Upon arriving to World Championship Wrestling in November 1997, Bret Hart had been lost in the shuffle of politics consuming the once promising company. Unsure of how to use the Hitman, often months saw Bret Hart sitting at home for several pay per views and just being wasted away by the company.
Starting in September of 1997, a new wrestler named Bill Goldberg arrived and began to rack up nearly 200 straight wins. Goldberg won the WCW United States and WCW World Championship in 1998 within three months of each other, but lost the WCW World Championship at Starrcade to Kevin Nash.
By 1999, both men had nothing to do. Goldberg had just finished a feud with Bam-Bam Bigelow and his feud with the New World Order had all but been forgotten about.
Voicing his frustrations over his role in the company, Bret Hart issued a challenge to Goldberg on the March 29th Nitro. It’s probably the most memorable thing Bret had ever done for the company as he baited Goldberg into spearing him. However, after the spear both men laid on the canvas. Bret got up first and lifted up his jersey to reveal a metal plate to have knocked Goldberg out.
Sadly, any kind of momentum from such an angle would not be capitalized upon due to the tragic death of Bret’s brother, Owen Hart, at the WWF Over The Edge pay per view in May of 1999. Bret wouldn’t be back in the company until September.
It wouldn’t take long for the Bret/Goldberg issue to be brought up again. The night after Halloween Havoc on October 25th, Bret managed to hand Goldberg a rare loss on Nitro to advance in the WCW World Championship tournament to crown a new champion. While Goldberg continued his feud with Sid, Bret won the WCW World Championship for the first time in his career at WCW Mayhem by defeating Chris Benoit in a classic bout.
At this point, Bret and Goldberg were friends and teamed up to win the WCW World Tag Team Championships on the December 7th Nitro by defeating Creative Control. Their reign wouldn’t last long at all as on the December 13th Nitro they lost the belts to the Outsiders.
Six days later, Bret would defend the WCW World Championship against Goldberg in a highly anticipated match. However, within moments of the match, Goldberg delivered a side kick to Bret and it would effectively end Bret’s career as he suffered a concussion. Also, the finish of the match was another version of the Montreal screw job with Roddy Piper playing the role of Earl Hebner.
The following night on Nitro, Bret would vacate the title and issue a challenge to Goldberg to wrestle in the main event for the title in a fair one on one match. Once again, Goldberg was screwed over as Bret Hart turned heel and reformed the New World Order with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Jeff Jarrett.
By January, Goldberg would be out with injury and Bret would be officially retired. Despite that, WCW tried to rekindle the feud again in 2000.
On the August 28th, 2000 Nitro Bret Hart turned on Goldberg after Goldberg had brought Vince Russo to a desert to bury him. Naturally, once Goldberg turned his back Bret whacked Goldberg over the head with the shovel.
Bret Hart made his last appearance for the company on the September 6th Thunder where he berated Goldberg for ending his career. The segment would end with Scott Steiner attacking Goldberg.
That would essentially be the end of the feud.
This has to be one of the most disappointing feuds in WCW history. I’m not going to blame the tragic death of Owen Hart on this feud not going well. For the most part, the feud didn’t advance after the metal plate spot in March of 1999 anyway. I mean, Goldberg started a short feud with Kevin Nash for whatever reason and match with Sting at Spring Stampede and Slamboree respectively.
Sure, Bret made an appearance at the Slamboree show to attack Goldberg and Sting, but the handling off the feud left a lot to be desired.
Bret returns to the company and instead of going right into a feud with Goldberg, he loses to Lex Luger at Havoc for no reason and then wins the title and feuds with Goldberg?! Where is the logic in that booking?
If everything had gone according to plan with the reformation of the NWO and Goldberg on the chase, it’s completely likely that Goldberg would have regained the title by June of 2000 if they really dragged it out.
Their match at Starrcade is just awful and to book the screw job as the finish was just disgusting and left a bad taste in my mouth. If they were to have just gone out there and had a clear cut winner and wrestled for 15 minutes, I think it would have been a really good match.
Regardless, we are left with a feud that should have been memorable but instead leaves WCW fans, like myself, wondering how an opportunity to make money was squandered away.
What are your memories of the Bret Hart vs. Goldberg feud? Did you enjoy it or did it leave more to be desired?
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.