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William Scott "Bill" Goldberg (born December 27, 1966) is an American professional wrestler, former professional football player, and former mixed martial artist color commentator, who was one of the most popular wrestlers in WCW (where he was known simply as "Goldberg") 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 173 consecutive matches, and in the process, winning the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship, and later, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship 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 botched kick to the head in late 1999 that - coupled with other concussions suffered around the same timeframe - forced The Hitman out of the ring for good. (The Hitman got him back by beating Goldberg three times on TV.) Following WCW's closure in 2001, Goldberg wrestled for WWE between 2003 and 2004, becoming a one-time World Heavyweight Champion in the interim. During his WCW days into 2000-2001, he sponsored a Monster Jam monster truck under his last name and enjoyed great success as his truck won the racing championship both years and the freestyle championship in the latter year, but the sponsorship was dissolved after the WCW was bought by the WWE

Afterwards, Goldberg has semi-retired, and spends time doing television shows centered around motorcycles and automobiles, as well as serving as an MMA commentator. As of late 2016, he's returned to wrestling with WWE, where he won the WWE Universal Championship. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018. He won the Universal Championship again in 2020.

Not to be confused with Who's Next or The Goldbergs (although he does have a recurring role in the latter as a gym teacher).


  • 10-Minute Retirement: Played with. Goldberg left wrestling in 2004 and seemed uninterested in returning to the ring until an interview in 2015 where he expressed interest in wrestling one final match so his son could watch. He's also gone back and forth on this claim, and since he and WWE weren't on very good terms, it seemed a bit unlikely that he'll return. Until he was announced as the Pre-Order Bonus for WWE 2K17, the same deal that led to both Ultimate Warrior and Sting burying the hatchet with WWE. The dirtsheet rumors circulating about WWE trying to contact Goldberg about coming back also don't help matters...and he returned on the October 17 episode of Raw, to accept a challenge from Lesnar for a rematch at Survivor Series.
  • Action Dad: He has a son named Gage, who was involved in the storyline between Goldberg and Bobby Lashley.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: There were many comparisons made between him and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, given that both men were bald, had goatees, and wrestled in black boots and trunks. That's about where the similarities ended. Goldberg's gimmick was actually closer to that of Ken Shamrock, drawing inspiration from him and how he'd been underutilised in the WWF.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Goldberg is the "Someone Better" to Brock Lesnar. According to Paul Heyman, Lesnar has been kept up at night constantly by the fact that Goldberg is one-up on Lesnar for the past 12 years. Goldberg proves to be Lesnar's better once again in Survivor Series 2016 when he pins Lesnar in 86 seconds.
    • Ultimately subverted at WrestleMania 33 when Brock finally defeated Goldberg in a frantic match that lasted less than 5 minutes and featured 3 Spears, 10 German Suplexes and Brock kicking out of the Jackhammer to become Universal Champion, bringing his record against Goldberg to at least 1-2 (not counting the Royal Rumble elimination).
  • Baritone of Strength: Inverted. Despite his big stature and physical strength, Goldberg's voice is very high-pitched and quite nasal. See the entry Vocal Dissonance below.
  • The Berserker: Goldberg has always been portrayed as a force of nature and has been known to fight with monstrous strength. Also goes along with his animalistic snarl/growl.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He loves being a superhero to kids all around the world. He also loves meeting with his fans and giving autographs, taking photos, and participating in a variety of charities.
  • Biography: His autobiography, I'm Next: The Strange Journey of America's Most Unlikely Superhero.
  • Book Ends: Goldberg got his start by being the first person to kick out of Hugh Morrus' No Laughing Matter moonsault. His career effectively ends after Brock Lesnar becomes the first person to kick out of the Jackhammer.
