Back during the late 90’s, my high school was a microcosm of all of the battles occurring during the Monday Night War. That’s not saying that my little place in Texas was any different than every other school from that era, but I clearly remember there being WWF Guys and WCW Guys throughout my grade. Hell, I’d even got into a fist-fight with a random person over my sheer lunacy of wearing an “nWo 4 Life” shirt on January 5th, 1999. You know, the day after The Fingerpoke of Doom incident where Goldberg was beaten, spray-painted, and made to look like a goof by the stronger-than-ever-before New World Order.
Moving on past my own in-fighting with other WCW fans, I do remember full WCW vs WWF debates and arguments from friends. Is D-Generation X actually cooler than the nWo? Could Eric Bischoff actually use his karate skills to kick Vince McMahon’s ass?? Isn’t Goldberg just a rip-off of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin?!?
I was always in the camp of Goldberg being his own thing, completely unrelated to Steve Austin despite having the same look, goatee, attitude and attire. Also, “Stone Cold” didn’t bash his head into a locker before his matches, and Austin never ONCE bathed himself in pyro during his entrance!
Funnily enough, it seems the the World Wrestling Federation tried to cash-in on this WWF vs WCW feud by officially releasing a Goldberg shirt themselves. I actually have ZERO memory of this occurring, but fans on Twitter assure me that it DID happen. Even PWTorch brought it up recently in their “Five Key Pieces of Goldberg Memorabilia” piece:
“One interesting note: the WWF in 1998 sold a licensed shirt that read “Austin Rules” on the front and “Goldberg Sucks” on the back. These shirts weren’t sold at live events or through official WWF merchandise catalogues, but could be found at t-shirt shops.”
Incredible to see that this is indeed an official piece of WWF merch, but then again Goldberg was white-hot in 1998. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised as this was the same company that introduced Gillberg as a regular on-screen joke in the same year.