wrestling / Columns

Bill Goldberg Talks To 411 About Whether WWE Has Contacted Him About Returning, WWE HOF Induction, Brock Lesnar’s UFC Fight, Developing the Goldberg Character, More

June 28, 2016 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Bill Goldberg

This week, 411 had the chance to sit down and speak with wrestling legend and former WCW and WWE world heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg. Goldberg’s been popping up in the news a lot as of late. Recently, it was announced that Goldberg would be appearing in WWE’s next video game with WWE 2K17. He also recently completed production on the action film, Check Point, playing T.J. Bauer, which is due out later this year. Deadline.com also reported that Goldberg is set to produce and star in another action film, Bauer, which he begins shooting later this September.

However, earlier this month, there were rumors that with the WWE’s new Draft and brand extension on the horizon that officials were calling up some wrestling veterans to join the roster after the draft. One of those names was Bill Goldberg. Goldberg directly addressed these rumors when we spoke.

Highlights are below, followed by the full interview.

On whether WWE has contacted him about returning: “WWE has not called me to be a part of any roster. My relationship with WWE stands with the video game and the video game only. If they want to extend an olive branch and pick up the phone, then I will make a comment on that once they do it. But prior to that, nothing’s been done.”

On whether WWE is more than welcome to call him about a return: “I wouldn’t put it in those words, but yeah. Hey man, I think it’s widely known at this stage that I am willing to put past differences aside and make some money and do the right thing for the fans. If it happens, it happens. It’s all good. If it doesn’t, I truly am not going to miss a beat of my life. I am busy right now with my family, let alone all my other projects. It’s an opportunity if it presents itself. Am I holding my breath? If I am, I must be pretty damn good because that means I’ve been holding it for the last 12 years, which I haven’t.”

On the process of developing the Goldberg character: “My foray into the wrestling world is well documented in that I have stated many a time that I am not the kid that grows up and aspires to put wrestling trunks and wrestling boots on and get in the ring and flies around to entertain people. I was the kid that wanted to be anonymous in that I’d put a football helmet on and be a member of a team and go out there and maim people. It was a very hard process. It truly was. I had known a number of the guys for a long period of time. We had rubbed shoulders for a long period of time. I had never imagined myself doing it. Once I came to the realization that it was a possibility, I just tried to concentrate on what I thought people would enjoy. Pardon me, not to sound elitist, but I wanted to put something together that I would enjoy. I thought at that time, what satiated me, what interested me, what intrigued me, I thought other people would like also. And you blend that with some forward thinking of predicting the UFC and MMA were going to be ultimately as big as it became. My character was a homogenization of various things, whether it be the attitude of a Bruiser Brody, or the look of Nikita Koloff or the way that Nikita looked at the people. I took a little bit of what I liked and what I had seen throughout the years from everybody that I was entertained by and made it my own. I shaved a lot off of a lot that I saw in that I like to be less is more and make everything count and not give anyone anything extra. I was what you see is what you got. It was organic. I came up with the persona. The persona is me, coupled together with a lot of my interests. But as far as the path of Goldberg and all his ultimate success, I don’t think any of that was planned. It was all organic. All of it was so different. I believe that it was a testament to the change of power from the company to the fans because the more the fans ate it up, the more the company gave them what they want.”

On how he sees Brock Lesnar doing in his upcoming UFC fight with Mark Hunt: “I’ve known Mark Hunt for a long time, and I’ve known Brock for a while. I think that it’s a very interesting match-up. I think it’s good on the UFC for making that match-up. I think it’s an exciting one. I think they both have advantages. At the end of the day, Brock’s got to get it to the ground. Period. End of story. Because he’s standing in front of a guy that throws shots that don’t want to put you to sleep, they want to put you in the ground. You get hit by one of those right hands or an uppercut or a left hook by Mark Hunt, then you know that **** is on and that cage is locked, and there’s nowhere to go. Conversely, Brock is one hell of a wrestler, and he’s a big monster. If he gets his hands on Hunt, there’s a myriad of things that he can do to him. His ground and pound is pretty damn strong, and obviously, we know about his wrestling ability. If he’s a smart kid, then he’s been working on his hands and working on his sparring. At the end of the day, when two combatants get into the ring and/or cage, it’s anybody’s game, especially in MMA. So it’s going to be a fight not to be missed. I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a hell of a card at UFC 200. Obviously, as Brock’s friend, I want him to go out and kick some ass. I’ll be checking it out.”

The full interview is below.

Jeffrey Harris: Between the movie projects and the buzz surrounding WWE 2K17 and all the other news, it must be a pretty exciting time to be Bill Goldberg right now?