  • Bring It: How did Goldberg react when The Undertaker appeared from the ether behind him to challenge and attempt to intimidate him on an episode of SmackDown? By getting in Taker's face and laughing.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Was on the receiving end from Dolph Ziggler at Summer Slam 2019. Goldberg beat him soundly and had the grace to walk off afterwards without beating him up further... until Dolph got on the mic and started insulting him and his moves, calling him a coward. Goldberg stood in astonishment for a few moments before walking back to the ring to give him another Spear to shut him up. That didn't stop Dolph from insulting him some more, so Goldberg came back down again and gave him an even bigger Spear. The commentary team were aghast.
    Michael Cole: Why would you poke Goldberg like this?!
    Corey Graves: I knew Dolph was going through some tough times professionally. I didn't realize he had a death wish.
  • Captain Ersatz: In the handheld console Fire Pro Wrestling entries.
  • Catchphrase: "Who's Next?" and its variants eventually became one as Goldberg's streak grew.
  • Carnival of Killers: Triple H put a bounty on Goldberg that Steven Richards, Thuggin and Buggin Enterprises, La Résistance, Tommy Dreamer and Batista all tried to collect.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, from a distance; both were bald men with beards in black wrestling trunks. During the height of the Monday Night Wars, Goldberg was often mistaken as Steve Austin and vice-versa, with fans even calling them by the other's name.
  • Combat Commentator: In mixed martial arts for EliteXC.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After shoving Brock Lesnar down during their match in Survivor Series 2016, the latter took his sweet time getting up because he didn't see Goldberg as a threat, even giving his "is that all you got?" smirk. Goldberg responded by delivering a Spear to Lesnar as he's getting up rather than letting The Beast catch his breath. This is really a microcosm of Goldberg's overall (kayfabe) attitude as a wrestler; he doesn't give his opponent a chance to recover for any reason (while other wrestlers feel the need to gloat or show off) and tries to end matches as quickly as possible.
  • Crowd Song: "Goooooldberg! Goooooldberg! Goooooldberg!", to the tune of his theme. There were rumors that to help Goldberg's popularity rise, the Goldberg chants were piped in through the sound system. Diamond Dallas Page denied it, saying something to the effect of WCW didn't have the ability or know-how to pipe things in over the sound system.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • A lot of his wins from The Streak were this; though how many were against jobbers is debatable.
    • This is how his return match against Brock Lesnar went in Survivor Series 2016. The "match" ended in 86 seconds with Goldberg pinning Lesnar after two Spears and a Jackhammer.
    • It is also how he won the Universal Championship from Kevin Owens at Fastlane 2017: "Spear, Jackhammer, 1-2-3" as soon as the bell rang, just as Goldberg had predicted.
    • How he won his second Universal title, this time against The Fiend at Super Showdown 2020. It took him four spears and one Jackhammer to end his title reign.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable:
    • Goldberg beating Hulk Hogan, then Kevin Nash beating Goldberg thanks to Scott Hall and a taser. WCW was not really prepared to figure out what to do with him afterwards, either.
    • Was the victim of this at the hands of Triple H during Goldberg's 2003-2004 run in WWE. Goldberg's mystique was that of an invincible, unbeatable juggernaut, so it may surprise some to learn that Triple H actually pinned Goldberg on televised programming three times. No other wrestler has ever pinned Goldberg more than once.
    • When he returned to WWE at the 2016 Survivor Series event, he completely steamrolled Brock Lesnar, who had, to date, wiped the floor with pretty much every top superstar in the company.
    • Kevin Owens had reigned as WWE Universal Champion for 189 days, until Goldberg defeated him for the Universal Championship at Fastlane 2017 with a distraction from Chris Jericho.
    • Goldberg defeated "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at Super Showdown 2020 to win his second Universal title.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • He defeated Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the July 6, 1998 Nitro, but did not main event on a PPV until his match with Diamond Dallas Page at WCW Halloween Havoc on October 25:
      • At the July PPV, Bash at the Beach, the "main event" was Hogan and pro basketball player Dennis Rodman defeating Diamond Dallas Page and pro basketball player Karl Malone. Goldberg was second from the top, defeating Curt Hennig.
