The year is 2020. The WrestleMania is 36. The location is inside an empty gym in Orlando, Florida. The WWE Universal Champion is 53-year-old Bill Goldberg. This might not be the darkest timeline, but it sure as hell might be the weirdest, at least when it comes to professional wrestling.
On night one of WrestleMania 36, Goldberg marched to the ring to defend his prize not against Roman Reigns, his previously advertised opponent, but against Braun Strowman, who replaced Reigns at the literal last minute due to Reigns’ immunocompromised state putting him at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. With literally zero interaction between champion and challenger before the match, what could the WWE Universe expect to see?
Despite being outweighed by 100 pounds, Goldberg still attempted a Jackhammer (after connecting with four straight spears, going for a pinfall attempt after spear No. 3), but had it reversed into three straight powerslams by the Monster Among Men, followed by a running powerslam, after which Strowman covered him for the pin. This is Strowman’s first Universal Championship — and presumably, Goldberg’s last. It is also not only Strowman’s first singles victory at WrestleMania, it’s his first singles match at the Grandaddy Of ‘Em All, having previously won the tag team championship with a [checks notes] 10-year-old boy named Nicholas in 2018.