lazy booking route.

McIntyre losing to Goldberg also places him in a position where he has no opponent, likely wouldn't get a rematch for the title due to Goldberg's two-match contract, and leaves the top performer of 2020 without a clear path to Wrestlemania.

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