Bill Goldberg wasn’t a wrestler for very long, but he certainly did make an impact during his brief time in the ring.
When Goldberg debuted in World Championship Wrestling, the business was at a peak. It was September 1997 when Goldberg defeated Hugh Morrus (Bill DeMott) in his first ever televised wrestling match on WCW Monday Nitro. One of the most iconic moments in the history of World Championship Wrestling was the Monday Nitro on July 6, 1998, when Goldberg defeated Hollywood Hogan for the Championship in front of a sold-out live audience that was packed inside the Georgia Dome. That show provided a brief reprieve for Nitro, who was able to overtake Raw that night in the ratings (even though Raw was beginning to pull ahead at that point in the Monday Night Wars).
From there, Goldberg would be the most popular babyface in the company until its demise in 2001. Goldberg would be one of several WCW wrestlers who chose to sit out their contracts after WWF purchased WCW, as opposed to taking a pay cut to compete right away for Vince McMahon. It wouldn’t be until 2003 that Goldberg would debut with the WWE, and his run in the company was anything but spectacular. Although Goldberg would win the World Championship (the same gold belt that he held in WCW) his run with the company was largely forgettable.
Goldberg has only been around pro-wrestling sparingly as of late, and never on a very big stage. Although he has kept a low profile since 2004, Goldberg has kept himself busy since retiring from the world of pro-wrestling.
10 Became a Mixed Martial Arts Commentator/Spokesperson
Goldberg’s character in the late '90s resembled a mixed martial artist to some degree. In particular the gloves that Goldberg wore were very similar to those worn by mixed martial artists; with the covered knuckles and exposed fingers. This served to enhance the aura of realness that Goldberg had at the time, as did how stiff the guy worked in the ring.
Turns out Goldberg is a big mixed martial arts fan, even stating that had it been more popular when he was younger that he would have given it a try. Goldberg was 37 years old when he left the WWE, however, a similar age to CM Punk’s when he announced that MMA would become his second career.
9 Radio Appearances on 4th and Pain
Goldberg seemed to want nothing to do with the world of pro-wrestling since leaving World Wrestling Entertainment in 2004. It’s easy to see why Goldberg might be quick to put that world behind him, having been booed by the WrestleMania 20 live audience in his last match. Goldberg’s attitude towards the business always seemed to be a little patronizing in interviews he would give post-retirement, as if the former Atlanta Falcon was above pro-wrestling.
8 Acting Career
Most wrestlers that had even a mild amount of success (or even less than that) attempt an acting career once their in-ring one concludes. Goldberg is no different.
The size and screen presence that helped make Goldberg a success in World Championship Wrestling also serves him well in terms of getting movie roles. Much like other former wrestlers with huge frames and muscular physiques, Goldberg has found an acting niche for himself with small roles that require performers with such a look.
7 He Got Married
Goldberg would meet his future wife, Wanda Ferraton, on the set of the movie Santa’s Slay. Ferraton was a stunt-double for the movie and evidently saw the 6 ft. 4, 285 lb. Goldberg in the role of a murderous Santa and thought “this is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
The version of Santa Claus that Bill Goldberg played in this movie was unlike any previous incarnation of the character ever. While Santa Claus is normally responsible for giving gifts out to all the good girls and boys, Goldberg’s Santa murdered people - a lot of people. The film generally received negative reviews, but not as bad as you might think.
6 Animal Welfare Advocacy
Many ex-wrestlers find charitable causes to work on following their retirement. Both AJ Lee and Lita began working to improve the lives of animals, and so has Goldberg.
After AJ Lee retired following her WrestleMania 31 match with Paige against the Bella Twins, AJ decided to develop a clothing line. The proceeds of her “Animal Avenger” t-shirts and other apparel are donated to PAWS Chicago, an organization that helps homeless animals in the city. Amy Dumas, better known to wrestling fans as Lita, founded the animal welfare charity “Amy Dumas Operation Rescue and Education” or ADORE in 2003.
5 Collecting Vintage Cars
Goldberg is a vintage and muscle car collector, and aficionado. He has appeared on several television programs over the years that deal with the subject.
Similar to Steve Austin’s Redneck Challenge, Goldberg hosted a reality-series competition program where contestants would compete by racing in a road-rally format over the course of 18 days. The show, named Bullrun aired on the Speed Network from 2007-2010.
4 Charity Work
While Goldberg has done some work as an animal welfare advocate, that does not account for the bulk of Goldberg’s charity work.
Goldberg developed a reputation for being a very charitable guy during the peak of his popularity with WCW in the late 1990s. As the top babyface of the company Goldberg was a popular figure involved in charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Goldberg would later tell a story of how when WCW turned him heel (or attempted to at least) he was forced to cut a promo on recent cancer-survivor “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, but the problem was that Goldberg was entertaining a Make-A-Wish child in the back during the event who was suffering from the same disease. He speaks of this story as a way of expressing some of the more difficult aspects of working in the wrestling business.
3 “Who’s Next?” Podcast
Surprise, surprise ... another wrestler had a podcast. It used to be that if you wanted to broadcast nothing but the sound of yourself talking you needed to be a radio host. Advancements in technology over the years however has changed all that, and now anyone with a following of fans can start their own podcast and have an instant audience.
2 Owns His Own Muay Thai Gym
But Goldberg has found another way to stay around the mixed marital arts world: he owns his own gym.
1 Legends of Wrestling
When Goldberg left WWE after an ill-fated run in 2004, many assumed that was the last we would ever see of him in a wrestling ring. Goldberg’s career in many ways was embodied by him being brief; his matches were over in seconds, he became WCW World Champion in less than a year, but he would also disappear from the business in just as rapid a fashion.
In all Goldberg only had a 5-year career in professional wrestling over the course of two stints: 1997-2001 (WCW), and 2003-4 (WWE).
Goldberg became the public face of “Legends of Wrestling,” an independent promotion which emphasizes names from the 80s and 90s, in the summer of 2015. While Goldberg has not officially competed for the promotion as of ye,t he does occupy a figurehead on-air role with the company.
Goldberg’s first time back in a wrestling ring after 11 years away was to rescue Rob Van Dam from a Scott Steiner beatdown in the main event of a Legends of Wrestling show. In January 2016, Goldberg ran out to spear Scott Steiner one more time, just moments after Steiner became the promotion’s first ever World Champion.
Whether or not Goldberg ever wrestles an official match for the company remains unclear, but his involvement with the company is still the first we have seen of him in a wrestling ring since the fiasco of WrestleMania 20.
Sources: MMAFighting, Wikipedia.com, BillGoldberg.com, CombatCrate.com
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