Goldberg Shoots on Training for WWE Return, SummerSlam, Bobby Lashley and More

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2021

Goldberg Shoots on Training for WWE Return, SummerSlam, Bobby Lashley and More

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    Goldberg is training harder than ever heading into his WWE Championship match at SummerSlam.
    Goldberg is training harder than ever heading into his WWE Championship match at SummerSlam.Credit: WWE.com

    Goldberg is the only person in history to hold WCW's World Heavyweight Championship, WWE's World Heavyweight Championship and Universal Championship.

    Come SummerSlam this Saturday, he will be looking to add the one title that has has always alluded him: the WWE Championship.

    It will be no easy feat, though. In order to take the belt, he must beat Bobby Lashley, who has been on the roll of a lifetime since capturing the title in March.

    The two men have been on a collision course for weeks, and their battle will be a barn burner if everything aligns. Even at the age of 54, Goldberg's freakish strength, power and agility pose a legitimate threat to the entire WWE roster, including Lashley.

    Thankfully for Goldberg's sake, he had plenty of time to prepare compared to previous outings against Drew McIntyre, Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker—all of which came together at the last minute.

    With his family watching ringside at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas this weekend, he aims to be the Goldberg of old and remind the world what he can do, even in the twilight of his career.

    Ahead of SummerSlam, Goldberg spoke with Bleacher Report about his training for Saturday's bout, why crowds being back is a game-changer for him, Big E possibly cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, and more. Check out the complete audio of the interview on the next slide and read on for the highlights.

His Thoughts on Bobby Lashley's Rise

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    The WWE landscape has changed dramatically since Goldberg's last WWE match at the Royal Rumble in January.

    It wasn't long after that Drew McIntyre lost the WWE Championship to The Miz, who almost immediately dropped it to Lashley. The All Mighty has been on an absolute tear since winning the title on March 1 but has yet to face a competitor quite the caliber of the Hall of Famer.

    Goldberg knows a star when he sees one, and Lashley fits the bill better than most when it comes to opponents he wants to step in the ring with. The All Mighty has yearned for competition and is about to get it in the form of the four-time world champion.

    "As a person, I'm extremely proud of [Lashley]," the veteran said. "As an opponent, let's just say I'm going to be karma because the way he's gone about his businesshis characterI'm not a big fan of. As a human being, I am a great Bobby Lashley fan. There's no doubt about it. I always have been. Big monster, athletic guy that poses a huge threat to anybody and everybody that gets in the ring with him? Hey, I want to get in the ring with that guy.

    "I'm not shying away from him. Give me the biggest, baddest guys you got. He's going to see what it's like to be in the ring with me, and I'm sure he's fantasized about it for 20 years or whatever, as I have about being in the ring with him. But be careful what you wish for, big boy. That's all I've got to say."

How Having Crowds Back Will Make a Major Difference

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    Goldberg is the prime example of someone who feeds off the audience. Without a rowdy crowd in attendance, his appearances and matches simply aren't the same.

    That was especially evident throughout the ThunderDome era in WWE. His two bouts without fans—against Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36 and against Drew McIntyre at the Royal Rumble—didn't feel as special as they should have because of the lack of atmosphere.

    Of course, SummerSlam is going to have just that at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Regardless of how fans feel about him, the crowd is sure to be on their feet for his title clash with Lashley.

    "Oh my God, I can't wait!" Goldberg said. "I'll be a kid in a candy store comparatively. WWE did absolutely the best to their ability to provide the best setting and the best atmosphere for us under the conditions to be able to present the product. Hats off to them and every single person who was involved in making that possible for the fans. Hopefully they all appreciate what was done because it wasn't easy by any stretch."

    Goldberg also elaborated on how his upcoming outing with Lashley is going to greatly differ from his battle with McIntyre thanks to the WWE Universe being back.

    "I must say that the anticipation prior to Drew and I getting into the ring is much different than what's going on right now because our fans are going to be in the stands," he said. "It's going to be a great event because professional wrestling is based upon interaction, and when you don't have that interaction, it takes a little air out of the sails to put it mildly, so I'm very much looking forward to it."

Benefits of Getting More Time to Prepare for SummerSlam

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    Although Goldberg's current contract sees him wrestle only twice a year, WWE hasn't given him a ton of notice before most of his recent matches.

    His bouts with Bray Wyatt and Drew McIntyre weren't put together until just weeks before the event. Not only did the build suffer, but his preparation did as well.

    At 54, it takes Goldberg more than a month to get into the shape and mindset that are required to be the same one-man wrecking crew he was 20 years ago. But he's had the chance to prepare for his SummerSlam war with Lashley well in advance.

    "I have twice as much time to prepare," he said. "When you're a guy like me, I try to stay in good shape year round, but I don't eat 15,000 calories a day when I'm not supposed to be in the ring. I don't train two times a day and get rehab in between the two when I'm not supposed to be in the ring. I don't need to be 280-pound jacked Goldberg sitting on my tractor for three hours cutting my lawn. To be able to get an opportunity to have twice as much time as I normally do to get back in the ring, I've actually found this thing called cardio."

