Gooooold-berg! Gooooold-berg! Gooooold-berg!
There was a time when Bill Goldberg was a really big deal, even drawing comparisons (crazy as they were) to Stone Cold Steve Austin during their respective heydays in 1998. I didn't quite see it, other than they were both bald white guys who wore black trunks and had goatees. But whatever.
Goldberg became one of the few homegrown WCW stars of the NWO Era, rising up the ranks with an undefeated streak that spanned 173 straight victories. Or so they said. It was an inflated number, of course, but he debuted on a Sept. 22, 1997 episode of Monday Nitro and didn't lose until Starrcade on Dec. 27, 1998.
It took Goldberg 74 wins to earn his first title shot and on this date in WCW history, he defeated Raven to win the U.S. title on the April 20, 1998 edition of Nitro.
The match itself was decent, thanks mostly to Raven, a talented worker who managed to make Bill look far better than he actually was at this time. Goldberg's idea of selling -- violently shaking his head out -- was comical at best. I'm not sure how a kick to the gut resulted in his losing control of his neck muscles but fans didn't mind it at the time.
They just wanted to see him run people over.
That's what he did in this one, too, going through not only Raven but his entire flock, as well. That included delivering his patented Jackhammer to Reese, the biggest member of the flock who was billed as standing 7'2'' and weighing 365-pounds. Announcer Tony Schiavone tried to put him over as "almost 500-pounds" just after Goldberg hit the Jackhammer but this is pro wrestling, after all.
Either way, it looked good and the crowd was absolutely bonkers for the entire match, especially the finish, which was executed rather well. Enjoy the complete match, as well as the build to it, after the jump.
Side note: That opening Nitro theme really takes me back.