At WrestleMania XX on March 14, 2004, the fans inside the Madison Square Garden gave both Goldberg and Brock Lesnar one of the most jeered salutations in WWE history. Aware that both competitors were making their exit after the match, the only saving grace of that match was Steve Austin being the special guest referee, and executing a Stone Cold Stunner on both of them at the end of the bout.
After becoming a member of the WWE 2K17 roster, rumblings started to heat up regarding Goldberg returning to the WWE after a more than 12-year absence. Goldberg even showed his interest in competing against Lesnar again during an interview with ESPN. Paul Heyman responded to this interview, calling out Goldberg to appear on Raw. Goldberg accepted, and made his return on October 17, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Although the reaction to Goldberg leaving was incredibly negative, Goldberg received a thunderous ovation during his return on Raw. At Survivor Series, Goldberg shocked the pro wrestling world by defeating the unstoppable Brock Lesnar in less than 90 seconds, and the fans went berzerk.
Goldberg was recently interviewed on Busted Open Radio to discuss being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He expressed how his initial dream was to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but injuries derailed this opportunity. Then, he had a chance to become a pro wrestler, and his dreams and passions shifted. Goldberg mentioned the infamous night in MSG at WrestleMania XX, and shared what he thought the fans were going to react when he returned 12 years later.
"It was all a dream come true in that I was able to come back and try to vindicate the character in the WWE setting to the WWE fans," said Goldberg. "The first run was a bit tumultuous for many reasons, and to be able to come back 13 years removed and get an opportunity to get in front of the people who made you who you are and ask for their acceptance again. I'll be honest with you, it was nerve-racking. I assumed everybody was gonna boo me.
"So, you have these impressions about what's gonna happen, but you never know. It's a mystery, and thank God it went well. And, it was for all the right reasons, man, and I mean the character coming back at 50 years old had to have a chink in his armor because he was 50 years old. I'm not 285 with veins on my traps anymore. So, the fact that my family was the storyline, which truly was the storyline in real life, was something that was needed. It was the truth! I was able to come back and be Bill for the first time. You know, whether that worked in the setting, I guess it did. But, I'll be forever grateful for [guys in the locker room] for welcoming me with open arms."
Goldberg also stated he was grateful for Vince McMahon for bringing him back and Brock Lesnar for nudging Vince to do so. He will be headlining the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame, with a resume of World Heavyweight Champion, Universal Champion, WCW Heavyweight Champion, two-time WCW United States Champion, and WCW Tag Team Champion with Bret Hart.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Busted Open Radio