When news broke that Paul Heyman would be the one inducting Bill Goldberg into the WWE Hall of Fame, I was a bit surprised.
Paul Heyman had his best work in ECW, while Bill Goldberg’s best came in WCW, and while the two did overlap in WWE in last year’s Goldberg-Brock Lesnar feud, I figured...wouldn’t Goldberg want someone else?
But that’s what I was missing. Goldberg’s best WWE run had much to do with Paul Heyman and the story they were able to build leading into WrestleMania 33.
Heyman explained in more detail at “An Evening with Paul Heyman” on Friday night in New Orleans.
“The story of this Clint Eastwood-like aging gunslinger that comes back for one more fight, that comes back because his wife and his son had never seen him do his thing better than anybody else, that his son has never heard a stadium filled with people chant his own last name that he will carry on to his children and their children after him, that his family had never gotten a chance to just experience that whole Goldberg electricity, that whole Goldberg phenomenon, that whole Goldberg experience.
“So now the aging gunslinger comes back at 50 years old. A little bit lighter, a little bit worse for wear, nursing a few injuries—still looks like a f-ckin killer, doesn’t he? And he comes he comes in and he goes, ‘I don’t know if you’re next, but you’re last!’ And he looks in that camera and gets that whole Goldberg thing going and you go, ‘Holy s-it! He’s going to kick Brock Lesnar’s ass!”
Lesnar then mentioned names like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, AJ Styles—and while extremely complimentary—said that none of those options would have been believable in beating Lesnar in that little time. Goldberg, you believed.
“Goldberg spears Brock Lesnar out of his boots, and you go, ‘Whoa, this match started fast.’ And he hits a second spear. And you go, ‘Holy sh-t. This is going down really fast. Where are they going from here?’ And Goldberg takes that step back and you go, ‘Holy sh-t! He’s setting up the jackhammer! Lesnar’s going to kick out of the jackhammer!’ No way! Lesnar’s getting beat in 86 seconds! Jackhammer. 1, 2, 3. And you sat there and go, ‘That f-cking Goldberg is the man!’
“And we brought it back at WrestleMania. We made you wait all the way to WrestleMania to see it happen again. That’s box office. Credibility matched with authenticity with characters you can relate to and believe in to where you sit there and you say, ‘I believe in this. I want to see it. I’ll pay to say it,’ and when it’s over, did they deliver? I loved their WrestleMania match last year.”
Heyman finished his Goldberg explanation by saying he’s “one of the greatest personas in this industry.”
I expect much of the same in Friday night’s Hall of Fame speech.