The truth behind wrestling's greatest myth

By Nick Schwartz

Goldberg during Wrestle Mania XX at Madison Square Garden. Photo / Getty
Goldberg during Wrestle Mania XX at Madison Square Garden. Photo / Getty

Goldberg will make his first appearance inside a WWE ring in 12 years on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw to respond to Brock Lesnar's challenge, and it seems like a WrestleMania XX rematch is on the horizon.

Goldberg was one of the most popular figures in the hottest period in wrestling history, but it wasn't his work during his short stint in WWE that most fans remember. Goldberg rapidly became the most dominant force in WCW in its heyday thanks to his massive undefeated streak (along with his incredibly powerful look and stellar entrance).

Goldberg made his Nitro debut on September 22, 1997, and beat Hugh Morrus to start his career 1-0. Over the next few months, Goldberg annihilated everyone he faced.

In early 1998 he won his first WCW title, defeating Raven to win the United States Championship. A few months later, Goldberg beat Hollywood Hulk Hogan on Nitro to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career.

For more than a year, Goldberg didn't lose a single match in WCW. According to the company, his streak stretched to 173 wins and zero defeats before Starrcade 1998, when Kevin Nash snapped the streak with help from his NWO teammate Scott Hall.

The streak is one of the most famous storylines in wrestling history, but the actual record might not be as impressive as the one that was repeated on WCW television at the time.

No one really knows what Goldberg's actual record was across all televised WCW shows and untelevised house shows, but it's generally accepted that 173-0 is an inflated number.

Wrestling fans have argued for years over Goldberg's actual record, and a few of his peers have even admitted the number was likely falsified as a way to make him look even more impressive.

In the Monday Night War series on the WWE Network, The Miz said that when you watched Goldberg on TV, you'd believe any number they said.

"One day he would have like five wins, then the next week he'd have 15 wins," The Miz said. "The number would just go on and on and on to where it was like 'wait a second, how did he get this many wins in such a short time?' But, you believed it. I believed it!"

ProFightDB - which has an excellent database of thousands of matches throughout the years - has Goldberg's total WCW record listed as 213 wins, 24 losses and 11 draws (an insane record) from his first bout in 1997 to his last WCW match in 2001. Prior to Goldberg's loss to Nash at Starrcade '98, though, there are only 99 victories listed after his official debut on Nitro.

That number might be on the low side - some fan counts have Goldberg landing closer to 120-0 or 150-0 - but we also know that, according to WCW payroll documents that were publicly released, Goldberg only worked a total of 159 dates over the course of 1997-1998. He was paid a total of $627,968 during that span, if you're wondering, or $3.6 million less than WCW paid Hulk Hogan.

In WWE, Goldberg never lost a singles match and managed to win the World Heavyweight Championship a second time. He left the business in 2004 after beating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX.

- news.com.au

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