If you had any doubt about wrestling legend Arn Anderson’s claim that Bill Goldberg was “As hot as anybody has ever been in the history of this business,” that should be alleviated after hearing the reaction that Goldberg got upon his return to WWE television this week on RAW.
It had been 12 years since fans saw Goldberg, and the crowd made sure to let him know he was missed as they serenaded him with chants. But there is more to the man than just wrestling. Below you’re going to learn all about the life of Goldberg, both in and outside the ring. We’ve got quotes from the man himself, as well as several other respected names in the industry to help paint a complete picture of who he is. We’ll cover some of the highs, like his favorite wrestling move, wrestling moment and even which wrestler he wanted to lose to first. But we’ve also made sure to cover the lows, like the horrific sports injury that derailed his life, his real life aggression and his thoughts on what it would be like to return to the ring.
Did you watch Goldberg in the 90s and are excited about his return? Or did you not see Goldberg in his prime and are wondering what all the hype is about? Then you owe it to yourself to read this list and get the most comprehensive look you’ll find online of one of the most entertaining superstars of all time. Feel encouraged to comment below and share the list on social media.
20. He Fought With Bam Bam Bigelow Over A Video Game
Goldberg had some grudges with a lot of professional wrestlers, but one of the most pronounced was his feud with Bam Bam Bigelow. When he was asked about Bigelow back in 1999, Goldberg responded
“You can’t get any more ‘hardcore’ than me. So, I don’t think twice about Bigelow’s background. It doesn’t bother me. I’ll fight him right in the street. I’ll fight him here today. I don’t care. Anybody on the face of the planet who says they’re ‘hardcore’ has to prove it to me.”
Bam Bam must have heard him, because later that year when the two were meeting with Electronic Arts to film footage for their upcoming WCW game, a fight broke out. Goldberg claimed that Bigelow started it, and by the time it was over there was over $5,000 in damage to the studio.
Anne Marie Stein who was the public relations representative for Electronic Arts was reached out to for comment and said “It made my heart race. I can tell you that much…you have so many pounds of mad wrestler in the room.”
19. He Was Cut From The NFL
It can be easy to think that Goldberg has had a lot of positives in his life, but there is no doubt that he has also had his fair share of low points. When he was talking about his success in WCW, he made sure to acknowledge that he suffered for several months after being kicked out of the NFL and felt like nobody wanted him. He was forced to stop playing football because of what he called his most painful sports injury ever, but more on that below!
After quitting football, Goldberg took up a job as a personal trainer where he got to meet Sting, Lex Luger, and DDP. Goldberg would later credit Luger and Sting with helping start his career, as it was those two that brought him to his first ever wrestling match and allowed him to meet with Eric Bischoff. Looks like that injury ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to him!
18. His Opinion On Gillberg
In 1999 the WWF decided they wanted to try and parody Goldberg with their own variation, Gillberg. The WWF gave him the Light Heavyweight Championship with the original idea being that Gillberg was going to lose 173 consecutive matches.
You can imagine Goldberg had some pretty strong feelings about the character, saying
“Hey, man. If they want to waste time and money talking about me then they can do what they want. I could care less. They’re not going to diminish my drawing power. If anything, they are building it up,” Goldberg said matter-of-factly. “I see it as the most sincere form of flattery. Deep down inside it pisses me off. I want to break his (Duane Gill’s) neck. I want to break McMahon’s neck. I want to break everybody’s neck over there but it’s television. It’s competition. They gotta do what they gotta do.”
Let’s hope Vince McMahon made sure to smooth things over with Goldberg before they brought him on board!
17. His Favorite Title Reign And Moment In Wrestling
Goldberg had several opportunities to host the belt around his waist, but when he was asked what his favorite title reign was, you probably won’t be shocked at the answer.
“WCW winning WHC because first, always the best. The excitement around the streak and wrestling Hogan in front of 45,000 at the Georgia Dome. It was a special moment. Not to mention the fact that end of the night I had my former teammates come out and save me in the ring and that made it even more special for me,” said Goldberg when interviewed.
