3 WWE Superstars Goldberg wanted to work with and 3 he didn't
Whether you like Goldberg’s menacing persona or not, there is no denying that the WWE Hall of Famer is one of the most believable characters that the wrestling industry has seen in the last 25 years.
After swapping the football field for the squared circle in 1997, the former NFL star produced an impressive winning streak in WCW (173 consecutive victories, but the figure is believed to be inflated) and went on to become a WCW Triple Crown Champion.
Goldberg had a disappointing one-year run in WWE in 2003-2004, culminating in a win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX. Twelve years later, the WCW legend made his return at Survivor Series 2016, where he defeated Lesnar again in a match that lasted just 86 seconds.
Since then, Goldberg has become a two-time WWE Universal Champion, thanks to victories over Kevin Owens in 2017 and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in 2020, and he received his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.
A man who often divides opinion, Goldberg has faced a variety of opponents throughout his wrestling career, but he has not always seen eye-to-eye with some of his colleagues.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three WWE Superstars who Goldberg wanted to work with, as well as three people he did not request to work with.
#6 Goldberg wanted to work with Roman Reigns
In December 2017, it looked as though Goldberg’s in-ring career might have come to an end. His last match prior to that date came in April 2017 at WrestleMania 33, where he lost to Brock Lesnar, and rumors suggested that he could be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Although there have been exceptions, notably Kurt Angle, a Hall of Fame induction usually spells the end for a Superstar’s in-ring career, so it was safe to assume at that point that Goldberg was unlikely to make another comeback.
Interestingly, around this time, Goldberg told Chris Van Vliet that, should he ever return to WWE as an in-ring competitor, he would like to face Roman Reigns.
“Roman Reigns would have to be the guy. There’s no question about it. I like him and everything, all the comparisons throughout the years… how people can compare us through the years, we’re two completely different people.” [H/T ProWrestling.com]
Goldberg returned to the ring against The Undertaker in 2019 (more on that shortly) and he was due to face Reigns at WrestleMania 36 in 2020 before “The Big Dog” pulled out of the event.
#5 Goldberg didn’t want to work with Gillberg
It was not uncommon for WWE and WCW to aim digs at each other on a weekly basis throughout the 1990s. Towards the end of the decade, WWE took the mocking to a whole new level when they introduced their own version of WCW’s Goldberg… Gillberg!
The man behind the comedy character, Duane Gill, worked for WWE as an enhancement talent from 1990-1998. During that time, he also made fun of various wrestlers by impersonating them on the independent scene, including The Undertaker (‘Underfaker’), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (‘Stone Old Steve Austin’) and, of course, Goldberg (‘Gillberg’).
When WWE’s higher-ups heard about the Gillberg character, Gill began portraying WCW’s top star on television and even held the WWE Light Heavyweight Championship for a record-setting 448 days.
Fast forward to 2020, and Gill revealed in an interview with Lewis Nicholls that he “begged” Goldberg to finally face him in a one-on-one match when they met at a convention in New York in 2016. But, according to Gill, Goldberg “never took it any further” and he did not have any interest in facing the man who mocked him on TV in the late 1990s.
#4 Goldberg wanted to work with The Undertaker
That’s right, that match at Super ShowDown 2019 was actually something that Goldberg wanted for a long time.
Three months after his 2018 WWE Hall of Fame induction, Goldberg told Digital Spy that, along with Roman Reigns, The Undertaker was also on his shortlist of Superstars who he wanted to step into the ring with.
“All I got to say is, it ain’t up to me. Whether it’s Reigns or ‘Taker, and, I don’t know, I’m not gonna say anybody else. Hey, Reigns and ‘Taker are the two guys on my list right now. I mean, obviously for two different reasons, but I’d be honored to get in the ring with either one of them. And I still owe Brock [Lesnar] one, but I’m two-and-one on him, so it’s all good.”
