WrestleMania 33 Preview: WWE Universal Championship Match, Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

What started as a nostalgia one-off in conjunction with a new video game release turned into a prolonged endeavor and a Universal Championship “run” for Goldberg. Can you really call it a “run” if it only includes a squash win and zero title defenses?

From the story that has been told – Goldberg crushing an overconfident Brock Lesnar in short order at Survivor Series, followed by a similar manhandling at the Royal Rumble – Lesnar has to leave the “Ultimate Thrill Ride” with the Universal Championship. The only real question is the length of the match.

This will be Goldberg’s fourth match since returning to WWE from a 12-and-a-half year absence. His aforementioned victory over Lesnar at Survivor Series in Toronto lasted 1:26, followed by a 3:21 appearance in the Royal Rumble where he eliminated Rusev, Luke Harper, and Lesnar. He won the title from Kevin Owens in a 22-second squash match at Fastlane in early March. If you’re doing the match, that’s five minutes and nine seconds of in-ring time since November.

Goldberg has recently said that he has a little more in the arsenal than the spear and the jackhammer, but on a show that has the potential to go more than six hours, a short main event match would be a good thing. I’m not saying “under a minute” short but this match certainly doesn’t need to go more than 10 minutes.

Al Roker Will Be Guest Ring Announcer for Cena & Nikki vs. Miz & Maryse at WrestleMania

John Cena was again on NBC’s Today… today… and asked Al Roker if he would like to cap off Rokerthon 3 with a spot as guest ring announcer for Cena’s mixed tag team match with Nikki Bella against The Miz and Maryse at WrestleMania 33.

Roker said he will be at Camping World Stadium on April 3rd and will do the honors for the 16-time World Champ.

This match is 100% entertainment and mainstream media exposure bait, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While many can rightfully complain that Cena deserves bigger at the biggest show of them all, he is WWE’s largest mainstream attraction and the buildup between the two duos has been fantastic. Adding Roker to the mix, even in a small capacity, adds to the appeal for entertainment outlets.

WWE WrestleMania Week Full Schedule

It’s that time of year again. The “Granddaddy of Them All,” or the “Ultimate Thrill Ride” if you live in the WWE Universe, is six days away.

As usual, WWE has loaded up its WWE Network schedule, along with the usual Raw and Smackdown Live offerings, to coincide with WrestleMania. I’m most looking forward to the new WWE 24 special, which covers last year’s post-‘Mania Raw, along with the Hall of Fame, TakeOver, and WrestleMania 33, of course.

Here is a look at the full schedule:

Monday, March 27

  • Raw, 8pm ET, USA Network, Philadelphia, PA
    • Philly is always a pretty raucous crowd so it should be a great setting for Raw’s go-home show, featuring appearances from Brock Lesnar and Goldberg as they prepare for their WrestleMania Universal Championship showdown. We’ll also likely see some follow-up to the General Manager situation as well as an answer to Triple H’s “hold harmless agreement” challenge from Seth Rollins.
  • WWE 24: WrestleMania Monday, immediately following Raw, WWE Network
    • The excellent WWE 24 series continues with a look behind the scenes of the Raw after last year’s WrestleMania.

Tuesday, March 28

  • Smackdown Live, 8pm ET, USA Network, Richmond, VA
    • The blue brand moves down the east coast with its g0-home show highlighted by Bray Wyatt taking on Luke Harper.
  • 205 Live, 10pm ET, USA Network, Richmond, VA
    • The cruiserweights follow Smackdown and there really isn’t much noteworthy going on here other than the Neville-Aries program.
  • Talking Smack, 11pm ET, WWE Network
  • Kurt Angle: Oh, It’s True… It’s True!, immediately following Talking Smack, WWE Network
    • This is the entirety of the sit-down interview Kurt Angle recently conducted with Corey Graves, looking at Angle’s career and battles with drugs and alcohol.

Wednesday, March 29

  • NXT, 8pm ET, WWE Network
    • Wednesday’s show features Kassius Ohno taking on Elias Samson in a Loser Leaves NXT match.

Thursday, March 20

  • Bring It To The Table, 8pm ET, WWE Network
    • Peter Rosenberg, JBL, and Corey Graves give it another go on-site from Orlando.

Friday, March 31

  • WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet, 7pm ET, WWE Network (Also available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WWE.com)
    • Interviews with the attendees, hosted by Maria Menounos
  • WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, 8pm ET, WWE Network
    • The live ceremony featuring the inductions of Kurt Angle, Rick Rude, the Rock N Roll Express, Diamond Dallas Page, Teddy Long, and Beth Phoenix.

Saturday, April 1

  • NXT TakeOver: Orlando Pre-Show, 7:30pm ET, WWE Network (Also available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WWE.com)
    • The pre-show panel includes Charly Caruso, Nigel McGuinness, and Sam Roberts
  • NXT TakeOver: Orlando, 8pm ET, WWE Network
    • Live from the Amway Center, highlighted by Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship and Ember Moon vs. Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Sunday, April 2

  • WrestleMania Kickoff, 5pm ET, WWE Network (Also available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WWE.com)
    • The panel includes Renee Young, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Shawn Michaels and will likely feature three matches from the card.
  • WrestleMania, 7pm ET, WWE Network and PPV, Orlando, FL
    • The biggest show of the year and definitely the longest.

Monday, April 3

  • Raw, 8pm ET, USA Network, Orlando, FL
    • In what has become an annual tradition, the Raw after WrestleMania should feature some call-ups from NXT and a hot crowd.