There is no doubt Bill Goldberg will forever go down as a controversial name amongst wrestling fans whenever he gets brought up in a conversation. However, it’s impossible to deny the impact he has had on the business since the first time he stepped foot inside the squared circle.
This article will take a deep look at some of the best matches of his entire career and will include epic clashes against the likes of Brock Lesnar, Scott Steiner and DDP, only to name a few. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the top 15 best matches of Goldberg’s career!
15) Vs. Hulk Hogan (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Jul. 6th 1998
Doing a list of Goldberg’s best matches without including this one would be a crime. Broadcasting live from the jam-packed Georgia Dome, it was evident this was going to be Bill’s crowning moment. And a crowning moment it was. Hogan was your pompous defending heel champion, while Goldberg was the beloved hometown babyface challenger. They worked this in the most clichéd way possible, with an early face shine, to the heel taking control in the middle, all leading up to the big babyface comeback for the win. It’s not the most perfectly-wrestled match in the world, but does it have to be when you hear that *pop* Goldberg received? This was and still is one of wrestling’s greatest moments in history. Goosebumps personified.
14) Vs. The Rock – WWE Backlash, Apr. 27th 2003
Bill’s brief success in Japan allowed him to get signed by the WWE to a one-year contract. He debuted on the RAW after WrestleMania XIX during The Rock’s Concert, and quickly made an impact by Spearing ‘The Great One’ into oblivion. The two faced off in a decent outing at Backlash, but the big problem was already written on the wall. As entertaining as Rock is when working on top, having Goldberg sell for over half the match significantly lowers his value and presence. Not to mention the fact that ‘Berg actually got booed by the crowd due to him once being a WCW wrestler (and to think Rock was playing heel!!). It was good as a standalone bout. But as a debut match for Goldberg, this flopped on a lot of levels. Goldie won this one-and-done encounter after three consecutive Spears and a Jackhammer.
13) Vs. Saturn – WCW Spring Stampede, Apr. 16th 1998
This was the period where Goldberg was getting REALLY over with the crowd. He came out to a huge ovation (which would be eclipsed the following night on Nitro, amazingly), fought through Saturn’s arm target and some outside interferences, and reversed a Ring of Saturn by deadlifting Perry into a Jackhammer for an impressive finish. Bill looked a little rough in there at times, but Saturn did a heck of a job carrying and improvising the flow of the match to make it watchable. Could this be the first good Goldberg match? I think so!
12) Vs. Dolph Ziggler – WWE SummerSlam, Aug. 11th 2019
I might sound crazy (and maybe I am), but I thought this was awesome. Ziggler was the perfect guy for stuff like this, and he took all those Spears like no one else. Goldberg looked like a million dollars out there. And had he been about a decade or two younger, you could literally strap a rocket to his back and push him to the moon right away. I know I probably shouldn’t place a match this short this high, but damnit, this was a blast for the little time it got.
11) Vs. Sting (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Sep. 14th 1998
This first-ever dream showdown between these two WCW titans happened on a random episode of Nitro, with no build-up nor story behind it whatsoever. But the crowd was still going batshit crazy for it, proving the enormous star power these two possessed during the time. Both men wrestled an exciting TV matchup full of thrilling reversals and a big-time atmosphere. It all comes down to Goldberg being put in a Scorpion Deathlock by Sting, but Hollywood Hogan came out for your typical WCW screwjob finish that negated more than half the crowd’s heat. I think these two could have had an even better match with some more time and a clean finish, but I’ll happily take what I can get here.
10) Vs. Scott Norton – WCW Monday Nitro, Jan. 25th 1999
Sometimes in wrestling, not everything needs to be crisp and polished. Just put two hosses out there, and let them bulldoze the absolute piss out of each other non-stop, all will be good. That’s exactly what we got here. Seeing Norton laying on Goldberg with several stiff shots while the latter absorbed it and mowed through him was pure adrenaline fun. To quote Big E, this was BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPIN’ MEAT!
9) Vs. Scott Hall (Stun Gun Ladder) – WCW Souled Out, Jan. 17th 1999
Goldberg was out for revenge on the entire nWo after he was screwed out of his streak last month, and faced Scott Hall in a Stun Gun Ladder match, a reference to what happened at Starrcade. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a lot better than you likely expected. It obviously wasn’t a blow-away classic by any means. But considering the talents (Hall in ’99, mind you), the ludicrous stipulation, and the state of WCW around this time, this actually turned out to be quite solid. I have to praise Goldberg’s selling of his leg here, which was VERY consistent. Hall didn’t look too good, but at least he didn’t completely shit the bed. In fact, this might be the best he ever looked in his alcoholic condition, as he took a couple of hard bumps and tried to structure the match in the best way possible. The dramatic finale saw Goldberg throw the taser in the air before Spearing Scott, before finally shocking him to end this one-off rivalry.
8) Vs. Raven (WCW United States Title, Raven’s Rule) – WCW Monday Nitro, Apr. 20th 1998
This was set up from the prior night’s Spring Stampede, and it’s Goldberg’s first ever title win in his career. Yes, this was super short, but it over-accomplished what it was set out to do. You have Goldberg obliterating the entire Flock like a Superman, the crowd preventing Raven from escaping through the stand(!), and THAT terrifyingly massive pop at the end. The crowd was going apeshit for Billberg every split second and I loved it. One of my favorite sub-five minutes bouts ever.
