POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Bill Goldberg and the end of the streak

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/14/pollocks-news-update-bill-goldberg-and-the-end-of-the-streak/

POST IT NOTES



**Tonight, Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-Raw to chat about the latest news, events from the weekend, and review WWE RAW. Plus, we will take your questions & feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**The deadline to submit your Christmas jingles for the annual POST Wrestling Christmas Show is this Thursday at Noon Eastern. Jingles can be posted in the thread on the POST Wrestling Forum or sent to john@postwrestling.com.

**Wai Ting and Pauline have their latest edition of Total Recall reviewing Ep. 3 & 4 of the current season of Total Bellas for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**WH Park was joined by Joey Bay for this month’s edition of POST Puroresu with extensive reviews of the Super J-Cup, BOSJ & World Tag League finals, the recent Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Sugiura match for the GHC title, the announcement of Keiji Mutoh headlining Budokan Hall in February and WH’s love for Gedo’s usage of managers.

**On Tuesday, we will have our monthly ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show taking all the questions submitted over the past month from the POST Wrestling Forum thread.

**Andrew Thompson and Davie Portman are hosting another IMPACT review podcast Tuesday night. Andrew will also have an interview with Anthony Henry coming out Tuesday.

**Wai Ting and I are part of the True North Nerds 100th podcast that is out today. Nate Milton was also a guest on this show.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday:
ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show (Patreon)
Tuesday:
IMPACT review with Davie Portman & Andrew Thompson
Tuesday:
Andrew Thompson interviews Anthony Henry
Wednesday:
upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday:
Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Thursday:
Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure (King of Pro Wrestling 2016)
Friday:
Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:30 pm ET for Café members)
Sunday:
WWE TLC POST Show with John & Wai (LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members)

WWE UNTOLD: Goldberg’s Streak

Bill Goldberg and his undefeated streak was the latest subject covered on the WWE Untold series.

The rise of the former football star within WCW was nothing short of lightning in a bottle and a phenomenon that kept WCW business strong through the duration of 1998 even though creatively, the company was stifling.

The streak caught fire at the same time the country was enraptured with the chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. It was a three-man race through the first half of the season involving Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. before McGwire and Sosa pulled away and both would surpass the magical number 61. In WCW, fans easily gravitated to the streak with Goldberg’s explosive style of match that caught fire with the star becoming a transcendent one in the mainstream alongside Steve Austin during the boom period.

In a genius promotional tie-in, Goldberg visited with McGwire prior to a Cardinals’ game allowing for a photo-op for the cover of WCW Magazine. During the interaction, McGwire rubbed the bat on Goldberg’s chest for extra strength and hit a home run later that night. That story and footage weren’t capitalized enough by WCW aside from the usage of the photo on the cover of the magazine, which was shown in the feature.

In the documentary, the streak was acknowledged as the brainchild of Mike Tenay and influenced by other famous streaks within sports. The addition of Tenay’s influence was a late call after Dave Meltzer spoke of Tenay’s influence and being on the phone with Tenay when the idea was hatched. This led to a call from WWE to Tenay last Tuesday and his involvement was not ignored. It appears they used WWE host Matt Camp as the talking head to explain Tenay’s involvement and spliced it into the finished documentary, which is extra attention to care that is noteworthy from the producers.

In 1998, the narrative is often that WWF overtook WCW and the company limped its way out of business from that point onward. However, in 1998, WCW had its best year ever financially with revenue of $188 million and up 68 percent from 1997. Their arena business was phenomenal, and nothing emphasized that strength greater than the four week period that included the decision to end Goldberg’s streak.

While Kevin Nash cited the growing chants of “Goldberg sucks”, which were popping up, the business told another story.

Nitro drew 32,067 to the Astrodome in Houston on December 7th, which was followed two weeks later with 29,000 at the TWA Dome in St. Louis and culminated with 38,809 at the Georgia Dome on January 4, 1999, for the infamous “finger poke of doom”. WCW business was red hot and while ending the streak in a vacuum wasn’t going to kill WCW, the combination of Goldberg’s loss, poor follow-up, and a wretched booking idea at the Georgia Dome set the stage for a money-losing year in 1999.

Nash absolved himself as the architect of the streak’s end, noting he was not the booker at that time, which is true as he wasn’t installed until January 21st. Nash has always maintained that he came out of it hurt due to the nature of him winning the title and losing it eight days later in the fashion he did to Hulk Hogan with the finger poke.

Goldberg sputtered throughout 1999 from uninspired programs with Scott Hall, Bam Bam Bigelow, and a rematch with Nash at the April pay-per-view before a break to shoot the movie Universal Soldier: The Return. His return on the July 5, 1999, episode of Nitro from the Georgia Dome outlined the damage done the prior January. Attendance fell to 25,338 with the paid amount reported at under 20,000. It was the last time WCW ran the domed stadium.

