Goldberg's pre-television debut matches (lost footage of professional wrestling dark matches; 1997)

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Goldberg1.jpg

Goldberg as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

Status: Lost

Goldberg is a professional wrestler most famous for his undefeated streak in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Making his television debut on the 22nd September 1997 edition of Monday Nitro, Goldberg would amass an alleged 173 consecutive wins without defeat, including beating "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, before losing to Kevin Nash at Starrcade 98. However, prior to his television debut, Goldberg competed in six matches from June to July 1997, five of which occurred during tapings. One of these matches saw him be defeated.

Background[edit | edit source]

Goldberg's wrestling career began in 1996, not long following rehabilitation for an injury that ended his NFL career.[1] After being spotted by WCW stars Lex Luger and Sting during a workout, Goldberg was invited to try professional wrestling.[2][3] Goldberg therefore began training at the WCW Power Plant, with Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker being his trainer.[4] By June 1997, it was deemed that Goldberg was ready to compete in dark matches,[5][6][3] the term used to describe recorded fights during a television taping that ultimately will not be broadcast, often to test new talent and to ensure broadcast equipment is optimal.[7]

Goldberg's first match would be against Parker, prior to the 23rd June 1997 edition of Monday Nitro, where he would ultimately pick up the win by pinfall.[5][6][3] A day later, during a WCW Saturday Night taping, Goldberg pinned Buddy Landel.[5][6][3] Prior to the 14th July 1997 edition of Nitro, he defeated Hugh Morris while under the moniker of "Bill Gold", Morris notably the first opponent Goldberg beat on television.[5][6][3][8] Three days later, Goldberg picked up the win against Chip Minton at a WCW house show.[5] At a Tuesday Nitro taping, Goldberg scored the win against John Betcha.[5][6][3] According to WCW Worldwide, Goldberg may have competed in an additional five matches prior to the televised Morrus match, but of which are undated and remain vague.[9]

Chad Fortune Match[edit | edit source]

Before the 14th July match against Morris, Goldberg was pitted against Chad Fortune, in a match claimed by Cagematch to have occurred during the 8th July taping of Saturday Night.[5][6] Fortune is perhaps best known for his mid-90s WWF run as Travis, teaming with Erik Watts as part of Tekno Team 2000.[10] Primarily competing on Saturday Night and WCW Worldwide, Fortune met with Goldberg and booker Arn Anderson prior to the match, with Anderson deciding Fortune should win.[10] According to Fortune, a back-and-fourth encounter occurred, with him successfully executing his finish on Goldberg for the pinfall victory.[10]

The Fortune victory occurred months before WCW decided Goldberg should have an extensive winning streak.[11] Thus, when the streak became more famous over the course of 1997 and 1998,[11] Fortune's win would obviously be omitted from the records with few people having the knowledge of the match's existence.[10][9] Fortune recalled how WCW management would count the number of wrestlers Goldberg defeated to help tally up his record, prompting him to say "Well he didn’t beat me", much to the amusement of himself and others backstage.[10] Goldberg was stated to have had a 173-0 streak when he lost to Kevin Nash at Starrcade 98.[11] However, Goldberg had only 161 known matches before the Nash loss.[9] The explanation for the number difference is WCW inflated his streak in an attempt to increase his popularity.[9][12] While he would remain as one of WCW's biggest stars, he would actually receive backlash when hardcore fans discovered the fictional victories being added to the tally.[12]

Availability[edit | edit source]

All matches bar Goldberg's win over Minton matches prior to his television debut occurred during tapings for either Nitro or Saturday Night.[5][6] Thus, it is likely footage was captured of these matches, and may resurface as part of the pre-show satellite feed for these respective shows. Pre-show footage of WCW events have publicly resurfaced in the past; for example, YouTube channel The WCW Feed uploaded various pre-show footage of Nitro and WCW Thunder events during 1998 and 1999, which also included some dark matches.[13] But as of the present day, none of the pre-shows containing Goldberg's early matches have resurfaced. Nevertheless, the tapes of these matches could exist within the WWE's vaults, with the company having purchased WCW and its tape library on 23rd March 2001.[14]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Pancakes and Powerslams #353 where Chad Fortune discusses his match with Goldberg (starts 9:14).


See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sportskeeda detailing Goldberg's career in the NFL and his career-ending injury. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  2. Tuff Stuff Professional Wrestling Field Guide detailing how Goldberg got into the wrestling business. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Place to Be Nation listing Goldberg's first wins and his first televised match. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  4. Ring the Damn Bell noting that Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker trained Goldberg. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Cage Match detailing the matches Goldberg had prior to his television debut. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The History of WWE listing some of Goldberg's June-July 1997 matches and outcomes. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  7. Online World of Wrestling defining "dark match". Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  8. Bleacher Report detailing Goldberg's first televised match. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Archived WCW Worldwide detailing Goldberg's streak, and stating he may have competed in five additional matches prior to debuting on television. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Fightful reporting on Fortune's recollection of his win over Goldberg.Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Wrestling Inc detailing how the idea for the streak originated. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Death of WCW detailing WcW's decision to inflate Goldberg's streak, causing backlash. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  13. The WCW Feed containing videos of pre-show feeds of WCW Nitro and WCW Thunder. Retrieved 17 Feb '22
  14. CNN Money reporting on the WWF buying WCW. Retrieved 17 Feb '22