It was this past spring when I began designing poll questions for Wrestleview. Upon taking the position I was immediately excited to ask readers what they thought about various topics in professional wrestling. For a few months I have wanted to ask one question in particular but have been unable to ask. My question delves into the subject of dream matches, mainly what is the dream match that never happened you would like to see. The reason I have not been able to ask this question is the plethora of dream matches out there. It becomes very problematic to narrow it down to just a few. Instead of asking the question in the poll, I thought it best to explore some of these matches in Notes from the Nosebleeds. This week’s Nosebleeds looks at one of those matches in particular with future Nosebleed columns devoted to other possible bouts.
Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg
In 1998 two new stars took the wrestling world by storm. At Wrestlemania Steve Austin defeated Shawn Michael s and officially began the Austin era. Business was looking up for WWE as they gained the upper hand in the ratings war with WCW and began reclaiming their spot atop the wrestling industry. That July Bill Goldberg, a rising star on a winning streak, demolished Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship in the main event on a Monday Nitro. Goldberg would become the most dominant WCW champion in of that time, after Hulk Hogan. Both Austin and Goldberg would remain integral instruments in the wrestling war al the way to its end in 2001. For the past few years the fans had pondered what would happen if Goldberg and Austin stepped into the ring. When WCW went out of business in early 2001, the possibility of a Goldberg-Austin showdown felt possible for the first time.
The WCW invasion came and went without any Goldberg-Austin match. In spring of 2002 Austin walked out of WWE. It appeared all hopes for a Goldberg-Austin match were lost. Early 2003 revived that hope, if only for a moment. In February Austin made his return to WWE. It was not until March of 2003, two years after the demise of WCW, that Goldberg signed with WWE. WWE’s announcement of Goldberg’s signing came in a video package at Wrestlemania XIX hyping his impending debut. Unfortunately the very night that Goldberg’s video package aired, Austin would wrestle his last match against The Rock. Strange enough, Rock would be Goldberg’s first major WWE opponent. With Austin now sidelined, there was still the possibility of one more match for him. It never happened. Goldberg was gone from WWE in one year and Austin’s remained inactive in the ring. Steve Austin vs. Bill Goldberg would never happen.
After watching the two titans of wrestling battle each other through a ratings war, the chance to see them finally tangle would have drawn a huge audience. The very thought of how they would wrestle each other and what story they would tell still intrigues some. How would Austin counter Goldberg’s overpowering strength? How would Goldberg deal with the intense, all-out offense of Austin? And who would win?
It was an obvious Wrestlemania main event that never came to pass. Like many other great could-have-been matches, Austin-Goldberg never saw the light of day because of timing. Being a part of different organizations obviously made it a problem to put these two in the ring together. However, being the icons of their perspective companies was what made the match a dream match to begin with. With WCW going under and Goldberg not signing until 2003, there was a two year gap that could have seen the match but didn’t. From there, Austin’s career ending injury finally killed the possibility once and for all.
One important question to ask that some people forget when it comes to mega matches such as this, is should it happen. Even if the timing was right and Goldberg and Austin were in the same company at the same time, both healthy, should the match have happened? Sometimes when you put two competitors in the ring together the match looks good on paper but is a letdown, if not atrocious, once in the ring. When looking at Goldberg and Austin, a match between these two would have been epic. Neither man had an opponent like the other while in their prime. They both had their own styles but Austin was very flexible and Goldberg could play well off his opponents. Power vs. intensity would have been the story, and a damn fine story it would have been.
Nowadays a Goldberg-Austin match does not feel relevant whatsoever. Both are pretty much done with wrestling. Even if they could both come back and do the match, would we really want to see it? Aside from the age and the fact that neither man has been in a ring in years, the match just doesn’t hold the same merit as it did years ago. There are those who say we have to leave the past behind. In this instance I must agree. If this match couldn’t have happened when it was a dream match, it shouldn’t happen at all.