WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg created a magnetic persona in WCW during the Monday Night Wars with WWE. From 1997 – 1998, the powerhouse found himself as the man to hold a long and fulfilling undefeated streak that would carry over to his new WWE Untold documentary, set to premiere this Sunday. Looking back at that prominent year, he feels very lucky and grateful to be one of pro wrestling’s top performers.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Goldberg replied in his interview on WWE’s The Bump. “To been given the opportunity in such a contentious time in professional wrestling when it was WCW versus WWE, it was a feather in our cap to have something different during that programming crunch. It was the embryonic state of me being in the wrestling where I was learning a lot and listening to other people’s directions. But again, at the end of the day, I was very lucky to be in that situation.”
As he was heading towards the end of his streak, Goldberg found himself gaining traction as a title contender when he defeated Raven during his first run with the former WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. He calls that match one of many unbelievable moments in his short career.
“My tenure in the wrestling business was quite short. I was a newbie, you know? I was always a guy that needed direction, that needed somebody to tell me what to do, what place to be in. So, at that point in my career, I was still learning,” he noted. “Raven, man, he was unbelievable. I don’t want to be that guy, but I was lucky to be in that situation.
His legacy would continue that same year in ’98 when he was the new titleholder of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship following a main event match with Hulk Hogan. He believes that match alone is something that can’t be replicated in any wrestling universe.
“I’m not going to pat myself on the back. Instead, I’m going to pat the bookers on the back. I truly believe it was bigger than anything going at that point in the wrestling universe,” he admitted. “I was lucky to be the recipient of it. We were looking for anything to beat WWE’s ass, and they were doing the same to us. We were able to give them something completely different. It was something special and organic. It was like Covid right now; it was ever-changing.”
For over 22 years, Goldberg never had the same answer on how he felt the night Kevin Nash ended his undefeated streak. But now, he thinks WCW made the right call for “Big Daddy Cool” to be the one to end it all. However, he is still rather frustrated it had happened on his birthday, though.
“I look back on that first loss, and I’ve been pissed at my answers a number of times. Yeah, that’s childish, but Kevin Nash was the perfect guy to do it at the time,” he mentioned. “It was the perfect time to do it; I think the streak was losing its momentum. Who am I as a professional wrestler to give my opinion? I’m just the guy who’s given a story and acts it out in front of the crowd. So, I’ll put it to rest. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter; I’m all good with it. It needed to be done. But damn it, did it really have to happen on my birthday?”
Goldberg paid homage to Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan for being some of the brains behind his iconic entrance and streak. He credits both men for taking the time to build him up when he was still considered to be pretty green.
“Well, I think Tenay and Heenan were the ones that really pounded it in there,” he began about his success with the undefeated streak. “Obviously, with the doing commentary, Tenay has that direction where we want to go. He grabs the crowd and pushes them toward that direction. He had about everything to do with the excitement that surrounded it. I mean, I took care of the physical part, but you have to set it up properly, and they did an absolutely stupendous job at doing their job each and every night. I think they both had an integral part in the streak.
“We all know Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan’s place in this business; he’s royalty. For him to personally and professionally take time out of his career to help me along, I could never thank him enough or appreciate enough as to what that man did for me, the business, and WCW. Personally, I’d be remiss in saying that he wasn’t an integral part of what happened. You know, you could group a list of characters as far as the importance of the streak and he’d definitely be in the top-three people mentioned.”
You can watch Bill Goldberg’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.