Bill Goldberg is a legend in both WWE and WCW. The former NFL player came into WCW and made an instant impact, racking up 173 straight victories without defeat and becoming one of the most dominant WCW Champions of all time.
He defeated Hulk Hogan in front of 40,000 fans on WCW Monday Nitro to win the WCW Championship, and stayed with the company until they were bought by WWE in 2001.
Goldberg’s WWE Debut
Bill Goldberg debuted in WWE on the Raw after Wrestlemania XIX, attacking The Rock on March 21 2003. He speared The Rock, setting up a match between the two, just after The Rock was gloating about beating Stone Cold Steve Austin the night before.
Fans were aware of Goldberg coming into WWE, and had already began to chant “GOLDBERG” prior to his WWE debut. His music hit as The Rock was talking in the ring, and crowd exploded as they finally saw Goldberg’s WWE debut after sitting on the side-lines for two years after WCW’s demise.
Goldberg’s debut ended up with him spearing The Rock, stamping down his authority on the multi-time WWE Champion. He immediately presented himself as a top star in WWE, carrying on from where he was in WCW.
This would lead to Goldberg’s WWE debut match at Backlash 2003, where he would main event the pay-per-view in a blockbuster match against The Rock.
Goldberg’s WWE debut match
Goldberg’s debut match in WWE was against The Rock at Backlash 2003. It came just weeks after his WWE debut, where he attacked The Rock on Monday Night Raw to announce his prescence in WWE, after a career with their rivals WCW.
In an even match that lasted 13 minutes, Goldberg defeated The Rock after two spears and a Jackhammer helped him seal victory in Goldberg’s WWE debut match.
It was a huge victory for the former WCW Champion, given how badly WWE had treated stars who had come over for the WCW/ECW Invasion. Previous WCW Champions like DDP and Booker T were not treated as main event stars, so seeing Goldberg beat the top star in the industry at the time, in The Rock, was a huge accomplishment that nobody expected.
In his debut year, Goldberg would battle Triple H, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the process. However, his run would l
ast just under a year, as his last match was against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XX.
Goldberg’s return match
Goldberg’s first match back upon his return in 2016 was against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016. He had long been retired, having only a short spell in Japan after leaving WWE in 2004.
He returned to face his Wrestlemania XX opponent, Brock Lesnar, in Goldberg’s second debut in WWE. It was a hugely hyped match, although most fans thought it was simply a one-time match for Goldberg to promote his appearance in WWE 2K17.
It seemed impossible for Brock Lesnar to lose too, as he had been dominant and undefeated since defeating The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX, ending his legendary undefeated streak. It seemed like simply one last payday for Goldberg, who was pushing 50 and hadn’t wrestled in a decade.
So, cue everyone’s surprised when in Goldberg’s first match back in 12 years, he defeated Brock Lesnar in one of the most shocking finishes since said Lesnar-Undertaker match. It helped build to a rematch at Wrestlemania for the Universal Championship, where Lesnar would defeat Goldberg and win his first Universal Championship.
What did you think of Goldberg’s debut match in WWE? Did you prefer his match with the Rock or Brock Lesnar? Let us know in the comments or click below to read more
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.