The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

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The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 12:01 pm

Watching the quite wonderful Monday Night Wars on the WWE Network (Only $9.99, they should definitely highlight that) and they have split the episodes up to be based around figures or points of interest. The nWo, Austin and the Cruiserweights were all interesting programmes, but Who's Next was the one i've found the most intriguing so far. The rather organic rise of Goldberg is something that stands out in WCW, someone they took a chance on and followed momentum with quite brilliantly, until they screwed it up quite spectacularly.

There were interesting points throughout, notably a match with William Regal where Goldberg seemed entirely exposed and, to quote the Brit, "froze". But after reaching its apex, after taking down Hogan and winning the title, WCW seemed to implode with Goldberg. When referencing this programme to a fellow forum user he stated that "any WWE doc is a work of propaganda/fiction" and you can see it all spiral into a "well, it wasn't my fault" argument as the programme came to its close.

The men interviewed were interesting and reasonably varied. DDP, Hart, Nash, Okerlund, Booker T, Punk, Heyman and Goldberg himself brought up a range of points on why the character went from hot to awful. The narrator himself references the politics backstage that stood in his way. Kevin Nash, oh oracle of truth and virtue, claims his defeat of Goldberg and the following Fingerpoke of Doom with Hogan was all part of a plan he had worked that would lead to a huge buildup across the months and Hogan vs Goldberg II.

There were some who remained criticial of WCW advertising a huge match a few days in advance and giving it away on free TV, claiming Bischoff was so obsessed with the ratings war that he couldn't figure out how to build to a PPV.

Hart was critical of a man who didn't care much for pro-wrestling, wasn't a fan and didn't have a great deal of knowledge of the business. This, he and others like Booker T and DDP, felt meant he didn't know how to handle his momentum and how to change his character to move forward, as well as causing him to be too concerned about himself and not about how he could do business. Hart however does defend Goldberg by saying that management gave him no assistance and nothing more to work with than "go out, beat him up quick, win".

Nash and Okerlund criticised an ego that was made too big by a winning a lot and getting successful quick. Okerlund is also extremely critical of Goldberg for losing his rag and smashing the windows of Hall's (I think) limo with his bare knuckles, leading to months out with a serious injury from laceration.

What I want to know is what people think is the reason Goldberg went from the top to getting boo'ed in a short space of time? Was it merely the fact it had run its course? Was Nash and Hogan's backstage bulls*** to blame? Did Goldberg not have enough talent to carry off anything but his winning streak? Were WCW just too hopeless anyway and it was only inevitable the hot property would fail when everything around him was being run so shoddily? Did Goldberg's ego stop him from wanting to show weakness? What the f*** was that taser about?

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by crippledtart on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 12:13 pm

For an unbiased, in-depth analysis of the Monday Night War, I recommend the attitude era podcast from wrestletalk/wrestlepod/whatever it's called these days.

I see no need for negativity regarding Goldberg's career. There was no 'fall'. And the only way WCW's demise can be in any way attributed to him is in the sense that they didn't push him enough.

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Samo on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 1:46 pm

The best thing about the Monday Night Wars series is Keith David.

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 3:07 pm

But Goldberg's star waned personally, not just due to WCW failing all over. There was an end to the interest in Goldberg, whether that be in the ratings or in the crowd reaction.

After they first lost to WWF after their big winning streak in the ratings war, they did win it back again for a bit. Even when Austin was running the Attitude Era and The Rock came through, Goldberg was helping WCW pull in 4.2 numbers when WWF were at 5.2. It isn't winning, but they aren't company ending numbers by any means.

Goldberg clearly stopped having an impact

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by crippledtart on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 4:11 pm

I think there are a lot of intangible factors. The failure of WCW at that time would have happened regardless of Goldberg
The audience still saw him as a star but the product as a whole turned them off


When wwe ratings started slipping away from their attitude era highs, Austin and Rock were still featured stars. It doesn't mean they were in any way responsible for the diminishing numbers.

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by FreekShow on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 5:16 pm

He was booked awfully after losing the title and that was all she wrote. Didn't they align him with Russo and Bischoff at one point?

I can imagine the folk criticising Goldberg's talent (and ego) are the same people that lauded Warrior a few months ago. Okerklund is a muppet.

And this whole "he didn't love the business" rubbish! Textbook.

Yeah, the taser. Jasus..


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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Prometheus on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 8:27 pm

I agree that this was a really good show. One of the highlights of my Network membership so far.

I'd like to watch the show again, but I think all the OPs points at the end are right. But it very much looked like this was set up as Hogan was the problem in the fall of the WWE. E.g. Hogan had the idea of giving Goldberg his first title for free, and it was he who was in the NWA lying down to change the title. So, the idea I got from that was if you devalue the title so much, why should anyone care about your product. And I guess by extension, who cares then about backing a guy who could be champ.

I think if we can say Goldberg was the right person in the right place on his way up. Maybe he was the wrong person in the wrong place on his way down.

Personally, I've heard him say on podcasts that he'd like to wrestle at WM so his son can see him. And IMO that's the problem with him, its what he wants for him, not really a thought to whether anyone else cares. I enjoyed him for what he was at the time, but I've no interest in ever seeing him near a wrestling product again.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 9:11 pm

Another thing that struck me as I watched it was how the wrestling world has changed in how people come out and get pushed. There couldn't be another Goldberg

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Prometheus on Sun 16 Nov 2014, 10:32 pm

Ryback? Rusev? Reigns?

I think in general people who watch sports / sports entertainment like to back a dominant winner as much as they like a close match, or would support the underdog. So, I don't think there is anything stopping a run. If you look at UFC you can take the case of Rhonda Rousey, a disliked competitor by most of the crowd as she was seen as brash and unapproachable. She wins a few matches dominating opponents and suddenly she has the crowd support.

I don't think that it can't work to build up a strong champ, but it has to be done with someone that at some point the crowd buy into, I think that is the art of building a wrestler.

Going back years, when I first started to watch wrestling on an hour show probably 4 of 5 matches would be squashes against jobbers with then only the final bout being of a premium quality.

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Guest on Tue 18 Nov 2014, 12:31 pm

The problems they had with Goldberg was the streak and who it eventually went to. The streak of 173 (I think) was great and compelling viewing. For me there was a missed opportunity to have Bret Hart straight in from WWF to feud with Goldberg and probably hand him his first defeat. Bret's stock was hot after leaving WWF and to me there was a great opportunity to build a compelling feud right from the off. You had his match with Nash at Starrcade and that effectively killed his momentum along with poor booking afterwards.

I think Goldberg's time like Austin or The Rock or Lesnar was just right. Not too short and not too long. It's a formula that worked and it's a shame the WWE nowadays doesn't revert back to it.


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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

Post by Samo on Tue 18 Nov 2014, 4:14 pm

Goldberg never seemed to care about the business.  He was always green, and when the time came to evolve his character neither he, nor anyone in WCW could do it.

His star shone bright and he was a high point during the late 90's but once the streak ended the way it did he lost all momentum and never recovered.  Its not entirely his fault, but was symptomatic of WCW's failings.

Edit: Goldberg also never would have had a chance in todays market. People are alot smarter about the product these days, and if someones not good enough they wont be shy in letting you know. Reigns is a great example. Swap him for Goldberg and it would be the same scenario. Lots of fans but the smarks would drain his momentum quickly.

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Re: The Rise and Fall of Goldberg: Whose fault is it anyway?

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