If there is a conclusion from the Untold feature, it’s an openness by Goldberg to his naïveté to the business. He wasn’t a performer that challenged and questioned the politics that circulated him, and as seen by some of those in the piece, he was surrounded by seasoned sharks. It’s funny because the comparison I had watching the piece was with Bret Hart, a performer who has always had ill feelings towards Goldberg due to the way his career ended. Both were accused of taking their characters and the industry “too seriously” and yet, that trait made the characters who they were and added credibility leading to, the audience taking them seriously.

It’s not surprising that the modern-day Goldberg has kept his business circle small and closely linked to Paul Heyman, who has always seen the proper usage of the character as a performer with easy-to-identify strengths and weaknesses.

While WCW squandered a lot with Goldberg, they at least developed him to the point that he did make a gigantic difference in 1998. When Goldberg finally arrived in WWE in March 2003, the template was written, and you could poll the audience and they would tell you the accurate way to book Goldberg. Instead, the ’03 experiment was a disaster with rare instances of the version that had its most success. It was fascinating to watch the company get it right thirteen years later when Goldberg returned for the program with Brock Lesnar.

With the passage of time, you often gain perspective on your successes and failures. Some will place them in the proper context, and others will double down by heightening the successes and downplaying their failures. The history of WCW and its chief architects can be accused of both. When one gets the true reflections, it was a golden time for the industry and there was so much left on the table inside a company where they should have been too big to fail.

For all his maneuvering during that era, Hulk Hogan lost so much with the death of WCW. There was never a prayer he would ever sign a more lucrative deal in his life than the latest extension in 1998. When he wrestled Bill Goldberg on free television, instead of pay-per-view, there were untold millions in revenue forfeited for a rating. It was only to his benefit that Goldberg was handled with care for a future rematch and while the Georgia Dome match was a legendary one for WCW, I have no doubt a pay-per-view setting would have annihilated their previous records and no one stood to gain more than Hogan if that was executed properly.

In a world where the WWF was not running head-to-head, or television ratings didn’t become the be-all and end-all of success, WCW may have had a much firmer grasp of the wheel to weather the rough terrain they encountered. Instead, they became a slave to the television numbers rather than disciples of the bottom line.

Goldberg’s streak and handling did not kill WCW, but it was a symptom of the larger problems when something so “can’t miss” was squandered and gone in such a short amount of time. To contrast July 1998 to July 1999 and then, July 2000, it is stunning where this company went.

With files from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and NITRO: The Incredible Rise and Inevitable Fall of Ted Turner’s WCW by Guy Evans

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of RAW is the show’s first at Tropicana Field and will feature the following matches and segments:
*AJ Styles vs. Sheamus
*Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Lashley, Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin
*Nia Jax vs. Lana
*AJ Styles presents “The Nightmare Before TLC”
*Bray Wyatt takes his puppets on a field trip to RAW

**Sting will be appearing on this week’s live edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT. His segment was enormous last week, and time will dictate his impact with viewers but last week was a strong sign.

**Brandon Thurston and former co-host Chris Harrington of AEW had a fascinating discussion and breakdown of last week’s AEW Dynamite television figures. Harrington provided access to his Excel sheet going through the minute-by-minute ratings of the show displaying the total viewers and P 18-49 figures throughout the night for AEW compared to NXT. While Harrington acknowledged that this was a good week for Dynamite to share such data, it is a remarkable amount of transparency for a company official to talk about this information in a public space. I’d highly recommend listening or watching the entire discussion as Harrington doesn’t just present the numbers but shares his analysis and trends he has learned along the way as well as lessons to be following if you’re interpreting the data.

**Chelsea Green provided an update following the arm injury she sustained last month on the November 13th episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Green was involved in a four-way match with Natalya, Tamina, and Liv Morgan and was scheduled to win the match when the injury forced them to change the outcome with Morgan winning.

**The USA Network has released a promo for the return of Straight Up Steve Austin that comes back January 11. The second season will air Monday nights at 11 pm Eastern immediately following RAW. Guests on the next season will include Charlotte Flair, Brett Favre, Steve-O, Joel McHale, and Ice-T.

**The WWE Network will release a new edition of “WWE Chronicle” this Saturday featuring Kevin Owens.

**Tuesday night’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling will include a match between Karl Anderson and Chris Sabin. The big segment on the show will be the return of Kenny Omega alongside Don Callis.

**Ep. 234 of Being the Elite is “Cowboy Day” featuring a shoot-out with Hangman Page and the Dark Order, and a Skittle contest.