Bill Goldberg: You know man, I’ll be perfectly honest with you. It’s just another day my friend. We strive to continue our pursuit of excellence no matter what stage of our career we are in. This just so happens to be my latest. Been working on a bunch of TV projects, and I got this movie Check Point that we filmed last fall. And we got a new series of movies coming up that we’re filming this coming fall. And in between that, I got to be a good father and husband to my family. So at the end of the day, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

Jeffrey Harris: One reason you’ve been in the news recently is because WWE is going to start another brand extension soon, and they will be kicking it off with a new draft. There was a report in Forbes that WWE was calling up a lot of wrestling veterans to be a part of the new brand extension era. So would you like confirm or debunk this report, will you be a part of the WWE roster after the new brand extension or appear on the upcoming draft?

Goldberg: WWE has not called me to be a part of any roster. My relationship with WWE stands with the video game and the video game only. If they want to extend an olive branch and pick up the phone, then I will make a comment on that once they do it. But prior to that, nothing’s been done.

Jeffrey Harris: Would you say WWE is more than welcome to call you and make you an offer or pitch you an offer? Is that correct?

Goldberg: I wouldn’t put it in those words, but yeah. Hey man, I think it’s widely known at this stage that I am willing to put past differences aside and make some money and do the right thing for the fans. If it happens, it happens. It’s all good. If it doesn’t, I truly am not going to miss a beat of my life. I am busy right now with my family, let alone all my other projects. It’s an opportunity if it presents itself. Am I holding my breath? If I am, I must be pretty damn good because that means I’ve been holding it for the last 12 years, which I haven’t.

Jeffrey Harris: I remember reading you said you have 50 more matches left in you. So if you went back to the ring, between your other projects and being with your family, you would have to have something similar to a Brock Lesnar deal? Would that be something you’d be interested in? Would it be less than Brock Lesnar’s deal? I don’t know if you’ve been following what’s been going on with him lately, but would that interest you at all?

Goldberg: I don’t know the specifics of Brock’s deal by any means. I’ve spoken to him a couple times, and we don’t talk business. I’m curious if it’s a limited date deal. Something like that is the only thing I could even consider for many reasons. Let’s talk age. Let’s talk availability, and let’s talk desire. At the end of the day, [Hulk] Hogan always taught me that less is more. I don’t want to show up on anything week after week after week because it’s over-exposure. I think that if it presents itself, then it’s something that I’d consider. If it doesn’t, then I just move on to the next thing that I’m doing, which is a long list of fun projects.

Jeffrey Harris: It was a great reveal to see that you will be playable in the game, but did a deal have to be worked out with WWE to be a part of the game? Is your relationship with WWE better than it was in the past, or is the deal isolated to just the game?

Goldberg: It’s isolated to just the game, no question about it. The involvement in the game is not a pre-cursor to the future. It is the game and the game only. I do not get involved in the game to think that it is a future transition for me getting back into the ring. It was not my intention. I’ve stated many times that I did it for my son. It is what it is man. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But the fact is that once my knee gets well, I’m going to be training my ass off twice a day, six days a week to get ready for this movie. At the end of the day, I’d be doing it anyway because even at 49 years old, I spar three or four days a week. I enjoy the physical activity. So when I state that I got 50 matches left, first and foremost, I didn’t state how long those matches would be. So I mean, hey, if they were a minute a piece, I could do 50 of them. But you answer questions in the way that you feel. And hey, I spar with 18-year-old kids that try to kick my ass all the time. As far as going in and doing a wrestling match, I think that pales in comparison, but it’s a totally different thing. It’s completely different. You have to condition your body. Hey, at the end of the day, these are things that I’m not even thinking about because it’s just not the case. The relationship with WWE obviously has gotten better because after my name has been shoved down their throats from 2K [Games] for the past four, five, or six or 10 years, they finally passed off on it. They finally okayed it. So something must be more positive than the day before.

Jeffrey Harris: So there haven’t been any discussions about a WWE Hall of Fame induction? Putting that out there, I think a lot of fans would be happy to see you inducted. I would say you more than made a mark and belong in there. What do you think?

Goldberg: I greatly appreciate that, but it’s not for me to judge by any stretch of the imagination. I think I was a pretty decent sized part of the Monday Night War when it was a pretty big thing. If the impression and the legacy that I left means that I deserve an induction in the Hall of Fame, then so be it. If not, then I have no regrets. I would do it all over again the way that I did it. Obviously, I’d take back one or two things. But at the end of the day man, I am completely cool with my tenure in the wrestling business. At the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be defined by a Hall of Fame induction.

