Jackhammered into Darkness: The Rise and Fall of Wrestling's Goldberg
In 1997, the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling were at war for television ratings. Both companies were part of the famous Monday Night Wars.
While the WWF was struggling, WCW was earning major ratings winnings. The companies did whatever it took to win the ratings week after week.
That year, WCW was still going strong and defeating the WWF. WCW's success could be based on the New World Order and their cruiserweight division.
That same year marked the debut of a man who kept on helping WCW win the ratings war. The man's name: William Scott Goldberg—aka Goldberg.
Goldberg helped WCW keep on defeating the WWF week after week in the ratings. He became the crowd favorite by 1998, but the success would not last long.
The man's career started off great, but it would soon go downhill fast. He transitioned over the to the WWF, now known as the WWE, in 2003, but it didn't work.
From ending a man's career to entering Madison Square Garden to a hostile crowd, Goldberg has been through a lot.
Prepare to read the story of Goldberg—a man whose career had a bright future, but spiraled into darkness.
Chapter 1: The Undefeated Streak Begins
On the September 22, 1997 episode of Nitro, Goldberg made his debut. He defeated Hugh Morris that night, and his famous streak began.
Throughout the rest of 1997 and into 1998, Goldberg defeated every opponent that came his way.
Goldberg slowly won over the crowd and started becoming their favorite. The fans began cheering for Goldberg as he was the anti-hero of the WCW.
Meanwhile, Goldberg's streak continued to grow. By April 1998, he had 74 consecutive wins in WCW.
His victories wouldn't go unnoticed by the company. Goldberg's wins qualified him to become the No. 1 contender for the United States Championship.
The time to put some gold around the beast's waist had arrived. Unfortunately for Raven, he had the championship at the time.
Raven had to step in the ring with Goldberg and do whatever he could to keep his championship.
The match began the next step for Goldberg's career.
Chapter 2: Capturing Gold
The night after Spring Stampede on Nitro, Goldberg challenged Raven for his United States Championship.
This wasn't the best situation for Raven. He had just won the title the night before, and now he had to put it on the line against Goldberg.
That night on Nitro, Raven did whatever it took to keep his title, even if it meant having his Flock interfere during the match.
Even with Raven's Flock interfering, Goldberg managed to fight them all, and then still have his eyes set on Raven.
He would spear and jackhammer Raven, getting the three count and winning the U.S. Championship.
Goldberg would go one to have a feud with Raven and his Flock after the title win. It ended at Slamboree, after he defeated Perry Saturn.
He went on to successfully defend the championship against New World Order members, such as Konnan and Curt Hennig.
His wins led to his biggest match to date. The battle with nWo members wasn't over, and the match went down in history.
Chapter 3: Seek and Destroy Hollywood Hogan
As Goldberg kept destroying each opponent who got in his way, especially a few nWo members, it was only a matter of time before the leader was next.
Hollywood Hogan held the WCW Championship, but he didn't have it for long as soon as Goldberg entered the picture.
On the July 6, 1998 episode of Nitro, Hollywood Hogan defended his championship against Goldberg. The match took place in Atlanta, Georgia—Goldberg's home city.
The fans erupted that night as Goldberg defeated Hogan and captured the WCW Championship.
Since he was the WCW and U.S. champion, Goldberg decided to vacate the United States Championship.
Goldberg continued to feud with several nWo members after winning the championship. He defended and retained his championship against Curt Hennig at Bash at the Beach.
During his reign as champion, Goldberg was part of a major problem, thanks to WCW.
At Halloween Havoc, Goldberg defended his championship against Diamond Dallas Page. During the match, the screen went blank, and viewers never saw the entire match.
The plug was pulled at 11 p.m. and the match had just begun at that time. WCW had no choice but to refund viewers their money.
That match slowly began the fall of Goldberg's career.
Chapter 4: The Streak Crumbles
As Goldberg's reign with the WCW Championship stayed strong, it was only a matter of time before things started to go downhill for him.
At Starrcade, he defended his title against Kevin Nash, and the famous streak came to an end that night.
During the match, Scott Hall interfered and shocked Goldberg with a taser gun. Nash went on to powerbomb Goldberg and get the pin.
The man who was seen as unstoppable fell, and his first loss came at the hands of the Wolpac leader.
Goldberg continued to win matches, even after he had lost to Nash. It wouldn't be the same knowing he had been defeated already.
He got injured in early 1999, so he took time off to heal. He returned by August to continue winning matches.
At Halloween Havoc, he won both the WCW and U.S. Championship. He won the U.S. title from Sid Vicious, and later that night defeated Sting for the WCW Championship.