**Kevin Owens was interviewed by Metro in the U.K. and discussed the prospect of another program with Bill Goldberg, not being a fan of the Goldberg style and presentation as a fan, and discussed pulling ribs on Sami Zayn.

**Renee Paquette was a recent guest on the Getting Over podcast to discuss leaving WWE, her role on commentary with RAW, the potential of going to AEW, and launching her Oral Sessions podcast.

**Brendan Vink, who was on the main roster for a cup of coffee earlier this year, has released a comedic video for himself. The video is called Dark Side of the SMUG as a parody of Dark Side of the Ring with several NXT performers as talking heads. It was pretty creative, and the type of content talent should be encouraged to create.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling has released the line-ups for their back-to-back cards at Korakuen Hall on January 2 & 3. The first night features Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa defending the All Japan tag titles against Real World Tag League winners Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi, along with the annual New Year’s Battle Royal. The second night will be headlined by Suwama defending the Triple Crown against Yuma Aoyagi, plus Zeus & Izanagi defending the All-Asia tag titles against Hokuto Omori & Koji Doi.

**Andy Perez and Ashish Pabari of 411 Mania have released a mini-documentary on Kurt Angle’s departure from WWE in the summer of 2006 and ending up in TNA in September. The piece includes comments from an interview Kurt Angle did with Chris Van Vliet along with interviews with Dave Meltzer, Van Vliet, and others.

**Natalya spoke with FOX 13 Tampa Bay about WWE moving from the Amway Center in Orlando to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

**MLW has listed the following matches for Wednesday’s edition of Fusion at 8 pm Eastern on Fubo Sports and their YouTube channel:
*Opera Cup Semi-Finals: ACH vs. Tom Lawlor
*Mads Krugger vs. TBA in a 2-on-1 handicap match
*Alex Hammerstone returns

**Lavie Margolin looks at the availability of several smaller networks in the U.S. that carry professional wrestling. It notes that AXS TV is currently is 58 percent of homes in the country with 51.8 million while Game TV (which also carries IMPACT) is only in nine million homes.

**The WWE stock closed at $44.61 on Monday.

TELEVISION REVIEW

Ring of Honor (Dec. 14)
-This was the final episode before Final Battle this Friday. It had no mention of the performers that are off the pay-per-view and were actively promoting the Jay Briscoe vs. EC3 match.
-The presentation of their programs since returning has been very strong and is one of the easiest-to-digest shows on a weekly basis. I think there is such a strength in producing a solid one-hour show in this era of “more content” and that’s where ROH and MLW can thrive given their struggle to find a larger piece of the fanbase without requiring a significant time commitment.
-In the first match, the makeshift team of PCO & Mark Briscoe defeated The Bouncers (Brian Milonas & Beer City Bruiser) in 11:04 where Briscoe hit Bruiser with a uranage and PCO hit the moonsault off the top. This was an entertaining match with Briscoe & PCO having weird chemistry that works well in both promo form and in-ring. They are giving The Bouncers a more serious edge linking them to their respective mentors in Harley Race and Killer Kowalski and wanting to be a credible team moving forward.
-In the main event, Flip Gordon pinned Josh Woods in 9:34 after using a curb stomp. With Gordon, they are trying to diversify him as more than a high-flier with a base in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while not abandoning the high-flying aspects. In this setting, Gordon is more suited for the “less is more” mentality as the big dives are mitigated by lack of reaction. They heavily pushed Woods’ recent win over Jay Lethal as a career-defining victory.
-For the last bit of promotional hype, they had a rundown of the pay-per-view mixed with promos from all the key players at Final Battle that was well done.
-I really enjoy the hour-long format, the pre-match interviews that present several stories and questions that the match should answer. While it’s not ideal without fans, Ring of Honor has done a strong job in focusing on other aspects that allow the viewer to forget about that absence and make up for it by utilizing the environment presented.

MMA NEWS

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that former UFC middleweight star Yoel Romero will be joining the Bellator roster. Helwani noted that Bellator officials recently passed on Romero, but the two sides came back and worked out a deal that Romero is expected to sign imminently, according to ESPN. Romero, 43, fought from the UFC beginning in 2013 and had two championship fights during that tenure fighting Robert Whittaker twice for the interim and undisputed versions of the 185-pound title. Romero’s last three fights were losses to Whittaker, Paulo Costa, and current champion Israel Adesanya by decision. Helwani adds that Romero is expected to make his Bellator debut at 205 pounds, which he has not competed at since 2011.

