When Goldberg returned to Raw on Legends Night, he had one reason in mind. The Hall of Famer went straight after Drew McIntyre and his WWE Championship.
“Even though I’ve been away, you need to check in and make sure that your product is being represented by the right people,” Goldberg said.
“I’m a fan of Drew’s.”
Goldberg will challenge McIntyre for the title at WWE Royal Rumble.
Goldberg taps McIntyre as one of four future stars he’s got an eye on, along with Ricochet, Finn Balor – “I’ve always been a huge fan of his” – and Keith Lee.
Goldberg and Lee shared a similar path to the squared-circle. Lee played college football at Texas A&M University before finding his way to WWE. Bill Goldberg, as he was then known, played for the Los Angeles Rams and the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.
Once he changed to professional wrestling, Goldberg rocketed up the ranks in WCW en route to becoming world champion. He attributes his quick start to his football background.
“There is no question that it gives you an edge, whether it be on the mic or whether it be athletically, performing your newfound craft,” he said.
“You cannot get by faking being a professional athlete… Also, in being a professional athlete you learn how to deal with the media. You have the ability to deal with any situation because playing in the NFL you were on live TV, it is what it is, so you do have an advantage. Anybody who would tell me any differently is a moron.”
Coming from the NFL also made Goldberg self-conscious about his size—bigger is better. This was cause for concern any time he was mistaken for another bald, 90s wrestling megastar, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
“I always took it personally and it made me mad because Steve Austin’s like 250 [pounds] and I was 285-290, so I thought that if they thought I was Steve they thought I was small, right?” he explained.
“I took that as a slight. Not because they thought I was Steve Austin the awesome wrestler but because I was small, right? So there’s another layer to it, but throughout the years we used to both get really pissed off. Now I think it’s hilarious and we actually try to bring it up to each other when it happens. It’s pretty funny.”
Austin vs. Goldberg is a dream-match for many that never materialised. Goldberg cites timing, and injuries, as the roadblocks to making it happen.
“There was no other match that needed to happen more so than that one,” he said. “I love him exponentially, man, and he’s a great dude. To have graced the ring with him in a match would have been absolutely phenomenal.”
Goldberg vs. McIntyre may be a modern-day dream match between two of the most dominant WWE Superstars of the decade.
And while Goldberg respects everything McIntyre has done, he says, the true test of McIntyre’s worth will come at Royal Rumble.
“I appreciate what he’s done. I appreciate the long road to his success that he’s travelled. My question though: is he ready? And we’re not gonna know until he steps in the ring with me.”
WWE Royal Rumble airs Monday, February 1, on Sky Arena and WWE Network.