A tired joke gets more grating as it gets used past its peak and the same thing is happening with WWE fans chanting Goldberg during Ryback's matches.
There aren't quite as prevalent as they once were, but "Goldberg! Goldberg!" is a sound heard to often at WWE shows.
There are undeniably a lot of similarities to Goldberg and Ryback, we get that. To continue to point it out by ways of chants is as hollow a gesture as the "what?" chants are now. Are audiences really going to keep chanting "Goldberg!" if Ryback wrestles for five more years?
Both men are explosive powerhouses. Both began their careers in the spotlight by going on an undefeated streak. The comparisons are certainly understandable, but mocking a man who works as hard as Ryback is a strange move.
WWE didn't do Ryback any favors by having him come out in a leather jacket over a black shirt, a look that is very Goldberg-like.
Still, WWE and pro wrestling in general has long been built on wrestler's borrowing from each other and a number of stars resemble or act like stars of the past.
If we're going to start chanting names at Superstars who have borrowed liberally from their predecessors then fans need to shout "Lanny Poffo!" at Damien Sandow, "Andre the Giant!" at Big Show and "Waylon Mercy!" at Bray Wyatt.
Ric Flair took Buddy Rogers' "Nature Boy" nickname, his bleached-blond hair and even his finisher. Daniel Bryan has borrowed heavily in terms of move set and in-ring style from Chris Benoit who did the same to Dynamite Kid.
That's the business. Original ideas are not plentiful. Imitation is flattery and born from necessity.
New gimmicks are bound to remind us of old ones.
Jim Ross tweeted a reply to a fan about comparing Goldberg and Ryback that speaks to that truth.
Ryback is carrying on a tradition and paying homage to Goldberg, whether he initially intended to or not. In a recent interview with Brian Soscia (via PWMania.com), Ryback said that the chants didn't bother him, but he also said, "Every night I go out there and prove myself to them, I will change them one by one. I will convert them into a Ryback fan."
So it seems to be on his mind and must be frustrating.
It's hard to appreciate Ryback's growth as a performer and the hard-hitting matches he's delivered thus far when one is so focused on making a mockery of him. Constantly comparing the two men is like rag on every grapefruit one sees with chants of "orange!"
Ryback may never be as good as Goldberg was, but it doesn't mean we can’t sit back and enjoy his violent artistry. Boo him, cheer him, love him or hate him, but let's move on from this Goldberg business.