Former WWE and WCW world heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the wrestling business.
The former NFL player and Hollywood actor is now trying his hand at podcasting with his new show Who’s Next? with Goldberg on PodcastOne.com. After dominating every other medium he tried, Goldberg looks to add being a successful radio host to his long list of achievements.
Not only was Goldberg the first undefeated world heavyweight champion, but he was also the first wrestler to ever hold the oversized gold belt in both WCW and WWE. Goldberg was 173-0 before he suffered his first loss.
Outside the wrestling ring, Goldberg has acted in Hollywood blockbusters like The Longest Yard, has become one of the most recognizable car fanatics in the world and he has done extensive work with charities across the country.
Now Goldberg uses his platform at Podcast One to share his relationships with the biggest names in popular culture with the fans that have followed his career over the years. Even if you weren’t a fan of Goldberg in the ring, his new show is worth your time.
Featured columnists Donald Wood, Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin sat down for an exclusive interview with Goldberg and talked about a potential return to the WWE, his time in WCW, a possible introduction into the WWE Hall of Fame, CM Punk and so much more.
Here is the interview with former WWE and WCW champion Bill Goldberg.
Mike Chiari: On a recent episode of Jim Ross’ podcast you mentioned possibly wanting to have one more match for your son. You listed Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Roman Reigns as opponents who would intrigue you, but what type of schedule would it take to lure you back in the ring? Are you looking for a one-and-done type deal or would you be interested in doing multiple matches?
Bill Goldberg: First and foremost, let me back you up for a second here. It’s funny anytime that I mention anything about wrestling, even my words can be taken out of context. There have been a number of different publications that have run the story that "Goldberg’s back and begging to have a match again" and he wants to get back in the ring. At the end of the day, I would definitely listen to that type of conversation, but it’s not something I wake up every morning and I pray to God to and hope that I can lace up my boots one more time because I have to end on a nostalgic note. If the opportunity arose and it was a favorable condition for everybody involved, and I mean working condition, not necessarily the money, and opponent, I would definitely cater the thought.
As to specific people that I would like to face, man I’ve been forthright and upfront that I’m not on top of the wrestling business like the normal fan would be since my departure. It hasn’t been the No. 1 thing in my life, so to just throw a couple of names off the top of my head would be the only way that I could do it. I couldn’t give an educated guess as to what the good storyline would be in this day and age as far as television storylines are concerned. Like I said, I’d consider it, for sure, but it’s not something I’m longing for.
J.R is a very good friend of mine and I can talk straight with him and that’s what these podcasts do. They catch intimate conversations and now that I have my own I can point the mic at someone else and let them spew so they can get themselves in trouble more than I can. I enjoyed the wrestling business. There were a lot of things that I didn’t like about it, but there were things that I did like about it so I would consider something like that.
As far as schedule is concerned, who knows. I’m in pretty decent shape, I don’t know what to compare it to, but for a 47-year-old guy walking around and he goes to a Muay-Thai Gym a number of days a week, I’d say I’m pretty much ahead of the game. For the schedule, I don’t know. I don’t talk to Brock enough to compare what I would think would be acceptable for myself. It’s a topic that interests me, but it’s not a topic I think about daily.
Brandon Galvin: Do fan reactions to part-time wrestlers such as Batista discourage you from returning?
Goldberg: Obviously in anybody’s mind, any type of failure, whether it be to yourself or the fans or management, is something that you don’t want to encounter and if you can keep yourself out of it, then that’s always a consideration if you’re a smart person. How much that would play in my decision? Honestly, it wouldn’t play very much because that’s not why I would do it. At the end of the day, I would do it to invoke a positive response from my son and my wife. I’d love to be able to please the fans, so many of them that have asked me over the last 10 to 11 years to go back; I would obviously do it for them also. It’s always a crap shoot. Whether you’re away 10 years or you’re away 10 minutes every single time I’ve looked at it, you’re only as good as your next performance. So it would weigh in my mind, but it wouldn’t be a factor in my decision.
