Two years after WWE 2K15 finally brought Sting into Vince McMahon's world, WWE will once again look to an icon from WCW's past to headline its next videogame. Goldberg, the unheralded former football player who took the wrestling world by storm in 1997 and 1998, is the first character announced for this fall's WWE 2K17. The former WCW and WWE World champion is a pre-order bonus for anybody who pre-orders the game from select retailers. Playable arenas modeled on the sets for WCW Monday Nitro and Halloween Havoc (presumably the 1998 installment, where Goldberg had perhaps his best ever match) are included in the bonus.
Goldberg exploded onto the WCW scene in 1997, and never lost a match until the last pay-per-view of 1998. Although his real record over those 15 months was heavily exaggerated (today's 2K17 press release repeats WCW's canonical but unrealistic 173-0 tally), the fact remains that Goldberg was booked to look like an unstoppable monster his first year and a half on television. This made him incredibly popular with the fans, who cheered him on to winning the US title from Raven in April 1998, and then the World Heavyweight Championship from Hollywood Hogan two and a half months later. Goldberg's World title win at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta was one of the greatest highlights of WCW's 13 year history.
Goldberg wasn't the greatest in-ring performer or interview, but he had an innate charisma that immediately resonated with the fans. When combined with one of the longest and most determined monster pushes in the history of the business, Goldberg became a genuine wrestling superstar and mainstream celebrity during wrestling's most popular period ever. Injuries and bad booking hurt him throughout WCW's final two years of existence, and a massive contract with Time Warner kept him from joining the then-WWF when Vince McMahon bought WCW in March 2001. He did eventually spend one year in WWE in 2003 and 2004, where he briefly held the WWE World Heavyweight title. Now 49, Goldberg remains the target of frequent speculation about a return to the ring, especially with WWE's increasing reliance on part-timers and returning superstars from the past each Wrestlemania. There's no indication this videogame deal with lead to anything else, but remember that Sting's relationship with WWE started with a videogame, and eventually lead to two PPV main events. Perhaps this could lead to a Goldberg return at Wrestlemania, as well?
WWE 2K17 will be out in October for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.