In this series, I’ll show you moments that are historically significant, but aren’t actually worth watching in their entirety. The amount of time spent is wildly disproportionate to the entertainment value. Don’t waste your life; benefit from me wasting my life.
By Starrcade 1998, Goldberg had amassed a nonsensical record of 173-0. I’m not saying he couldn’t have won that many matches, just that he didn’t. One match that definitely happened was on the July 6, 1998 episode of Nitro wherein Goldberg beat Hollywood Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title (That match will never appear in GifsNotes. Go watch it.) Almost six months later, on December 27, Goldberg defended the title against Kevin Nash in what was to be the first blemish on his perfect (albeit questionable) record.
A video package is shown before the match that can only be described as soap opera-esque. It’s impossible to tell which of these is which:
Michael Buffer collects the easiest paycheck of all time and asks the crowd if they are ready.
They inform him that they are, in fact, prepared.
Kevin Nash comes out to an incredible ovation. This is not long after the formation of the nWo Wolfpack, and it’s easy to forget that they were a big hit at the time. They often get lumped into the conversation when discussing how the nWo grew to a ridiculous membership, but the Wolfpack were the cool kids, and the Starrcade crowd knew enough to not turn their backs on the Wolfpack, lest they wind up in body bags.
Goldberg does the standard Goldberg Entrance.
But he also stops during the backstage march for a totally-authentic-not-scripted-at-all moment with a fan.
After the bell, the two stare each other down for a full minute — each trying to prove they are the crowd’s favorite.
Shortly thereafter, the action starts. Neither of these men will ever be accused of being spot monkeys, nor will they ever be featured on a BEST IRON MAN MATCHES collection on the WWE Network. As such, this match goes pretty much the only way it can.
Nash re-enters the ring to have another staredown. There’s another lockup, but this time Nash gains the upper-hand and does all of the moves he knows with the exception of the sidewalk slam and the powerbomb.
Here’s where things start to get weird. Goldberg escapes from the corner… by walking out of the corner.
Chances are, this isn’t what they were going for, as Goldberg resorts to the tried and true placeholder of punches to the face.
Because neither is quite sure what to do here, they start choking each other. Nash, being a seasoned veteran and legitimately smart guy, realizes this can’t continue and as such, he accidentally does some impressive mat wrestling.
Goldberg escapes the uncharacteristic submission to apply his own, putting Nash in an ankle lock complete with a grapevine of the leg.
Although clearly improv and filler, this exchange is really well done and is an excellent save. It speaks to a weird tone that this match has, however. Neither man ever lets the other look good for too long. It’s not presented in a normal “Oh these two are so evenly matched” sort of way. It seems real. Nasty. Petty, even. They aren’t taking liberties with each other (they are professionals), but they do big moves the other is forced to sell at the risk of making them both look bad. Here’s another example:
Maybe Goldberg was upset about ending his imaginary winning streak, and a tit-for-tat was the only way to get him to go along with losing, as facing an equally-skilled opponent would explain his loss. Oh wait, that’s not it, because what did happen to explain the loss was Everything In the World™.
After ducking a big boot and hitting a spear,
Goldberg seems set to claim victory. The Jackhammer attempt is stopped by a low blow… I assume since we don’t actually see it.
Nash hits a sidewalk slam.
At this point, Nash gets steady offense in for the longest stretch in the match, but it took a shot downstairs to make it possible. And as we’ve already seen, if Nash gets to look good, then so does Goldberg.
If you know anything about this match, this next part is what you know. Scott Hall, disguised as event security, catches Goldberg in the corner with a cattle prod. A cattle prod can stop a bull and I’m fairly certain can murder a person.
To Goldberg’s credit, he reacts like he’s getting murdered but still just cannot allow himself to look like it put him down. I sincerely believe he would have kicked out had Nash pinned him immediately after the shock. Instead, a still reeling Goldberg is powerbombed and pinned for his first loss in professional wrestling.
Match Time – 11:19
Gif Time – 1:48