It’s Still Real To Me: Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection

It’s Still Real To Me: Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection



There are no real ‘winners’ when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. The moves are choreographed beforehand and outcomes are predetermined, but long successful winning streaks are one of the fundamental staples that fans have come to love about the business;


It’s a tried and true marketing ploy that, in a land of giants and larger than life personas, wrestling companies worldwide have utilized in order gain greater notoriety with examples including the amazing streaks of Andre the Giant, The Road Warriors and The Undertaker.


Each of these towering behemoths will be remembered for their longevity and almost impervious nature, however, there is one individual that dominated the wrestling circuit like no other; A superstar that tore apart an entire roster over three years and gave new meaning to the phrase ‘unstoppable force’.


That man is Goldberg.


In the words of the immortal Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenen, Goldberg was impeccably “The Man” racking up an impressive (though largely exaggerated) 173 straight victories from 1997 to late 1998. He was wrestling’s answer to the Terminator, boasting a unique blend of inconceivable power and MMA-style athleticism that had fans pouring in to arenas to witness his explosive no-nonsense matches.


Though now retired, Goldberg remains one of hottest names in wrestling prompting the WWE to put together a 3-disc compilation showcasing the greatest hits of his relatively short career.


Regrettably this anthology does not contain any form of interview or retrospective with Bill Goldberg himself, denying fans any inside stories or personal highlights. Similarly, there are no reflections from current-day superstars or in-ring legends making for a very straightforward and undemanding DVD – kind of like the man himself.


Kicking off Disc 1 somewhat tentatively is Goldberg’s debut match against reliable mid-carder Hugh Morris, an individual whose pun-tastic name eluded my tiny brain until early last year (Hugh Morris – Humorous – get it?).


Despite his domineering presence, Goldberg was no ring general and was only as good as his opponent would allow him to be. Many of these early matches are a sloppy and clouded with faults but finish at around the four-minute mark, which make for easy viewing. What’s more is that they showcase just how quickly Goldberg evolved as a performer and how WCW actually took their time with building him into the main-event player he would become.


Perhaps included as a rib to Goldberg (who had no involvement with the making of this collection) is his match with Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, an encounter that is more akin to two drunk water buffalo trying to use one another as scratching posts then two professional wrestlers engaged in a battle at the peak of their powers.


Thankfully this atrocity is outshined by Goldberg’s match with the ever-undervalued Raven, which is where the DVD really starts to pick up pace. Even if you’re not a fan of squash matches it’s hard not to enjoy this complete onslaught as Goldberg rips through Raven’s Flock and even suplexes the near 500-pound Reese.


Following this is arguably the biggest moneymaking opportunity WCW never cashed in on – Goldberg wining the World Heavyweight Championship on free TV after defeating two members of the imperial New World Order.


The crowd reaction on this night is simply quite like non-other resembling that of a World Cup final with fans exploding with every maneuver, snarl and animalistic roar from the one man wrecking crew.


The second half of Disc 1 showcases Goldberg at his best as he defends his title against formidable athletes such as Curt Hennig, Sting, The Giant and an outstanding performance against Diamond Dallas Page in what is undoubtedly his best outing ever.


As with any form of winning streak, the big question becomes who can stop it or who can outdo it hence Disc 1 closing with Goldberg’s first defeat at the hands of Kevin Nash.


The match itself is as good as it possibly could be with these two opposing forces but it is again the sheer excitement surrounding the match and the fan reactions that make this a fun watch.


Much like the second half of Goldberg’s run in WCW, Disc 2 fails to recapture the energy and enthusiasm on Disc 1.


Rematches against Nash, Sting and DDP fail to live up to their past engagements whilst fairly solid matches against Sid and Ric Flair are ruined by typically awful WCW booking.


Surprisingly, the best match on the disc is a street fight with Scott Steiner though unnecessary inclusion of head-writer Vince Russo again spoils the moment.


Disc 2 ends with Goldberg’s final match in WCW, a piss-poor tagteam bout in which The Man partners up with his former trainer Dewayne Bruce (who?) against Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell.


The last disc features Goldberg’s yearlong tenure in the WWE and the attempt at reinvigorating him in the eyes of the wrestling community.


Taking on The Rock in a modern era ‘dream match’ is an excellent introduction to Goldberg for the WWE fans as he picks apart The Great One in a great back and forth battle.


Following is a string of other great matches with the likes of Chris Jericho, Christian, Triple H and even Mark Henry as well as a truly monstrous outing in the Elimination Chamber at Summerslam 2003.


That said it’s clear looking back that Goldberg never really found his footing in the WWE as he did in WCW. Whether it be additional booking troubles or failing to meet the fans ever growing demand for lengthier matches, Goldberg just didn’t fit in with what the WWE had in mind.


His infamous match with Brock Lesner at Wrestlemania 20 closes the DVD on a rather sour note as the crowd at Madison Square Garden tell the wrestlers how they really feel.

Eclipsed by the fact that these two were set on leaving the WWE hours after the event, this match is often overlooked and is fact quite a decent powerhouse match that demands re-evaluation.


As a whole, Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection is a perfect example of how the wrestling industry can build a performer with limited abilities to the heights of superstardom then fail to preserve him there. Even more astonishing however, is the realization of how much he succeeded in such a short amount of time, which is a testament to how great a performer he truly was.


As mentioned before, the absence of interviews and sound-bites hurt the overall quality of the DVD though maybe it’s greatest downfall is the exclusion of Goldberg’s original titanic theme song that the WWE have instead overdubbed with their weaker, less impressive version.


Nonetheless, fans of Goldberg will relish in this selection of matches and relive one of the great phenomena of professional wrestling.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.