The following night on Nitro, Goldberg was stripped of the WCW Championship by J.J. Dillon because his match with Sting wasn't official.
During the tournament to crown a new WCW champion, Goldberg lost for the second time in a match against Bret Hart.
Not only was he out of the tournament thanks to Sid Vicious, but he also lost his U.S. Championship.
His feud with Vicious continued up until Mayhem. Vicious lost to Goldberg that night in an I Quit match.
Soon, Goldberg teamed up with Bret Hart. It led to a man's career coming to an end during the partnership.
Chapter 5: The Hitman Is Wacked
As 1999 rolled on, Goldberg and Bret Hart became a tag team. They set their eyes on the WCW Tag Team Championships.
The team defeated Creative Control for the championships, but they lost them a week later to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Goldberg then went on to challenge Bret Hart for the WCW Championship at Starrcade. That night, a career came to an end.
During the match, Goldberg kicked Hart way too hard, which led to a concussion. There was also a moment where Goldberg didn't have Hart set off the figure-four properly, causing him to fall on his head.
Bret Hart soon retired from wrestling and vacated the WCW Championship.
Goldberg shortly began a feud with a new nWo group. It consisted of Hart, Hall, Nash and Jeff Jarrett.
During a segment where Goldberg was to break the group's limousine windshield, he injured his hand. He had no choice, but to take time off to heal.
His career began to spiral downward, especially after the most confusing decision was made by WCW.
Chapter 6: The Heel Turn
After returning from the injury in mid-2000, Goldberg was part of what many people call the dumbest idea ever.
At The Great American Bash, Goldberg turned heel for the first time after he speared Kevin Nash and joined the New Blood stable.
Everyone thought he was going to go after Jeff Jarrett, but were confused when he speared Nash instead. Nash had a match against Goldberg at Bash at The Beach, which Nash lost.
Goldberg soon turned face again and feuded with Scott Steiner, who was part of the New Blood faction. They squared-off at Fall Brawl, but Goldberg lost.
Soon, Goldberg was part of a storyline that led to him starting a new streak. It involved him and the new creative writer of WCW, Vince Russo.
WCW tried to revive the early storyline that made Goldberg the beast that he was. Unfortunately, the company failed to accomplish that goal.
Chapter 7: Target Locked on Vince Russo
By 2000, WCW was losing to the WWF in the ratings. The success that the company had in 1997 and 1998 had disappeared.
Vince Russo, who helped the WWF with ideas during its Attitude Era, joined WCW. That was a good idea at first, but it went downhill fast.
Without Vince McMahon finalizing all of his ideas, Russo had total control of the matches, promos, segments and pushes.
By then, Goldberg was just the shell of the monster he was in 1997 and 1998. He didn't really do anything big in 1999, and 2000 was no different.
Since Goldberg—in the eyes of Russo—still had a good fanbase, the two began a feud.
Russo said that if Goldberg were to lose a match, then he would be fired. This led to Goldberg starting a new streak, but things weren't the same.
Just a few months later at the pay-per-view Sin, Goldberg lost a match against Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell.
The storyline gave Goldberg time to get surgery for an injury he had. By March, the end of WCW arrived.
The WWF bought WCW and all the talent was now part of the WWF. Goldberg wasn't part of the wrestlers the WWF obtained, so he had time to relax.
Two years later, Bill Goldberg made his debut for the company that bought WCW. Things were meant to be fresh, but it wouldn't last long.
Chapter 8: The Debut with the WWE
In March 2001, the Monday Nights came to an end after the WWF bought its competition, WCW.
Since they had bought out the competition, the WWF acquired the contracts of many WCW wrestlers. Many of the WCW talent were used for the Invasion storyline that occurred a few months later.
One man who wasn't part of the Invasion storyline was Goldberg. During the time of the merger, he had been out of action due to surgery.
Two years after the now-known WWE bought out WCW, the time for Goldberg to make his long-awaited debut had arrived.
The night after WrestleMania XIX, Goldberg made his debut by interrupting The Rock during a promo.
He entered the ring, told The Rock he was next, and speared him.
It led to Goldberg and The Rock having a match at Backlash. Goldberg won the match, and his WWE career got off to a good start.
Goldberg's next feud was with a man he was very familiar with, especially since they had personal issues—Chris Jericho.
Both men began feuding with one another shortly after Backlash. It led to a match between the two at Bad Blood, which Goldberg won.
Goldberg's next goal was to capture the World Heavyweight Championship. The man standing in his way was none other than Triple H.
Chapter 9: Capturing the World Heavyweight Championship
Heading towards SummerSlam, Goldberg set his eyes on the World Heavyweight Championship. The opportunity to win the gold came inside an Elimination Chamber.