If you watched Goldberg’s recent appearance on RAW, you would also know that one of his biggest professional highlights came on that night, as he took the ring and said “I never thought I’d be in this ring again, so thank you for the humble return. What makes it so special is that my wife and my son are here to see me live for the first time ever.”
16. His Funniest Stories From In The Ring
Goldberg mentioned in the interview that most of his best stories from the ring are X-Rated and that he wouldn’t divulge them. But before you get too disappointed, he did share two hilarious stories, saying “I think Shawn Michaels pulling Ric Flair’s trunks down and then tagging me in so I could wrestle Ric, was one of the funniest moments.”
You can imagine there are a lot of memorable moments, but a naked Ric Flair is definitely something he probably would rather not have burned into his mind! The second moment that Goldberg divulged involved Mr. Perfect.
“[Curt had to] hide under the ring for two hours before his match culminated at the end of the night. He was under there with a bunch of other people and he’d eaten a few hard boiled eggs. I’ll let you fill in the blanks, from there.”
15. He Wasn’t Just Supposed To Win
If you’re a fan of Goldberg, you’re probably well aware that he came in and rocked house with his “173-0 match winning streak.” But you may be interested to know that Goldberg wasn’t just instructed to beat his opponents, he was supposed to absolutely embarrass and emasculate them. As if to make it seem like there could be nobody out there nearly capable of toppling the big man.
Goldberg recalled a story to an interviewer about his younger days in which he had a match against Barbarian, and in it, Barbarian was allowed to land a belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope. While Goldberg still won the match easily, he arrived backstage to a furious Eric Bischoff who made sure to make his point heard that Goldberg was never to allow that to happen to him again.
14. What He Thought Of His Critics
If you didn’t like Goldberg, then you probably really didn’t like him. After all, nothing is as annoying as seeing a new wrestler that you hate win again and again, and again. But over the years Goldberg has gotten plenty used to his critics, and when asked about it, was incredibly blunt in his answer saying,
“I could care less what these people say. They are probably guys who never stepped in the ring. They are probably people who don’t have a lick of talent. They are probably people who didn’t get that shot. You know what? I’ll be the first one to admit it. I was a one-in-a-million shot. But they want me to be remorseful about it? Kiss my ass! Absolutely not!”
13. Who He Wanted To Lose To
Goldberg finally lost in a match to Kevin Nash at Starrcade. It was definitely one of the bigger moments in WCW history, but you’ll be absolutely stunned to find out who Goldberg originally wanted to lose his streak too. In an interview, Goldberg revealed who it was, saying “Bobby Eaton, I wanted to put Bobby over in his hometown on his birthday in a dark match during my streak. They would not let me do it.”
You can understand why management was not going to go for that idea, even if it was a dark match. This is definitely not a well-known story, so much so that when Goldberg told it he opened up about how upset he was, saying “Nobody f*****g tells you about that f*****g story, but it is always ‘Goldberg- he was selfish, he was this and that’- at the end of the day I had power at times, and I never used it maliciously.”
12. His Favorite Wrestling Move
If we’re being honest, Goldberg was far from the most technical wrestler in the ring. But hey, he didn’t have to be! He was a friggin tank and when he came running at you, you had better make sure you weren’t wearing white trunks to the ring. While he must have had several moves that he loved administering, he was quick to answer the question when asked, saying “The most popular move in professional wrestling, the spear! I maybe didn’t invent it but I did it better than anybody else. That’s definitely my favorite move, to my opponents they probably didn’t like it too much but I enjoyed it immensely.”
The fact that it also felt a little bit like delivering a devastating a football tackle was also a pretty nice feeling for the once Super Bowl hopeful Goldberg. We’re sure Brock Lesnar is definitely going to have to spend some time in the next month preparing to receive at least one shot to the gut.
