Bill Goldberg's return to wrestling is one of the stranger stories of the year so far. Photo via Damian Morys on Flickr.
Bill Goldberg has quietly bounced back into the wrestling news over the past week. We now know what the hell he was talking about when he teased that he would probably be wrestling again before the end of 2011. Though TNA may have courted him earlier this year, he isn't returning for that cash strapped outfit, nor for WWE who he left on bad terms with over seven years ago. No, as f4wonline.com reported on Saturday, he's scheduled to appear for an ambitious tour of the Democratic Republic of the Congo organised by a new promotion called USA To Africa Pro Wrestling Mission. Though no opponent has been announced yet, he is being advertised to come out of retirement on the biggest show of the tour entitled "Rumble in the Jungle II" in the 120,000 seat Martyrs Stadium, Kinshasa on October 12th. As you may have guessed, the theme of the show is to pay homage to and recreate some of the magic of the first Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, arguably the most legendary match in boxing history, on close to its 37th anniversary. Fitting that theme Foreman, Laila Ali and Jean Claude Van Damme will also be at the event, which will be made available at some point on PPV, DVD and even a feature film release might be made.
If this tour doesn't sound like a financially viable proposition via the usual revenue streams, then there is good reason for that. According to Dave Meltzer in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter the show is being bankrolled by the DRC's government, something that President Joseph Kabila hopes will help him get re-elected in November. This sounds like a more shameless version of the cheap ticket fan appreciation super show ran by WWE in Hartford, Connecticut last year, just three days before Linda McMahon's election. The tour is being organised by Rick Bassman, best known for being instrumental in starting the careers of Sting and the Ultimate Warrior in the mid 1980s, and running the California independent promotion UPW that had a loose affiliation with WWE in the early 2000s, which was where WWE talent scouts first discovered John Cena. So at least it's being ran by someone with a good reputation and lots of varied experience within the wrestling business.
That said, if I was Goldberg, I'd ask to be paid upfront. There are numerous horror stories over the years of overseas independent wrestling tours, particularly in Africa, that sounded too good to be true and ended in a complete shambles. Indeed, just last week, former WWE stars Luke Gallows, Val Venis and Cliff "Domino" Comption were on a tour of Nigeria while the country was bombed by terrorists. If that wasn't bad enough, the promoter did a runner and left them to pay the hotel bill themselves, leaving them each many hundreds of dollars out of pocket.
Goldberg also raised a few eyebrows with his outspoken comments about Vince McMahon when he was recently interviewed by Fox 23 Tulsa News, a video of which is included after the jump, while he was in town to host a post MMA show after party:
"I can't really say anything positive about the man. It's like working for a carny. It's like working for a carny who is driven only by his ego. Business is out of the window as evidenced by what he did with my character. So I don't have a positive thing to say about that guy."
Outside of the infamous angle where Goldberg wore Goldust's wig, which was the height of arrogance and incompetence by Raw script writer Bryan Gewirtz, his character wasn't really handled all that badly by WWE. It was just that his character didn't fit WWE's rigid template of how a babyface headliner should perform and Triple H, thinking he knew better, wasn't going to change his pat match formula to play to Goldberg's strengths. This is quite the about turn, as just under 18 months ago Goldberg seemed to have cast his bitterness aside and was contemplating working for WWE under some sort of legend's deal. However, those negotiations quickly souring and Triple H with his good friend Shawn Michaels publicly dissing the idea of Goldberg being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame at WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta, Georgia, even though that idea had been considered at one point by the company, probably reminded Goldberg of why he grew to hate Vince in the first place.