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SLAM! Wrestling







Thursday, December 17, 1998

Nash must end Goldberg's streak

Twice the ramblings, same low price

By "HARDCORE" CHRIS GRAMLICH -- For SLAM! Wrestling

GOLDBERG
Is Bill Goldberg next?
Bill Goldberg has somehow become a legitimate phenomenon in the bizarre continuum that is World Championship Wrestling. Despite his lack of experience, non-existent microphone ability and (at best), limited wrestling skills, he has somehow emerged as the most "over" creation Eric Bischoff and the WCW has ever conceived. Unfortunately, his gimmick is still the same as it was when he won his first match, a big tough guy who no-sells moves and has a cool-looking finisher. He can't ever lose which makes some sort of odd sense considering he can't wrestle.

With Billy's first Spear and subsequent Jackhammer, "the streak" was born and Goldberg was on his way to mainstream success. Over the course of his short career he has run-up "the streak" to an absurd number with most of his victories coming at the expense of Rick Fuller and other perennial jobbers. Eventually his popularity soared to the point where more successful talent were forced to do "the job" and culminated with Hogan counting the lights while sacrificing the WCW Heavyweight Championship.

To say Goldberg has beaten the very best would be a serious misnomer. Wrestlers did "the job" because they had no other choice. Goldberg never paid his dues in the business (a serious bone of contention within the WCW locker-room). He was rushed to the ring and pushed down the public's collective throat by a WCW organization desperate to prove that they could create their own stars without having to buy them from the WWF. A theory they have yet to conclusively disprove.

To be fair, Goldberg does have a great deal of potential, unrecognized potential but potential nonetheless. He is a great athlete, has an excellent build and has made staunch progress in his wrestling ability to date but he never should have been made champion this soon with so few credentials.

The biggest question of all is...What will happen when Goildberg does lose? Obviously no one knows and that is probably why he hasn't. Some say that a loss will not overtly affect Goldberg's popularity as everybody loses eventually. Others say that since his winning streak is his gimmick, that he'll be quickly forgotten by an audience who have grown bored with his two minute, five move matches. The best way to ensure that Goldberg will have a future after his first loss is to make sure the loss is to an equally popular wrestler and somehow have a tainted finish (i.e.-outside interference, illegal object, etc.).

Enter Kevin Nash. Nash is certainly not the most technically gifted wrestler to ever step in the ring nor is he the biggest (although he's close) but he might just be the most charismatic. The fans love Nash. They loved him as a face. They loved him as a heel. And they'll love him no matter how many times he switches sides. While Nash will never out wrestle Dean Malenko or Chris Benoit, he has the uncanny ability of being a power wrestler who makes technical wrestlers look great against him. Remember his series of matches against Bret Hart or "The Heartbreak Kid"? He also has one thing Goldberg doesn't and that's credibility.

Nash has paid his dues. For years he toiled in obscurity and failed gimmicks (see Oz, Vinnie Vegas) and was made a star by surprise... surprise...Vince and the WWF before being bought by the WCW. But that was then and this is now. The fans who have supported Goldberg in the past are starting to become restless with him. The chants of "G-o-o-o-o-oldbe-e-e-e-e-rg" have become increasingly forced. Have you noticed how many derogatory Goldberg signs have been surfacing lately? That's why Nash must win. Nash has both the popularity and the stroke to put an end to Goldberg's "streak" and it has become apparent that if Goldberg wishes to enjoy any sort of longevity in this sport than he'll do "the job" and explore life, post-"streak".

The only question remaining is...Will Nash use his new found influence to propel himself into the spotlight or will he pass on ending Goldberg's "streak" opting to not make himself look like an opportunist to the locker-room? No matter what happens something new must be added to Goldberg's persona. He has neither the charisma nor the ability to be engaging for that much longer.

This wasn't fair to Flair

Whether you believe that the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair's heart attack this past Monday on Nitro was a work or not, it is obvious to even the most ardent of Flair's supporters that he should hang-up the boots and do so quickly. The problem with propagating fake injuries as part of a story line is that few know when they are legit or part of an angle. Regardless of the question of authenticity, nobody likes to be reminded of his or hers own mortality. Especially in a sport which is incessantly berated as fraudulent.

While the smart money is on Ric Flair's heart attack being an angle, it has without question single-handedly slit the throat of his once illustrious career. If the injury or illness is legit (which however unlikely, remains a slight possibility) than Flair has no business ever being in a ring again. The fans will never look at him the same way and every time we see Flair in the ring, the question of his health will come into play. Besides if he really did suffer a heart attack he will probably never be able to wrestle again regardless.

If it is publically revealed to be an angle (and it almost assuredly is), than the same damage will have been done. Many fans believe that Flair really did suffer a heart attack and that will ruin any appeal Flair has left. After all, nobody wants to play "watch grandpa suffer a heart attack in the ring", people will begin to pity and worry about Flair's health and while he may be fine physically, his image will never recover.

So why would this be a work? Simple, to allow Bischoff to publicly apologize to Ric (which he has already done) and get out of their upcoming match at Starrcade. Flair plain and simply hates Bischoff, while they may have turned their real life problems into an angle, rest assured that their relationship is just as heated and volatile behind the scenes. No one was really sure what would happen if the two ever got in the ring, Flair is a professional but he probably would have let loose on Eric and while Eric may be an accomplished martial artist, he is not a wrestler. So they took the easy way out, Eric gets out of the match, makes his apology and all it cost was Flair's credibility, unfortunately there is no way to repair the damage it did, if it's a work and if it wasn't? Than Flair's career is dead and gone.

The Nature boy has been one of the great ones for most of his career. However, if it has come to the point where he can fake a heart attack and have people believe it because of his age, than there is really no reason to doubt that it couldn't happen for real. If it isn't a work (which is doubtful to say the least) than it is time to retire, before he kills himself in the ring, just like this angle has killed his credibility.




Chris Gramlich originally hails from "anywhere he damn well pleases" (a.k.a. Vancouver, BC). His hobbies include: wrestling, piercing various body parts, aggressive music, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Trek related programs, good animation, any all shark programs, video games, wrestling and walking his dog. Gramlich plays in a jazz/metal/punk/noise band called Association Area, being previous associated with bands such as Bad Blood and Tchort. Also a respected music writer based out of Toronto, "Hardcore" writes for the Exclaim and Doomhauled magazines.

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