7) Vs. Bobby Lashley (No Holds Barred Falls Count Anywhere) – WWE Crown Jewel, Oct. 21st 2021
“Holy cow, how the hell was this good?” I asked myself over and over again when seeing this the first time. I never expected a Goldberg match from 2021 to be *good*, but welp, I guess here we are. They told the right story, put in a few awesome spots, and Goldberg, to his credit, actually sold his knee all the way to the end. Lashley was great, as expected, but there’s some rare effort from this version of Goldberg in there. Safe to say, this completely exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. The badass Spear off the stage to the table was the cherry on top.
6) Vs. Chris Jericho – WWE Bad Blood, Jun. 15th 2003
Jericho might be the ideal opponent for Goldberg, as he isn’t only the perfect smarmy jerk heel, but he can also play the savvy technical expert just as well. Goldberg started the match by immediately going after Jericho, looking to make quick work of the Canadian. That is until Y2J baited him into Spearing the barricade at ringside! A clever spot! Then, it was all Jericho from there. He put the boots to Goldie, effectively building up his comeback in an engaging way before Goldberg inevitably made the comeback for the win. A pretty good match that featured some solid psychology and selling, although I would’ve liked it better had Goldberg actually sold the correct shoulder instead.
5) Vs. Triple H Vs. Shawn Michaels Vs. Chris Jericho Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Kevin Nash (World Heavyweight Title, Elimination Chamber) – WWE SummerSlam, Aug. 24th 2003
This was such an excellently-booked match all the way throughout… and then there’s the ending, which makes it all so frustrating. Shawn and Jericho started the Chamber, and they greeted us with some nice action to begin, showing flashes of their past and future classics. Eventually, Randy Orton and Kevin Nash entered, and all four participants battled it out until Big Kev got eliminated via a Sweet Chin Music. Goldberg was up next, and in the best portion of the bout, he absolutely demolished everyone and everything in his path until one man was left: Triple H. And here’s the annoying part – in the end, Hunter won the match by blocking a Spear with a weak-ass sledgehammer shot, absolutely killing the crowd and making everyone in the match look like a chump in the process. Just like that, it was all over. It’s clear as day a title change was needed here, but apparently ‘The Reign of Terror’ just needed an extra month.
4) Vs. Diamond Dallas Page (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Apr. 19th 1999
Unlike their last encounter (which we’ll get into), DDP was now the defending champion, whereas Goldberg looked to regain the title he unfairly lost. Page had recently turned heel, giving us a clear-cut face/heel dynamic in this one. This obviously wasn’t on the level of Havoc ’98, but it was still a perfectly great little TV-level main event matchup. They smartly built their way up to a very good match, backed with a smart build. That ending is your usual frustrating WCW finish, though I suppose you have to protect both men somehow. Nash saving Goldberg in the post-match by cradling him like an infant was an uncomfortably weird visual, though.
3) Vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title) – WWE WrestleMania 33, Apr. 2nd 2017
The epitome of a high-energy mega heavyweight sprint. Both men worked hard, delivering impactful maneuvers on each other for tremendous pops from the crowd. Intense moments like the surprise Spear out of nowhere, the Spear through the barricade, and Brock doing a freakin’ LEAPFROG are the reasons why this was great. To me, this could’ve easily been the main event, with or without the title on the line. Easily one of, if not the best match to ever be contested under 5 minutes, and proof that 20 or 30 minutes aren’t necessary to create a classic. All killer, no filler, this.
2) Vs. Diamond Dallas Page (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Halloween Havoc, Oct. 25th 1998
Even though not his best match ever – at least in my opinion – this is by far Goldberg’s finest hour in the ring. His selling was excellent, as were his offensive moves and facials. DDP guided him all the way to the end like a true pro, providing all the more evidence of how underrated he is. I simply cannot praise that Diamond Cutter spot enough, tremendously well-executed, and the crowd also bought it as a legit false finish. At last, Goldberg executed a hard-fought Jackhammer to score the win, but not without DDP giving him a run for his money. Again, far from being the best match theoretically, but it was an incredibly fun bout that’s worth checking out for multiple reasons. Highly recommended.
1) Vs. Scott Steiner (No DQ) – WCW Fall Brawl, Sep. 17th 2000
There’s something special about watching these two monsters tossing the living hell out of each other like it was nothing. Goldberg overpowering the Steiner Recliner by dropping Big Poppa Pump on the top rope, and Steiner doing an avalanche overhead suplex(!!) on Bill were a sight to behold. Russo feeling the need to stick his nose in what might potentially be a classic was extremely unnecessary, but at least it gave us the story of Goldberg trying to overcome the odds, only to fall short in the end. Overbooking aside, this was a great, stiff, energetic brawl full of powerful and intense exchanges between two big beefy fellas. By far, one of the only few bright spots of WCW 2000. And, my personal pick for Bill Goldberg’s greatest match of all time.
And that’s all for today, folks. Be sure to look out for my next piece here on the blog. Until then, have a great week, and thank you for reading!