Monday, 2 March 2015

Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 422 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: October 7 2013

GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! Fans had been anticipating a DVD on the career of Goldberg for years, so when it was announced for late 2013, it generated a lot of excitement. But did the release match the hype?

Firstly, there is no documentary here, which is disappointing. That is more of a problem for this particular release than for a DVD on another wrestler because Goldberg's career was relatively short, and many of his matches were too. Therefore, even if a Goldberg documentary is released on DVD in future, are there enough of his matches not featured here to fill up the remainder of the release?

That aside, the DVD delivers dozens of Goldberg matches. A good number are of the short, squash variety, so I will just focus on the key matches in this review. His debut against Hugh Morrus - the beginning of his undefeated streak in WCW - is an essential inclusion. His WCW US Title victory over Raven is very exciting, but more so is his historic WCW World Title win over Hollywood Hulk Hogan, in front of a rabid Georgia Dome crowd. We see him in high-profile WCW bouts against Scott Hall, Sting, Diamond Dallas Page and The Giant (who he somehow Jackhammers), before his ill-advised first loss to Kevin Nash at Starrcade 1998.

(Incidentally, this shows the difference between WCW and WWE; when The Undertaker lost at WrestleMania 30, it was made clear that the Streak ending was a milestone moment, a historic event; when Nash beat Goldberg, it was treated as a wonderful thing and quickly dismissed even though it killed WCW's biggest ratings-draw at a time when numbers were dropping).

Disc two focuses on his WCW tenure, post-Streak. We see Goldberg in more star-studded bouts including a huge yet confusing 4-way on Nitro, and we witness him getting revenge on Nash at Spring Stampede in 1999. Other notable bouts are against Sting, Ric Flair, DDP, Sid and Scott Steiner (the latter of which is a great match, a rarity in the latter-day WCW), before the forgettable yet historic-in-hindsight tag team match which ends Goldberg's career in WCW. This is treated as a momentous occurrence by WCW, although Goldberg was meant to return to the company; when WCW was bought by the WWF/WWE, he did not.

However, as disc 3 explains in its opening, Goldberg didn't arrive in WWE for two more years. From there, we see his most memorable WWE bouts against The Rock, Chris Jericho and Triple H (a match against Shawn Michaels is a Blu-ray extra). We also see him dominate the Elimination Chamber at SummerSlam 2003 (his finest hour in WWE, despite the worst result of that year which saw him lose after one sledgehammer shot) and face Mark Henry and a youngish Batista before concluding the DVD, as well as his WWE run and his wrestling career as a whole, with his surreal WrestleMania XX win over the also-departing Brock Lesnar.

Many said that Goldberg's WWE tenure was a disappointment. I enjoyed it but I felt he came a year or two too late, as he missed out on potential blockbusters against Stone Cold Steve Austin and another round with Hulk Hogan. Had he remained with WWE longer, other dream matches against the likes of The Undertaker and Kurt Angle may have happened too. WWE's booking of him didn't help, from his reduced offence to some questionable match results. I don't think it was as bad as some made out, but it certainly could have been better.

As for the DVD? For a Goldberg match compilation, it is almost as good and as extensive as it could be; the only glaring omission is his Souled Out 1999 meeting with Scott Hall, largely considered to be one of his greatest bouts. It's also worth noting that Goldberg's WCW theme song is dubbed over by his WWE theme, which is rather annoying.

Some feel that the DVD isn't very good in terms of match quality; however, Goldberg was always more of a wrecking machine than a technical marvel. The DVD is aimed at Goldberg's fans who loved him for his explosive power, his charisma and his intensity. The compilation certainly provides all the evidence one needs to understand why Goldberg became such a huge star in the late 1990s. The lack of a documentary is the biggest flaw; otherwise, it is as strong a DVD as could be expected on Da Man, GOLLLDBERRRG!

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

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