Goldberg is a one-man ass-kicking machine. He's as exciting a superstar as the wrestling world has ever seen and when he was finally beaten, it took three guys and a cattle prod to do it. I'm Next is the high-energy, exciting, and hilarious story of how he went from unemployed football player to undefeated World Champion in just eighteen short months.
Goldberg chronicles his rocketlike rise to wrestling stardom from his "upset" win against Hugh Morrus in his first-ever televised match, to winning the U.S. title against Raven, to jackhammering living legend Hulk Hogan for the pin and the world title.
Best of all, you'll get to hear Goldberg's real opinions about other wrestlers. You won't believe what he has to say about guys like Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, the Rock, and Scott Hall.
I'm Next also covers Goldberg's life from the time when he had a first name. Growing up, Bill Goldberg never wanted to become a wrestler. All he wanted to do was play professional football. And he did . . . until a 330-pound offensive lineman nearly separated his private parts from his torso. He was forced to reinvent himself in a radical way -- especially for a guy whose parents were a Harvard-educated doctor and a classical musician. He became a professional wrestler.
But Bill didn't just become Goldberg overnight. He trained at the legendary WCW Power Plant, where stars are made and dreams are shattered. In I'm Next he tells the whole story of his character's creation -- the bald head, the gloves, the tattoo, and the genesis of his famous battle cry, "You're next!"
He also talks about the hectic life of a wrestler on the road. You'll see him at major sporting events hanging out with guys like Brett Hull, Shaquille O'Neal, and Bill Elliot. You'll follow him as he takes batting practice with Mark McGwire and drinks from the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils.
What emerges is a picture of a complicated man on a strange and unlikely journey. One minute he's delivering a spear that would stop a charging rhino, and the next he's delivering a speech to the United States Congress on behalf of the Humane Society.
I'm Next is the inside story of what really goes on behind the curtain in professional wrestling. And you'd better believe that the soap opera story backstage is more bizarre than what you see in the ring. Bill Goldberg is a man of intensity who tells it like it is. And he shows it, too, through dozens of never-before-seen photographs from his personal collection.
Bill Goldberg's friends were skeptical when he decided to quit being an NFL defensive lineman and take up pro wrestling. "Billy Goldberg, a wrestler?" said his pal Roger Duchowny. "Jews don't wrestle... except with guilt." But Bill was a last-string lineman with a bad groin injury, and a born performer. So he went to study with the runty Jedi master of wrestlers, Dewayne "Sarge" Bruce, who used to wrestle as "the Leprechaun in the Dungeon of Doom." Sarge got Billy through basic training with flying colors. Duchowny, a director for The Love Boat
, suggested that Billy devise a catch phrase, and they came up with "Who's next?" Needless to say, "Goldberg" proved a more imposing stage name than "Billy." And at his 1997 match in Salt Lake, Goldberg whomped the well-known Hugh Morrus (a.k.a. "Humorous") with style, throwing in a back flip for good measure.
Goldberg was on his way. Soon he had a look (bald, gloves, a cool, thorn-themed arm tattoo from Georgia's Psycho Tattoo), and a signature entrance, through a shower of sparks. (The key is to be as wet as possible, because sparks do sting.) There have been times when, for all his success, Goldberg has regretted following his instincts. "Using a real cattle prod was my idea. If I was going to lose, it was going to look as realistic as possible, but when I ate the voltage I knew why those big beasts were so cooperative. As the crowd started to chant 'Goldberg. Goldberg. Goldberg,' I lay there wondering what the hell I was doing flopping around the ring like a fish in a Speedo." Still, art is its own reward, and he has no regrets about severing his tendons, getting 196 stitches, and nearly crippling himself by punching through a limousine window instead of using the scripted prop, a sledgehammer. "My girlfriend could break a window with a sledgehammer. Where's the theatrics in that?"
Bill Goldberg's grandpa was in the circus. Like grandpa, like grandson. Only in Bill's circus, the clown, the strongman, and the barker are all rolled into one. Goldberg is one of the barking strongman clowns to watch. --Tim Appelo