Bill Goldberg’s brief WWE return changed his whole life

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Bill Goldberg is satisfied with his place in the world of professional wrestling — even if he isn’t ruling out one more match.

“If I never stepped in the ring again, I’m content, dude,” Goldberg said in a phone interview. “I’m completely at peace. I really am. Would I like to do it again? Who knows. It would have to be the right fit. I’d love to do it again for my son [Gage]. Let’s be honest. Everybody knows that. But at the end of the day, you have to be smart about it.”

His latest run in the WWE, culminating in a match with Brock Lenar for the Universal title at last year’s WrestleMania, helped him further become a hero to his son, allowed him to fall in love with the business again and introduced him to a new generation of fans. Goldberg would not want a return to the ring to diminish what he has achieved.

“There’s no question it would have to be the right opponent,” the newly minted WWE Hall of Famer said. “What I was able to accomplish last year was really special, and I don’t want to take anything away from that by any stretch of the imagination, devalue my place in the Hall of Fame and my stature to the fans.”

His wrestling revival has also sparked a resurgence in his acting and entertainment career. Goldberg, who was in the Adam Sandler remake of “The Longest Yard” in 2005, has recently made appearances on CW’s “The Flash” and “The Goldbergs” on ABC. He is set to host the new six-episode competition series “Forged in Fire: Knife or Death” on the History Channel, premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m.

The show pits some of the country’s top bladesmiths, martial artists and knife experts in timed, obstacle challenges. They will have to cut their way through flying watermelons, metal, ropes and other objects as quickly possible, testing them and their blade in the hopes of winning $20,000. Picture the game Fruit Ninja meets the show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Bill Goldberg with Tu LamHistory Channel

“Everything was challenging [for the contestants], but it wasn’t impossible by any stretch of the imagination,” Goldberg said. “It was just cool to see, you know, the block of ice. Everything was just really cool. … It’s not as simple as just walking up to something and seeing if you can cut through it. So there are a lot of dynamics in it.”

Goldberg, who is an avid hunter, said he learned the bladesmith’s world from the contestants along with the show’s weapons expert, Tu Lam, and two-time “Forged in Fire champion” Travis Wuertz. With his martial arts background, Goldberg thinks he could fare quite well in competition himself.

“Shoot, Bill Goldberg would kick people’s butts in ‘Knife or Death’ with some training,” he said. “The background in body movement I think has everything to do with it, whether it be the point of entry, the follow through, whether it be the speed, whether it be the timing. I think I’d do pretty dam well.”

He said the new opportunities were sparked by what he did in the ring last year. And he wanted to thank two people he didn’t feel it was appropriate to at the Hall of Fame ceremony last week in New Orleans: WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar. He described his relationship with McMahon, who is known for not wanting to be mentioned during the ceremony, as being “on the crap rocks” prior to his return.

“I never wanted to anything with this business ever again after my first [WWE] tenure and to experience what I experienced this last time, he’s the man that made it happen, period, end of story,” Goldberg said of McMahon.

He avoided initially thanking Lesnar because — in a touch of old-school kayfabe — he didn’t think it was the time to “talk about an adversary being in your corner.” He believes Lesnar, who is portrayed as someone who is all about himself and doesn’t care about people, gets a bad rap. Lesnar wanting him as an opponent was a big reason for his return and his career rival.

“Brock is very dear friend of mine,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I don’t want to kick his ass when we get inside of that ring because that’s my profession. That’s what I do. Outside of the ring, that’s a man right there. That’s a good man. That’s a good father and he’s a hell of a human being.”

Goldberg can still feel the wrestling itch. He left this year’s WrestleMania after he was introduced with the rest of the Hall of Famers, describing himself as an unhappy caged animal who didn’t like being on the sideline.

He did, however, take a moment to talk with Asuka after she had her 914-day undefeated streak broken by Charlotte Flair at the Superdome. Asuka’s streak has long surpassed his from WCW in length. Asuka impressed him with how she handled herself during her run, and he felt the Japanese superstar’s streak was ended appropriately.

“It’s so hard. I felt bad for her,” Goldberg said. “It’s a really cool accomplishment. It’s unbelievable, but there comes a time when you kind of question its tenure and when is it the right time to break it. Who is the right person to break it? I think it was done properly. I do. I think the pressure has been taken off of her. There was a lot of pressure on me at the end of the streak.”

While he says there is still a window for him with the WWE, it is closing. If this is it, he’s perfectly fine with that because of how things finished up, how much his family enjoyed, and it’s given him a second chance at an acting/entertainment career continued with “Forged in Fire: Knife or Death.”

“So if I can reinvent myself,” Goldberg said. “If I can do whatever I got to do to be out there and experience these new things, push a smile on [Gage’s] face and my wife’s face, man I got a new lease on it.”



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