      • The August PPV, Road Wild, had Page and The Tonight Show host Jay Leno defeating Hogan and WCW boss Eric Bischoff, who had been mocking Leno on Nitro, as the "main event," with Goldberg second from the top again winning a meaningless battle royal against a bunch of nWo guys. (For contrast, consider that WWF's SummerSlam PPV the same month had WWF Champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin defeating The Undertaker in Taker's first 100% clean PPV loss ever as its main event.)
      • Goldberg did not even appear at WCW Fall Brawl 1998, which had as its "main event" the all-time worst War Games match in the match's 11-year history. It was Team WCW (Page/"Rowdy" Roddy Piper/The (Ultimate) Warrior) vs. Team nWo Hollywood ("Hollywood" Hulk Hogan/Bret Hart/Stevie Ray [Booker T's brother] vs. Team nWo Wolfpac (Kevin Nash/Lex Luger/Sting) in a match that featured Warrior expy The Renegade making a surprise appearance imitating the Warrior and everyone in the match having to "play dead" for Warrior's "magic smoke." Page won the match by pinning Stevie Ray, after Hogan and UW had broken out of the cage. This monstrous idiocy DID lead to the great Goldberg-DDP match at Havoc, as the match had a stipulation that whoever got the pinfall victory would earn a shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Havoc, plus they had to save the show after the disastrous Hogan-Warrior rematch.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: He became the first man to defeat Lesnar cleanly since the end of 'Taker's streak in a stunningly one-sided contest; and remained undefeated against Brock until WrestleMania 33.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • He became a walking version of this trope in 2016. Ever since defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar had been pushed as almost completely invincible. Running through everyone in his path and squashing even main event talents. The story around Lesnar was: "who can possibly defeat him?" Suddenly Goldberg shows up completely out of nowhere, and pins him in seconds. The End.
    • The same thing happened with Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt. "Who can possibly dethrone the Universal Cha- Oh hey look! Goldberg's back." One spear later, and Kevin Owens/Bray Wyatt is no longer champion.note 
  • 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.
    • His trademark "stand in the pyro and breathe out the smoke entrance" was absent until mid-'98, around the time he won the WCW world title.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Kicking out of Hugh Morrus' finishing move (the "No Laughing Matter" moonsault) in his first match, then shocking the crowd by winning decisively. The kicker is when he says into the camera afterward, "That's number one."
  • Expy: While most often denounced at the time as a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin copy due to his shaved head and similar outfit, his squash-heavy style was much closer to that of 1980s Foreign Wrestling Heel Nikita Koloff. Goldberg also admits to patterning himself off of Dan "The Beast" Severn, particularly his early Ultimate Fighting Championship run.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Had a very ill-advised one late in his WCW career thanks to the typical Heel–Face Revolving Door booking of Vince Russo. Goldberg was the one last wrestler fans could count on to cheer for. Quite literally eating Scott Hall's contract certainly didn't help, either, and feuding with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in the first place with them as the faces was never going to go over the way Russo wanted it to. WCW fans just gave up altogether and it was, in some respects, the final nail in the company's coffin.
  • Finishing Move: The Spear followed by the Jackhammer (suplex powerslam).
  • Game-Breaking Injury:
    • Shredded tendons in his forearm punching through a limo window instead of using the metal pipe that was planted to keep this from happening.note  This injury shelved him for several months at what was still a critical stage of the Monday Night Wars. It killed his momentum and any chance for WCW to rebuild around him.
    • The abdomen tear that he suffered, which he described as "completely off the hip bone", ended his NFL career.
  • Genius Bruiser: Despite having the reputation to be Unskilled, but Strong (in no small part due to the accident that ended Bret Hart's career), Goldberg completely averted the Five Moves of Doom usually found in dominant main eventers like him by having a surprisingly wide and diverse moveset. Some of his moves, like his flying kneebars and military press combinations, were exceedingly technical.
  • Harsh Vocals: He has a gruff animal like growl tone to his voice which makes him even more intimidating as he is a 6'4 goliath with a Super-Strength.
