The headline says it all really. Except there’s absolutely so much more to be said. Yes, in the famous WCW debut of Goldberg, where he was but an unknown enigma walking onto the scene for the express purpose of kicking ass, where he dominated Hugh Morris, kicked out of his finish and pinned him in about two minutes… he also decided to do a backflip for absolutely no goddamn reason.
Perplexingly, though many talk about this match to this day, I’ve never heard anyone draw attention to what was clearly the most important part. Until today. I’m here to do the Lord’s work and shine a light on this.
How ‘Bout That Backflip?
How ’bout it, indeed.
You may think I’m taking this out of context to make it seem more random than it is. But I can give you the full play-by-play, it’s a thing I do. In the moments leading up to this crucial backflip, Goldie whipped Morris into the corner, charged him and got hit with a back elbow. It’s one of those things you see in every match.
But the backflip isn’t him selling the elbow or anything. It’s debut Goldberg, he’s not selling much of anything, certainly not so dramatically. And you can see in the clip that he’s fully righted and even stepping forward just before embarking on his little adventure through the skies.
Modern fans are used to seeing things like Buckshot Lariats, Pele Kicks or assorted Handspring Something moves where flips are used to build immediate momentum for an attack. But it’s clearly not that either. You can see in the end of the clip that the follow-up is that Morris turns around and charges into a powerslam. And Goldberg was perfectly still by the time he came. The flip did nothing to influence the spot.
It certainly isn’t Pac/Neville backflipping over and over to gain distance, or even RVD doing a single backflip instead of merely taking a step back before his last corner shoulder block. Goldberg stepped forward to do this and basically ended up in the same spot he started from.
So it’s in no way practical. Maybe it’s a taunt from Goldberg?
It certainly could be that he’s just being disrespectful. Showing how little that elbow bothered him, how little Morris has phased him. Granted, Hugh can’t see it so it’s not like it’ll hurt his feelings, but people make fun of folks behind their back all the time.
He is definitely stalking him a bit for this powerslam. Perhaps he’s just so anxious for it and impatient that he has to backflip to pass the time. Maybe Morris is just taking that damn long to turn around in his mind.
But no, I don’t quite believe it’s any of that. I think the message he sends with this backflip is clear.
“Look what I can do!”
Bill Goldberg already knew going in that he could do a backflip. But we, the audience, had no reason to believe that. And that ate him alive.
Sure, pure excitement had plenty to do with it. There’s a giddy child in that big man just like there is in all of us. When you’re in front of a large enough group of people, of course you want them to see that you can do a backflip. That’s one of the seven basic human needs.
But it’s more than that. This is still Goldberg we’re talking about and he brings an intensity into everything he does. He walked out there on his debut on national television in front of millions of people, big and jacked and scary, with a purpose. A mission, really. He looked out into a sea of faces, none of whom knew who he was. And he scowled and grumbled to himself, “I bet nobody here thinks I can do a backflip. Not a ONE. I’ll show ’em…“
And show us he did.
How ’bout that backflip?