Before Bill Goldberg makes his much-anticipated return to the ring to face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series (LIVE this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on the WWE Network), I had the chance to chat with him about the work he’s been putting at the gym, his emotional return promo, who his son plays as in WWE 2K17 (available now on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360), UFC 205, Conor McGregor and the injury that he suffered on Monday night.
When you made your return a few weeks ago, you could see the emotion pour out as you walked through the curtain. What was it like to make the long walk through the back and out to the ring again?
“It’s terrifying you know … it’s … (pauses) … you’re coming back 12 years removed and trying to give people the same thing they loved before. It’s terrifying. Father time is not very receptive to keeping your body in the utmost shape once you reach a certain point in your life. Things don’t heal like they used to.”
“I just thrust myself out there man, with a very short period of time to get prepared. I’m never going to be happy. I’m never going to be satisfied. I just wish I would have had a little more time [to train], but it is what it is and you make do with what you’ve got.”
It still looks like you’re in very good shape though. Is there anything you’ve done to specifically train for this match on Sunday?
“Man I’ve trained three times a day, three days a week and then two times a day the remaining four days a week. I haven’t had a day off. I mean I’m doing PR now. I got here [NYC] at 1:30 in the morning after the show last night [in Buffalo]. I went to bed at three. I got up at 6:30 this morning to do this PR tour and then I’m flying five hours home this afternoon and I’m going to work out tonight.”
“The problem is that you’re trying to accomplish 50 things at once and it’s just not physically possible to give yourself the proper time to recuperate after all of these workouts. You know, I felt the ill effects of that when I tripped in the ring during my second appearance. I realized that I hadn’t had a day off in six weeks and I trained legs two days before that. It’s a logical explanation you know, but it’s a conundrum that’s quite difficult. You want to use your time wisely, but there’s only so much that you can shove in at one time and it becomes counterproductive. You become hurt and you’re exhausted. I’ve felt that over the past couple weeks.”
“You know five days removed from going up against one of the baddest dudes on the planet, I don’t want to be feeling like that. I’m terrified. I want to satisfy the people. I want to make my family proud of me, but at the end of the day, I’m never going to be able to satisfy myself. I just want to do it to where I can look myself in the mirror and be appreciative of the work that I put in and the performance that I did.”
Do you think that the moment you slipped in the ring it was your body telling you that it’s time to take a break?
“Oh God yes. Absolutely…”
It was at this point that I heard Goldberg say to someone from WWE: “Do we have a couple minutes extra or no?”
Guy from WWE: “Yeah we do”
Goldberg: “I’m going to jump out and buy my son something from there.”
Guy from WWE: “Sure, yeah.”
Goldberg: “I’m sorry dude, you’re going to have to keep this interview going as I buy my son some Legos.”
Well, if you say so.
You showed so much emotion in your first promo back that doesn’t seem to exist in the product anymore. How were you able to channel it and express it with the microphone?
“Man, I was just trying to be myself. I truly was. At the end of the day, that’s something that I haven’t been able to do in the wrestling ring. I put myself under so much pressure to be that monster all of the time. In my situation right now, it’s not a detriment to have a heart.”
“That’s one of my strong suits, but at the same time, I will rip your face off if you do something that I don’t like. The reigns between the two are very admirable, I believe. I think it shows that I’m diversified. I’m not just one guy. I’ve added a little dimension that I didn’t have in the past. I don’t know how to explain it, I really don’t. I’m still horrible at them [promos]. I’m just trying to do what I do.”
Do you think the added dimension comes from the added life experiences that you’ve had?
“I think so. I think all of the things I’ve done over the past [few] years translate positively into my mic skills. Whether it’s life experiences or work experiences.”
So what was it like for your son to see you in the ring?
“It was the coolest thing in the world man! It was as cool as it can be. I’m greatly appreciative that I have the ability to be that guy. It’s really cool.”
Has he played you vs. Brock on WWE 2K17?
“Yes he has and unfortunately, he likes to play as Brock.”
Why does he play as Brock, what does he like about him?
“I don’t know, you’re going to have to ask him.”
The first time you faced Brock back at Wrestlemania 20, the crowd hijacked the match. Do you feel like this is an opportunity at redemption to deliver the match in proper context?
“In a way yes, but the unfortunate thing is people look at that match differently because of the situation that we were in. They don’t appreciate the fact that we really did put on a decent match I believe. I truly do. I don’t think I need redemption man. I really don’t. At the end of the day we give 100 percent in each performance and sometimes we can’t control the situation surrounding what’s going on and we have to do our best and that’s what we did.”
Have any of the younger guys come up to you for advice?
“Ah, not yet. I haven’t been there long enough to make them feel comfortable with me yet. I’m there for them man. I’ll give them as much advice as they ask for.”
Did you get a chance to watch UFC 205 over the weekend?
“Oh yeah, absolutely.”
What do you think of Conor McGregor’s rise?
“I think it’s indicative of the culture we have now. If you want something…..”
It was at this point my phone connection cut out with Goldberg for what felt like an eternity.
In reality, it was just 10 seconds.
“…for title shots when other guys have for their lives, but then again you have to look at the star power. You have to look at the big picture. You have to look at the money that this guy draws. I don’t like the kid. I don’t like the kid’s attitude, but I greatly appreciate his ability to be that guy. He’s working everybody and he’s doing a heck of a job. At the end of the day, the kid can back it up.”
“So, as much as I don’t appreciate some of the brash things he does, I greatly appreciate the fact that he’s one hell of a fighter and he’s even a better promoter.”
Was there anyone else on the card that stuck out to you?
“I would say that the dude who beat Weidman … (pauses) … what’s his name?”
“He’s an absolute freak of nature. Now I’m not real appreciative of the walk he did around the ring afterwards and what that likened itself to, but as far as raw talent and the viciousness of that kid, man he’s unbelievable.”
“I love Weidman and what he fights for. He’s a great kid. There’s a lot of great guys and girls who work in that company.”
I interviewed Weidman last year and he was one of the nicest guys I’ve met.
“He’s top notch man. They don’t make ‘em any better than him. He does it the way it should be. He does it the way I do it. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than your family. You live and you die to provide them with experiences and the ability to live life to its fullest and he’s a guy who takes it by the horns and I love him for it.”
“Renzo Gracie is an extremely close friend of mine and the things Renzo has told me about Chris are unbelievable.”
You told Brock “you’re last,” is this really the last time we’re going to see you in a WWE ring?
“I’m sure acting like it. At the end of the day, it’s all that I’m concerned about. I take one day as it is.”
“My body feels horrible. I tweaked my shoulder last night [on Raw], but that doesn’t mean in five days that I’m not going to come out kicking ass and taking names like I always do.”
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