Is there a superstar that, in theory, could become the next unstoppable force that Goldberg was in WCW? Yes, in fact, there’s more than one in WWE.
In his return promo, Goldberg said to Brock Lesnar, ‘You’re Last!’, implying that their WWE Survivor Series confrontation will be his last match. If true, this is indeed the swan song for one of the most popular wrestlers of a generation.
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But how did that happen? How did Bill Goldberg, a once-promising defensive tackle in the NFL, become such a wildly popular wrestler in WCW and later in WWE? Because he was booked in a way that made people want to see him.
You see, Goldberg was the definition of ‘silent badass’. Unlike ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, who backed up his shenanigans with colorful and sometimes hysterical promos, Goldberg was a straightforward ass-kicking machine that barely spoke. Goldberg would demolish his opponent in a few short minutes, executing only a handful of impressive power moves, before asking, ‘Who’s Next?’
This simple formula worked perfectly for years, catapulting Goldberg into the main event and into pro wrestling history. Even though his actual wrestling career has spanned roughly eight years, many fans around the world have long wished for him to return. Now that he appears to be retiring, WWE should look at what made Goldberg such a runaway success and apply that to one of their own superstars.
With the right combination of careful match booking, concealing of weaknesses, and unyielding backstage support, any one of the following five wrestlers could, in theory, become the next ‘Goldberg’.
WWE have this tried-and-tested formula when it comes to booking decision: tall man + muscles = push. It has been that way for literally decades, and has manifested itself once again with none other than Big Cass.
Although he’s still a tag team wrestler, we’ve already seen glimpses of a future singles push. When Enzo was recovering from a concussion, Cass was put in major singles matches and did look relatively protected. He was rarely made to look weak and had many chances to shine. It seems like Vince is warming up to the big man.
If so, Cass could be the recipient of a Goldberg-style push in the future. He already has one advantage over Goldberg in that he’s a better promo man than Goldberg ever was, which only further amplifies his chances of a major singles push. He also has the ‘power guy’ thing done to a T with his powerful East River Crossing finisher.
So while he might be sticking with Enzo for the time being, don’t be surprised if the duo breaks up in the not-too-distant future, with Cass getting a bigger push than his diminutive partner. WWE is still Vince’s world of giants, and a 7-foot-tall muscleman might be on Vince’s radar for something equally big soon.
This one should go without saying, as Braun is already being pushed as a Goldberg-style juggernaut. Ever since he split from the Wyatt Family, Strowman has been destroying jobbers left, right and center. He has rarely been knocked off his feet, and like Goldberg, doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.
However, the big question surrounding him is how long will this last?
Strowman is incredibly limited in the ring and moves around quite slowly. Goldberg, meanwhile, was capable of complementing his incredible strength with surprising bursts of speed, as seen with his devastating take on the Speer. Though not the in-ring technician of a Bret Hart of Ric Flair, Goldberg was still able to do more in the ring than what Strowman does currently.
WWE are smart to keep Strowman on his feet and looking strong at every possible opportunity, but they need to give him more chances to diversify. Fans want to see wrestlers do things they aren’t normally capable of. While feats of incredible strength will always get a good reaction, seeing a sluggish 400lbs. wrestler do something athletic and unexpected would do far more for them in the grand scheme of things.
Though not a super heavyweight like Goldberg was, Finn Balor does have a chance to become an unstoppable force in WWE. He remains technically undefeated on the main roster, with his title forfeit being due to an injury suffered in the match he won it in. As of this moment, he is believed to be returning sometime in February. And when he does, it will be the ideal time to establish him as a juggernaut on WWE programming.
Balor already has monumental support from WWE backstage. He is one of HHH’s most successful pet projects and is a wildly popular wrestler. This was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt when he defeated Roman Reigns cleanly on his debut night. He kept winning all the way up to SummerSlam, and become the first-ever WWE Universal Champion.
Normally, it’s extremely hard for WWE to ever book someone in an undefeated streak. The Undertaker’s streak started off solely out of coincidence, and it wasn’t the intended goal when he first debuted. WWE gave Bo Dallas a short undefeated streak when he debuted on the main roster last year, but that fizzled out very quickly because the powers-that-be lost interest in him. Finn Balor cannot afford to let this happen to him.
If Balor wants to become a top star in the crowded RAW main-event scene, the best thing for him would be to go undefeated for a long time. While some might decry that seeing a guy win all the time gets boring fast (see: Cena, John), winning way more often is a far better choice than being stuck in 50/50 booking that seems to plague everyone not named Cena or Reigns.
Corbin and Goldberg have a lot in common. They’re both soft-spoken power wrestlers. Both of them have an impressive finisher. Neither of them really cares/cared about anyone on the roster other than themselves. Finally, both were/are pegged to become top singles stars. Or at least, that’s the impression one could get with Corbin.
Corbin could become the next Goldberg if WWE got behind him more and did more to conceal his weaknesses. Despite having won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale, WWE hasn’t capitalized on that supposedly important accomplishment. If WWE could pull the trigger on Corbin now and give him a long-term storyline that would see him demolish everyone in his path, he’d become a big star over time.
That’s the problem with WWE’s writing nowadays: they give wrestlers initial pushes and expect almost instantaneous results. That’s not how Goldberg became a huge star: it took a long time for fans to accept him, but they did eventually. That’s something that could apply to Corbin, as he already has something of a cult following due to his look, demeanor, and awesome finisher.
Nia Jax may not have the undefeated streak that Goldberg had, but she’s an ideal candidate for the ‘Goldberg push’. If booked correctly, Jax could become the same kind of unstoppable force that Goldberg was in his prime. She already has the tools needed to achieve that dominance: a unique look (as far as women in WWE go), incredible strength and a pre-established reputation as something of a monster.
WWE have already started booking her as a monster of sorts, but they haven’t yet pulled the trigger to make her into something bigger.
All WWE would have to do is give her the ‘undefeated streak’ push and you could have a female equivalent of Goldberg. She’d run roughshod over the women’s division, destroying them in quick matches filled with devastating power moves and stiff-looking offense.
Over time, her popularity would grow, as fans would have more interest in watching her decimate people with little effort. Because sometimes, wrestling fans really do want to see one-sided squash matches where one wrestler looks like an absolute juggernaut.