Mike Chiari: There are a lot of different opinions about what ultimately led to WCW's downfall. As one of the key cogs in the success of the company for so many years who or what do you feel was chiefly responsible for WCW's demise?
Goldberg: There’s nobody you can point to single-handedly. First of all, it’s hard for me to give an educated opinion because I was injured during that period of time and I was away from the normal day goings on of WCW. Now, when AOL and Time Warner merged, it was ultimately the demise of WCW as we know it I believe. I don’t think it was something that they were heavily behind as far as programming is concerned by any stretch of the imagination, and from what I remember, Ted Turner was on safari when the decision was made by the board to get rid of WCW. I think it starts at the top and when everybody feels that something is going awry, anxiety is at such a level that everybody just falls apart. It was a lawless society once it started going downhill and at that time, who was wanting to put forth the effort to save it? Obviously there were a lot of diehards that wanted it saved and a lot of wrestlers that wanted it saved. I don’t know anybody that didn’t want it saved and to see it succeed except maybe the competition and the people who owned it. There was a lot of passion for it.
Brandon Galvin: What would an induction into WWE's Hall of Fame mean to you?
Goldberg: To get any type of accolade like that when you’re in a given sport or profession is the ultimate honor. But again, like I said about me stepping back in the ring, it’s not something that I long for every morning. Would I deem my wrestling career a failure if I didn’t join it? No. It would be a hell of an honor? For sure. There are people there that deserve it and there are people there that don’t deserve it, and I’m not anyone to say that I deserve it by any stretch of the imagination. It would be an honor for sure because there are a lot of legends there and it is a sport that put my name at the forefront, and I owe it a lot of credit for me being able to talk to you right now and have my own podcast and be a television actor. Yes it would be an honor, but I wouldn’t feel incomplete if it didn’t happen at the end of the day.
Donald Wood: You spent several years in the wrestling industry and saw a lot during your time on top. While I know that you don’t keep up with the WWE product much anymore, what is your perception when you see a top star like CM Punk—or anyone else—quit while at the pinnacle of his career?
Goldberg: We’re all individuals and we all live different ways, I do not know any of the back story, I don’t know CM Punk, but I can empathize and I can completely understand anyone who wouldn’t like the dealings that have transgressed throughout the years at the WWE.
Mike Chiari: One of the big criticisms regarding WCW was the way your streak was ended against Kevin Nash. How do you feel about it looking back and how might you have done things differently if you were in full control of the situation?
Goldberg: From time to time, I’ve shown displeasure to the way that it ended and Kevin was on the booking committee for a couple of weeks and it was just timing. I believe the creativity to keep it going could have happened, but I’ll plead the fifth again and just say I’m a performer, not an entertainer in that I can take direction and go out and complete it but I can’t develop the storyline. My job was not a booker by any stretch of the imagination and I try not to give my opinion as to who I think should’ve beaten me because I don’t get into the storyline as much as the next guy. It was those guys’ decision, they’ve been in the business, collectively, probably 100 years, so who am I to question that? As a human being you’re always going to question things, but it’s not my place. I was just the talent. I wish Godzilla would’ve beaten me, or Big Foot, or something like that. I just think Scott Hall should’ve hit me with the taser that sticks in your chest from across the ring, but so be it.
At 47 years old, Goldberg understands that he is getting older and would be open to a return to wrestling if the terms were right. The potential return would be for his son and family, though, and it is refreshing to hear a man with his priorities in order.
While there are many wrestling fans who selfishly want to see him come back for at least one more match—I count myself amongst this group—the legacy of the former WCW and WWE world heavyweight champion is safe regardless.
There is no questioning the impact Goldberg had on the wrestling industry during his time on top, but he is so much more than the man who mastered the spear. The hope is that his new podcast will give the fans a glimpse inside his personal life.
If you haven’t checked it out already, do yourself a favor and invest your time into Who’s Next? with Goldberg on PodcastOne.com.
*All quotes obtained firsthand.
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