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Kevin Sullivan explains why Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan happened on WCW Monday Nitro instead of a pay-per-view

This week’s episode of “Taskmaster Talks” podcast with Kevin Sullivan covers Goldberg’s run in WCW. Sullivan gives some behind-the-scenes stories on the streak, where Sullivan got the idea from, why it worked, the booking, the politics, and more.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

Kevin Sullivan reminded us that Bill Goldberg lost his first match:  “There is something that people never talk about.  I beat him on the first night I had him on Nitro.  He had a red Falcons jacket, red tights, red boots.  He still had fuzzy hair and I had an angle with Steve McMichael and I had McMichael beat him on a count out.  I saw what a mistake I made.  I pulled him off TV for probably 3 months and gave him the black boots and black tights because Tyson had just made a comeback and he was ready to retire, a close retirement.  He took that gimmick because that is what Tyson wore when he was beating people up.  The other thing is I didn’t let Bill talk because that’s when Austin was breaking all kinds of attendance records.  Austin was doing something every week on TV with the Mr. McMahon character.  I thought if Bill talks and they compared them, Steve will be way ahead of Bill so let’s cultivate his matches.  I choreographed him with his opponents as close as I could.  I did not give him much rope and kept him sharp.”

Sullivan was asked the idea that people were tired of Bill Goldberg because he never lost:  “I remember the night they decided to beat him.  I took Eric (Bischoff) aside and said, ‘let’s go outside.’  There were 40,000 people again in the Atlanta Dome.  I said, ‘does that sound like people are getting off of him?’  It could have been done a lot better.  I wish it was a cleaner finish.  I wish he would have gone for the tackle and Kevin (Nash) stepped aside, Bill goes into the post, Kevin gives him the big boot, drops an elbow on him, 1, 2, 3.  I was hoping he would lose in the same way he won, clean.  Not with a hundred people in the ring with tasers and handcuffs.”

Sullivan talked about why Hulk Hogan vs Goldberg happened on Nitro instead of PPV:  “That was a decision made by the corporate side of the business.  They were into merging with AOL and they wanted to have a show and tell so those people from the corporate side were in with AOL and they were looking to see if they would buy.  They brought them to the wrestling and they saw that building full and they knew they had a winner.  When they did buy it, they wanted to get rid of it.  This was supposed to be on a PPV.  I remember J.J. (Dillon) coming to me.  We were at a TV and he said, ‘we are going to announce that next week Hogan and Goldberg was going to be on TV.’  I said, ‘what?’  He said, ‘yep, this comes directly from corporate.’  It was a corporate decision.  They left a lot of money on the table on that one.  It would have been a huge PPV.  The people would have paid money and would have seen a clean finish.  They would have been salivating for the next one when Bill defended against any of the top NWO members.  A rematch with Hogan.  A match with Kevin.  A match with Scott.  You could go down the line.  A match with Scott Steiner. Imagine the poster, Scott Steiner against Goldberg.  That would sell out any building.  I think, what does the poster look like?  You could have gone down the line and had a hell of a 6-month run without doing any cute finishes, straight in the middle.  They blew a big year.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan with a h/t to for the transcription.


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