11. His Worst Injury
When you’re the size of Goldberg, it’s gotta take a pretty significant injury to knock you down. But he suffered such an injury back when he was playing football. When describing what happened, Goldberg said “I Ripped my abdomen off my pelvis playing football. My lower abdomen came off my pelvic bone. That was pretty painful.”
The injury came in Goldberg’s 3rd year playing professional football and caused him to retire from the sport. When Goldberg was asked about the most painful thing he suffered in the ring, he recalled a moment in which he had to shove his hand through a limousine window. The process he said left him with roughly 190 stitches!
10. He Used To Eat 15,000-20,000 Calories Per Day
Prior to stepping back into the wrestling ring, Goldberg said he would spend roughly 4 days a week doing kickboxing as well as different physical activities to help get his body in shape. While we aren’t too sure about his current diet, he admitted in an interview that in the past he consumed roughly 15,000-20,000 calories a day when he was at his “peak size” which he joked was also when it looked like he had traps coming out of his ears! His appetite is still there though, as he informed the interviewer that he had 4 bacon cheeseburgers on his way to the interview and that was just a precursor for dinner! Let’s hope he’s invested a great deal into his plumbing and toilet paper funds.
There is definitely a lot of talk about Goldberg after his recent appearance on RAW and none of it is about how the star looks out of shape, so you can imagine he’s going to look every bit as formidable as ever when he steps in the ring against Lesnar at Survivor Series on November 20th.
9. How Exaggeration Killed Goldberg
Sure, we all know Goldberg went 173-0, but fans that watched Goldberg during the time of the streak also knows that there is no way he actually won that many matches. The exaggeration, as written by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds in the book The Death of WCW, killed the credibility of Goldberg.
“One week, announcer [Tony] Schiavone’s number didn’t jive with the number the hardcores [fans] had. Then, the next week, it was even farther off. As it turned out, in a lame effort to make his streak appear more meaningful, the company had started to add imaginary numbers to the total. This had the exact opposite of its intended effect, as once fans figured out that the streak number had become fiction, all those signs fans had been bringing to the arena’s trumpeting Goldberg’s record disappeared.”
Chris Jericho who was also wrestling in WCW at the time also made the joke, “One week he’d be 42–0 and seven days later he’d be 58–0. Did stepping on bugs count?”
8. Everything He Has Done Outside Of The Ring
Goldberg started his acting career in 1999 when he was at the peak of prominence in WCW. His first big break was Universal Soldier: The Return that starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. Goldberg was also the host of the reality television series Bullrun that ran for 21 episodes and followed 12 teams competing in an 18-day road rally race. His best role may have come from The Longest Yard which also brought in Kevin Nash, The Great Khali, and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Perhaps to add some variety to his life, he also has experience playing a homicidal Santa Clause in Santa’s Slay.
7. He Considered His Time in WWE A Success
When Goldberg made the switch from WCW to WWE, he was far from the only superstar make that awkward transition. In past interviews, Goldberg has openly talked about how “It was a very tenuous, strenuous, very weird situation because both entities had wanted nothing more than to destroy the other.” He continued, “Once we came together, there was still a bit of that dynamic.”
Despite that, Goldberg eventually settled into the WWE and you may be happy to hear he had no regrets from his time, saying “It was successful. I got paid and I put smiles on people’s faces, so I don’t think you can say that it wasn’t a success by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of the day, leaving WrestleMania, having my hand raised, beating Brock Lesnar… I’d say it was a pretty successful tenure.”
There’s a fun bit of hindsight there, as the interview was clearly conducted prior to his agreement to return to the ring for one more match. Let’s hope he considers his return a success and doesn’t hurt his legacy!
6. He Thought He Had One More Left In Him
We all know this one, as Goldberg emphatically made his return to the WWE and took on a challenge from Brock Lesnar. But you may find it interesting to know Goldberg’s answer when he was asked earlier this year on if he thought he had one more left in him.
