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  January 16, 1999



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Goldberg beat himself
By BRET "The Hitman" HART -- For The Calgary Sun
  Souled Out is sold out.

 There's not a ticket to be had for the Charleston, West Virginia Civic Center tomorrow, and orders for this pay-per-view are streaming in from all over North America.

 Wherever I go, fans tell me they can't wait to see Goldberg give Scott Hall some of his own medicine with that taser. Do you, really? Hold that thought.

 Speculation on who would be the one to end Goldberg's phenomenal undefeated streak was the hot topic, for both the fans and the wrestlers.

 To me, the answer was always clear in my mind. It turned out that the only guy who could stop Goldberg was -- Goldberg. It wasn't a missed move that cost Goldberg the WCW Title and ended his unprecedented meteoric debut. It was that he made a mistake. It was that he trusted Kevin Nash to give him a fair match at Starrcade, without nWo interference. Goldberg's inexperience is his worst enemy.

 I know Goldberg beat himself up over this worse than the nWo did but, really it was inevitable. When you consider all the guys Goldberg has taken down and how far up he's come, it's easy to forget he's only been in the business for a year.

 He still believed his opponents have as much honor and integrity as he does. He shouldn't be so hard on himself because I can think of at least one seasoned ring veteran who was guilty of the same misjudgment. You can't fault a guy for having too much integrity.

 Goldberg entered this sport on an indefinable adrenaline rush, achieving so much so soon that I think it would have corrupted most men or, at the very least, swelled the ego.

 I'm impressed that Bill Goldberg has come out of this with a great sense of perspective, with his feet on the ground. He's said only a fool doesn't learn from his mistakes and Goldberg is no fool.

 So what's Goldberg's game plan for his ladder/taser match with Scott Hall? Considering that, last week, the nWo showed up with The Hells Angels watching their backs, it makes you wonder who Goldberg could bring to top that.

 Some of you may recall that I was zapped by a taser back in '91 so I have a first-hand understanding of why Goldberg wants to get even with the nWo. Fact is, whoever gets the taser first gets to use it on his opponent.

 Question is, do we really want to see Goldberg function on that level?

 Another big match at Souled Out teams Ric Flair and son, David, against Barry Windham and Curt Hennig. I can't imagine that Flair is offering his son as a sacrifice, so I'm more than a little curious to see what he has up his sleeve.

 Flair's decision to put Bam Bam Bigelow in the ring has met with resounding approval and it's Bigelow vs. Wrath at Souled Out. Bigelow did a smart thing by challenging Goldberg from the start because it established him as a major player to fans unfamiliar with his history.

 Bigelow is a consummate professional and one of the toughest guys ever to set foot in the ring. He's got a great technical arsenal, is strong as an ox and his agility is amazing for a guy his size. Bigelow has worked with the biggest guys in wrestling -- including the biggest guy ever, the legendary Andre the Giant.

 The other night, I watched a biography that A&E did on Andre. I found what they left out more interesting. They showed the requisite stuff about how Andre was a giant and how he wrestled all the biggest names. They had glowing testimonials from promoters, agents and a referee.

 But there were no testimonials from active wrestlers! Could it be because guys who knew Andre, like Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan, don't work in the WWF any more? I mention it because I think the absence of feedback from his contemporaries created a superficial picture of Andre. The opinions of the wrestlers always meant more to Andre than what the office thought.

 In an extremely candid interview for the History of Wrestling special that A&E did last year, Hollywood Hulk Hogan spoke of his great respect for Andre and of how honored he was when Andre passed the torch to him. Yet, on the Andre show, the narrator says that Hogan didn't trust Andre because Andre didn't know his own strength. That's absurd.

 The truth is that Andre was so big and powerful that if he didn't hold back, he could have broken any one of us in half. Andre would do just enough to beat you without beating you up. Getting in the ring with Andre meant that you literally put your life in his hands. How many guys could you put that much faith in today, considering the slackened morals?

 The only singles match I ever had with Andre was in Milan. He beat me with a big elbow -- he surely could have killed me. If you think that's an awesome sight from the stands, just imagine what it looked like to see this hugeness dropping down on you.

 In my opinion, the show sold Andre short. It painted Andre as this sugar-coated, one-dimensional, cartoon-like, superhero. To me, Andre's biggest heroic feat was the way a down to earth guy adapted to the restrictions and prejudices of his oversized lifestyle without bitterness.

 Just go back and watch Hogan vs. Andre at the Silverdome and compare it to Hogan vs. Nash a couple of weeks ago and you tell me which one you'd be proud to call one of the greatest matches of all time.

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