One year ago, as the video game “WWE 2K17” was about to be released, rumors that Goldberg would be returning to the ring started to surface. What nobody knew then was that Goldberg wouldn't just return for one night but would also have another run at the WWE Universal title, including defending it at Wrestlemania 33.
Goldberg will appearing at MCW's second annual “Tribute to the Legends” convention and show Saturday in Joppatowne. I had a chance to talk to him on my podcast, “Jobbing Out,” and we spoke about his latest run as Universal champion, whom he would have liked to step into the ring with, Roman Reigns and Asuka breaking his streak.
When you returned for Survivor Series last year, did you have any indication that the run would extend and you would go on to become Universal champion?
It was a one-night gig. The stars aligned again, and the people appreciated me coming back. It was exciting in the moment. I think the reaction was more positive than what anyone was thinking would happen. That just led to bigger and better things. I truly, going into that match, I thought it was a one-and-done deal.
As you're on the title run, did you ever doubt whether you should have it?
I just listen to the boss. It's not my job to look to the future and figure out the impact of whatever I'm doing. I always want to have a positive impact on the business, but that's not what I get paid to do. If it was, I'd be sitting in the booking committee. I'm a guy that delivers. You give me a task, and I try to make it as pleasant and positive as humanly possible.
As far as creative is concerned, I'm just lucky to be in the position that I'm in. I always feel as though I don't deserve it, and that drives me to be at the top of my game and strive for more. At the end of the day, Vince McMahon is Vince McMahon. There's no other human like him. He's the king of the mountain. You do as you are told by Vince, and he wouldn't be there if he wasn't successful. He's the creator, and I'm the performer.
What was it like to work with other wrestlers who had literally grown up watching you in your first run?
It was awesome. It was really cool. It was done solely for my son, and the fact that he was at the forefront of everything that they allowed me to do when I went back meant everything to me. To be able to go back 13 years removed from my retirement and be a glimpse of what I used to be — ’cause that's all I was, a glimpse — and to be able to pull it off without embarrassing myself or disappointing the fans who paid money to see me do what I can do, I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
I had a hell of a lot of help in making that fairly successful, so I won't take any credit for it. I did it for my son, they allowed me to do it, and they made it a wonderful experience, and I'm forever indebted to them and the business for that.
Is there anyone you wish you could have wrestled in your latest run?
There are a lot of guys I'd love to get my hands on. I just wish that I could unload and unleash the entire repertoire and show them what I was capable of. That's the thing that I missed about this latest run. I'd love to get my hands on Roman, [Braun] Strowman, Rusev, the usual suspects, [Baron] Corbin.
All the guys, it would be an honor to get into the ring with them. I've always wanted to get into the ring with [John] Cena. At the end of the day, I'm 50 years old. I don't feel like I'm 50, but my skills have diminished. It's hard to be be 280 [pounds] at 50 years old. It's just a different feel, it's a different requirement, a different time. Who knows?
You had a staredown with Roman Reigns. You got to hear firsthand how the crowd reacts to him. What's your thoughts on him and everything surrounding him with him and the fans?
It depends on how you look at it. He's at the wrong place at the wrong time, but he's also at the right place at the right time. Roman's got talent; it just oozes from his pores. Any descendant of The Rock is an instant entertainer. At the end of the day, I think he's more of a competitor like me than a competitor like Rock, but he's more of a complete package.
I don't know how to describe it. I feel bad for the guy with the crowd reaction he gets. He's a really good guy, a good family guy. He's a great in-ring performer. He works his ass off. I don't know all the inner workings of everything that goes on there, but he seems to go above and beyond everything he's asked to give. I think it's a shame.
But at the end of the day, if the fans didn't care, they wouldn't give him a reaction. So they do care. They're just pissed off that as a fan, they feel that the establishment is shoving him down their throats. It just is what it is. I don't know, it's a tough situation, but he's a hell of a kid both in the ring and out of the ring.
You're probably the most well-known person for performing the Spear, yet a lot of wrestlers after you used it as a finisher. What's your thoughts on so many people using a Spear?
This gets me animated every time, and it shouldn't, but every time someone Spears someone, I take offense to it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but come on, guy, I had a lot of practice at it. I wasn't born in a helmet for nothing. I try not to hurt guys when I do it, because a form tackle in its perfect form is not supposed to feel very good. I have to back off and have to change my style a little bit.
Roman comes from that football background, but unless you come from that football background, you don't know how to do it. It just is what it is. If I didn't have the best Spear, then I didn't have any business being a nose guard in the NFL.
Asuka recently passed your undefeated streak on NXT. What are your thoughts on her, and do you see any Goldberg in her?
She's awesome. Having somebody compete with my numbers with the streak and then surpass it is a pretty monumental deal. It's pretty cool. I didn't know if that would happen again. To see that she's the chosen one, she's definitely unique. I do see a little bit of myself in what she does. It's a cool experience to sit back and watch. Hopefully, I get to shake her hand one day and tell her what a great performer she is.
Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout