Eric Bischoff has revealed why he believes Goldberg doesn’t connect with the audience in 20201 in the same way as Sting, speaking of fan resentment towards the WWE Hall of Famer.
During the twilight of his career, Goldberg’s returns are usually met with much chagrin, which Bischoff says is because Goldberg “never really cemented” his relationship with the audience, pointing to a lack of storytelling.
“I think there’s a couple of reasons. Number one, I don’t think Bill ever really cemented his relationship with the audience. When Bill first came out, he was new, it was different, it was exciting, the energy, the Pyro, it was powerful character, did a great job with his character, his matches were fast and decisive. Those were all things that got him over, right? But once you get over, staying over is a much bigger challenge. Getting over sometimes is a lot easier than staying over. Bill got over very quickly and part of that was because of timing. Bill came to WCW at the peak of WCW’s success – under Hogans and Stings and Lugers and Savages, and all kinds of other top talent for Bill to work with and to get the rub from.”
Bischoff would go on to say that the business has changed, but that the immediacy of Goldberg’s success may have actually proven detrimental.
“The business as a whole across the board was at a fever pitch, it was at a point where it had never previously been or has been since in terms of the popularity of professional wrestling. Bill was a powerful character, so the moon and the stars all lined up perfectly for Bill but, once he got over, I think fans began to get a little bit disenchanted with it because of his lack of skill set. Meaning… Simply put, Bill couldn’t go out and have a 20 or 30 minute match with Ric Flair. He couldn’t do it. He didn’t have the skill set. He couldn’t go out and have a 20 minute match with Randy Savage. He couldn’t go out and have a 20 minute match with anybody – that looks good, that involved more than two or three or four things that Bill was really proficient in doing and, by the way, this is going to sound like I’m criticising Bill and I’m not because Bill was brand-new.
“Bill broke into the business on a Monday and it was over as hell by Thursday, right? And in the process, he hadn’t developed the experience and the skill set, he hadn’t spent five years or 10 years, or 15 years as a journeyman working his way up and learning and gaining all this experience, and developing the skill set that would allow him to have different styles of matches with different types of people. He had half a dozen moves and a powerful character, and I think once the audience kind of felt like, ‘Okay, we’ve been there, we’ve seen it, we’ve done it, what’s next?’ No pun intended, there was no next. It was the same match over and over and over again.”
Eric Bischoff would go on to say he believes the fans became “disenfranchised” with Goldberg – in a way which is comparable to the reaction Roman Reigns would get before becoming the Tribal Chief.
“Essentially, I think the fans, once they saw through Bill and realised he didn’t really have a lot of skills, they became a little disenfranchised with him. And that happens in professional wrestling. We saw it with Roman Reigns a while back. When you shove talent down the audience’s throat and you just keep pushing them, pushing them and pushing them, before the audience is ready for them, they gag.
“I say this all the time, my favourite food is great sushi, and good curry, thanks to you, but if I go to a sushi bar, no matter how hungry I am, if someone is cramming sushi down my throat, I’ll eventually get sick of it – and that’s what happens when you push somebody the way WWE pushed Bill Goldberg. The audience started resenting them. He got too big, too fast, he didn’t pay his dues, and this is a subconscious thing that I think a lot of wrestling fans, he just didn’t pay his dues, he didn’t deserve to be in the spot he was in, in their opinion. He did in my opinion because it was making money for us. In the audience’s opinion, he didn’t.”
The former WCW President, though, would go on to say Goldberg’s words after leaving WCW may have come back to haunt him, but that a lack of storytelling would be truly detrimental.
“I think it’s a large part of that, a large part is some of the things Bill has said after he left WCW and before he got to WWE the first time, he was pretty critical of a lot of people and a lot of things – and I think that kind of comes back to haunt you at a certain point. Now that he’s in WWE, unfortunately, and again this is not a criticism of anybody, but they are kind of doing the same thing with Bill that they did with Roman, the storylines make no sense. Bill coming out of nowhere to challenge Drew McIntyre. Why? What is the reason for that? What is the storyline reason? What is the motivation? Not to sound like I’m trying to be a movie director but, if you’ve got a big powerful character coming into a story, there’s got to be motivation for it. There’s got to be a reason for it if you want the audience to pay attention to it. If you just want a match and throw it up against a wall, if you just put the match because Drew McIntyre, Bill Goldberg, ‘Oh, man, that looks great, the crowd will go nuts.’ No, they won’t come unless you give them a reason to go nuts and that’s the part everybody skips.”
Eric Bischoff would continue, saying there’s a formula that needs to be followed, suggesting that the lack of storytelling leaves the audience believing the returns are only there to see Goldberg fulfil obligations.
“That’s what I mean when I say going back to the formula. Give Drew McIntyre and Bill Goldberg an opportunity to be successful by having the discipline and commitment to lay out a story and fill some of the holes that are otherwise just going to be there and you’re going to step in it, and do that again and that’s what they’ve done with Bill. They haven’t really told any of those stories, they’ve just brought him in to fulfil whatever obligations he has left in his contract. ‘Okay, we’ve got that match out of the way, we’ve got two more before 2023, let’s get it done,’ they will bring him back next year and do the same thing. The audience doesn’t care. There’s nothing for them to care about. So I think that’s part of it.”
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