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[1998-02-09-WCW-Nitro] Goldberg vs Steven Regal

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This is one of the more infamous matches. Of course, you watch this match looking for all the moments of miscommunication and try to sift out what is the true story going on here. I do subscribe to the theory that Regal tried to make Goldberg look foolish but that Goldberg was put in a pretty poor position and handled it mostly well. Some of the stiff strikes in this match work and make it great to watch, but other times, it is clear they are lost and having to reset. Eventually we get the same spear and jackhammer combo to end the match but the journey to get there was a world of difference form the other Berg squashes up to this point. (*3/4)

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First time I watched this and it is as advertised. Regal was definitely uncooperative at points, making Goldberg "earn" some of his moves rather than working with him him like normal. Regal also throws a couple of odd looking, stiff strikes. I agree that Goldberg handled himself well. Whether it was simply the result of not realizing what was going on or consciously keeping his cool, he held the match together pretty well. They do get completely out of sync once or twice but I've seen worse. It is too bad so Regal was so messed up at this point because if he worked with Goldberg, they could have had some fun, stiff, unique matches around this time.

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Regal's stance on this is that Goldberg was only used to doing two minute squashes but they wanted Regal to go longer and give a competitive match. Apparently, Regal gave Goldberg openings to do stuff and Goldberg just froze. So Regal starts laying shit in because they both can't just stand there. Apparently Goldberg apologized after the match, then changed his story much later on.

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It's weird having a 5m bout that felt long. I quite enjoyed seeing Goldberg meet some resistance for once and have to take a few shots in return. I didn't think Regal was being unprofessional at all. Since when did he ever flip and flop the whole time? He always tried to make moves look like more of a struggle. And he did sell and bump for Goldberg's big moves so I don't see what the problem is.

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I can't imagine what Bill Watts would have done to someone who did this to JYD ... on a LIVE show where they can't throw out the tape, no less! It stands out to me that Goldberg has some awesome mat stuff he could do, but there weren't really any top guys at the time that were going to have a clue how to do something with that other than maybe Bret Hart, and I'm not even sure he could. While I enjoyed this quite a bit, I understand being pissed with Regal over it. All of Goldberg's squashes have been so heated to this point and this kills the crowd, and considering their relative placement, Regal was far too competitive. I think if this had been laid out like this instead of just happening, they could have crafted an awesome five minute match that made Goldberg look awesome and showed a different dimension to him in the ring. But yeah, like Zenjo said, this was a long five minutes.

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I can't imagine what Bill Watts would have done to someone who did this to JYD ... on a LIVE show where they can't throw out the tape, no less! It stands out to me that Goldberg has some awesome mat stuff he could do, but there weren't really any top guys at the time that were going to have a clue how to do something with that other than maybe Bret Hart, and I'm not even sure he could. While I enjoyed this quite a bit, I understand being pissed with Regal over it. All of Goldberg's squashes have been so heated to this point and this kills the crowd, and considering their relative placement, Regal was far too competitive. I think if this had been laid out like this instead of just happening, they could have crafted an awesome five minute match that made Goldberg look awesome and showed a different dimension to him in the ring. But yeah, like Zenjo said, this was a long five minutes.

 

Martel could have, but that's maybe it? El Dandy? Honestly, Hennig?

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You know, I wonder if Savage could? Do we have evidence of that, maybe from ICW? Could have Piper? These are guys who I wonder if they were able to manage stuff like that back in 80/81. When Piper was US champ was there a need for that?

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I've never seen Randy Savage work the mat. I have seen Piper do it in short spurts, but I don't know. At one point they were supposed to bring in a lot of New Japan guys with shooter reps to feed to him and I'm not sure why that didn't happen.

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I think there's some of that in the Savage vs Garvin cage match I like a lot.

 

I did look at the World War III 97 line up though and it's pretty brutal when it comes to that skill set. Valentine was one of the only guys I could add.

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Benoit and Malenko and Eddie, of course, though they weren't top guys either.

 

This goes on too long and was too much too soon, but...I liked this. Goldberg blows a few things down the stretch but nothing too egregious and nothing that looks noticeably fake or contrived, and his takedowns and submissions are still pretty cool. This maybe would have been better off as a semicompetitive 3-minute match instead of 5, but for awhile there Regal, contrary to the popular story, seemed to be making Goldberg look *better* instead of showing him up.

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I've always enjoyed this match in a hateful glee kind of way. Goldberg was completely lost and his arm bar and knee bar both looked hideous. Regal is awesome even when he isn't being awesome.

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I actually dig the hell out of this match. The constant cheapshots from Regal were awesome and the grappling was really cool to watch. With an untrained guy like Goldberg you have to do some legit moves so when Regal goes for stuff like a single leg takedown or headlock takeover he executes them with legitimacy. Goldberg also hits the most awesome arm throw. Corner palm strike + headbutt combo was epic. Best 5 minute TV match of the year?

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