It was revealed during The Undertaker’s ‘Last Ride’ docuseries on the WWE Network that ‘Taker was approached by Triple H about the idea of facing Goldberg at Super ShowDown 2019. He accepted but, as we all know, the match turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Goldberg legitimately knocked himself out early on in the match after a botched spear into the ring post. The rest of the first-time-ever encounter, which The Undertaker won following a chokeslam, was full of uncoordinated moves and unfortunate mistakes.
#3 Goldberg didn’t want to work with Matt Riddle
Goldberg has had plenty of critics throughout his wrestling career, but none of them have been quite as vocal as Matt Riddle.
The former UFC star has repeatedly called out Goldberg due to his lack of in-ring ability, notably after Super ShowDown 2019 when he took to Twitter to brand the WWE Hall of Famer “unsafe, dangerous and a liability” to his opponents.
Later in the year, Goldberg said in an interview with Eyes on the Game's Helen Lee that he would face anyone in WWE, including then-newcomer Cain Velasquez, but he implied that Riddle was not worthy of his time.
“Matt who? I don't even know who that is. I don't answer questions about people who haven't made it yet. Riddle has a long way to go.”
These comments came shortly after the SummerSlam pay-per-view in 2019, where Goldberg told Riddle in a backstage interaction that he was not his “bro”.
Riddle has also clarified that, while he does not rate Goldberg's work, he is not making derogatory remarks about him in the hope of creating buzz for a future match with the WCW legend.
#2 Goldberg wanted to work with Braun Strowman
Goldberg was originally due to defend his Universal Championship against Roman Reigns in one of the marquee matches of WrestleMania 36. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, Reigns pulled out of the event and he was replaced at short notice by Braun Strowman.
Strowman went on to defeat Goldberg in a match that lasted 130 seconds, with “The Monster Among Men” surviving four spears before hitting three powerslams, followed by a running powerslam, to pick up the victory.
It is not known whether Goldberg had any say in his last-minute change of opponent at the WrestleMania 36 tapings, but the two-time Universal Champion said in an interview with Denise Salcedo of Instant Culture in 2019 that Strowman had joined Reigns on his list of dream opponents.
"God, who wouldn't I like to face that I haven't? I mean, Roman and Braun are two guys that I would like to test their mettle a little bit. Georgia [Goldberg] against Georgia Tech [Reigns] - it's kind of a built in rivalry." [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
As of the time of writing, WWE has been unable to book a match between Goldberg and Reigns again, while Strowman began feuding with Bray Wyatt, The Miz and John Morrison after his WrestleMania 36 victory over Goldberg.
#1 Goldberg didn’t want to work with Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho and Goldberg successfully worked together on multiple occasions in WWE in 2003-2004, but their WCW rivalry five years earlier came to an abrupt end.
As Jericho recalled on a 2018 episode of his Talk Is Jericho podcast, he felt that he and Goldberg were not given a fair shot in WCW after they were told to have two matches on weekly television instead of a high-profile match at a pay-per-view.
Jericho said a PPV match could have been a “moneymaker” for WCW, but he thought a long-term story needed to be told in order to prevent him from being yet another person who Goldberg squashed in quick fashion.
"I never, ever wanted to have a normal match. What I wanted to do was to just have Bill [Goldberg] kick the s*** out of me and, like I said, do this cool little squash match with all the bumps and bruises and stuff." [H/T Wrestling Inc.]
Eric Bischoff liked Jericho’s idea and even wanted to use Judge Judy as part of the storyline, but Goldberg did not agree with the suggestion and the rivalry ended without culminating at a PPV.
“When they wouldn't do that angle at the pay-per-view, as we know, as [Bischoff’s podcast host, Conrad Thompson] said, Goldberg canceled because he was going hunting that weekend and he wasn't booked for the pay-per-view, so he sort of skipped out.”
Unlike Gillberg and Matt Riddle, Goldberg went on to work with Jericho in WWE, both in 2003-04 and in 2017.