On October 17, Bill Goldberg returned to the WWE after a 12-and-a-half-year absence. The moment was highly anticipated, as the Raw program based the entire show around his return, with different video segments to refresh the viewers of how much of a monster he was in the ring. When he appeared, it was everything that was expected and more. Goldberg cut a heartfelt promo that let even the harshest critics speechless. In fact, even Goldberg was shocked at the quality and poignancy that it delivered, as he recently commented on Booker T’s podcast, Heated Conversations.
“I can tell you once I went through Gorilla [position] right after I delivered a promo I didn’t think I had the ability to do, you know, with the help of a lot of people, I gave [Vince McMahon] an embrace that I’d never thought I’d be giving.”
Goldberg has also been very clear how this time, he is a changed person and decides to do things rationally, instead of out of emotion and impulse since he got married and had a son after his wrestling career was over. These factors come into play when handling himself professionally backstage and being conversational to talent, as well as being willing to share any advice if needed. As a result, fans received a promo that showed how much he is grateful to return to the company after a contentious relationship.
A week later, Brock Lesnar appeared in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to respond to the challenge of Goldberg. Although born in South Dakota, many residents of Minnesota consider Lesnar a hometown boy since he spent two years of his collegiate career as a Gopher. As a result, the kid-loving, superhero babyface Goldberg was booed, which totally flipped the promo delivered by Paul Heyman upside down and caused it to tank.
Interestingly, seeing how Heyman is such a gifted mic worker, he did not think of eliciting “cheap heat” by stating to the fans that both Lesnar was not born in Minnesota, as well as him now living in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada, even representing the country during his last UFC fight against Mark Hunt. As reported by MMAFighting, Lesnar chose to don the Canadian stripes as a result of him now being a resident.
While Lesnar’s appearance deflated the hype of the feud, Goldberg has the opportunity to bring the passion back from the fans Monday evening on Raw in Hartford, Connecticut. Surprisingly, Goldberg has not stepped foot in a WWE ring inside the XL Center, as confirmed by a recent tweet from the venue. However, he did wrestle in Hartford during his time in WCW. In fact, the last time he appeared at the XL Center — then known as the Civic Center — was over 18 years ago, on the August 17, 1998, episode of Monday Nitro. Goldberg defeated The Giant (WWE’s The Big Show) by disqualification. Three months later, on Nitro, Goldberg would do the unthinkable by executing his Jackhammer finishing move on the well over 400-pound behemoth.
The second incarnation of the Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar feud has shown us that larger-than-life characters still take precedence in the minds of pro wrestling fans. While many modern-day fans tend to respect the indy-grown competitor more than the WWE-manufactured machine, there is something about exuberating characters that even the biggest critics cannot resist. Despite a number of people commenting on the internet about their reluctance and hesitation to see Goldberg back, the WWE Universe and social media alike have shown that Goldberg is the same megastar character he was over a dozen years ago. Hopefully, on Raw, he will continue that trend and further the excitement of his showdown with Lesnar at Survivor Series.
[Featured Image by WWE]