As the nWo storyline started to wane a bit, a new wrestling superstar popped up and surprised everyone. His name was Goldberg. This monster of a man tore the ring apart in a series of brutally fast matches that usually lasted seconds. This tear led to championships as well as his now legendary streak.
The Goldberg win streak lasted from June 1997 to December 1998, and consists of a record of 173 victories. But the word “legendary” is a bit of a double edged sword in that some aspects of it just don’t add up. On top of that, it’s an angle that has not stood the test of time with fans and wrestlers alike.
10Not Exactly A Well Trained Wrestler
Long after the end of WCW, Goldberg continues to pop up in WWE from time to time. He has a deal with WWE that only requires him to wrestle a couple of times a year, and they aren’t usually the best bouts on the card. But that’s par for the course with Goldberg, going all the way back to WCW.
He was never fully trained as a wrestler, and still shows a lot of missing fundamentals even after decades in the industry. Given his unrefined skill set, it remains a bit of a surprise that he was able to defeat so many superior opponents during the streak.
9Every Bout Was Identical
While he was missing a few of the basics, Goldberg was still an explosive, powerful performer. His combination of the spear followed up by the jackhammer utterly annihilated anyone who got in his way.
The problem was that they were often the only moves he did in his matches. His bouts were designed to be fast and brutal, making him out to be the most devastating man on the roster. It also made all of those matches look virtually identical to each other. It’s a wonder than fans didn’t get tired of it all sooner.
8Few Signature Matches
Every wrestler has a signature match, or matches, that essentially define their career. In the case of Bianca Belair, her recent bout Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 37 that saw her win her first WWE title will be a signature match for her.
Goldberg, on the other hand, doesn’t really have one of speak of during the streak. He certainly had a lot of impressive victories and huge moments but a signature match continued to evade him. He’s come closer to having matches like that since WCW folded than during that time.
7Feuds That Didn’t Work
The wrestling business is built on great storylines. People certainly tune in to watch talented performers, but they keep coming back week after week for the drama surrounding the matches. In the end, it all comes down to engaging feuds between wrestlers who have talent and chemistry.
Goldberg’s biggest feud during the streak was his one with Hulk Hogan which built him into a champion. But other feuds with the likes of Kevin Nash didn’t really work, and just came off as uneven and strange.
6Beating Endless Jobbers
Having as extensive a streak as Goldberg’s requires a lot of opponents. After all, he can’t beat the same opponent week after week, driving fans to the point of insane boredom. WCW back then wasn’t the same as WWE now.
During that time, Goldberg beat legends including Hulk Hogan, Sting and Meng. But he was also thrown in the ring with opponents who never stood a chance against his perceived power. This included people like Disco Inferno and Chavo Guerrero. Victories over wrestlers similar to Barry Horowitz were even more telegraphed.
5The Number Of Victories
In the end, the streak topped out a 173 wins. Naturally, that required a lot of victories over a variety of Barry Horowitz’s on TV to make it work. But that number didn’t sit well with a lot of people when they started thinking about it.
Tracking all of the TV victories over that run did not add up to 173. And the number would often leap between some episodes of Nitro dramatically. It quickly became apparent that the number was being inflated to increase the drama. This was unnecessary as his barrage of verified wins were impressive on their own.
4How It Ended
A streak like Goldberg’s should lead to one place, and that’s the company’s major championship. When that doesn’t happen, the whole storyline is left feeling unfinished and negatively impacts their career. That’s what happened to Asuka when her streak ended without a championship after a loss to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 34.
Goldberg had it even worse. He won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, holding it for 174 days. Goldberg would then lose the title and his streak to Kevin Nash when Scott Hall tased him. It was a terrible end to the storyline.
3The Lack Of Follow Up
The problem with basing a wrestler’s entire character on something like a winning streak is what happens when its over. Goldberg’s entire persona in WCW hinged on him having an endless string of dominant victories. When that was gone, WCW did not have a clear plan for what to do with him after that.
That was crazy since he was one of the company’s hottest commodities at that point. Keeping in mind Goldberg pops up on the wrestling scene sporadically at best, he hasn’t really had a relevant presence since WCW mismanaged him post-streak.
2WWE Still Talks About It
One of the most nonsensical parts of the streak is that WWE keeps talking about it, even though it’s been more than 20 years since it came to an end. It’s a testament to the lack of real accomplishments in his wrestling career since that time.
WWE continues to try to bring him back to the ring, and put him on top. This led to him disastrously taking the Universal Championship off “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and having a horrifying match with The Undertaker in Saudi Arabia. At least he didn’t take the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre. That would have been unforgivable.
1There Have Been Better Streaks
Goldberg’s undefeated streak has defined his career since it started. It’s synonymous with his name throughout the wrestling business. That doesn’t change the fact that there have been bigger, better and more engaging streaks than his.
The Undertaker’s 21 win WrestleMania streak kept fans riveted for years, as did Asuka’s more than 900 day winning streak. The legendary Bruno Samartino went undefeated for nearly eight years, suffering a loss that silenced Madison Square Garden. It makes more sense to talk about these streaks as they’ve had bigger impacts on the industry.