Goldberg Responded, “I’ve got 50 more in me. It just depends on the ability to keep it up to my standards. I love everybody to death and I greatly appreciate their opinions, but none of it matters except for mine, because I hold myself to such high standards. The reality is, you’ve got movies, TV appearances, a kid, you’re 49 years old … things aren’t like they used to be. It’s a completely different day. I’m 20 to 30 pounds less than what I was…Would I like to be that guy again? Absolutely. He’s still in there.”
5. He is Heavily Against The Over-Sexualization Of Women
It’s clear that if you watched wrestling during the time that Goldberg was the most prominent, as well as during the Attitude Era, there is no denying that the over sexualisation of women was a pretty rampant theme. At the very least the WWE is moving heavily away from that and instead, trying to promote women based more on their in-ring skills than their red carpet looks.
When Goldberg was asked his thoughts on how it used to be, he was staunchly against it saying, “We are farther away from the kids and closer to pornography. It bothers me. Absolutely. We have a show that has a girl in a bikini in every single segment. I’m not in favour of that. I voice my opinion on everything I have a problem with. We can’t shut our eyes on the kids who watch. There is a time and a place for segments where kids can watch with their parents, and we don’t have it.”
4. His Biggest Influences In The Ring
While some people may have the impression that Goldberg is a selfish wrestler, when he was asked about who helped inspire him in the ring, he was not short on names. Diamond Dallas Page, who was one of his friends that helped bring him into wrestling was one of his top candidates, as was “Sarge” DeWayne Bruce who helped train him at the WCW Power Plant.
Curt Henning, Kenny Kaos, Robbie Rage, Yugi Nagata, The Steiner Brothers and Kevin Nash were also notable names that Goldberg admired.
There was nobody in the world that he respected as much as Sting though, saying in an interview “Ultimately, the reason why I got in the business was Sting, because I revered and respected him so much. I felt as though if he could do it and be able to look himself in the mirror, then by damn, Goldberg can do it, too.”
3. He Didn’t Care If He Won
Wait, what? Someone who won as many matches as Goldberg didn’t care if he won or lost? It’s true! That being said, it was far from in his control whether he won or lost, but when he was interviewed shortly after losing to Kevin Nash at Starrcade he was not angry, instead saying
“My goal is to improve every single time I get in the ring. You’re only as good as the next time you step into the ring. So, as long as I improve then win, lose or draw, I don’t care. My whole thing is to get better as a person, as an athlete and a wrestler. If it means I lose here and there. If it means I don’t get shots at the belts, so be it. As long as I improve, that’s all that I looking to accomplish.”
2. He Wanted The Star Of David On His Trunks
Goldberg was definitely a menacing force in the ring, but do you think his overall image would be different if he was allowed to go with his original look? Goldberg is proud to be Jewish, and admitted “I’m thinking of requesting the Star of David on my trunks, so I could be a more visible presence.” He went on to say, “I’m not the ‘stereotypical Jewish person.’ When you hear a guy named Goldberg, you think of someone working behind a desk investing your money or something.”
1. Eric Bischoff Thought He Shouldn’t Return
One of the biggest names associated with the career of Goldberg is Eric Bischoff. Which is why his comments when he was asked back on July 21st, 2016 on if Goldberg should return should leave you intrigued.
“Nope, and I’ll tell you why. Bill and I were really, really close through a family member and we didn’t have the kind of professional barriers that we would normally have. I would say to him, ‘look, Bill. Keep the mystique. Keep the memory alive.’ Because people want to see Bill on the cover of that video game, they see Bill Goldberg from the late 90s. They see that monster, that machine, that energy that was so capable and could deliver 110%. Bill [has] reached an age now where he’ll still put in 110%, but it won’t look like the same 110% that we remember.”
There is little denying that fans are hoping for at least a glimmer of the Goldberg that we fell in love with. Bischoff went on to say, “Watch the WWE Network. Watch a DVD. Relive that. Don’t try to relive it now because you won’t even meet your own expectations and you won’t meet the expectations of the audience. And that’s not what you want. That’s not how you want to end your career.”