    Goldberg refers to himself as always being an undersized guy and how that's worked against him over the years when it has come to situations such as this. In the past, he's chosen what's worked for him training-wise and has hoped that the combination he went with wouldn't result in a disaster.

    "I'm fairly comfortable in the position that I'm in because I'm in a far, far better position than I've been in in the past," he said. "It helps with my confidence because it's really tough. I can be Goldberg all I want in my mind, but if I look in the mirror and I don't feel like I'm him, if I get under the squat bar and I can't do what Goldberg can usually do, then it sucks. I don't feel good as a performer. It translates when I'm out there in the ring and hopefully this time it will be a little bit different.

    "Truthfully, two months, yeah, that's awesome and all, but once you consider what it really could be... if I had six months to prepare? Oh my God! It'd be unbelievable. But if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle, too, so you have do with what you can with the situation you've been given, and I'm very fortunate and in a much better place mentally having a little bit more time to prep."

Will Gage Follow His Footsteps into Wrestling?

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    It's no secret that the biggest reason Goldberg returned to WWE following a 12-year hiatus was because he wanted his son, Gage, to see him wrestle in person.

    He reiterated that fact at the end of Monday's Raw with his son sitting in the front row. Gage has been a big part of Goldberg's WWE journey and appeared on TV multiple times, including the buildup to SummerSlam.

    The physical transformation Gage has undergone from when he initially appeared on Raw in late 2016 to now has been impressive, though it should come as no surprise to anyone aware of who his father is.

    "He's a Goldberg," his father said. "My wife's a stuntwoman, so he was born into a life of pain pretty much. Taking that into consideration, he's got to train his ass off as much as humanly possible so that he can be the one that delivers the pain instead of accepting it."

    The Goldbergs moved to Texas when Gage was a freshman in high school and only last year did he start playing football. The former WCW and universal champion noted that his son took to it like an ace.

    "I don't steer him off any path," Goldberg said. "If the kid has an idea of something he wants to do, I'm going to be a parent that fully supports that. I have to arm him with information that he has to know when making a decision like that, but he's a baseball player, he's a football player.

    "I'm going to push him in the direction I see fit based upon past experience and if he wants to follow in my footsteps on the football field or in the ring, I can do nothing but support him. I would not deter him from anything he put his mind to and was passionate about.

    "I think the kid's going to be a success at whatever he does. As long as he's using the applications he's been using over the last year and a half, I think the sky's the limit for him in whatever he chooses to do."

Not Picking His Opponents and Why He's Back in WWE

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    Perhaps the biggest misconception of Goldberg is that he has no passion for pro wrestling and he's only back for the financial gain.

    The WWE Hall of Famer has actually grown to love wrestling even more than when he was originally in the ring many years ago. At this stage of his career, he wants to give back to the business as well as the fans in every way possible.

    Obviously, that's in spite of a segment of the audience not wanting to see him in the title picture anymore because of how frequently it's happened since he returned to WWE in 2016.

    Those arguments are certainly valid, especially when you consider now is the time for the promotion to be building new stars, but Goldberg can still be used to help elevate the talent of tomorrow in other ways.

    Regardless, he emphasizes that he isn't the one making the calls, rather he's trying to do his job to the best of his ability and make whatever he's involved in the most must-see thing on the show.

    "I've always said, and I'll run this in the ground: I'm not on the booking committee," Goldberg said. "I could have my sights set on anybody, but it's not my job to make a match. It's not my job to pit me against the person that I want. That's selfish. It's not me. I'm here to do my job and it's their job to put me in a position that benefits everybody that's involved. That's part of me coming back.

    "I owe the business a lot because the business has given me just about everything. I never believed in the beginning that would be the case, but I owe the business a lot. I owe Vince McMahon a lot. I owe the 73 people that were a part of my undefeated streak. I owe the business just about everything, and I owe the fans, too. In coming back and doing my job and trying to provide the best entertainment humanly possible, I got to be Goldberg and that ain't easy."

Is He Concerned About Big E Cashing in His Money in the Bank Contract

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    One important factor fans shouldn't overlook when it comes to Goldberg vs. Lashley is that Big E could cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase at any point and plausibly walk out as the new champ.

    The New Day member hasn't been involved in anything of note lately, so a return to Raw would get him back on track and allow him to reunite with his teammates. Big E heavily teasing going after Roman Reigns recently could also be a red herring and might mean he's eyeing the winner of the WWE title match instead.

    Big E has expressed interest previously in wanting to wrestle Goldberg—who he grew up watching—in some form or fashion eventually. SummerSlam could be where that dream match finally becomes a reality.

    Even if it is, the veteran isn't thinking about anything other than beating Lashley for the title. If Goldberg emerges victorious and Big E does decide to cash in his contract, he'll be ready.

    "I'd love nothing more than to get into the ring with Big E," Goldberg said. "There's so many reasons why I'd want for that to happen, but I'm not worried about him right now. I'm worried about Bobby Lashley. Period. End of story. If there's another chapter to that story and he shows his face or does whatever, then I'll deal with it, but right now, my sights are completely set on Lashley."

            

    Catch Goldberg challenging Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship at WWE SummerSlam at 8/7c on Peacock and WWE Network.

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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