Jeffrey Harris: So you haven’t received a phone call saying, “Bill. Clear our your schedule for the weekend of April 2 in Orlando.” Right?

Goldberg: No sir. I have not had any contact with them on that front whatsoever.

Jeffrey Harris: Was there ever a moment as you were developing the path of Goldberg, was there ever a moment where you saw you were catching on with the fans, and the fans were responding to what you were doing, and you were creating a movement of sorts. Was there a singular moment, or was it a collection of moments when you saw that you built something here?

Goldberg: It was a collection of moments. There wasn’t — I mean the Hogan match at the Georgia Dome was a pretty big eye opener that I had something kind of going in the right direction. It seemed like a movement, and I was greatly appreciative for the chants and the signs. I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming, but it was pretty damn cool man. It was an indication that I was doing something right. It was vindication that I had chosen the right character and the right path and that I was correct that that was what people would like. And hey, at the end of the day man, going out there and looking at a kid’s face and having them smile and think of nothing else but holding that belt around their waist. That’s the coolest feeling you can get. At the end of the day, that’s the payback that I got. And when I got that, I knew that I was doing something right.

Jeffrey Harris: Your WrestleMania 20 opponent, Brock Lesnar, will be returning to the UFC next month at UFC 200 against Mark Hunt. You’ve been an analyst for combat sports and MMA. How do you see that fight going for Lesnar? Do you think he’s bitten off more than he can chew?

Goldberg: I’ve known Mark Hunt for a long time, and I’ve known Brock for a while. I think that it’s a very interesting match-up. I think it’s good on the UFC for making that match-up. I think it’s an exciting one. I think they both have advantages. At the end of the day, Brock’s got to get it to the ground. Period. End of story. Because he’s standing in front of a guy that throws shots that don’t want to put you to sleep, they want to put you in the ground. You get hit by one of those right hands or an uppercut or a left hook by Mark Hunt, then you know that **** is on and that cage is locked, and there’s nowhere to go. Conversely, Brock is one hell of a wrestler, and he’s a big monster. If he gets his hands on Hunt, there’s a myriad of things that he can do to him. His ground and pound is pretty damn strong, and obviously, we know about his wrestling ability. If he’s a smart kid, then he’s been working on his hands and working on his sparring. At the end of the day, when two combatants get into the ring and/or cage, it’s anybody’s game, especially in MMA. So it’s going to be a fight not to be missed. I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a hell of a card at UFC 200. Obviously, as Brock’s friend, I want him to go out and kick some ass. I’ll be checking it out.

Jeffrey Harris: What was the inspiration for Check Point, and what drew you into this story?

Goldberg: You know the script drew me in. It was a bit of a surprise to me. Let’s be perfectly honest. It’s at the forefront of every news story today, whether its on our own soil or overseas, this bout with terrorism is one that is seemingly never going to end. So it was very important for me number one to be engulfed with the story because at the end of the day, that’s the most important part. I want people to leave the theater with a sense of wholeness that they were 100 percent entertained by what we put out, whether it makes them or makes them cry. It’s a very important topic, one that is not taken lightly these days, and I have a responsibility to open as many eyes as possible.

Jeffrey Harris: Can you tell me about your character for the film?

Goldberg: Like most of the movies I have participated in before, it’s not a far departure from my actual self. TJ is a Special Forces, hand-to-hand combat expert. He’s got a big heart. He has a sense of duty that never ends, whether he is active duty or as you find him in Check Point, retired. Being a marine is something that he holds dear to his heart till the day he dies. It’s a commitment, and it’s a story of today’s reality set in a small town in North Carolina.

Jeffrey Harris: Your character is also a father in this movie, so he’s also dealing with that as well?

Goldberg: No question. The one thing you always want to be able to do is show some range. Whether I was a character in WCW, WWE or The Longest Yard, you want to be able to — the best part about myself is that I have a very wide range of emotions in that one second I can be speaking on Capital Hill about dog fighting and giving them a voice, which they can’t obviously speak for themselves. And then the next minute you see me spearing a guy and wanting to rip his head off in the ring. So that range is something you want to carry over to the big screen. As many people as I kill and maim in this movie with my hands, at the end of the day, I’m also a devoted father, and you see that side of me at the same time.

Jeffrey Harris: I was always curious. What was the process of discovery for the Goldberg character and persona? When you came out in WCW, your character wasn’t like anything else. It wasn’t just what you were doing in the ring. You put off a whole aura of intensity and invincibility. What was that process like for you back then?

