Bill Goldberg built a career as a pro-wrestler as an imposing grappler always looking for “Who’s next?”
The college football player turned NFL player (for a handful of games) turned wrestler is famous for a streak of 155 wins in a row, not to mention his brutal physicality.
Goldberg is heading to Queens this Sunday for Legends of Wrestling, a fan event with some of the most popular grapplers around — such as Bret Hart, Ric Flair and “Hawksaw” Jim Duggan — doing events in and out of the ring.
amNewYork spoke with Goldberg, 48, about the event.
Are we going to see you in the ring?
I’ll be in the ring, but I won’t have my wrestling gear on. This is not the return of Bill Goldberg by any stretch of the imagination. Legends of Wrestling is an opportunity for me to, first and foremost, get out to the fans.
What do you have planned for the event?
I’m going to do everything other than wrestle, man. I’m going to make myself available as much as humanly possible. Whether it’s a meet and greet, a Q and A, or … making myself available for the kids. The fact is, it’s a kid-friendly event. We wanted to put something together that patted the old guys on the back and also put something together that the parents could feel safe bringing their kids out to.
You’re a big guy; are kids afraid when they meet you?
I mean there’s the obvious initial reaction, yeah, and I’m not nearly as big as I used to be. But it’s a little intimidating until you get down on their level and hang out with them on the ground and turn yourself into a big kid, which is what I am.
What are some of your favorite memories from wrestling in New York City?
Oh man. I think I did a couple house shows in New York City, but, obviously, my last match, WrestleMania 20, Brock Lesnar, Madison Square Garden. There weren’t many positives to pull out of that except for the fact that I won. It was a great experience in that I finally made it to the Garden. And it’s a storied building and it’s an honor to be there, let alone an honor to be performing there and people actually paying money to see what you do.
Can you talk about your podcast and some of the other places you’re working on these days?
Yeah, my podcast is something kind of cool; it’s “Who’s Next with Goldberg.” It’s just an opportunity for me to pull my phone out and scroll through the contacts and call buddies of mine and have the fans be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Goldberg and, let’s say, Tony Stewart, Dale [Earnhart] Jr., Terry Crews, Jeremy Roenick — guys that are idols of many fans out there. And I can kind of talk to them a little bit differently than a normal guy who does an interview with them. They feel a little bit more comfortable with me so it’s a different conversation. I think the thing right now that’s taking up the bulk of my time is the Glory kickboxing. It’s an honor to be involved with these guys, first and foremost, and it’s a huge passion of mine. It’s something that I’ve been doing for a number of years. I can greatly appreciate what these fighters go through. So I decided to lend my likeness and lend my voice to a combat sport that doesn’t get near the attention that it deserves.
Do you think that, had those sports like Glory been more popular back in the day, do you think you would have steered toward those sports or MMA type of things?
Yeah, I knew MMA was going to be popular or I wouldn’t pattern my character after it. So if it was a viable option back then with the financial stability — or, no, the financial potential — that it has now, then I seriously would’ve considered it.
You’ve been in the limelight for many years. What’s something you think your fans might not know about you?
That I am highly claustrophobic.
That must be very difficult for a man your height.
Yeah, it sucks. Absolutely one of the worst things in the world.
Oh my gosh; all those plane rides.
I’m telling you, man, every single one of them — it’s miserable.
If you go: Legends of Wrestling is at Citi Field on Sunday from 3-7 p.m., $30-$200, mets.com/wrestling