Wrestling Legend Bill Goldberg on What It Takes to Be a Real Man These Days
Bill Goldberg is what you'd call a "man's man." He spent the early part of the 1990s smashing bodies in the NFL before transforming into a professional wrestler and doing much the same, mowing down opponents and becoming a legend in both the WWE and its now-defunct competitor, World Championship Wrestling.
Courtesy of Clickjab Entertainment Bill Goldberg is scheduled to appear at Clickjab Wrestling Fan Fest on Saturday, July 19, in Phoenix.
And since leaving the ring a decade ago, the grappler formerly known as "The Man" has parlayed his fame into following many of his multifaceted passions in life (most of which are of a masculine nature) such as starring in action-packed films like The Longest Yard and Half Past Dead 2, serving as an MMA color commentator, opening his own gym, and hosting such cable TV shows as Garage Mahal and Biker Build-Off, owing to his love of muscle cars, automotive culture, and racing.
Since May, he's hosted his weekly podcast, Who's Next with Goldberg, hob-knobbing with friends from the sporting world like Deion Sanders, Jeremy Roenick, and Tony Stewart, as well as extolling the virtues of being a real man.
And although his wrestling persona and in-ring exploits are quite ferocious (including racking up 174 straight victories and becoming the first, and only, undefeated world champion), Goldberg's quite the nice guy and a softie at heart. He's a big advocate of animal welfare and a former ASPCA spokesperson who also has a sense of humor. (In 2000, he made a wickedly funny appearance on the old Comedy Central program The Man Show where he both celebrated and poked fun at Hanukkah and his Jewish heritage.)
Goldberg also enjoys interacting with his fans, which he'll do while signing autographs and posing for pictures at the Clickjab Wrestling Fan Fest on Saturday, July 19, at the Phoenix Airport Marriott, as well as participating in a Q&A session during the afternoon-long event.
Like many who will attend the Fan Fest, we had more than a few questions to ask Goldberg about his exploits both in and out of the ring, but couldn't wait until this weekend to ask 'em. So we took an opportunity to speak with the 47-year-old recently via telephone about his podcast and latest pursuits.
Goldberg is more than a little outspoken and didn't disappoint, offering up brutally honest answers about why he's never wanted to be pigeonholed as just another former pro wrestler, how his show is markedly different from other grapplers' podcasts, his detest for organic foods, and what it takes to be a real man. (Hint: it involves practicing good manners and being a breadwinner.) He even gave us an update on whether or not he'll ever step back into a WWE ring.
So how's your podcast going?
It's going great. It's building momentum and [I'm] learning how to do it better and better each week. Guests are getting bigger and better, and I'm providing people with something totally different. So it's a lot of fun.
I heard that Jim Ross helped you out with some advice beforehand.
Well, yeah. Absolutely. I've been taking Jim's advice for the past 30 years. He and I go way back to my Oklahoma days. So why reinvent the wheel and why not talk to people who have tread before you? And he obviously knows what he's doing. And I'm not a radio personality by any stretch, but if you stop learning, you die, and I'm firmly a believer in that. So I'll take advice from everybody, doesn't mean that I'm actually going to act on it. But you gotta admit, when you're not an expert at something and are able to hear advice from different people and discern between the good advice and bad advice, you do that and go from there.
A lot of retired wrestlers have podcasts these days, but yours is different because you're focusing on a lot of non-wrestling topics. It's more like a sport podcast than anything, since you've had guests like Deion Sanders, Tony Stewart, and Terry Crews.
Yeah. At the end of the day, man, the reason I did the podcast is because I went through my Rolodex and thought, "There has to be a way to take advantage of all the cool people that I know." So, in the beginning, by not [featuring] wrestlers, I wouldn't be able to gain that much traction as the other guys, but I'm not at all like the other guys. I'm different.
I'm not a wrestler. I am a football player who looked at wrestling as a business. I do not live it, I do not breathe it, I do not eat it and shit it like everybody else does. And I truly believe that there's a lot more interesting content out there that I'm going to try turning these wrestling fans on to that's cool. I've been leading a pretty cool life and have some really cool friends.
And they're all happy to come on your podcast?
Like, I've got Darius Rucker and Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming up in a couple weekends. I personally believe that that's a little more entertaining than listening to a wrestler who's been interviewed 15 million times before. I don't want to do anything that anyone has done before. It's not a wrestling podcast, so [but] I'm not going to turn my back on my wrestling fans, by any stretch, because they are a large part of the reason why I have a podcast. The reason why I'm able to go to fan events like this weekend.
But I'm not going to pigeonhole myself to where I'm just going to talk about wrestling, because I'm a huge car fanatic, I love music. I'm going to [see] Chris Daughtry this coming weekend after Arizona. I had him on the podcast. I'm going to Slightly Stoopid, which is a local band here in San Diego, the night after and I'm going to have those guys on. I've got Alice Cooper coming on, Jimmy Johnson's coming one, Charles Barkley's gonna come on, and I'm trying to get LeBron [James].
He might be a little busy these days.
I just think the reality is, I'm asking every one of 'em about wrestling, you know? So as to educate them as to most of the people who are listening to me. But again, I'm not trying to be a dick and I'm not trying to turn my back on the fans, I'm just trying to give them something different. Because there are already four or five or 60 wrestlers doing podcasts.
And as much as I dislike [Chris] Jericho at times, he's expanded his horizons on his podcast. He's pretty eclectic at who he has on as a guest. And I believe that's an integral part of having a successful business venture is being able to pull from all demographics, not just one. So the wrestling community is absolutely gigantic, and I just want to do something different, man.
Since you brought him up, would you ever have Chris Jericho on as a guest, especially with your history?
Absolutely. Why not? We'll do a co-promoted podcast where it should be aired on both simultaneously. Yeah. No big deal. I'm 47 years old, man, I don't hold grudges with people. If he's got a problem with me, say it to my face. Other than that, shut up, you know?
He himself said over Twitter last month that you're his "bro" and that anyone "trying to stir the shit can piss off."
Yeah, that's how I feel too, man. And I very much appreciate him saying that. Until I talk to him face-to-face, which I haven't done since the B.S. went down years ago, which...it was ridiculous. It was the furthest thing from a fight that I think I've ever seen. But he knows the truth and I know the truth, and the reality is we're grown men, dude, we've got bigger and better things to do than [dwell] on a ridiculous little subject that people seem to bring up every couple minutes.
Is that just what the Internet does?
Absolutely. No question. And then I think it's probably going to kill the wrestling business. Okay, I don't think it's going to kill it, but it certainly hasn't helped it.