Published on December 16th, 2017 | by Braeden Farrell0
David Beats Goliath – The CHRIS JERICHO and BILL GOLDBERG Backstage Debacle
Dating back to the days of WCW, Chris Jericho and Bill Goldberg did not see eye to eye. This didn’t change when the two wound up in the same WWE locker room a number of years down the line. Chris Jericho is a no-nonsense kind of guy and he will confront anyone deserving of it ranging from Goldberg, to “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, to Sin Cara. With Chris’ legacy having a number of fascinating tales away from the ring, the anticipation of his huge match against Kenny Omega at the upcoming Wrestle Kingdom 12, along with Goldberg’s latest run still being relatively fresh and seeing a new side to him on the WWE Network’s “WWE 24” program, let’s indulge into their past confrontation.
Chris Jericho is a very outspoken individual who is not shy to express his opinions and share his stories. Goldberg, on the other hand, is a more soft spoken individual, and to no real surprise, there is little to no details on this fight on his behalf. However, after reading Chris’ story on the debacle, you will perhaps understand why we’ve not heard Goldberg go into detail. In Chris Jericho’s recommended autobiography, “Undisputed: How to Become World Champ in 1,372 Easy Steps,” Y2J details what happened:
“Goldberg was coming to the WWE.
The announcement jackhammered through my stomach the moment I heard it. Rocky had befriended him and had brokered the deal between Vince and Bill to bring him in. Goldberg had been a huge star in WCW and was the prototype of what Vince liked in his superstars: tall, muscular, handsome, and looked like he could tear you apart.
Problem was, I don’t think Goldberg really wanted to come to the WWE, but Rocky lobbied and convinced him until Bill finally relented.
I wasn’t too keen on him coming to the WWE either, since the last time I’d worked with him in WCW was a complete disaster. But I had no choice and decided to make the best of it. On his first day, he came up behind me and slapped me on the back as hard as he could.
‘Hey Chris!’ he said loudly and sarcastically, like he was Biff and I was McFly. I could tell he was still miffed about how things had gone with us in WCW. I was willing to let the past stay there, but I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to let this guy throw his weight around in the WWE the way he did in WCW.
Coincidentally, a few minutes later Vince asked me for a strange favor. ‘We’ve got Bill Goldberg coming in and I want you to welcome him and help him out as much as you can.’
I don’t know if Vince knew about my past with Goldberg—he’d never asked me to help anybody else before. But I told him I’d be happy to do what I could to help him adjust to his new environment. And I intended to do just that.
It was Goldfinch’s first Raw, and I worked with HHH vs. Shawn and Booker T. After the match I was pulled aside and informed that Goldsmith had spent the entire match barking to Nash about how I didn’t know how to sell properly and how I hadn’t wanted to do business with him in WCW.
This pissed me off, because I never had a problem selling for him or anybody else for that matter. I’ve always done business, and it was business I was trying to do when I wanted to put Bill over properly in WCW. But it was obvious that he still had a chip on his shoulder when it came to me. It made me mad that he had only been with the company for a little over a week and he was already up to his old tricks. It was time to put a stop to it right now.
I marched straight into the dressing room and saw Nash sitting in the corner like a giant praying mantis acting like he owned the place, while Billy Boy sat across from him with a self-indulgent smile on his face. Throwing caution to the wind, I stood in front of him and stared directly into his eyes.
‘I heard you were saying some stuff about me during my match. I don’t know if you realize it, but things have changed. This isn’t WCW. If you have something to say to me, say it to my face.’
Goldbug gave a shaky laugh and said, ‘I didn’t say anything about you.’
‘Bullshit. I know you did.’
Something snapped in the Bergermeister and he jumped to his feet. ‘Oh yeah? What about all that stuff you were saying about me on the Internet?’
Internet? Internet?? You’ve got to be kidding me! I didn’t spend enough time on the Internet to check out Club Jenna properly, let alone talk shit about Bill Fucking Goldeye.
‘What are you talking about?’
A vein in his neck popped out like a worm as he shouted back, ‘Mike Tenay told me that you said stuff about me on the Internet!’
I looked at him in disbelief and said, ‘Listen, Bill. It’s simple. I could be your best friend in this company or your worst enemy. We’re probably going to be working with each other at some point, and I could either make you look like a million bucks or make you look like shit, and you wouldn’t know the difference! We’re all here to make money and do business together, so just fucking relax!’
