This Sunday at WWE Fastlane Goldberg will challenge Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship. Many wrestling pundits and oddsmakers have the 90s wrestling Icon as a heavy favorite to take the championship with him into his highly anticipated rematch with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33.
Goldberg last won the WWE World Championship on September 21st, 2003. Winning the red leather belt on Sunday would rank Goldberg second on the all time list of longest droughts between World (Top prize in company, regardless of specific title) Championship victories at 13 years and 6 months. Bob Backlund's near 15 year drought from December of 1979 to November of 1994 is still the mark to beat.
While that stat alone is enough to give this bout historical significance, it's a highly glossed over fact that only old school fans like myself are going to shed a tear for. If Goldberg is able to keep his promise and "SPEAR - JACKHAMMER - 1,2,3" Kevin Owens this Sunday, he will be the very last WCW World Champion to ever win a major WWE Championship.
And no, I am not talking about the bastardized WWE version of WCW (although you could probably also make a case that Chris Jericho, The Rock and Kurt Angle will not be winning the WWE's top prize again either).
I am talking about where the "Big Boys Played!"
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No one who ever wore the big gold WCW Championship around their waist on Turner Broadcasting System will ever get to do what Goldberg might do this Sunday and that will truly be the end of an era. The final, last hurrah of the World Championship Wrestling.
I should note that Big Show, who won WCW gold in 1996, is the only other active WWE superstar who could accomplish this feat but it's highly unlikely he will get another run at this stage in his career.
If you look back at the last 10 WCW World Champions who are still alive (RIP Savage and Benoit), do you see any who would have a remote chance at becoming a WWE Universal or World Champion?
Here's the list: Booker T, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair, David Arquette, Diamond Dallas Page, Sid Vicious, Bret Hart, Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Sting.
Maybe I shouldn't count out David Arquette. He is only 5 years younger than Goldberg, but I feel safe in saying his only chance at winning another belt would be in a sequel to Ready To Rumble. Among the others on the list, only Hulk Hogan is even still remotely angling for a match in the WWE.
The realization that Goldberg will be the last WCW Champion to win a major championship is particularly depressing for me. Growing up a wrestling fan in the 80s and 90s, my allegiances were split fairly equally down the middle between WWE and WCW. That is until the unthinkable happened and Hulk Hogan turned heel when he joined the New World Order. From that point on I was a WCW devotee. Sure, I still kept up with the WWE, but I had to see what was happening with the nWo, Sting, Goldberg and Diamond Dallas Page.
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The Nitro Girls helped me through puberty. I took Scott Hall's surveys. I spray painted my enemies. I eagerly looked into the rafters for Sting at every building I walked into. I even accepted Mongo McMichael as Four Horsemen. I was ALL IN!
Sadly, after the infamous "fingerpoke of doom" and the 7th iteration of the nWo, I gave up and went back to the WWE. Then, in 2001, something amazing happened. Vince McMahon purchased WCW and all my wrestling fantasies were suddenly coming true. Finally I'd get to see all the dream matches I'd plotted out in my head for years and the WCW Champions of the past would reclaim their glory under the bright spotlights of the WWE.
Unfortunately, instead of a series of amazing inter-promotional dream matches, the Invasion angle happened – which was mostly just WWE guys parading as WCW defactors only to give Vince one final victory lap.
So, for me, Fastlane will be the end of an era; one I didn't even realize I was nostalgic for until Goldberg returned last November. Even though I totally get the anger of wrestling fans who don't want to see the current generation of WWE superstars "buried" for the sake of my memories, I'll be cheering for Goldberg this Sunday as he carries the flag of World Championship Wrestling up that hill for the last time in wrestling history.
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