**Saturday’s main event at UFC 256 between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will make the ‘Fight of the Year’ race a closer one. Prior to Saturday, it appeared that Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk had it locked after their fight at UFC 248 this past March. After two days, I feel the women’s strawweight fight is still the fight of the year, but the flyweight fight is a must-see fight and was a great outcome for the 125-pound division with a targeted rematch everyone wants to see in 2021. The title fight ended in a majority draw with judge Derek Cleary scoring it 48-46 for Figueiredo, and Sal D’Amato and Junichiro Kamijo scoring it 47-47.

The big factors included a point deduction to Figueiredo in round three with all three scored that round 9-9. Also, no one went 10-8 for the fourth round, which was a big one for Moreno. The judges all scored round one for Figueiredo, round three at 9-9, and they all scored round four for Moreno. Kamijo was the lone judge to give round five to Moreno.

For Figueiredo, he has a strong case for Fighter of the Year with a 3-0-1 record.

**28-year old middleweight Kevin Holland ended his year at 5-0 with his most impressive win yet over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Holland stopped Souza in the opening round of their fight at UFC 256. He must be the breakout fighter of 2020 given all the attention he’s received. Holland competed on Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2018 but lost his UFC debut to Thiago Santos later that summer. Since that loss, he has gone 8-1 since November 2018.

**The final UFC card of the year is a loaded Fight Night this Saturday headlined by the new main event with Stephen Thompson fighting Geoff Neal in a five-round welterweight fight. The main card also features former featherweight champion Jose Aldo competing against Marlon Vera at 135 pounds, Marlon Moraes vs. Rob Font, and Anthony Pettis vs. Alex Morono among the many highlights. The show is airing in the U.S. exclusively on ESPN+.

**Lost in the depth of announcements from Disney last week were the updated streaming figures for their central platforms. As of December 2nd, ESPN+ currently has 11.5 million subscribers while Disney+ has 86.8 million, and Hulu has 38.8 million.

ON THIS DATE

*****
TOTAL RECALL: Total Bellas Season 6, Ep. 3 & 4
Wai Ting and Pauline review Total Bellas Season 6, Episodes 3 & 4 as Nikki, Brie, and the rest of the cast go on a babymoon and have a baby shower. Bryan and Artem visit a shaman for a reality-altering experience.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/14/total-recall-total-bellas-season-6-ep-3-4/
*****
POST PURORESU: BOSJ-WTL, Super J-Cup, RWTL, Shiozaki vs. Sugiura
WH Park is joined by Joey Bay to discuss the latest in puroresu including the results of NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors, World Tag League, and Super J-Cup; AJPW’s Real World Tag League; NOAH’s Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Sugiura, and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/13/post-puroresu-bosj-wtl-super-j-cup-rwtl-shiozaki-vs-sugiura/
*****
UFC 256 POST SHOW: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
Phil Chertok is joined by Eric Marcotte for the UFC 256 POST Show to review a card headlined by Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno and Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/13/ufc-256-post-show-deiveson-figueiredo-vs-brandon-moreno/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 12/11/20: Sasha Banks vs. Carmella, NXT India
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown’s debut from Tropicana Field featuring Sasha Banks defending the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Carmella FOR FREE!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/12/rewind-a-smackdown-12-11-20-sasha-banks-vs-carmella-nxt-india/
*****
POST WRESTLING NEWS
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss today’s top stories from POSTwrestling.com including AEW ratings from Wednesday, NJPW’s BOSJ and WTL winners, changes to ROH Final Battle, and the death of Tiny “Zeus” Lister.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/11/aew-ratings-bosj-wtl-winners-roh-update-post-news-12-11/
*****
BWE: Will Ospreay vs. RKJ, RevPro Epic Encounters 5 & 6, Ospreay doc
Martin & Benno are joined by Rich Fann of PWTorch to talk about the latest in European wrestling including RevPro Epic Encounters 5 featuring Will Ospreay vs. Ricky Knight Jr.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/10/bwe-will-ospreay-vs-rkj-revpro-epic-encounters-5-6-ospreay-doc-nxt-uk/
*****
upNXT 12/9/20: “This Is The Way”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT including Raquel Gonzalez vs Ember Moon, Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne and Damian Priest state their claim to challenge for Finn Balor’s NXT Championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/10/upnxt-12-9-20-this-is-the-way/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 12/9/20: Sting Speaks, SHAQ, AEW/IMPACT
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW’s follow up to Winter is Coming with Sting’s first promo on Dynamite, SHAQ, a look at IMPACT with Kenny Omega, WWE’s Raw ratings, and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/10/rewind-a-dynamite-12-9-20-sting-speaks-shaq-aew-impact/
*****

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1 Like

I was torn between a few different books together on audible but you sold me on Guy Evans’ Nitro. Great review and research @johnpollock

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