WWE Hall Of Famer Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, who recently spoke in depth about his favorite tag team partner, the late great Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart on the Confessions Of The Hitman webseries, talked about another former tag team partner on the show recently. This time, Hart shared his thoughts on WWE Hall Of Famer Goldberg in the episode entitled “Nature Of The Business”. Among many other things, Hart discussed getting concussed and retired by an errant side kick by Goldberg, what the “clumsy” kick ultimately cost Hart, and why the true nature of the professional wrestling business is putting your opponent’s health and safety above your own.
According to Hart, Goldberg was a “gorilla” that no one taught how to work safely. Even though Hart liked Goldberg interpersonally, the former Atlanta Falcon was “dangerous,” “roided up,” and sported a “workrate of 0/10”.
“[Goldberg] was a gorilla,” Hart recalled. “[Goldberg] was a guy that nobody seemed to have taught how wrestling really works. He seemed to think he could just pick a guy up and just slam him through the mat as hard as you could and that was good wrestling. But I always liked Bill as a person. His wrestling, his workrate was 0/10. Like, everything he did hurt – everything! He could tie up with you and hurt you. He’d tie up with himself and hurt himself!
“Bill was one of those types of guys that I don’t think understood ever that it’s supposed to look like it hurt but it’s not supposed really hurt. And he had so many people praising him because he’d run you over like a car. Like, he’d football tackle you with no pads on. He’s all jacked up and roided up, and he’s about 280 lbs. You might as well have a real car just drive over top of you. He’d line up and just run you down, knock you down, and hurt guys. I asked, ‘how does he do that without hurting everybody?’ And everybody he worked with would come to the back holding their ribs. Guys would have tears in their eyes from how much pain they were in, and he was a really reckless and dangerous guy to wrestle.”
Apparently, Goldberg injured the legendary Haiku by spiking him on his head during a bodyslam.
“[Goldberg] did a bodyslam to a guy named Haiku, but he bodyslammed him straight down, head first, right into the ring. And [Haiku] was out of wrestling – maybe ended his career. I know he got hurt with a neck injury and he was out for a really long time.” Hart said, “[Goldberg] was really dangerous to work with. You never knew what he was going to hurt you with. Everything he did was dangerous.”
With respect to the kick from Goldberg that concussed Hart, ‘The Excellence Of Execution’ divulged that there was no skill involved in the execution of the move; Goldberg simply kicked Hart as hard as he could. In Hart’s view, apologies do not matter when you recklessly end another professional wrestler’s career.
“The kick was the work of a total– like, somebody who had absolutely no skill at all. He literally threw me into the ropes and tried to kick my head off my shoulders. Like, there was no working aspect to it,” Hart continued. “There’s no way you can do it without hurting somebody, and the thing with Bill was that all the ‘I’m sorries’ in the world don’t mean anything when you hurt somebody for real.”
Hart claimed that Goldberg never checked up on him despite ending his illustrious professional wrestling career, and even excused his recklessness as “the nature of the business”. Hart countered that the nature of the professional wrestling business is actually to protect each other.
“It ended my career, and one of the things that always bothered me about Bill was about a year after he hurt me– which he never called me and he never talked to me about it. He never called to see how I was doing or anything like that, but he did say when I saw him about a year after I got hurt, in fact a few weeks before [WCW] terminated my contract, I remember he said to me, ‘it’s the nature of the business – we all know what can happen out there. It’s the nature of the business.'” Hart said, “I’m like, ‘naw, it’s not the nature of the business. The nature of the business is to not hurt the guy you’re working with. That’s your first priority.'”
During the interview, Hart stated that he would have been paid out in full like Goldberg and Hulk Hogan when WWE bought WCW, but he only lasted 10 mos. into his WCW deal before getting concussed. ‘The Hitman’ claimed that Goldberg’s reckless kick ultimately cost him $15 million.
“If I hadn’t got hurt when I did– they ended my [contract]. I hung on ’til it wasn’t quite a year; I hung on for 10 months and then they sacked me. But [WWE] bought out WCW and the guys that both got paid out where Goldberg and [Hulk] Hogan. They both got paid out in full in their contract what was owed to them by Ted Turner as part of the deal.
“I would have been part of that deal. I would have been paid out in full. I wouldn’t have to go back and work for WWE. I wouldn’t have to have had to work for anybody. I would have cashed in and made $15 million. But because Goldberg’s kick ended my career, they terminated me 10 months after I got hurt and I never got anything. My contract was null and void. If I couldn’t wrestle within six weeks, you’re done. And it’s one of those loopholes in my contract, but my contract was always with Ted Turner – not with WCW, and that was the key. That’s what Hogan had and that’s what Goldberg had,” Hart noted. “They had their contracts with Ted Turner.”
In addition to costing Hart $15 million, Goldberg’s “clumsy kick” also cost Hart his health, as ‘The Best There Is, Was, And Ever Will Be’ never suffered from head problems prior to the kick.
“So that little clumsy kick by Bill Goldberg cost me $15 million in like, 10 seconds.” Hart continued, “And not only that, I mean, I was in a really serious concussed state for almost two years. And a little over two years later, or in that two year span, I suffered a stroke while riding my bicycle and I took an innocent tumble off my bike on the grass. But it was all tied in. I’m sure it was all tied in to the kick in the head. I never had any problems with my head.”
According to Hart, he had to sue Lloyd’s Of London because the insurer tried to back out of his policy, saying his had undisclosed head injuries, which was not true.
“I had to sue Lloyd’s Of London for my settlement, which they did everything humanly possible to not pay me. I don’t think that’s something common to all insurance companies, but they just flat out refused to pay me and said I had a history of concussions that I had kept secret from them, which was actually never the case.” Hart said, “I was never diagnosed with a concussion, nor do I remember ever having any.”
In Hart’s expert view, if every pro wrestler worked like Goldberg, the locker room would not be healthy to put on shows week to week.
“In [pro] wrestling, you’re not allowed to kick somebody in the head as hard as you can; nobody’s going to last. There wouldn’t be any wrestlers. If everyone wrestled the way Bill Goldberg did, there wouldn’t be enough people for the show the next week.”
Subscribe to Confessions Of The Hitman here, If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Confessions Of The Hitman with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.