This past Monday, WWE released a new WWE 24 which documented Goldberg’s last run in the company. The documentary not only added to WWE’s long list of quality films, but it also served as a reminder of what was an incredible and near perfect WWE run.
Bill Goldberg is, was, and always will be an incredibly simple persona. There was no room for being overly complicated when it came to Goldberg. This is best highlighted by his time in WCW and his first WWE run. In WCW, he simply beat opponents in minutes and said very little. In WWE, however, the attempt to add humour to his character and have slightly longer matches did not go down well.
Short and Sweet
The relationship with WWE and Goldberg in 2016 not only clicked but shocked the wrestling world. Goldberg returning to a WWE ring was certainly shocking for fans, and his match with Lesnar at Survivor Series became the biggest shock since the ending of the streak.
At Survivor Series, a nearly fifty-year-old Goldberg, who hadn’t stepped in the ring in 12 years put on a flawless match with Brock Lesnar. Sure, it only lasted one minute and 30 seconds. But the length of the match did not allow any miscues, and any room for Goldberg to be exposed as an older and lesser version of himself. It also gave wrestling fans one of the most shocking moments in WWE history.
To WWE’s (and Brock Lesnar’s) credit, they allowed Goldberg to be the Goldberg of old. This then set the course for the rest of his WWE run.
Not only did fans get the wrecking ball Goldberg, but they also got a wrecking ball that they could connect with on an emotional level. By inserting his real-life motivation (wrestling for his son) into his fictional storyline with Brock Lesnar, Goldberg let the fans in and gave them, even more, reasons to cheer for him. Also, this honesty gave him the ability to deliver some rather strong promos (something Goldberg is not known for).
Goldberg’s run in WWE ended at Wrestlemania 33 where he dropped the Universal Championship to Brock Lesnar. I admit I feared this match going too long and potentially ruining the good work WWE had done up until that point. However, my fears vanished when Goldberg and Brock gave us perhaps the greatest four-minute match in the history of the business. A non-stop, action-packed match, featuring both men’s signature spots and some intriguing near falls. In a losing effort, Goldberg gave the title back to the WWE’s top star and put on a memorable performance. The script could not have been better.
There was something peculiar about Goldberg’s most recent WWE run, and that was the change of tone from some of the fans. When Goldberg left WWE in 2004, fans turned on him, and I understood why. However, at this year’s Wrestlemania, I also heard a fair amount of boos for Goldberg.
The only complaints I have heard or read, about Goldberg’s most recent run, were regarding the length of his matches. Not only does this strike me as silly, but also as fans finding any reason to be critical. A Goldberg match that exceeded five minutes in the nineties did not usually work very well – why would you exceed five minutes in 2017? WWE are often criticised for their choices, but when they booked the beloved WCW legend perfectly, it goes unappreciated.
It’s difficult to find any story or performance without flaws, but I would argue Goldberg’s most recent WWE run was a near-perfect story. Never did Goldberg look like a lesser version of himself. His matches did not overstay their welcome, and he provided Brock Lesnar a credible opponent for nearly six months. If this run does not fit the bill for being perfect – it is definitely very, very close.