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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Incomparable Goldberg
April 3, 2006 by Nevada Smith


Whether you are a fan obsessed with the world of wrestling, or merely a casual viewer who considers sports entertainment to be more the latter than the former, everyone has heard of a man who is both legendary and notorious in his profession, a man by the name of Bill Goldberg.

Goldberg's is a name that sparks the imagination in wrestling fans worldwide, whether he is receiving their praise or the victim of their scorn. No matter your opinion on the character known as "Da Man," the fact is that everyone has a viewpoint on his unique career, and that he has made a significant impact on the world of sports entertainment is a fact that cannot be denied.

The opinions on Bill Goldberg are as varied as are the people filling the stadiums at a WCW or WWE event, but OWW has seen very little in the way of variety when it comes to Goldberg articles. Therefore, I, a newcomer to the world of OnlineWorldofWrestling.com, am writing this article in response to those previously posted regarding "Da Man." While there are many valid arguments as to why a fan should not appreciate the contributions of Bill Goldberg to the wrestling industry, it will now be my duty to represent the opposition, the supporters of Goldberg who are tired of being called "sheep" for simply following a character that has captured our interest.

One of the premier arguments against Goldberg is his limited number of moves used in a match, and so I will address my opinion on this issue first. Indeed, there are few moves Goldberg used before and during his US Title reign, but we did actually see a wider variety of moves (including more submission maneuvers) afterwards. Continuing on through WWE, Goldberg utilized slams and other moves that are characteristic of a powerhouse such as himself, and although I agree that he was not given as many moves as he needed, I think he had more potential for technical mastery than most people realize. In conclusion on this point; Goldberg is a powerhouse and a brawler, and therefore he performs in the ring as such. It is really no different than such other big men as Kane and Batista (both of whom I enjoy watching), yet those two are almost never the objects of the hateful scrutiny that has been piled on Goldberg's shoulders.

Secondly, I bring up accusations of Bill's inability to sell the moves of other performers. Again, I think Goldberg has grown since his original performances, and ignoring the moves of others is not something he does quite as much as he once did. When he does shrug off such attacks as Ric Flair's chops, is it really that bad" Goldberg's gimmick was as a warrior, a gladiator who would face any obstacle to reach his goal, and I personally do not understand the problem with a big and powerful man such as himself being able to virtually ignore something as pathetic as chops (which do sting, but are otherwise relatively painless when suffered). When it comes to the more believable moves, Goldberg is perhaps one of the best actors in either the WCW or WWE (alongside the likes of Chris Benoit), and I think he should be admired for his convincing performances in recent matches. For instance, when Batista "shattered" his ankle, Goldberg put on one of the best acting stints I have seen in recent wrestling events.

The third point I bring up is his supposed lack of mic skills. Yes, Goldberg spends very little time talking, but is that really such a bad thing" Goldberg has always stood more for action than words, and when it comes down to it, that's what wrestling should be about. Forget the soap operas, wrestling is about wrestling-or more accurately; sports entertainment. In some instances, it is better for a performer to simply say what needs to be said, and then let his actions speak louder than his mouth.

Lastly (although I may continue bringing my opinion on Goldberg and others if this article is posted), I bring up the argument between those who appreciate more technical performers, and those who claim Goldberg is the most talented wrestler of all time. As readers can already tell, I am a huge Goldberg fan, but I will be one of the first to admit that he can't hold a candle to the likes of Kurt Angle when it comes to technical wrestling. One again, though, that's not saying he didn't have the ability to learn. He is a brawler, and it is simply more convincing to see him perform high impact maneuvers rather than other tactics.

In conclusion, I make no assumptions that Goldberg is "the greatest wrestler ever," but the impact he made on the wrestling community cannot be denied. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I have nothing against those who disagree with mine, but I think it is time for an end to the degradation of those who enjoyed Goldberg's career. We are not sheep, any more than those who faithfully follow some other wrestling personality. We are merely fans of the one we call Da Man, and let us leave it at that.

by Nevada Smith..


