Goldberg owes wrestling more
By Rennie Detore
Sunday, June 5, 2005
Bill Goldberg embarked on a new career Thursday, but not before taking
a parting punch at professional wrestling.
The Associated Press interviewed the former WCW and WWE champion last
week. Goldberg was promoting his new television show, "AutoManiac," a
13-part series chronicling historic vehicles that debuted at 10 p.m.
Wednesday on the History Channel.
During the interview, Goldberg downplayed his professional wrestling
career, using the word "unfortunately" when describing his
transformation from NFL flunky to wrestling champion.
The Atlanta native was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1990, but
was cut before the start of the season. Goldberg signed with the
Falcons two years later as a defensive lineman, but never materialized
as anything more than a backup.
A career-ending abdominal injury forced Goldberg from the gridiron to
the wrestling ring.
But Goldberg makes that transition sound more annoying than exciting.
He said wrestling is where he "happened" to make a name for himself.
Truthfully, Goldberg, both the man and the marketable persona,
wouldn't be hosting television shows or appearing in movies if not for
professional wrestling, namely WCW.
The now-defunct promotion transformed Goldberg from a no-name "Stone
Cold" impersonator into a worldwide superstar. WCW afforded Goldberg a
forum to succeed and showcased him as an unbeatable brute inside the
Goldberg amassed nearly 200 consecutive victories and defeated the
legendary Hulk Hogan in 1998 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in front
of 60,000 people to capture his first WCW Heavyweight Title.
Only after Goldberg retired from the business is he ignoring the
platform that made him a recognizable, pop-culture icon.
Goldberg should have paid more attention to The Rock and how he
handled his exit from WWE. The Rock, a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson, always
attributed a portion of his success in Hollywood to Vince McMahon and
The chance to act, first on "Saturday Night Live" and then in movies,
wouldn't have existed without The Rock first garnering a fan-base as
"The People's Champion." Even a recent rift between The Rock and
McMahon didn't alter Johnson's attitude.
He simply said he was finished with professional wrestling, devoid of
any cheap shots or condescending rhetoric.
The same couldn't be said for Goldberg, who made clear what fans and
people within the industry already knew: He didn't love professional
What wasn't as apparent was that Goldberg really didn't even like it.
Still, Goldberg's attitude regarding the business isn't justifiable.
The new host of "AutoManiac" could easily be a security guard or
bouncer somewhere, instead of starring alongside Hollywood
heavyweights Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in "The Longest Yard."
Goldberg has every right to move from one entertainment outlet to
another, but that transition could just have easily happened without
an unwarranted slam against professional wrestling.