Goldberg: My foray into the wrestling world is well documented in that I have stated many a time that I am not the kid that grows up and aspires to put wrestling trunks and wrestling boots on and get in the ring and flies around to entertain people. I was the kid that wanted to be anonymous in that I’d put a football helmet on and be a member of a team and go out there and maim people. It was a very hard process. It truly was. I had known a number of the guys for a long period of time. We had rubbed shoulders for a long period of time. I had never imagined myself doing it. Once I came to the realization that it was a possibility, I just tried to concentrate on what I thought people would enjoy. Pardon me, not to sound elitist, but I wanted to put something together that I would enjoy. I thought at that time, what satiated me, what interested me, what intrigued me, I thought other people would like also. And you blend that with some forward thinking of predicting the UFC and MMA were going to be ultimately as big as it became. My character was a homogenization of various things, whether it be the attitude of a Bruiser Brody, or the look of Nikita Koloff or the way that Nikita looked at the people. I took a little bit of what I liked and what I had seen throughout the years from everybody that I was entertained by and made it my own. I shaved a lot off of a lot that I saw in that I like to be less is more and make everything count and not give anyone anything extra. I was what you see is what you got. It was organic. I came up with the persona. The persona is me, coupled together with a lot of my interests. But as far as the path of Goldberg and all his ultimate success, I don’t think any of that was planned. It was all organic. All of it was so different. I believe that it was a testament to the change of power from the company to the fans because the more the fans ate it up, the more the company gave them what they want.

Jeffrey Harris: When people watch Check Point, what do you want fans and viewers to take away from the movie?

Goldberg: At the end of the day, the reality is what you see on TV happening overseas, there’s a strong likelihood that it could be happening right next door to you. So people need to be vigilant. People need to be attentive. People need to understand we live in a very scary society in 2016. At the end of the day, I’m a very patriotic person. I live and die by the red, white and blue. To be able to play a military veteran and cast some light on the guys and the girls who fight every day for our freedom, it’s an important thing. It’s one that I took very seriously. It was a very interesting venture, and one that I’m very excited about continuing with this series of movies with Bauer.

Jeffrey Harris: Does Check Point have a release period nailed down yet?

Goldberg: We don’t have release date nailed yet, but I will let everyone know once that becomes available.

Jeffrey Harris: You are also producing the upcoming movie Bauer. Is this a new area for you, and is producing going to be something we’ll see you do more of?

Goldberg: I personally believe so, yes. I very much enjoy it in that I take very seriously showing up and being able to deliver my lines, but in the development of the story and the characters, especially the development of a character I’m going to play, I have no issues and much more so prefer to be involved in that process, whether it be that ability or the ability to reach out to friends and sponsors that I have done business with in the past for product placement in our movies. I think it’s a smart move. It’s a natural progression, and I very much enjoy it.

Jeffrey Harris: In terms of the stunts, will you be calling all the shots? I feel like you’re the type of guy who does all his own stunts, so you’ll be doing all the stunts for these pictures, right?

Goldberg: Yeah. Fortunately or unfortunately, you are correct. As I sit here recovering from a chainsaw accident realizing that in two months, I’ll be thrown out of a two-story window. Yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff that’s going to be done. It’s a high impact, heavy action film. We want to create as much realism as possible. I think I’m going to be riding some dirt bikes and flipping ATVs and crashing cars. At the end of the day, that’s a lot of fun. One of my best friends is second unit directing, he’s a guy named Matt Kutcher. He’s done stunts and special effects for some of the biggest films in Hollywood. Getting to work side-by-side with him again and to be part of his team, and not just be an actor, it’s a very exciting process. I mean this kid is the best. I’m very much looking forward to taking direction from a very good friend of mine. I’m putting 100 percent into it. Not saying I wouldn’t in the past, but you learn to go the extra mile when it’s a close-knit group you’re working with, and you don’t have that angst and pressure every day of the fear of the unknown. We have the ability to have the familiarity with everybody, which truly makes it a much easier process.

Jeffrey Harris: And when does production start on Bauer?

Goldberg: Next movie starts right after the beginning of September. We’re looking at the sixth or seventh.

Jeffrey Harris: Thank you for your time and all your hard work over the years. Can’t wait to play as you in WWE 2K17 and whatever you have planned next.

Goldberg: Well, I can’t thank you enough man. It’s good to be able to get the voice out there and let people know what old Goldberg is up to. At the end of the day, I’m greatly appreciative of anybody who’s been entertained of what I did.

Thank you to Goldberg for taking time out of his schedule to speak with us. Check Point is due out in theaters later this year. Goldberg will also appear as a playable character in WWE 2K17, which is due out later this October for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Goldberg is currently available as a pre-order character for the game.

article topics :

Goldberg, WCW, WWE, WWE 2K17, Jeffrey Harris