With WrestleMania 27 next year being held in Atlanta, Georgia, whenever the topic of the WWE Hall of Fame (HOF) comes up, it revolves around old WCW guys. Of all the guys from WCW that aren't in the Hall of Fame already or aren't totally in Vince McMahon's doghouse, there is probably one name that comes to mind the most: Goldberg.
This hasn't been lost on WWE brass or even top wrestlers who are retired or on a bit of a hiatus. Enter Triple H and Shawn Michaels. The guys at SBNation Atlanta caught up with the two for an interview, which is fantastic and one you should definitely check out, and they briefly touched on the topic of Goldberg's possible entry into the HOF:
HHH: Bill's trying to get into the Hall of Fame. If there's a rumor about him coming back, he probably started it. I've not seen any mention of his name.
HBK: You want to move on into the future. It's tough to not go back and get some big-name guys here and there, but I don't know about any of the older WCW guys. It might be good for a one-shot deal but where do you go from there? As a company, you're trying to move into the future. It'd be like bringing Michael Jordan back.
HHH: As far as the Hall of Fame goes, it's tough. We have a unique business, and we try to do a legitimate Hall of Fame. We try to honor the guys that deserve it. To the guys that go in, it's something special. I heard Hogan shit on it, but I don't think anything's special to him except for money. Like, if you called Michael Jordan to put him into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and he said, "All right, but I'm only gonna show up if I get to play for the Bulls next year." We get that all the time. We call a guy to honor him in the Hall of Fame, and he goes, "I want to do an angle. I want a one-off. I need a hundred grand." So when you say, "What about Goldberg?", no offense to Bill, but you've got guys like Bruno San Martino that were legends with longevity that should be in there, but they're holding out because they think they've got one more run. Just using Bill as an example, how many years did he wrestle? Not many.
HBK: To me, he's not even in the ball park. Not because he's not talented, but greatness doesn't happen in a few years. Greatness is established over a long period of time. We try to promote people and get them over, but you can't do it that quickly. In our line of work, there are other qualities that make somebody viable besides just whether they're tough or not. In every other line of work -- like if you're a lineman who can't play, everybody knows you can't play.
That's an interesting discussion to have. 1) that so many wrestlers try to use potential entry into the physically non-existent Hall of Fame to make a quick buck or get back in the spotlight with the top organization and 2) whether or not Goldberg is actually deserving of a spot in the Hall at all.
To the first point, I can't blame any wrestler for trying to maximize their value while they can. By the time they are being offered a spot in the HOF their time has surely passed them by and they'll do whatever they can to stay as relevant as possible. Can anyone blame them for that? That said, I agree with the sentiment that some guys should never attempt a comeback in any form and that it does nothing for their career other than damage their memory. It also hurts the current product.
To the second point, there really is no firm set of criteria as to what qualifies a wrestler to get into the Hall. Does Goldberg deserve it based on what he did with WWE? Of course not. Does he deserve it based solely on what he did with WCW? Eh, that's not so clear. If you combine the two? There is still a legitimate question as to whether he did enough to be considered.
The fact is, when he was at his peak in WCW he was huge. He was the only answer they had for Stone Cold Steve Austin. Of course, he couldn't come anywhere close to filling those shoes but that wasn't entirely his fault. The problem with Goldberg will always come down to how long he was at the top and how much he really brought to the business. For the span he was there, he was arguably the only thing saving WCW from going under. But his star faded so fast that there wasn't much left to work with.
If he was truly special in the ring, I would call it a no-brainer but he wasn't. Truth be told, he was a liability as a wrestler. There was always fear that he would injure guys and he did exactly that, the most infamous of which was the Bret Hart head kick. So if all he can rely on as his claim to fame in the wrestling business is the fact that he was the toast of the town for a year in WCW, without really bringing anything else to the table, I don't think he's worthy of inclusion.
For what it's worth, Goldberg responded on his Twitter with this:
"I read HHH and HBK's views on the #WWE HOF….everyone is entitled to their own opinion.They do have a point if induction is based on tenure. ... Funny how the chosen one thinks I'm begging. Get a grip."
Is he in or is he out?