Goldberg’s Injury on WCW Thunder in 1999 almost cost him his arm and put him out of action for 5 months, something that helped kill WCW
In 1999, Goldberg was still one of the hottest wrestlers on the planet. He was WCW’s answer to Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was the sole home-grown star of the promotion and former WCW Champion who had the star power to help turn the tide in the battle against Vince McMahon’s WWE.
The former NFL player got over with fans with a series of squash matches that showcased his power and intensity and hiding his weaknesses and inexperience in the ring. He became one of the most popular wrestlers in the company and became a true main event talent, even beating Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship.
Come the end of 1999, WCW was not at it’s height at popularity and neither was Goldberg. Their storylines had declined, the NWO had spent too long on top and the entire show was a nonsensical nightmare. Goldberg was still one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, but he had cooled down significantly since he lost his undefeated streak to Kevin Nash.
At Starrcade 1999, Goldberg helped end Bret Hart’s career with a stiff kick to the head in a loss to The Hitman. He failed to win the WCW Championship but continued to feud with Hart after the Canadian legend reformed the NWO, along with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Jeff Jarrett. This led up to the unfortunate incident where Goldberg suffered an injury that almost cost him the use of his arm.
Dec. 23, 1999 episode of WCW Thunder, Goldberg took chase as he ran the NWO out of the arena. He was embroiled in a feud with Bret Hart and the NWO and chased them into a limousine into the WCW parking lot and began to attack the car with the men inside.
He was supposed to use a weapon to smash the windows (the weapon in question has been claimed over the years as being a bat, a metal pipe and a sledgehammer), but in the heat of the moment neglected to grab the weapon. He released on camera that he didn’t have anything to smash the window, so opted to use the next best thing – his own fists.
He attacked the car windows with hi fists and forearms, not wanting to look weak on national television. He managed to break the glass but did huge damage to his flesh, slicing open his arms and causing a tidal wave of blood to flow from his wounds.
The injury was horrific. A shard of glass sliced an artery in his arm and he began bleeding profusely all over the set. The show ended abruptly and as soon as the cameras cut, medical personnel rushed Goldberg to help with his injury. He was rushed to hospital and put under emergency surgery in hopes of saving his arm. He came incredibly close to losing his arm and was incredibly lucky thanks to the work of the medical personnel.
Goldberg’s injury meant that he spent 5 months out of the ring, during a time when he could have been a real force in WCW against the newly reformed NWO. The product continued to get worse and the ratings tanked without him. WCW fans couldn’t wait for him to return, but were bemused and angry when he turned heel on Kevin Nash not long after his return in May 2000.
Adding to the misery that was WCW in the year 2000, just two months after his return saw one of the worst moments in the companies history. It saw Hulk Hogan’s last appearance with the company, as Jeff Jarrett laid down for him to gift him the World Championship before Vince Russo cut a scathing “shoot” promo that caused Hogan to leave the company and file a lawsuit on the then-head of creative.
If he had not suffered such an horrific injury, WCW plans could have changed greatly and Goldberg’s star power could have helped WCW to compete with WWE.
Goldberg spoke about his injury on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions, where he admitted his “poor judgement” in failing to use the weapon and instead almost losing his arm live on WCW Thunder.
“You know, I mean, some things I may have taken personally. I made poor judgement ’cause I was mad, and as opposed to grabbing a sledgehammer, I figured I’d use my own sledgehammer and just show how violently [I can hit]. Well, that was smart.”
“Then I’m like, ‘Ok this is live TV and I’m gonna hit it again.’ And I hit it and go through it like a cheese grater, and I look down and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is nice,’. Live TV, grab my hand, white limousine, go to the front. Great video, great great shock. Boom! Blood everywhere. I just, I went nuts.”
Luckily the former WCW Champion eventually healed and made the jump to WWE, winning the World Heavyweight Championship and Universal Championship in two separate runs with the company. He later was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and is one of the few wrestlers ever with a winning record against Brock Lesnar.