What’s next for Goldberg? The WWE Hall of Fame.
As first reported by ESPN, Goldberg is the first inductee in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018 and will take his place in sports-entertainment history on Friday, April 6, during WrestleMania 34 week in New Orleans.
“Goldberg’s unique athleticism, persona and intensity captured the imagination of sports entertainment fans around the world throughout his illustrious career,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative. “We are honored to have Goldberg take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
It’s the ultimate accolade for Goldberg, whose career began in 1997. After playing football at the University of Georgia and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons, the former defensive tackle took his hard-hitting work ethic from the gridiron to the squared circle, which paid off in spades. After his WCW debut in September 1997, Goldberg went on an unbelievable 173-match undefeated streak, capturing the United States Championship and WCW World Championship along the way, while defeating the likes of fellow WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan, Diamond Dallas Page and Mr. Perfect with his patented Spear and Jackhammer.
His smash-mouth style combined with being seemingly impervious to pain made him one of the biggest stars in sports-entertainment history. Fans crammed into arenas around the world, chanting Goldberg’s name as he bathed in fireworks, smoke pouring out of his nostrils as he roared to the ring to unleash destruction.
After his unprecedented rookie campaign, Goldberg continued to dominate titans of the squared circle, felling monsters like Sid Vicious and Bam Bam Bigelow, among others. After WCW closed in 2001, Goldberg bided his time before coming to WWE in 2003. Right off the bat, he set his sights on one of the biggest Superstars of WWE (and Hollywood): Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He bulldozed over The Great One, Chris Jericho and Triple H and captured the World Heavyweight Championship before making his exit one year later after a battle against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX.
That seemed like it would be the end of Goldberg’s tear through sports-entertainment, but the book still hadn’t closed on the steamrolling Superstar’s career.
Twelve years after his last match, Goldberg returned to answer Lesnar’s challenge once again. Despite the odds (and time) being against him, he shocked the WWE Universe by putting Lesnar away in one minute and 24 seconds with two Spears and a thunderous Jackhammer. He went on to show that he had not lost a step by defeating Kevin Owens at WWE Fastlane 2017 to become the Universal Champion. While he lost the title to Lesnar at WrestleMania 33, he left WWE one night later with a warning to any Superstars who might think of calling him out: “You never know what – or who – is next!” and “Never say never.”
While there probably won’t be any Jackhammers during Goldberg’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, it is sure to be an emotional evening, as one of sports-entertainment’s greatest Superstars takes his place in history.