Goldberg signing with WWE in 2003 was a huge coup for Vince McMahon. On his Something To Wrestle podcast, former WWE producer Bruce Prichard discussed why McMahon was initially hesitant to sign the former WCW Triple Crown winner.
According to Prichard, McMahon was excited at the prospect of signing Goldberg, but he would start to have some reservations. Goldberg didn't want to commit to a full-time schedule, so McMahon soured on the idea at times. But McMahon couldn't fight his desire to sign the pro wrestling legend, so he eventually relented and went through with it.
"There were a few things, but I don't even know what the hell they were. There would be times where we would be hot on Goldberg and ideas of him vs The Rock. When it reached a point where we didn't have him for the Royal Rumble and we had WrestleMania all penciled in, and it is good to go, now we are in post-WrestleMania mode. Okay, so, when are we going to do this and how are we going to do this? Vince McMahon is like, 'I need Bill Goldberg stuff, I need Bill Goldberg stuff,' and then it was like, 'F**k Goldberg,'" Prichard said. "So, every time something came up Vince would then check out on him. It would be something about if we didn't have him full-time and if they were not willing to work dates, then I don't want him. At the same time, Vince McMahon's feeling is that if he can just get Bill Goldberg into this environment, then it's like, you know what, maybe I can get him to love pro wrestling. Maybe I can get him to love WWF. Then, he will be ours and will love it here and would want to do stuff."
Prichard revealed that Goldberg had his own reservations when he signed with the WWE. He said Goldberg was going through his own personal issues and it affected his mood backstage, so he would isolate himself from the other superstars.
"I think at this stage, Bill was really paranoid. He had a lot of people in his ear. He was in new surroundings, and he was unsure of himself, and I think that people played up that paranoia and that they were getting in his head," Prichard said. "He didn't trust anybody, and he was unhappy, and he let everyone around him know he was unhappy. Bill kind of kept to himself, which didn't help when you are supposed to be hanging with the boys, and be one of the boys, and be out and about, he didn't do that, so that didn't help him out a whole lot either."
Despite Goldberg's unhappiness backstage, officials decided to give him a run with the World Heavyweight Championship, which he won from Triple H at Unforgiven. Prichard said they didn't want to give up on Goldberg despite how lackluster his run with the company had been up to that point.
"We were trying something else. Trying to make it work, but you don't give up," Prichard said. "We had him for a year, so we are trying to make the most out of it, you can't just give up and say, f**k it, it didn't work. You hope that eventually the talent will get it."
If any portion of these quotes is used, please be sure to credit Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard via Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.