Why did Goldberg leave WWE and what led to his return?
A timeline of events beginning with Goldberg's exit from the WWE and culminating in his return to the business.
A rematch of epic proportions is all set to take place as Bill Goldberg faces off against Brock Lesnar at the 2016 Survivor Series. The last time these two colossal figures of the wrestling world collided in a WWE ring was back in 2004 at Wrestlemania XX and a devastating Jackhammer settled the match in Goldberg's favour.
As it turned out, though, both men left the business soon after their Wrestlemania battle. While Lesnar moved on to other wrestling and MMA promotions before finally heading back to the WWE in 2012, ‘The Myth’ appeared to sever all ties with the wrestling business.
Goldberg’s decision to walk away from the WWE came as a surprise to one and all as he had not even reached the age of 40 at that point. None of the questions that people had in mind in regards to the former WCW World Heavyweight champion were answered until he revealed the reason for his departure on the Steve Austin Show earlier this year.
According to Goldberg, there were a number of factors which contributed to him leaving the world of wrestling starting from the fact that he was not enjoying being a part of it anymore. Moreover, he always had a feeling at the back of his mind that there was some internal politics going on in the WWE against him.
The superstar admitted that he was annoyed over a lot of people in the industry and things were not fun at all for him. Although he was getting paid well for his in-ring exploits, he felt that money was not always the most important thing in life.
After Goldberg quit the wrestling scene post his Wrestlemania XX appearance in 2004, he indulged in a number of other activities. He appeared in several movies, notably The Longest Yard and Santa’s Slay, and hosted a number of television shows including The History Channel’s Auto-Maniac series and Speed Channel’s Bullrun.
Here’s a clip of Goldberg in Santa’s Slay:
‘The Myth’ also made a foray into the MMA world but it was not as a fighter but rather a commentator. Bill Goldberg commentated for known mixed martial arts promotions such as World Fighting Alliance, K-1 Dynamite USA and EliteXC during a period spanning 2 to 3 years.
During his time away from wrestling, the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion had been approached on several occasions to join Total Nonstop Action wrestling. However, despite contemplating a return to action for TNA, he eventually decided against it.
Goldberg made his unofficial return to the wrestling ring in one of the shows for the Legends of Wrestling promotion. Although he did not wrestle anyone, he helped out old friend Rob Van Dam by spearing his opponent, Scott Steiner, and delivering a Jackhammer to Doc Gallows.
Here’s a video of Goldberg’s return and first appearance for Legends of Wrestling:
Earlier this year, Goldberg re-appeared at another Legends of Wrestling show and ran down Steiner with a spear once again. While speaking with Fox Sports in April, the iconic wrestler had categorically stated that his return to professional wrestling would not be in a WWE ring.
However, within a span of 6 months, his stand seemed to take a drastic turn as he hinted towards a possible WWE comeback in an interview with Jonathan Coachman on ESPN Sportscenter’s Off The Top Rope segment. The segment can be seen below:
During the conversation, Goldberg revealed the circumstances under which he would consider returning to the WWE. He claimed that he wanted to reprise his role as the man who picked up the WCW and WWE titles and beat his opponents night after night to create a legacy of his own.
Moreover, he said that he was also looking to analyse whether a return to wrestling action at the age of 49 was a wise decision or one that he would have to regret. While answering Coachman’s questions about Wrestlemania XX, Goldberg stated that he would love to face Brock Lesnar once again if at all he came back.
This triggered a series of incidents starting with Paul Heyman, in his legal advisor gimmick, challenging ‘The Myth’ to a match against Lesnar at Survivor Series on Raw.
In the following episode of the show, Goldberg made his first WWE appearance in 12 years to accept the challenge, setting up an iconic confrontation between him and the Beast Incarnate. Here’s a video of Goldberg’s return:
The Survivor Series happens this Sunday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and the events that follow the pay-per-view will provide us clarity about whether Goldberg is here to stay or has returned for just one last match.
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