In this history of professional wrestling, nobody has run roughshod over a roster the way that Goldberg did in WCW from 1997 through the company’s closure in 2001. Opening his career with an official win steak of 173 matches (the actual number is often argued to be lower), the wrestling world had never seen such a force, nor has it since. While the streak served to propel a newcomer to top in short-order, it wasn’t without its consequences. Goldberg left in his wake an unprecedented path of destruction, burying talent at an alarming rate. With just two moves, he managed to defeat guys that we were conditioned to take seriously on Nitro and Thunder every week. Even as a child, I hated every bit of it. I was rooting for Perry Saturn to tap him out with the Rings of Saturn at Spring Stampede ’98, I was devastated when Raven dropped the US to him, and I saw red when he defeated Hollywood Hogan for Big Gold. Somebody had to be able to beat this guy, right? Well, kind of.
The streak famously came to a controversial close at Starcade ’98 when Kevin Nash pinned the man who came to be known simple as “Da Man.” Of course, it didn’t happen cleanly. He needed the help of Scott Hall and a taser to get the job done. By hook or by crook, though, the streak was over and Goldberg could come back down to Earth. The problem was…he didn’t. He just kept plowing through people, even after the streak had been snapped. Somehow, his Starcade loss to Nash, marred by interference, was the cleanest loss he’d suffer in WCW. Even when you consider his time spent in WWE, to this day, Goldberg has only suffered 6 televised pinfall loses. Today, we’ll try to make some sense of them.
After his loss to Kevin Nash, Goldberg would go almost a full calendar year before being pinned again. On the December 20, 1999 edition of Monday Nitro, it was Bret Hart who was able to put his shoulders to the mat for a three count. Except that it kind of wasn’t. The World Title was vacant entering the match, not an uncommon situation for WCW during the era, and would be decided on this night. In the closing moments of the match, while Bret Hart had a figure four leg lock on his opponent, the Outsiders hit the ring. Hall & Nash mercilessly beat Goldberg with baseball bats, while Bret Hart revealed to the crowd that he was in on their scheming all along. Roddy Piper, one of the heroes of WCW at the time, ran down to shield Goldberg from the beating. Throwing himself over Goldberg to take the blows, there was hardly room for Bret to make a cover when the referee came to. According to the record books though, that’s what happened, and Bret is credited with a pinfall victory that landed him the World Title. It was unquestionably one of the most convoluted and confusing endings to a wrestling match that has ever transpired.
Seven months later, WCW was in its death throes and trying to rebuild by finally establishing young talent. Booker T, who was in the midst of a freshly minted push, was perhaps the man who the company was the most all-in on during their reconstruction. Having won his first world title at Bash at the Beach that year, Booker was set to defend his prize against Goldberg on the July 20, 2000 episode of Nitro. Like the other two times that Goldberg was pinned, there was no shortage of interference in this match. After a chair shot from Jeff Jarrett and a spinning kick from Ernest “The Cat” Miller, Booker T was able to put Goldberg away with the Book End, scoring the three count and retaining his title.
And that was it for Goldberg’s losses in WCW. When he got to the WWE a few years later, however, things were a little different…
It took three years for Goldberg to be pinned three times in WCW. Once he got to the WWE, he was pinned another three times, all within a five month span. In what is a very telling fact about the state of Raw in 2003, all three of these pinfall defeats came at the hands of “The Game” Triple H. At SummerSlam ’03, Goldberg was the last man left in the ring with Hunter in an elimination chamber match that also featured Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and one of the other men to have pinned Goldberg in the past, Kevin Nash. Using a sledgehammer to slay the dragon, Hunter scored the first of his three victories over Goldberg and retained his World Heavyweight Championship. In November of the same year, Goldberg was put into a three-on-one match on an episode of Monday Night Raw against the members of Evolution. It took an RKO, a Bastista Bomb, and a Pedigree, but again, Triple H was able to pin Goldberg in what might be the cleanest loss of his career. Goldberg would go on to win the World Title eventually, but in December of 2003 at Armageddon, Triple H pinned him once more during a triple threat match with Kane for the strap. Naturally, Evolution had their fingerprints all over this one, taking out the unstoppable force just before the pin was made.
And that’s it. The only six times that Goldberg has ever been pinned, three of them at the hands of the same man. The rest of Goldberg’s resume remains quite impressive, even if most of his wins came against a slew of WCW Saturday Night jobbers. After all, he’s the only man to ever pin Brock Lesnar and not have the favor returned by the Beast Incarnate. If recent rumors are to be believed, Lesnar may have his shot at redemption yet, but as it stands, there are only four wrestlers in the world who can brag about keeping Goldberg’s shoulders on the mat for the count of three.