KBewAM wrote:
Hi Nevada. I agree that Goldberg had us all taken by his power and strength and the character he portrayed. He definitely made wrestling exciting in a kinda boring time, and everyone loved him and his charcter. He was just what wrestling needed to make people watch every week. I think what people don't like the most about him was his "the world owes me" attitude that he had, and that the likes of Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and many many others were still being held back and had more than paid their dues, and he just went and squashed everything, albeit that was his character. If you were at your job for 15 years and tried to work your way up, and then some guy with a year of experience came in and took over everything and demanded all the money and attention, you'd be a bit upset with him, too. They say you can really judge someone by what the people that work with him say. E-mail your story to Bret Hart and see what he says! I thought it was a very well thought out article, however. Nice to hear both sides of every story
Jesse Lee wrote:
I really didn't like Goldberg. Nothing against him, it was just that I never watched WCW all that much and his WWE run was horrible. I do, however, that despite the fact that he had near zero (or below zero) wrestling skills, he made a huge impact in the wrestling world. Fans all over the world were going "who's next"" and behaving exactly like Goldberg. It's the same thing throughout history. Hogan, Austin, Undertaker, Yokozuna, and Diesel were some of the major champions in WWE history and none of them did anything remotely close to wrestling. (I am aware that Austin did wrestle, but I meant his title reign in 98-whenever. After he broke his neck, his wrestling skill seemed to drop and he stuck with sparring.) Goldberg, unlike HBK, Flair, Bret, or Lesnar, had little wrestling ability, but got over huge when he was in WCW. This is why it confuses me when I hear people say he wasn't all that great. My response is, "If he wanted to win out of skill as though it were a real fight, WCW or WWE isn't the road for him." That goes with many wrestlers today. To this day, Samoa Joe reminds me of Goldberg, but only with the undefeated thing. Joe seems to have more of a heart in wrestling than Goldberg did and has a healthy mix of mat techniques and brawling techniques.
Vincent Catalano wrote:
While my views of Goldberg go along with most of the visitors to OWW, I will not deny that he had an impact on wrestling that will be remembered forever. Sadly the biggest way I will remember Bill Goldberg is for being the man that ended Bret Hart's career. Sure he was a great athlete, with a football career, and yes with time he could have become a more technical wrestler. Now that he is out of wrestling and hosting vintage car shows on TV, it seems like he didn't really care to advance his wrestling skill and career. While I'm not totally blaming Goldberg for the end of Hart's career it is unfortunate that a simple kick from an "inexperienced" wrestler took down one of the greatest of all time. I understand the idea of having a "monster" character that is impervious to pain, but those gimmicks can only last too long, and i believe in the long run aren't in the best interest for the company or the fans. Anyone remember a guy called The Ultimate Warrior"
Wattsrvn wrote:
Wait, wait, wait. Did I read that right" Did you say Goldberg had more potential for technical mastery than most people realize" In his autobiography, Goldberg said, quite clearly, that he did not even know how to use a move as basic as the snapmare (he even said he didn't know how to spell it!) That's not the mark of a technical wrestler my friend. People don't hate Goldberg because of the reasons you've listed. They don't hate him because he doesn't sell moves, or because he's got a limited arsenal of power moves. They hate him because he is seemingly only in professional wrestling for the money. When he left WWE, he made a list of demands when they asked if he was interested in resigning with them, one of them being more money. Also, Goldberg is sloppy with some of his maneouvres. His Jackhammer is frankly dangerous (especially when he does his one-armed version), and he has come extremely close to dropping guys on their heads with his Gorilla Slam. The only submission move I've ever seen Goldberg use was the Cobra Clutch against Sid Vicious back in WCW. I don't flat out hate Goldberg, but he ranks quite low on my list of all-time great professional wrestlers, and it's not for his wrestling skill (or lack of it).
Rob Steen wrote:
While I agree that everyone should be able to cheer for whomever they wish, I think that your views on Goldberg are clouded by misunderstandings of "Da Man".

