The destroyer of 173note The exact number is up to debate, as Goldberg beat some guys more than once, and WCW seemed to lose count along the way wrestlers in a row!
Bill Goldberg was one of the most popular professional wrestlers in WCW during the Monday Night Wars.Goldberg became famous for having the longest winning streak ("The Streak" as it was known) in WCW history, having won 177 consecutive matches, and in the process, winning the WCW United States Heavyweight Title, and later, the WCW World Heavyweight Title before the streak came to an end at Starrcade 1998; he also became infamous for being the man responsible for retiring Bret Hart, giving him a concussion with a kick to the head that - coupled with other concussions suffered around the same timeframe - forced The Hitman out of the ring for good. (At least until 2010.) Nowadays, Goldberg has retired, and spends time doing television shows centered around motorcycles and automobiles, as well as serving as an MMA commentator.You can learn more about his career at The Other Wiki.
"THESE TROPES ARE NEXT!":
Autobiography: I'm Next: The Strange Journey of America's Most Unlikely Superhero
Early Installment Weirdness: Goldberg didn't start using the spear until after his first two dozen or so matches, and some of his early matches were back and forth rather than the squashes he'd become famous for.
Enforced Method Acting: Completely by accident. In his Halloween Havoc '98 match with Diamond Dallas Page, at about the midpoint of the match, there was a spot where DDP was in the corner and Goldberg tried to spear him, only for Page to duck out the way and have Goldberg hit the steel post behind the turnbuckle. The problem was Goldberg ran all out and hit the post with his shoulder like a goddamn missile! The result was a legitimately injured shoulder, leading to some memorable offence by DDP and the first genuine signs of vulnerability in Goldberg's career. The highlight of the match was a spot where Goldberg hit the Spear (aggravating the injury), and was meant to then lift up Page in the Jackhammer, which Page would counter with the Diamond Cutter and a near fall. But with a hurt shoulder, Goldberg couldn't lift him up! The crowd went insane at the idea that Goldberg couldn't apply his finisher and the thought that this might be the match he loses. He tried again and this time the counter spot went through, which combined was an accidental piece of Wrestling Psychology that couldn't have turned out any better if they planned it that way. The only problem was that Goldberg was so loopy from the hit by that point that he kicked out at the instant of "2" rather than a planned "2 9/10ths", but the overall result was by far the best critically received match in Goldberg's career.
However many fans at home did not see this match until later, because WCW went over the Pay Per View time limit and the broadcast was cut off mere seconds into it. By the time most fans saw this match they already knew Goldberg had won, and much of the emotional impact was lost.
Expy: While most often denounced at the time as a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin copy due to his bald head and similar outfit, his squash-heavy style was much closer to that of 1980s Foreign Wrestling HeelNikita Koloff.
Face-Heel Turn: Had a very ill-advised one late in his WCW career thanks to the typical booking of Vince Russo. Goldberg was the one last wrestler fans could count on to cheer for. When he shortly turned heel, WCW fans just gave up altogether and it was, in some respects, the final nail in the company's coffin.
Quite literally eating Scott Hall's contract certainly didn't help, either.
I Know Sambo: According to the commentators. He actually knew some Sambo through looking martial arts tapes, but had no formal training.
Goldberg currently owns a Muay Thai training center.
Implacable Man: This is his shtick, really. Generally, the worst parts of Goldberg's career are when he's doing anything else but this.
Invincible Hero: Averted. Despite having all the trappings of an Invincible Hero, the fans mostly couldn't get enough of him.
For the first year, anyway, when WCW still had a roster and tasers weren't yet conceived as wrestling moves...
Not to mention that, after two years of Hulk Hogan and the nWo making chumps of the entire WCW roster, Goldberg was a fresh face with an aura of invincibility. By this point, wrestling fans were dying for a person who could finally end Hogan's long-past-its-expiration-date title reign. He did, and for a short while, it was good.
Last Name Basis: Though referred to as Bill Goldberg on numerous occasions, he's mostly known by his last name alone.
Lightning Bruiser: Agile enough to do a backflip (which he did against Hugh Morrus, and in his title match against DDP), was also a pro football player, so he had explosive speed and power. Could lift The Giant and Jackhammer him with one arm, and was able to tear a limo's glass with his bare hands, although it cut his flesh.
Made of Iron: Kicked out of a sledge hammer shot from Triple H, though the first time Triple H did this he did get a three count.
Money, Dear Boy: He has made no secret of the fact that his involvement in wrestling is entirely dependent on how much money he makes from it.
It's ironic since Goldberg is better known as a wrestler than as a football player.
No Sell: Particularly memorable were his no sells to Glacier and Gillberg.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Halloween Havoc '98 match with DDP, largely thought to be the best of his career, wasn't seen by many fans because WCW's management was so inept at the time that the show ran over its time limit badly and the broadcast cut off. The match was shown recorded the following night on Nitro; well after fans knew the outcome and much of the emotional impact of the match (see Enforced Method Acting above) was lost.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Chris Jericho feuded, and lost, with Goldberg only weeks after fighting with him backstage. It should be noted Jericho won that backstage fight by getting Goldberg in a front facelock (a fight-ender in real life) twice. Accounts vary on whether Goldberg had gotten out of it himself, Jericho had let him go, or whether other wrestlers broke it up, but at the bell, Jericho was definitely ahead on points.
Throw It In: Almost his entire gimmick and storyline, according to Eric Bischoff. According to him, a meeting to decide his name ended with "Let's just call him Goldberg" and everyone rolling with it. His famous "Who's next?" came from a waitress who asked "Who's next" to pay their bill.
The Worf Effect: Goldberg served as the Worf for Meng and Batista. None of them were actually able to beat him, but simply being able to beat up Goldberg a little was enough to get them over. Goldberg also sold for jobber-to-the-stars Jerry Flynnnote Goldberg didn't like to sell for people he didn't think could hurt him in real life - despite being a jtts, Flynn was a 6'7" 275 lb karate blackbelt and definitely capable of making Goldberg 'sell', which was enough to get Flynn promoted to midcarder for a little while.
What Could Have Been: According to Goldberg on The Rise and Fall of WCW, he originally wanted to be called "The Hybrid", but WCW refused because they realized that if they sold merchandise for him, there would be potential copyright issues with certain automobiles who share the same name. Goldberg still insisted on that name, stating "I'll never make it that far." but was finally called Goldberg.
Wrestling Monster: One of the more mundane examples but also one of the most famous. A very rare face example of one as well.