Playing games represents a kind of pastime in the WWE Universe, for conniving Superstars or dedicated players of 2K’s venerated series of WWE video games.
For Goldberg, however, video games offer a chance to reintroduce a once-in-a-lifetime competitor like himself to a new era of WWE fans. His legend is supported by a resume which includes an unparalleled 173-match winning streak to start his WCW career and two World Heavyweight Championship reigns. His star power continues to shine brightly, fueled by his meteoric rise in WCW and continued success in WWE, all achieved in only eight years in sports-entertainment.
Now that 2K has presented him as WWE 2K17’s Pre-Order bonus character, legions of fans can start asking “who’s next” to battle the man they call Goldberg for virtual supremacy. As for the man himself, Goldberg recently spoke with WWE.com about his involvement with 2K, his WrestleMania showdown with Brock Lesnar and whether he has one match left in the tank.
WWE.COM: How did you find out that you were 2K’s choice for this WWE 2K17 exclusive?
GOLDBERG: I just got the phone call. It was something that we had been in talks off and on over a number of years. As a father and an ex-wrestler, it's a dream come true. To be able to come back and be included in WWE 2K17, it's a huge honor. That the people would even want me back after such a long hiatus is another honor.
WWE.COM: As a wrestler, what did getting your own video game character rank on your list of achievements?
GOLDBERG: My experience with video games is a far cry from WWE 2K17. Did I ever aspire to be that character? Man, I just wanted to be a hero to kids. Whether it’s a character in a video game, a movie or a TV series, it's an accolade that I'm greatly appreciative of. It's just a really cool deal to be a character in WWE 2K17. Whether it's competing on Nitro or Halloween Havoc, to have me as an available character … it's a tribute.
WWE.COM: One of the popular features in the 2K series of WWE video games is the idea that you can create your dream match. Is there someone from the past or present whom you wouldn't mind meeting again in a wrestling ring?
GOLDBERG: Oh man, there's a list that's a mile long of potential victims I never got the opportunity to wrestle in an actual ring that I'd love to make happen for the first time in WWE 2K17. I'd love to wrestle a Bruiser Brody or Andre the Giant from the past. There were some longstanding rivalries that I had, whether it be with Scott Steiner and The nWo, or [rivalries] that I never had, like a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Roman Reigns, who wasn't even around when I was in this business.
WWE.COM: So, fans playing WWE 2K17 can also customize it to put themselves in their favorite venues. Did you have a venue you considered your home turf?
GOLDBERG: The Georgia Dome was my home field, brother. There's no question about it. I played my first football game there as an Atlanta Falcon. I paid a lot of fines out on the field in the NFL. It meant a lot to me to be able to wrestle there, to bring in as many fans for a WCW Monday Nitro as the Falcons did. The Georgia Dome is what made me.
WWE.COM: A lot of folks think of you as this solitary figure. But obviously, you had some help along the way. Were there any notable mentors that helped you find your footing?
GOLDBERG: As far as in-ring, “Diamond” Dallas Page was integral. “Sarge” DeWayne Bruce from the WCW Power Plant, Kenny Kaos and Robbie Rage [of High Voltage], Yuji Nagata were an integral part in what I did. Bob Sapp, in that I could look at him and figure out what not to do. Curt Hennig, The Steiner Brothers were absolutely huge influences on me, both in and out of the ring. Kevin Nash was an influence on me.
The Georgia Dome was my home field, brother. ... It meant a lot to me to be able to wrestle there, to bring in as many fans for WCW Monday Nitro as the Falcons did.
WWE.COM: When you made the move to WWE, you were still seen as a leader in WCW. What did that move mean to you when you met the WWE Universe for the first time?
GOLDBERG: It was a big jump and it was very strange for me. I mean, I was the bad guy, man. Everybody from WCW, we were the enemy. It was a very tenuous, strenuous, very weird situation because both entities had wanted nothing more than to destroy the other. Once we came together, there was still a bit of that dynamic. It was so engrained in us; I don't think you could have snapped your fingers and had it go away. There was a transition period.
For myself, I only knew WCW. I only knew the experiences I had in WCW. That was the wrestling business. When I was presented with different situations, different philosophies or ideals or outlooks, it was foreign to me.
WWE.COM: Do you consider your WWE tenure a success?
GOLDBERG: Hell yeah, it was successful. I got paid and I put smiles on people's faces, so I don't think you can say that it wasn’t a success by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of the day, leaving WrestleMania, having my hand raised, beating Brock Lesnar... I'd say it was a pretty successful tenure.
WWE.COM: How do you feel about your match with Brock Lesnar as being your last match in WWE to date?
GOLDBERG: We were behind the eight ball from the beginning. What could have been arguably the most vicious and intense match that WWE or any wrestling ring has ever seen, bar none, the potential for that match was not reached by any question. People knew that we were both leaving, so what do you expect? I may have acted the same way as the fans. I don't blame them one bit.
There were some good moments from [the match]. Any time I get in the ring with Brock Lesnar and go toe-to-toe and have some fun ... I'm an athlete, bro. I'm a competitor; that's what I do till the day I die. I'm going to be that guy.
I'm a competitor; that's what I do till the day I die. I'm going to be that guy.
WWE.COM: Do you think you have one more match in you?
GOLDBERG: I’ve got 50 more in me. It just depends on the ability to keep it up to my standards. I love everybody to death and I greatly appreciate their opinions, but none of it matters except for mine, because I hold myself to such high standards.
The reality is, you’ve got movies, TV appearances, a kid, you're 49 years old … things aren't like they used to be. It's a completely different day. I'm 20 to 30 pounds less than what I was because I just don't need to be that dude with traps from his ears to his shoulders. Would I like to be that guy again? Absolutely. He's still in there.
WWE.COM: 2K’s previous Pre-Order exclusive characters have included some major names, including Ultimate Warrior, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sting. Do you think you'll outperform them?
GOLDBERG: That's the goal. I truly don't want to get involved and fall by the wayside, and not be able to compare to legends past. I greatly appreciate what they do and the entertainment that they provided all of us. But let's be perfectly honest: Not one of those people can pick the Big Show up and Jackhammer him. I'm a different animal.
Ultimately, the reason why I got in this business was Sting, because I revered and respected him so much.
WWE.COM: Should we officially put Sting on notice, then?
GOLDBERG: Everyone that walks the planet is on notice. It depends on how they look at me.
Ultimately, the reason why I got in the business was Sting, because I revered and respected him so much. I felt as though if he could do it and be able to look himself in the mirror, then by damn, Goldberg can do it, too. So I'll be honest with you: If there’s one person on the planet who is safe, it's Sting. And he's the only one.
WWE.COM: What does 2K’s selection say to you about your staying power among wrestling fans?
GOLDBERG: Nothing I say can scratch the surface of how appreciative I am that people would even remember who the hell I am. I'm kind of speechless, and for Goldberg, that's almost impossible. It has been 12 years, man. I don't do a lot of wrestling interviews because it's nostalgic. But, you know ... I had a wonderful time. As a competitor, I really enjoyed it. It allowed me to put a lot of smiles on a lot of kids' faces and change a lot of lives in a positive way.
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