WWE wasn’t always the only wrestling giant in the ring. In fact, for a time in the late 1990s, their rival organization World Championship Wrestling was stomping them in the ratings with Monday Nitro. It was a time known as the Monday Night Wars and WCW had the potential not only to find the success that would see them still around today, but perhaps even have put Vince McMahon out of business. WCW’s dominance directly led to Vince and WWE reconsidering the way they presented their product, which was in the form of a family friendly wrestling program, thus The Attitude Era was born. WWE then became a raunchy adult-oriented fight show.
But few business minds are as proficient as Mr. McMahon’s when it comes to longevity and while WCW certainly knew how to entertain the audience in the moment, they failed to consider the implications of not making enough new stars. The company relied heavily on wrestlers who had already made themselves famous in WWE and only introduced a handful of its own new talent. It’s a shame it didn’t happen more often, especially if they all had the potential of the man who eventually became the face of WCW, Goldberg.
Bill Goldberg burst on the scene in the late 1990s and went on to have an unprecedented winning streak which saw him eventually pin Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. He was the company’s hottest commodity and when WWE purchased WCW, he eventually joined Vince McMahon, albeit for a less impressive run that left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Goldberg certainly had a storied career despite its relatively short duration, but he hasn’t rested on his laurels. He remains in the spotlight, so let’s take a look at some surprising happenings in his life since hanging up the wrestling boots.
15 “Who's Next” Podcast
In professional wrestling, there are technicians who rarely do any talking and there are great talkers who don’t need to be great mat wrestlers. Bill Goldberg fell into neither of those categories. He wasn’t the world’s soundest grappler, though that doesn’t mean he couldn’t carry a match. He was a powerhouse, but his football background saw that he was certainly blessed with speed. But speaking wasn’t his strong point, either. Luckily for Goldberg, staying away from the microphone only raised his mystique level. The silent, speedy monster was something to be feared.
The fact that Goldberg was famous for being a man of few words makes it all the more surprising that one of his post-wrestling ventures would be hosting a podcast. In 2014, Bill started “Who’s Next?” on PodcastOne where he would interview a new guest each week. Shocking, perhaps, but maybe not as shocking as other things to happen to Goldberg after wrestling considering that every retired wrestler under the sun seems to have had a podcast at some point.
14 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Bill Goldberg spent years building one of the strongest records in the history of professional wrestling. He was only ever defeated five times over the course of his career in the ring and wrestled some of the biggest names to ever lace up a pair of boots. Despite the less than stellar run in WWE which closed out his grappling career, Goldberg is fondly remembered by wrestling fans and his time in the business is well respected, probably because he didn’t stick with the profession long enough for the mystique, which made him so appealing, to drop and show us the man behind the curtain.
As it turns out, the man behind the curtain is actually a pretty cool guy. Few wrestlers, past or present, seem as down to earth as Bill Goldberg, who has stayed confident, but humble after leaving wrestling. In 2014 he participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, a campaign where people all over the world would film themselves having ice water dumped over their heads to raise awareness for ALS.
13 He Owns a Gym
As one of the most legendary WCW World Heavyweight Champions ever, Goldberg is in an elite class. He is one of the most popular athletes of all time and he’s pretty well rounded. He’s best known for his time in professional wrestling, but before wrestling he had some success in professional football and he also trains in other forms of fighting. With such a reputation, it comes as no surprise that there would be a market for the chance to train with the wrestling great.
Goldberg has taken it upon himself to pass on what he knows. Extreme Power is a gym located in Oceanside, California, and is co-owned by Goldberg himself. The purpose of the program is to teach “self-discipline, self confidence, respect, and patience, as well as to develop body coordination, speed, balance and grace.” Amateur boxing and Muay Thai are among the styles of fighting taught at the gym.
12 Combat Crate
He may have been a cold and calculating killing machine in WCW and WWE, but the former World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg has certainly made use of his time after wrestling showing his softer side. He’s been involved with multiple charitable causes since leaving the ring including the aforementioned ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and work in support of the Unites States Armed Forces. In fact, the former face of WCW is now involved with a unique program designed for that very purpose.
The project known as Combat Crate was launched in 2016 by Goldberg as one of his most recent endeavors alongside several other well known combat personalities. Combat Crate allows shoppers to order a box full of wrestling, boxing and MMA related goodies and collectibles such as action figures, trading cards and autographed pictures and the proceeds go toward helping wounded soldiers upon their return from battle. On the official Combat Crate website, Goldberg is listed as the director of charity.