‘You never wanted to do the job for me in WCW! You’re a prima donna!’
‘You’re totally wrong about th—’ Before I could finish the sentence, Goldfish grunted like a Neanderthal (the vein in his neck now resembling a corpulent slug) and grabbed me by the throat.
Now, let me preface the rest of this story by saying that I’m not the toughest man in the world, nor have I ever claimed to be. However, when someone puts their hand on my throat and begins to squeeze, it’s time to throw hands. Am I right? Let’s take a vote to make sure: All in favor that a hand on the throat preceded by a prehistoric growl is provocation to fight, say aye.
Okay, we’re all in agreement on that, then—except for that one guy in Peoria, and your case is weak.
Once Goldster made his move, I reacted the only way I knew how. I swatted his hand off my throat and gave him a two-handed push to the chest. He rushed forward with his head down and tried to tackle me, like the ex– NFL lineman that he was. I stepped to the side like the world’s worst matador and grabbed him in a front facelock. It was the only shoot hold I knew, one that harkened back to my days bouncing at Malarkey’s in Calgary. I think I surprised the shit out of him with my lethal hold and was able to power him down to the ground, applying pressure because I knew if I pushed his throat into his chest long enough, he might pass out. I really hoped that he would go to sleep, because I was sure that he was going to fire up and kick the shit out of me. I mean, come on, have you ever seen this guy? He is massive!
I continued to hold my ground and couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t fighting back. I got a little lazy and released the pressure slightly, and suddenly he rolled on top of me. I was freaking out at this point, convinced that he was going to eat me, but I held on to my patented front facelock. He started bucking around like a mechanical bull, but surprisingly I was able to use his momentum against him to roll him over again. Yee-haw!! Jericho 2, Goldie 0. It was like WCW all over again—except this time it was real.
I was getting cocky at this point because he wasn’t moving. In the back of my mind, I still had the idea that he was going to morph into a savage animal, throw me off, and draw and quarter me. But he never did. It seemed that the Goldschlager was all smoke and mirrors. Maybe he’d always gotten by on the intimidation factor and had never been tested. Maybe he was being nice and didn’t want to fight back because he was the new kid on the block. If that was the case, this muscle-bound Joey McIntyre was getting manhandled.
“In the back of my mind, I still had the idea that he was going to morph into a savage animal, throw me off, and draw and quarter me. But he never did. It seemed that [Goldberg] was all smoke and mirrors.”
With adrenaline surging through my veins and my confidence rolling, I thought of the Japanese magazines Funaki had brought into the dressing room earlier in the day containing pictures of Royce Gracie fighting. Gracie’s calling card was a front facelock with his legs scissored around his opponent’s midsection, and after seeing photos of him doing the hold I decided to give it a try. I egged him on as I crossed my legs around his midsection: ‘C’mon, Mr. Shooter! Try to get out of this one!’ He got to his feet again and we busted through the doors at the back of the dressing room, straight into the hallway filled with surprised fans who got a bonus match that night.
We scuffled back into the dressing room and were finally broken up by Arn Anderson, Terry Taylor, Hurricane, Christian, and Booker T. Nash Mantis continued to sit in his chair in the corner of the room watching the festivities.
Goldfinger and I were separated, and if you’ve ever been in a fight that’s been broken up by your friends, you can probably relate to what happened next. As Christian and Hurricane were restraining me they were inadvertently setting me up to be murdered at the same time, because when Goldsworthy broke free of the pack they still had my arms pinned to my sides.
‘Let go! Let go! He’s going to kill me!’ I screamed, closing my eyes and preparing to have my face caved in.
They realized what was going on and let me go at the last minute, but it was too late. He broke through and reared his fist back. I tensed up and prepared for him to knock my block off, but—he started pulling my hair instead.
I couldn’t believe that the mighty Berggold was tugging at my hair like a five-year-old during play time. What was up with this guy?
I figured if he hadn’t knocked me out yet, he was never going to. So I pried his hand out of my hair and pie-faced him as hard as I could. He stumbled back and stared at me in surprise.
I was done with this bitch fight and I screamed, ‘What the hell is wrong with you, man? You’re acting like a goof!’ Goldrush screamed back, ‘Your mother is a fucking goof!’
Booker T got the most quizzical look on his face as he chewed on the unlit cigar he always seemed to have in his mouth and said, ‘Hold up! Did you just say his mother is a fucking goof? That’s the worst insult I ever heard, man.’
