At his peak Goldberg had all of the attributes that Vince McMahon loved in a WWE Superstar. He was physically imposing, spectacularly strong and carried a natural physical charisma that is near-impossible to teach.
After injury brought an end to his NFL career, Goldberg was pointed in the direction of WCW in 1996, and made his full debut in September 1997. This marked the beginning of a remarkable winning streak which helped make him one of the most popular stars in the world.
Vince McMahon Thought Goldberg Had Baggage
Following the demise of WCW in 2001, Goldberg eventually signed with WWE in 2003, but stayed with the company for only a year. This run soured the star on WWE so much that he wouldn’t return to the company again until 2016.
During a recent episode of his Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross took a look back at WrestleMania XX and the infamous end to Goldberg’s first WWE tenure, and his match against Brock Lesnar.
Interestingly, Ross also revealed that Vince McMahon met Goldberg before he debuted with WCW, but a deal couldn’t be put together. Despite being a rookie, Goldberg was asking for big money, something McMahon wasn’t willing to provide.
“I think he [Vince] liked him. You know, Bill had a lot of the same baggage, if you want to use that term, that sounds so negative. But guys that don’t grow up in the business, you know, I always thought, you know, I was talking to Bill. He didn’t say ‘well, I remember you guys did this in Mid South…’ Or whatever, you know, that was the hub of the territory. He didn’t watch wrestling.
So he knew who I was, and we had a decent relationship in that respect. But I don’t think Vince, I think Vince is probably underwhelmed by Bill’s lack of product knowledge. But he sure as hell liked the way he looked, and he was intelligent and articulate.
So, but I remember that meeting, and it just, we didn’t have, our system wasn’t good, and Goldberg was expecting big money. And we weren’t ready to give out big money to neophytes, so to speak. Which it all worked out obviously, as time will tell, but he was a fascinating prospect to say the least.”
Goldberg last wrestled for WWE in February 2022 at Elimination Chamber when he was defeated by Roman Reigns.
If you use any of the quotes from this article please credit the original source with a h/t to Inside The Ropes.