Goldberg's mic skills were not bad, they were non existent. His vocabulary consisted of two words. This was fine in WCW, where he could squash the 145 no names that they had over there and not have to speak a word. But when he came to WWE he was exposed and booed much like John Cena is today. People aren't stupid they want to be entertained by mic skills like the Rock's, Jericho, Christian, HHH etc.

Goldberg was hated backstage. Why" He didn't give a damn about the sanctity of wrestling. He didn't sell moves which is why in his multi-year run as a wrestler never had a memorable match. Look at the difference. John Cena is terrible in the ring, but he respects people backstage, which is why people like HHH and Angle will let him go over them. And is why people refused to let Goldberg go over them.

My biggest and best point as to why Goldberg was the cancer of professional wrestling, HE ENDED BRET HART'S CARREER, the real greatest wrestler of all time. Who knows where wrestling would be today had that not happened. Goldberg should be locked out of any wrestling arena in the world. If he goes to TNA it could be disastrous. He may mule kick AJ Styles and end his career also.

I would say Goldberg should try the UFC, but Goldberg is a pussy, he got beat up by Chris Jericho backstage, for real. That's right the lead singer of FOZZY beat your brawler monster Goldberg down, so basically, I agree with your right to like whoever you want. I just don't think you have anything to like.
Scott Stone wrote:
I'm fairly indifferent about Goldberg. He was an opportunistic wrestler who gained a ton of fame which was built on a foundation of little substance, but that's not to say that he doesn't have at least a small place in the history of pro-wrestling. He does: he was the last big star of the now-defunct WCW.

That's pretty much where his substance as a pro-wrestler (and an athlete) begins and ends. Some people call Bill a "legend", which is ludicrous, considering that many of today's stars were around long before he showed up, and have been around for a long while since his departure. If Bill can put together, say, a ten year run in a wrestling organization, then MAYBE you can start hanging the monicker of "legend" on him...but until then, he belongs in the same category as Sid Vicious, Bam Bam Bigelow, the Ultimate Warrior, and Brock Lesnar: someone who could have been a hall of famer, if he had put some concerted effort into the business beyond the financial aspect of it. Others will go so far as to call Bill a "pussy" (which in context of the UFC, may fit), but that's just as ludicrous. Skill or no...pussies don't last as long in this business as even Bill did. Even if they did, I'd be willing to bet that of all the people who post messages on this site, there's less than one percent of one percent that would even have the balls to call Goldberg a pussy to his face...let alone have the ability to do anything about it if the comment pissed Bill off.

The other point that Goldberg supporters always bring up is that he played in the NFL. Let's not kid ourselves...there's a reason that Bill had to enter the world of pro wrestling, which happens to also be the same reason Lesnar never should have left: they couldn't cut it in the NFL. The only person that I'm aware of that had a relatively successful NFL career AND a fairly successful wrestling career is Steve McMichael...and he CHOSE to end his football career. I'm not saying that Mongo is a legend (far from it), I'm saying that playing in the NFL has no bearing on how good or bad a wrestler's career will be: football is an athletic SPORT...wrestling is athletic entertainment. There's a huge difference.

So where does Goldberg fit into the hierarchy of pro wrestling history" Better than some, worse than others. This could change, but as for now: his body of work, charisma, mic work, and wrestling ability are probably not strong enough to put him in the Hall of Fame, but are not so weak as to ignore altogether.
Nevada Smith wrote:
In response to the issue of Goldberg "ending Bret Hart's career", here's the facts. Yes, it was a misplaced kick that caused the concussion, BUT, that's not what ruined Hart's career. With all do respect to the excellence of execution, his passion for wrestling got in the way of his thinking, and he continued to wrestle even though he wasn't healed yet. It was THAT which ended his career, not the initial concussion itself. Plus, why does everyone still bring that up so insistantly" The ONLY person who has the right to hold a grudge against Goldberg is Bret Hart himself, and he has said several times that he doesn't blame Goldberg in the least, and he accepts it as merely an accident. I could perfectly understand that argument if, and only if, Bret had an issue with it. However, since the man involved in it has no concern with it anymore, why should the rest of us" It's not like anyone blamed Lesnar for breaking Hardcore Holly's neck, or any of the numerous other accidents that have occured throughout wrestling history. Bret Hart himself has put that incident in the past, and no offense, but you should too.
Joe L. wrote:
Wrestling used to be built on the one important term: respect. Today, you never see any of that in either wrestling promotion. That is because we have egomaniacs, greedy neanderthals, politicians, backstabbers and oblivious morons who give this sport a bad name and ruin it beyond wreckage due to their selfishness, ego, greed and arrogance. And I hate to say this but Bill Goldberg is one of those egomaniacs that is tarnishing the good name of professional wrestling.