11 Commentary For MMA Promotions
Goldberg’s athletic past is well documented. When he was picked up by WCW in the late 1990s, he already had plenty of pro football experience including with the National Football League playing for the Los Angeles Rams. His experiences that followed in WCW with an undefeated streak of 173 matches, as well as his meteoric rise to the top as he captured both the WCW United States and World Heavyweight Championships and feuding with big names like Hulk Hogan and The Giant, established him as one of the wrestling fandom’s most respected personalities. In essence, Bill Goldberg was WCW’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and his name value was evident when WWE made sure to bring him in for a brief run.
But Goldberg’s involvement in sports didn’t stop at football and wrestling. Goldberg has expressed in interviews that he once had an interested in pursuing a career in mixed martial arts, but by the time he got out of wrestling, he felt he was too old to get into it. Instead, he embarked upon a career in MMA commentary for organizations like World Fighting Alliance and Extreme XC.
10 Movie Career
The idea of professional wrestlers becoming actors in Hollywood was something of a source of humor at one time. Wrestlers weren’t seen as having the potential to be anything special on the big screen, but then Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson broke the mold when he exceeded expectations by becoming one of the most highly sought after men in the film industry. It seems like The Rock always has a new blockbuster on the way and Bill Goldberg has said that he would love to follow in Johnson’s footsteps.
He’s been working on that goal for a long time now, actually. While he was still involved in pro wrestling, Goldberg was starring in movies such as Ready to Rumble and Universal Solder: The Return. After retiring from the ring, he went on to star in a comedic horror Christmas film called Santa’s Slay and had a role in Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard, alongside fellow wrestlers Steve Austin, Kevin Nash and The Great Khali.
9 Television Career
As we just covered, Bill Goldberg has been trying his hand at a career in the film industry for a good while now. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had a ton of work in that area and most of the films he has been a part of have largely seen very little success. Though Goldberg says he’d like to be as successful in Hollywood as his former coworker Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, that seems unlikely at this point considering Johnson’s monstrous success in the industry.
Goldberg also has had his foot in the television industry, though, and has made quite a few appearances on some big series. Many of these roles have been on reality television, but he has also appeared in acting parts, such as a role as an inmate on the ABC show Desperate Housewives as well as a part in the widely popular NBC hit Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
8 Legends of Wrestling
It’s widely accepted that Goldberg’s wrestling career came to an end with his final match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX, an affair that went down in history as one of the most awkward, embarrassing and worst matches in the history of WrestleMania. It’s understandable, then, that most fans would assume that moment was the end of Goldberg’s association with the wrestling world, because he made a point to move on to other endeavors such as charity and acting, but to say that Bill Goldberg was ever completely finished with the squared circle would be a bit of a lie.
In fact, in 2016 Goldberg made an appearance at a show for the Legends of Wrestling promotion, an organization that largely features some of the biggest wrestling names from the 1980s and ‘90s. Goldberg’s appearance was marked by destroying fellow WCW legend Scott Steiner with a spear. On Legends of Wrestling’s official website, Goldberg is listed as “the face of the company.”
7 Involvement With ASPCA
Bill Goldberg might be known as one of the most intense combatants to ever step foot inside a wrestling ring. His entire gimmick was built around his intimidating presence and the fact that he would show up, tackle someone, get the pinfall and leave. He oozed intensity, roaring throughout his matches and rarely speaking. He didn’t have to speak; he was Goldberg and his sole purpose was to destroy. The formula worked and many would say it should be applied to the likes of a certain current WWE Superstar named Roman Reigns.
Given his character, one wouldn’t expect Goldberg to be so soft hearted in his real life. However, he’s been involved in numerous charitable projects and is apparently a big animal lover. The internet is littered with photos of the monster Goldberg posing with cute kittens and he has been very outspoken against dog fighting, but most people probably aren’t aware that Goldberg’s been a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA.
6 He Got Married
The man named Goldberg is truly an icon in professional wrestling. Despite his years in the business only totaling to a handful, he left his mark as one of the most intense athletes to ever lace up a pair of boots and one of the greatest World Heavyweight Champions of all time. Indeed, the character of Goldberg helped define an entire era when wrestling was at its peak in the late 1990s, but following his experiences in his short lived run in WWE, he stepped out of the ring and retired from active competition.
