There has been a ton of speculation as to what really happened behind the scenes with Roman Reigns pulling out of WrestleMania and how Braun Strowman became the replacement. There have been some stories that Goldberg didn’t want to lose to Strowman and that he’s now got heat behind the scenes, while others suggest that report isn’t true.
During an appearance on the CarCast podcast, Goldberg tried to shed a little light on the situation. He discussed the days leading up to the match, how Reigns was trying to make it work and then why he ultimately pulled out. He explained that WWE’s decision to try and make the Reigns’ match work was both a business decision and Reigns’ desire to try and forge ahead. He said:
“I don’t know why it was even considered in the beginning besides he’d invested the time and WWE invested the money in the match. Literally, until the 23rd hour, it was still a possibility that he and I were going to wrestle.”
Goldberg noted, as far as he’s aware, Reigns was going to try to make it work but had serious fears about getting sick:
“I think what happened was somebody was sick and Roman had heard about it. They just had the flu. Just the fact that someone was sick under 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 from a person in his shoes are concerned. You’ve got to love the guy because up to the 11th hour, he was still willing to do it.”
Why WWE Didn’t Announce The New Opponent Was Braun Strowman
It seems as though the reason WWE didn’t announce Strowman as Goldberg’s new opponent until last minute was because there was hope they could still shoot the match. In fact, Goldberg said he wrestled Strowman, lost the title and then WWE was going to try and shoot another match between Goldberg and Reigns.
“I did the match with Braun and then it was possible I could wrestle Roman again before the 5th. That obviously fell through,” he said. Then he tried to explain what he was thinking when WWE called and asked him about wrestling again. He explained:
“You’ve seen me go through this stuff. Could you imagine me being done on Friday, my obligations were complete for the year, my second match was already wrestled, so I was literally done. So I come back here on Friday, jump on the tractor, eat as many bon bons and drink as many cokes and don’t go to the gym for five days and then I get a phone call in the middle of the week that it’s still a possibility.”
When asked why Reigns was still in the promotions before they finally announced the change, Goldberg said there was serious thought that Reigns could still go. The WWE environment was very controlled, guys were flown in and out, went and quarantined, flown back in and out and repeated the process like Ground Hog Day. He said Vince was there the entire time and wasn’t going to put anyone in a spot he wouldn’t put himself in. But, because someone got the flu, that was it for Reigns. He just couldn’t chance it.
He didn’t mention any animosity toward Strowman, but did say it was different going into a match with no build-up and no prior story. He said everyone was just professional, had a job to do and did it.