Booker T: “Hold up! Did you just say his mother is a fucking goof? That’s the worst insult I ever heard, man.”
We continued jaw-jacking back and forth until we both calmed down. We were separated into our respective corners, and after a few minutes I walked back over to Billbo and said matter-of-factly, ‘Here’s the deal. You can shake my hand right now and we can forget about this. Or we can come to work and do this every single week. I don’t give a shit either way. Your call.’
GoGoBoy looked me in the eye, stuck out his hand to shake mine, and we called a truce.
I walked back to my chair and saw a text on my phone from Disco Inferno, who had already heard that Goldbone and I had gotten into a fight. It had been ten minutes.
Telephone, telegraph, tell a wrestler. For the next week, everybody I knew in the business called or pulled me aside to ask me about the BIG FIGHT. I was forced to relay the lion’s tale over and over again to everyone from Bruce Prichard to Jim Ross to Gerry Brisco to the champ himself.
I was surprised when I answered the phone a few days later and heard Ric Flair ’s distinctive voice.
‘Chris, there are guys in this business who want to bring you down, but when you’re a great worker, nobody can ever touch that. Don’t fall into these traps. Don’t let these guys get into your head. You’re too good for that, you’re too talented. It’s beneath you.’
Once again, Flair ’s words put perspective on things. I had just bested Vince’s new acquisition and I wasn’t sure how everybody would feel about it.
The gossip girls were in full force for this juicy tidbit and I still get asked about it all the time. In a way, I feel bad for Bill, as deep down I know he’s got a good heart, but when our international incident happened, it really got him off on the wrong foot with a lot of guys in the dressing room. When the word got out that David had taken down Goliath, I gained admiration while Goldberg gained more resentment than he already had.
But not everybody admired me after the brawl.
A week later in Richmond, Virginia, I got word that Vince wanted to talk to me. ‘I’ve got a bone to pick with you.’
‘I’m sorry about the fight, boss.’
Vince replied, ‘That’s not why I’m upset with you. I’m upset because you didn’t tell me about it yourself.’
‘I didn’t think you’d want to hear that I just took down Goldberg.”
Vince replied in a stern voice, ‘Chris, I need to know these things.’ And then he repeated one of his favorite themes, ‘I’m not just trying to teach you wrestling lessons, I’m trying to teach you about life. I’m your boss and if something like that happens I should be the first person you call. And if anything like that ever happens again, I want to hear it from you.’
His words made sense and I nodded in agreement. But I had to throw one back at him.
‘Okay, Vince. Now I have a bone to pick with you. Have you watched my WrestleMania match with Shawn yet?’
Vince had worked with Hogan that night and didn’t watch any of the matches before his. But he still hadn’t seen the whole show and was the only person in the company who hadn’t complimented me or Shawn on our show-stealing match on the biggest stage of them all.
‘No. I haven’t had a chance.’
‘You should watch it. It was my favorite match ever and I’d like you to see it.’
Vince said, ‘I promise to watch your match.’
‘And I promise if I ever beat up somebody in your locker room, you’ll be the first to know.’
After our brawl, Goldberg and I became very cordial with each other, almost friendly. We ended up having a good match at a PPV in Houston (when I walked into Gorilla afterward, I received no reaction, and when Goldberg walked through Vince gave him a standing ovation—grrrrr). Bill even invited me to fly on his private plane a few times. I think he was embarrassed that he got into the fight with me during his very first week of work with the WWE and wanted to show his good side.
I think it still bothers him that his status as a badass (great album title) will always be tarnished by the fact that Chris Jericho took him down. Bret Hart wrote an article in the Calgary Sun about how ‘Jericho used the moves that Stu Hart taught him in the dungeon to stretch Goldberg.’
If I died tomorrow, it would probably be my biggest legacy among other wrestlers.
But let’s be honest. I’d like to say that in no way shape or form would I want to go through that with Goldberg again. He’s a big man and he studies the art of fighting. I’m just a wiry guy from Winnipeg who was sick of being buried and reacted accordingly. I surprised him with my ruthless aggression and he was stuck in a moment that he couldn’t get out of and didn’t know what to do. I basically held on for dear life and was credited with the win.
Suffice it to say there will never be a rematch.
But for the record the final score is: Jericho 1, Goldberg 0.”
Certainly one of the more fascinating and buzzed about backstage debacles. Of course, in this crazy world of pro wrestling, somehow they managed to patch things up like most superstars with intense beef seem to eventually do.
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