Pro wrestling legend Goldberg will appear inside of a WWE ring tonight on Monday Night Raw for the first time since March 14th, 2004, the night he defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX. Following the win, Goldberg retired from professional wrestling and, apart from a few independent shows, wasn’t involved with WWE in any way for 12 years - until he was used to promote WWE 2K17 earlier this year, which seems to be leading toward a rematch with Lesnar.
A lot has changed in WWE since Goldberg’s last appearance. Here’s a look back at the state of company before, during and after WrestleMania XX.
Doctor of Thuganomics John Cena had just won his very first WWE singles title
Word life. He’s won various WWE titles 23 more times since WrestleMania XX, and is now a 15-time World Champion.
The women’s wrestling revolution was still a *long* way away
There were two women’s matches at WrestleMania XX that ran a combined total of under eight minutes. In the first, the tag team of Sable and Torrie Wilson defeated Stacy Keibler and Miss Jackie in a “Playboy evening gown” match, and in the second Victoria beat Molly Holly in a hair vs. title match.
Ric Flair was the leader of Evolution
Future WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte was 17 years old at this time.
The Rock ’n’ Sock Connection still existed
And Mick Foley’s still wearing the same shirt.
Sunday Night Heat was still on the air
Too Cool held the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Cruiserweight title wasn’t purple
Chavo Guerrero won a Cruiserweight Open at WrestleMania to retain his title.
Rey Mysterio looked like The Flash
Fans didn’t like Brock Lesnar
After Lesnar lost to Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, fans inside Madison Square Garden chanted “na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” to Lesnar, aware that he was about to leave to try out for the NFL. He responded by flipping off the crowd.
Paul Heyman was the general manager of SmackDown
Shortly after WrestleMania XX, Heyman was drafted to Raw and quit his job to avoid working for Eric Bischoff.
John Bradshaw Layfield was a member of the APA
WrestleMania XX was one of Ron Simmons’ last shows as “Farooq,” and Bradshaw would go on to assume his current JBL character and become a WWE Champion.
The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak was alive and well
After a stint as the motorcycle riding American Badass, The Undertaker went back to his roots as an actual Undertaker and defeated Kane at WrestleMania, improving to 12-0 at the event. Sadly, all good things come to an end.
WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain was the most recently released WWE video game
It's still a classic.
Taz (and Jim Ross) were commentators
Michael Cole also looked very, very young.
Kurt Angle and Triple H were WWE Champions
Angle entered WrestleMania XX as the WWE Champion but lost to Eddie Guerrero, while Triple H defended his World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match and lost to Chris Benoit.