During the match, Goldberg eliminated Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels. The only person left was Triple H.
Unfortunately for him, Goldberg lost the match. Triple H hit him with a sledgehammer and pinned Goldberg.
Goldberg got a second chance to win the championship at Unforgiven. This time, he was successful in defeating Triple H and winning the championship.
He kept the title until Armageddon. That night, Goldberg put his title on the line against both Triple H and Kane.
Triple H recapture the World Heavyweight Championship after Evolution interfered. Kane was also in the match, so it was an easier task for Triple H to win.
As 2003 came to a close, Goldberg had a fresh year to start new things. The next big event for Goldberg was the Royal Rumble.
That night marked the beginning of the end for Goldberg's WWE career.
Chapter 10: The Beginning of the End
Just a few weeks after losing the World Heavyweight Championship, Goldberg was part of the biggest event that began the road to WrestleMania—the Royal Rumble.
Before the match, Goldberg was interrupted by Brock Lesnar during an interview. A few months before at Survivor Series, Lesnar was the one who was interrupted by Goldberg.
The confrontation led to Goldberg's WrestleMania title-shot dream being shattered.
After entering the Royal Rumble match and destroying every wrestler who got in his way, Goldberg was caught off guard by Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar hit the F5 on Goldberg, who was shortly eliminated. A feud between both men began, which spilled over to SmackDown's No Way Out PPV in February.
Stone Cold Steve Austin gave Goldberg a ticket to the event on Raw so, without doubt in his mind, Goldberg attended the event.
That night, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar brawled, which had Goldberg getting the upper hand on Lesnar. It wasn't the last time Goldberg was seen at the event.
During Lesnar's match with Eddie Guerrero, Goldberg interfered, causing Lesnar to lose his WWE Championship.
Since both men got their own share of revenge on the other, the battlefield for their match was next—WrestleMania XX.
Chapter 11: The Curtain Call
As the feud between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar erupted into something big, a match between them was set for WrestleMania XX.
Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and the match itself weren't well received that night by the fans in attendance.
Many fans found out that both Lesnar and Goldberg were leaving the WWE after WrestleMania, so the crowd booed both men that evening.
Since they were on their way out, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar decided that they weren't going to give the fans a good match.
Instead, Goldberg and Lesnar stalled for almost the entire match. They added insult to injury by moving slow, having rest holds and stalling even more.
After a long, not well received match, Goldberg defeated Lesnar.
After the match, Brock Lesnar gave the fans and Stone Cold Steve Austin—who was the special guest referee—the middle finger.
Austin gave Lesnar a Stunner, which made the fans cheer. He and Goldberg celebrated after the match by drinking beers, but Goldberg received a Stunner as well.
This was the last time Goldberg was seen on WWE television. Goldberg started out with a bang by feuding with The Rock, but his last match was a disaster.
Chapter 12: The Return?
It has been seven years since the last time Goldberg was seen in the WWE. At WrestleMania XX, he and Brock Lesnar gave the fans a terrible match before both left the company.
His career with both the WWE and WCW has drifted into darkness after his match at 'Mania took place.
Many people have wondered if Goldberg is ever going to return to the WWE. Many wonder if he will forget about the WWE and join TNA.
Last month, a video surfaced on YouTube of Goldberg claiming that he was going to return to the ring before the end of 2011.
Is Goldberg telling the truth? Will he return to the ring before the year ends? The bigger question is, what company will he join?
Hulk Hogan has been in talks of having Goldberg join TNA. On the other hand, maybe the WWE has been in talks with Goldberg that we don't know of.
The end of 2011 is just six months away. Anything can happen between now and December.
Will Goldberg return to the ring and dust off all the dark clouds that are currently over his career due to his last match?
For now, we all have to wait and see if Goldberg returns to our televisions by the end of 2011.
In 1997, a man named Goldberg debuted with the WCW. He went go on to have a winning streak known by many fans, and became a total badass.
During his career, Goldberg won both the WCW and United States Championship, while remaining undefeated.
In 2003, Goldberg joined the WWE to continue his career. His stint with the company only lasted a year, and it wasn't as big as his run in WCW.
Goldberg's career had its ups and its downs since the day he debuted. What began as a good idea slowly started to decent into darkness in 1998.
Ridiculous storylines, feuds, matches and accidental moves led to a dark cloud forming over Goldberg's career.
Through his highs and lows, Goldberg left wrestling on the negative side. If he does return, it is going to take a lot to get rid of the dark cloud.
If Goldberg does return to the ring, let his opponents by warned. When they least expect it, they will feel a spear, followed by a jackhammer.
There is one question left, and it is simple: who's next?