  • I Know Karate: According to the commentators, he knew Sambo. Goldberg actually did know some sambo through watching tapes, from which he adopted some kneebars he used on the ring. but he had no formal training. However, he now owns a Muay Thai training center and has toyed several times with the possibility of competing in Mixed Martial Arts
  • I Know Madden Kombat: His spear is taken wholesale from his NFL playing days. It's generally considered to be one of the more powerful looking ones in the business.
  • Implacable Man: This is his shtick, really. Generally, the worst parts of Goldberg's career are when he's doing anything else but this.
  • Jobber Entrance: How he started on WCW, though in a subversion of expectations, he won and kept on winning.
  • The Juggernaut: Said by WCW to be the first undefeated world champion in the history of pro wrestling, as in he never lost at any time prior to getting the belt.
  • Large Ham: On the microphone he's pretty subdued and laconic, by pro wrestling standards. Trash Talk isn't really his thing. In the ring however, he's excessively vocal and animated, which makes sense considering how short his matches usually are.
  • 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.
  • LOL, 69: This was the WCW announce team's reaction to his win over Van Hammer on the April 6, 1998 Nitro, which was canonically his 69th victory.
  • Made of Iron: Kicked out of a sledge hammer shot from Triple H, though the first time Triple H did this (at a previous event) he did get a three count, probably because at that moment Goldberg was running towards him for a Spear.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Wore Mixed Martial Art-inspired gloves, back when it was a sport hardly anyone cared about, no less.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: His barbaric muscular physique isn't just for show. He's shown to lift tons of other wrestlers over his head in a Military Press and to hold The Giant in a Jackhammer position. And not to forget even in his old age he absolutely squashes Brock Lesnar in their second match.
  • No-Sell: Particularly memorable were his no sells to Glacier and, when The Rock brought him out to mock Goldberg, Gillberg. Perhaps surprisingly (considering the fact that he's almost completely unbeatable), he rarely no-sells against anyone who's even halfway credible.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Halloween Havoc 1998 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 recorded match was shown the following night on Nitro, but that was well after fans knew the outcome, so much of the emotional impact of the match (see Enforced Method Acting on the Trivia page) was lost.
  • Oh, Crap!: Just hearing his music could have this effect on opponents.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The Older Hero opposite Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley as the Younger Villain during his respective feuds with them.
  • One Last Job: Goldberg announced his return to face off one last time against Brock Lesnar, deciding he still had enough gas in the can for one last fight.
  • One-Mario Limit: It's probably safe to say that when the name "Goldberg" is heard, one immediately thinks of this one, even non-fans. Rumor has it that this is why UFC commentator Mike Goldberg wasn't signed to WWE back in the early 2000s.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Go watch any Goldberg entrance. If you hear a loud 'thud' right before he opens the locker room door, there's a 99% chance it's him headbutting something. He's entered with small cuts on his forehead before.
  • Papa Wolf: When Bobby Lashley and MVP confront Gage, Goldberg attacks MVP with Spear.
  • Pet the Dog: He may have a mercenary attitude towards the wrestling business, but he's extremely devoted to charities, particularly the Make A Wish foundation. He's also very nice to fans as long as they don't approach him when he's with his family. He's also a spokesman for the ASPCA, making this a literal case.
  • The Quiet One: He didn't talk very often. His actions did the talking for him.
  • Red Baron: Never had much in the way of nicknames, but Bobby Heenan took to calling him "The Man!" during his WCW career.
  • Ring Oldies: It originally looked like he was going to avoid this, as he left the business before his 40th birthday. Then he came back for a run in WWE, which extended beyond his 50th birthday. He's past fifty and not only is he still jacked, but still strong enough to hit the Jackhammer on someone as big as Rusev. He later did one better, absolutely flattening Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, in under two minutes.
  • The Rival: Meng, Diamond Dallas Page, Hulk Hogan, Sid Vicious, Sting, The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Drew McIntyre.