Goldberg had been acting throughout his wrestling career and went back to it after leaving the wrestling industry. One of his earliest projects following retirement was the Christmas themed comedy horror flick Santa’s Slay. On the set of this movie he met a woman named Wanda Ferraton, a stunt double for the film, and the two hit it off. They were married and now have a son together named Gage Goldberg.
5 Hosting Automobile Shows
Goldberg is sort of a jack of all trades as it relates to his career and hobbies. Of course, there’s his hugely successful pro wrestling career, but he was also involved with professional football before that and has been acting for many years in movies and television. He’s an animal activist, working as a spokesman for the ASPCA and speaking out against dog fighting, and he’s even occasionally made wrestling related appearances, but one of his biggest hobbies is automobiles.
That’s right: somewhat predictably, the great Bill Goldberg is a car enthusiast. However, perhaps more surprising is that he has actually hosted two separate reality shows about the topic. The first, called AutoManiac, dealt with motorcycles and muscle cars and aired on The History Channel. The second is Bullrun, an elimination style competition show (inspired by the popular Bullrun Rally involving luxury automobiles) which aired on the Speed channel, running for three seasons.
4 He Sparred With Kimbo Slice
In the world of pro wrestling, the talk of dream matches is common. In fact, dream matches are some of the biggest money makers in the industry and often used to sell the biggest of events. WrestleMania, for example, includes a showdown that could be considered a dream match nearly every year, such as The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels or The Rock versus John Cena. In fact, Goldberg himself was involved in one such dream match when he squared off against Brock Lesnar in his final wrestling match, a confrontation that would go down in history for better or worse.
Often in modern times, fans dream of seeing crossover battles between pro wrestlers and MMA fighters, something that occasionally comes to pass with the likes of Brock Lesnar participating in UFC and former WWE Superstar CM Punk now in training to do the same. It may not have been an actual fight, but in 2008 when Goldberg worked with Showtime, fans got to see him spar with the late MMA fighter Kimbo Slice and that was certainly pretty close to being a dream match.
3 Celebrity Apprentice
Now that Donald Trump has changed American politics forever with his eventful Presidential campaign, that world will forever be tied to the universe of professional wrestling. Trump’s way with words may have made him a superstar in 2016, but he was already a WWE Superstar to some extent in WWE for many years, dating all the way back to his appearance at WrestleMania 23.
However, Bill Goldberg is obviously not a fan. In a talk with TMZ in 2015, Goldberg let loose on Trump, calling both him and Vince McMahon “off their rocker.” Goldberg’s disdain of The Donald comes from his time as a competitor on Trump’s famous reality show Celebrity Apprentice, where Bill was fired in a less than kind way. Once again Donald Trump had found new ties to the wrestling industry and it seems to be a relationship that may just live forever.
2 His Appearance in WWE 2K17
Goldberg will always be remembered for the dominant beast that he was, especially during his lengthy undefeated streak and run as the face of World Championship Wrestling. Unfortunately, while it won’t likely overshadow his accomplishments, his retirement will always be mired in discussions of how catastrophically awful his final moments in the wrestling industry turned out to be.
When Goldberg wrestled his last match, it was against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX. Both men were on their way out of WWE; all the fans knew it and they weren’t about to let them off the hook easily. This situation combined with a poor build by the company spelled total disaster as the fans booed both men and the entire match relentlessly. Since then Goldberg has had a rocky relationship with WWE, but he’s been particularly critical of the company in recent years, which is why it’s so surprising that he’s featured in the WWE 2K17 video game, and he’s even being used heavily in the marketing for the product.
1 The Miami Marlins Game
There is no doubt about the fact that Bill Goldberg has had one of the most illustrious careers in professional wrestling history. He’s one man who can say he almost single handedly took a wrestling organization to new heights which it would likely not have seen without him, becoming WCW’s biggest selling point and one of the company’s only original stars. Despite a rocky ending, Goldberg also had a successful, albeit short, tenure in WWE before he finally retired. He’s managed to stay in the spotlight with his various acting roles and charitable endeavors, but for an icon like Goldberg, sometimes it all just comes back to wrestling.
There’s something special about the moment Goldberg had in 2013 at a Miami Marlins game. It was a special “legends of wrestling” night and Goldberg was to take part. Early on in the night, Goldberg unleashed his patented, famous “spear” on some random guy in a purple shirt, laying him out flat on the ground. It was a simple thing, but nostalgia is a powerful sensation. For that moment, lifelong Goldberg fans were on fire.