Today, Bill Goldberg is a division name in the wrestling industry.
Many fans believe the veteran may have gone past his welcome with his limited movement set and judging by his recent record, they may have a point.
Other fans hail the star power Goldberg brings whenever he’s on TV and appreciate the nostalgia his presence evokes.
There is no doubt that he was a major star around 1998, where he was arguably one of the biggest draws in the business for a few years.
However, unlike his then-rival Stone Cold Steve Austin, he didn’t always dream of becoming a wrestler or finding his way into it.
American football consumed Goldberg. Speaking on a WWE documentary, he said, “I was born to be a football player. I grew up with two older brothers who played Division 1 football, my dad played football, everyone I knew played football.
“The only thing I always wanted to do was play football. Once I put on the helmet and the pads and was able to hit someone, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. And it’s a feeling that I could reproduce afterwards.
He was selected in the eleventh round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams after coming out of Georgia as a defensive tackle.
During his four years in the league, Goldberg played 14 times and started once, all for the Atlanta Falcons.
His career came to an end when he tore his pelvis abdomen during a game, which led to his release by Atlanta after falling down the pecking order during rehab.
“Unfortunately for me, it was the beginning of the end. The point is, I wasn’t a fully professional defensive tackle. I had to fight training after training to keep my job, ”said Goldberg.
In 1995, he was selected by the new expansion team, the Carolina Panthers, in the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft, but never played a game for the franchise and was the first player cut by the Panthers.
“Although football is the only thing I aspire to do, I failed. I had to find a plan B, the only problem was that I didn’t have one. I had nothing to fall back on. I didn’t want to do anything other than lift. And lift. And lift.
“I worked in main events throughout my career with the Atlanta Falcons for four years. I had met Lex Luger, Sting, Buff Bagwell. I am practicing and I hear someone laughing at me behind the back.
“I watch, and it’s all three. I’m a sensitive guy so I exploded instantly. I turned to them and said, “Blow him up the ass!” and I was waiting for one of them to come see me, because I would have torn their faces apart by then. I was nothing but someone to keep away from, ”Goldberg recalls.
Not in a good space, Goldberg was looking for his next business. While the 6-foot-4 athlete was in incredible shape, he had no idea what he was going to apply to.
Then a chance meeting with Diamond Dallas Page at a strip club of all places changed everything.
“The first time I met Bill Goldberg was actually at the Gold Club, a gentlemen’s club,” DDP began. “And I was actually with Eric Bischoff at the time. I’m talking to this cat and at the time Bill had full hair and I’m like, ‘man, this guy is money. Eric, meet this guy! They start talking and I’m like “Dude, you gotta do this.”
Back then, WCW was soaring during the Monday Night Wars with WWE behind the NWO and Goldberg soon learned there was an incredible amount to be won.
“So I made the decision. I picked up the phone and called Eric Bischoff. I will never forget what I told him. “ I’ve made up my mind to wrestle and I won’t be one of those $ 500 pieces of shit to throw around the ring. I will make a difference. ”
As Goldberg himself admits, it’s a pretty daring thing to say when you’re completely new to the business, but he was also right about going into a 173-0 streak in WCW and holding the title. for 173 days at the end of 1998.
Kevin Nash was the man to defeat him – thanks to a cattle goad at the hands of Scott Hall – and many have argued that his aura was never quite the same after that.
Still, he remained a huge star for the promotion and even spent a year in WWE from 2003-2004 after WCW passed away in 2001.
He returned to WWE after 13 years of retirement in 2016 and began working with Brock Lesnar before being inducted into the Hall of Fame two years later, much to the chagrin of legendary Bret Hart, whose career ended after a match with him.
“He was one of the less professional wrestlers to ever work in the company,” he said, discussing the care he took for his opponent in the ring.
“For Bill Goldberg to be in the Hall of Fame… he hurt everyone he worked with.
Either way, Goldberg remains a part-time contender at the age of 54 and is set to face current champion Drew McIntyre at the Royal Rumble.
And he knows who to give huge credit to for his success.
“DDP, every time I say your name or think about your name, it makes me smile one of the biggest smiles ever.
“For one reason or another, I can’t pin it down, it’s for many reasons. Your enthusiasm is second to none, in the company and in the world. Your passion is unmatched, your knowledge is unmatched and your work, your dedication to detail is unmatched.
“It is an honor and a privilege to know you, it is an honor and a privilege to be taught by you. I owe you everything, my man and I love you, my man, I just wanna tell you.
And the Gold Club, of course.