  • Rule of Cool: His whole entrance, where they basically threw everything the set budget had. Includes a hefty dose of Ominous Fog and an Out of the Inferno walk through a fireworks shower, where he would then INHALE THE PYROTECHNICS SMOKE AND EXHALE IT LIKE A FRIGGIN' DRAGON!
  • Running Gagged: At the start of his WrestleMania 36 Universal Championship title defence against Braun Strowman note , Goldberg opened with an early Spear which Braun sidestepped- and Goldberg caught himself before he could plow shoulder-first into the ring post (something of a signature spot for him, despite its propensity for going badly wrong).
  • Screaming Warrior: A great moment, from the 2004 Royal Rumble: [loud cobra hiss] "YOU SON OF A BITCH!"
    • Also his animalistic roar after he does his Signature Move the Spear.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Part of Goldberg's appeal was watching his matches to see what moves he'd come up with to hurt the poor sap stuck in the ring with him this time and how quickly he could do it. Despite having all the trappings of an Invincible Hero, the fans mostly couldn't get enough of him, for the first year, anyway. And 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 title reign. He did, and for a short while, it was good.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: While feuding with Bray Wyatt, Bray tries to do his usual mind games. Goldberg completely shuts him down by interrupting him and saying he doesn't care what Wyatt says, he's just here to fight.
  • Signature Move: Canadian fans generally disliked him for a mule kick they claim ended Bret Hart's career. Also, a gorilla press transitioned into either an Oklahoma slam or spinebuster in WWE with no controversy surrounding it. Also his main combo to end a match which concludes with the Spear and the Jackhammer.
  • Sitcom: There's a clip of him in the opening credits sequence for Malcolm in the Middle.
  • Soft Glass: Apparently, Goldberg was supposed to smash several limousine windows with a pipe concealed in his hand, and he lost the pipe. He decided to punch through the window with his bare hands. He seriously injured himself, and Goldberg was out of action for nearly six months.
  • Squash Match: What the majority of his matches in WCW were during his first streak.
  • Take That!:
    • At WCW Fall Brawl 1998, Chris Jericho brought out a midget version and easily "defeated" him.
    • On the January 11, 1999 Raw, WWF World Light Heavyweight Champion Duane Gill was reintroduced as "Gillberg," complete with similar mannerisms, guided entrance, his J.O.B. Squad stablemates The Blue Meanie, 2 Cold Scorpio and Bob Holly holding little sparklers around his head as he choked on the smoke. Gillberg entered the ring and said, "Gillberg doesn't wanna know who's next - Gillberg wants to know WHO'S FIRST?" Luna Vachon answered and promptly squashed Gillberg in 1:04.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Is a big, muscular tough dude with a higher-pitched, slightly nasal voice. Though he put a growl in his voice when cutting promos perhaps because of this trope.
  • Wham Shot: Gotta give WWE credit for a magnificent piece of camera work: Goldberg's rematch against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016 started with Lesnar powering Goldberg into the corner, only for Goldberg to shove the Beast down and roar at him intimidatingly. The camera provided a close-up of Brock shrugging the threat off with his usual sneer, but as he turned to get up the camera cut back to a longer shot just in time to see Goldberg's Spear smash into Brock like a battering ram, nearly snapping him in half.
  • 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 Flynn,note  which was enough to get Flynn promoted to midcarder for a little while.
  • Wrestling Monster: One of the more mundane examples but also one of the most famous. A very rare face example of one as well.
  • Yin-Yang Clash: Goldberg's match against Brock Lesnar at 2016's Survivor Series. Starting around WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar's durability had become superhuman, and no one's finishers could keep him down for more than about a second, much less pin him for a three count. Goldberg, meanwhile, had proven throughout his entire career that no one could kick out of his Jackhammernote . In short, Lesnar could kick out of anything, but no one could kick out after a Jackhammer from Goldberg. When the two collided, the unstoppable force (Goldberg) absolutely flattened the immovable object (Lesnar).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bill Goldberg


Goldberg & Gillberg

WWE finds its answer to Goldberg in the man they call Gillberg.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeThat

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