After weeks of rumors and speculation, WWE has finally confirmed that Bill Goldberg will be headlining the company’s Hall of Fame class of 2018, with his induction taking place on April 6, the Friday before WrestleMania 34, in New Orleans.
The announcement was made Monday morning on the WWE website and initially reported by ESPN, and it comes close to a month after Twitter user Brad Shepard first broke the rumors that Goldberg will be leading this year’s WWE Hall of Fame inductees. According to TJR Wrestling, Shepard also mentioned a few other rumored members of the Hall of Fame’s class of 2018, including The Dudley Boyz in the tag team division, Ivory in the women’s division, Bam Bam Bigelow as a posthumous inductee, and Kid Rock in the Hall of Fame’s Celebrity Wing. None of these other names have been announced by the WWE as official inductees.
“Goldberg’s unique athleticism, persona and intensity captured the imagination of sports entertainment fans around the world throughout his illustrious career,” read a statement from Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE executive vice president of Talent, Live Events, and Creative.
“We are honored to have Goldberg take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
Bill Goldberg’s Hall of Fame induction will come more than two decades after he first stepped into the ring and made the transition from the NFL to pro wrestling. A star defensive tackle for the University of Georgia who briefly played for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons, Goldberg was pushed as an unstoppable force when he debuted in the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and racked up a 173-match undefeated streak. He was mostly a fan favorite working for what was once WWE’s biggest rival company, standing out for his muscular physique and hard-hitting wrestling style.
Following a four-year run in WCW, where he also won the company’s United States Championship and World Championship, Goldberg took some time off and didn’t join the WWE immediately after it bought out WCW in March 2001. He finally signed a contract with WWE in 2003, and while he achieved some success as a one-time World Heavyweight Champion, he ended this one-year stint on a negative note, as many wrestling fans, as well as publications such as Bleacher Report, consider his match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX to be one of the worst WrestleMania matches of all-time.
Fortunately for Goldberg, his unexpected 2016 comeback was far better received. Although fans largely criticized WWE’s decision to have him quickly defeat Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016 and take just 22 seconds to beat the much younger Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship at Fastlane 2017, fans and reviewers mostly gave high marks to the third match of the Goldberg/Lesnar trilogy, where Lesnar defeated Goldberg for the Universal title in a five-minute match at WrestleMania 33.
“This is exactly what it should have been and needed to be; quick, explosive sprint, and entertaining while also playing off Goldberg’s previous domination and Brock getting his revenge,” wrote 411Mania’s Larry Csonka, who gave Goldberg vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 33 a solid grade of three-and-a-half stars.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it’s not sure if Bill Goldberg’s Hall of Fame induction will include a final match, possibly at WrestleMania 34 itself. However, WWE guaranteed an “emotional evening” at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as the company officially recognizes the 51-year-old Goldberg as one of pro wrestling’s all-time greats.