Bill Goldberg is an anomaly in professional wrestling. He came into WCW after a career in the NFL and started in 1997 where he then built up an impressive (and some claim kayfabe) undefeated streak. He ended up as one of WCW's most popular stars in the '90s during the Monday Night Wars despite only coming in and winning squash matches for most of a year.
Goldberg finally became WCW world champion, and that slowed down his momentum. By the time he lost his title and his undefeated streak in one match, his popularity began to wane. Despite this, Goldberg was still a massive star, and when he debuted in 2003 in WWE, fans still loved the big man. With Goldberg recently coming out of retirement for a match with Undertaker, here is a look at the ten rivalries that defined Goldberg's career.
10 HULK HOGAN
When WCW realized they had something special with Goldberg, they built him up with an incredible undefeated record and had him set his sights on Hollywood Hogan and the WCW world championship. The pursuit of Hogan included a stop off at winning the United States Championship.
In one of the most puzzling moves in WCW history, the company had Goldberg challenge Hulk Hogan on Monday Nitro in Goldberg's home town of Atlanta rather than saving it for a pay-per-view, which would have done amazing buy rates. Goldberg won the title from Hogan on Nitro, and his streak continued.
9 DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Goldberg's only great feud while serving as world champion was against Diamond Dallas Page. Page had given Goldberg most of his best matches, basically because DDP ran the matches to the strengths of Goldberg. The biggest match between the men came in 1998 at Halloween Havoc.
Bill Goldberg has said was his favorite match of his career, and Diamond Dallas Page later revealed that he had to convince Goldberg to trust him in setting up their spots. It worked as DDP made Goldberg look like a massive star, legitimizing his title run. The two feuded again later after Goldberg lost his title.
8 KEVIN NASH
If Hulk Hogan was the rivalry that WCW built Goldberg up to face and conquer, it was Kevin Nash that WCW used as the rivalry to finally knock Goldberg back down a notch. Also, if Hogan losing his title on Monday Nitro was a puzzling move that left a lot of money on the table, the Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg rivalry was the start of the end of WCW's run on top.
That is because of two reasons. Kevin Nash is who ended Goldberg's undefeated streak at 173-0. Nash won the world title from Goldberg by cheating when Scott Hall interfered with a cattle prod. Nash then lost the title to Hogan with the Fingerpoke of Doom and WCW fans started tuning out after that.
7 SID VICIOUS
In a Goldberg rivalry that no one talks about, he feuded with Sid Vicious in 1999 after returning to action following his appearance in a movie. Sid was the United States Champion, and WCW had Sid working on a lengthy undefeated streak of his own. It was smart booking as no one could end Sid's winning streak and the man with the longest streak in WCW history stepped up.
Sadly, while Goldberg did end Sid's winning streak and win the United States Championship for a second time at Halloween Havoc, it was done with some controversy as the referee stopped the match when Sid, covered in blood, was unable to answer the bell.
6 BRET HART
When looking at the rivalries that defined Goldberg's career, most were due to strong booking, important angles, and milestones for the superstar. When it comes to Goldberg's rivalry with Bret "The Hitman" Hart, it resulted in tragedy. Goldberg is the man who ended Bret Hart's wrestling career.
Their feud started the night after Goldberg beat Sid Vicious for the United States Championship at Halloween Havoc and the two men competed in a match to determine a new WCW world champion. Hart won, and Goldberg suffered only the second loss of his career. At Starrcade, Goldberg challenged Hart for the WCW world title and legit kicked him in the head, while ultimately forced his retirement.
5 VINCE RUSSO
In 2000, Goldberg shocked the world when he turned heel for the first time in his career. He betrayed Kevin Nash, who was working as a babyface at the time and joined the New Blood, which was a faction led by Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. It wouldn't last.
By this time, Goldberg kept getting hurt and missing more and more time. An injury cost him his spot in the New Blood, and he started feuding with Vince Russo after this in one of the strangest rivalries in professional wrestling because commentators admitted wrestling was staged and Goldberg refused to cooperate with predetermined matches.
4 LEX LUGER
The very last rivalry that Goldberg had in WCW before the company shut its doors and went out of business was against The Total Package, Lex Luger. This feud began after Vince Russo ruled that if Goldberg lost a match again, he would fire him from WCW. Lex Luger was the top name to try to end his career in the company.
Goldberg beat Luger first at Mayhem and then later that year at WCW's top PPV Starrcade. Totally Buff (Luger and Buff Bagwell) kept after him, and then they beat him at the PPV Sin when a fan interfered, and they pinned him. This result meant Goldberg was fired from WCW. The plans were for him to return after surgery for revenge, but WCW went out of business at this time, and the feud remained unfulfilled.
3 THE ROCK
In 2003, two years after WCW went under, WWE signed Goldberg to a one-year deal, and he made his debut in the most significant way possible. The Rock was a major heel at the time and was in the ring insulting anyone and everyone when he said he had beaten everyone. Then Goldberg showed up.
Without saying a word, Goldberg speared The Rock and started his first WWE feud against The Great One. In the first match of his WWE career, Goldberg beat The Rock and then went undefeated for the first six months of his career in WWE.
2 TRIPLE H
At the time that Goldberg was running around WWE, defeating everyone in his path and building a new undefeated streak, it came time to set his eyes on the prize -- the WWE world championship. The man who held the title was Triple H, and the two men ended up battling for the title at SummerSlam. Goldberg lost when Triple H used his sledgehammer -- the first WWE loss of his career.
Finally, at Unforgiven, Goldberg put his own career on the line for another title shot and this time he won by beating Triple H for his first WWE world title. Triple H then put a $100,000 bounty on the head of Goldberg and Batista cashed it in by injuring his ankle. Triple H won the title back at Armageddon.
1 BROCK LESNAR
The rivalry that will always define the career of Goldberg is his feud with Brock Lesnar. It began in 2003 when Lesnar said he could beat anyone in the world and Goldberg stepped up. When Lesnar caused Goldberg's elimination in the 2004 Royal Rumble, the two ended up facing at WrestleMania XX.
The match was controversial as Goldberg was retiring after the match and Lesnar was quitting to try out for the NFL. Fans booed both men out of the building, and Goldberg won. 12 years later, Goldberg came out of retirement, challenged Lesnar again, and pinned him in under two minutes. Goldberg then won the Universal Championship, and Lesnar finally beat him for the first time at WrestleMania 33.