I will not deny Goldberg's impact in the wrestling industry but in retrospective, his impact did more harm than good to the companies he worked with and to himself. I will not insult him because he is a bad talent, even though he is. John Bradshaw Layfield, John Cena and Kane get a bad rep as well but the difference between those three and Goldberg is that they try hard, work their asses off and do everything in their power to impress their employers. Goldberg never cared, he refused to work with other wrestlers and his roid rage made him an unbearable presence in the back. He never improved his wrestling and always ended up injuring his opponents in the ring. The way he ended Bret Hart's career showed he was as reckless in the ring as he was with his attitude.

What's even worse was Bill Goldberg's true motivation of going in the business: money. He, like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, never displayed any great passion for wrestling and despite his name value, sat at home and got paid 95% more than all the other wrestlers, even though they worked 95% harder than this guy. In hindsight, Goldberg used wrestling to put money in his pocket.

That is why I am praying for TNA to not sign Bill Goldberg. Do you really think Goldberg cares about wrestling" No. All he cares about is the freaking money and his laziness and selfish attitude exemplifies what is wrong with him and the entire wrestling industry. His wrestling skills are indeed questionable but it is his thick-headed ego that will dominate his legacy.

As it should.
Danny Brown wrote: Ernie Ladd was probably the most successful wrestler/NFL player.

David Barker wrote:
Everyone has an opinion, everyone has a favorite wrestler, and that is just fine.  I respect those rights, and your right to believe what you will. But your paragraph about no-selling really intrigued me.  I'm going to directly quote, "I personally do not understand the problem with a big and powerful man such as himself being able to virtually ignore something as pathetic as chops."  Now, I'm going to assume you don't understand how hard people hit when they chop.  My older brother is a trained professional wrestler, and wrestles from Michigan to Alabama,  and from Illinois to Philly.  That doesn't really matter, but what does matter.  Is my older brother likes to chop me.  Chops, when applied by someone who weighs well over 200 pounds, do more than sting when they connect with your flesh. And, if you're telling me it's okay to shrug off something as pathetic as chops.  Then why should I sell punches" Or forearms"  You don't just no-sell people on a regular basis.  If you want them to sell your moves, you have to sell theirs.  Look at Kane and Big Show, for the most part, they don't just no sell moves.  They're good about selling what their opponent is doing, certain times they ignore them, but Goldberg did it on a regular basis.  Which isn't okay. Get turn-by-turn driving directions you can really use - Windows Live Local is here!
Ernesto Diaz wrote:
You are so wrong about Goldberg being "the greatest wrestler ever." I never watched WCW but i've watched WWE and Goldberg was horrible. He only had a limited amount of move sets because he was too lazy to learn any other moves. How could you put garbage like Goldberg above the likes of Triple H or Kurt Angle. And also I would love to watch Kane and Batista better because they can actually wrestle. Kane and Batista don't have limited move sets like Goldberg has. You also didn't mention that when he was starting out in WCW he was injuring superstars and also ended Bret Hart's career. And also never once did you mention Goldberg the person instead of Goldberg the wrestler. Aside from his horrible wrestling skills he is also and arrogant, obnoxious crybaby. He was demanding more money from the WWE and if he didn't get what he waanted he would cry like a little baby. So Goldberg isn't "the greatest wrestler ever." In WCW he had squash matches and that is not a legacy. he is not a veteran like he says he is. All you are is a little sheep and don't know what wrestling really is.
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