by Brian Phelps
Back in 1999, while wrestling at WCW Starrcade Goldberg accidentally ended Bret Hart's career with a thrust kick that resulted in Bret Hart's premature retirement from pro wrestling. Fast forward nearly 13 years and people are still hating on Bill Goldberg and blaming him for Bret Hart's career ending injury. The question now... is it fair that Bill Goldberg is still getting so much heat from wrestling fans for ending Bret Hart's career? My answer is NO, and I'm about to tell you all why.
I think it's very hypocritical of the average wrestling fan to STILL be hating on Goldberg for ending Hart's career. Pro wrestling is a very physical sporting activity and just like in the NFL or any other professional sport, injuries are part of the job. As a professional athlete you are taking up a career where severe injury is a constant risk. That's why you train properly, and stay in peak physical condition. Bill Goldberg was properly trained at the famed WCW Power Plant, and let's not forget that Bill Goldberg before becoming a professional wrestler was a trained NFL Football player. So let's not act like simply because he accidentally injured Bret Hart that Goldberg was just some reckless guy who went around hurting people because he didn't care about doing his job correctly. Goldberg was a highly intelligent individual and was trained at multiple sports.
Injuries can happen to anyone no matter how highly trained or skilled you are. It's a part of a life that accidents do happen. Bill Goldberg just happened to accidentally injure Bret Hart, and unfortunately it was severe. Once again, it can happen to anyone.
I love how people never let Goldberg live it down that he ended Bret Hart's career, but no one bashes Sting for ending the legendary "Ravishing" Rick Rude's career. No one bashes Steve Austin for ending Shawn Michaels career for FOUR YEARS. No one bashes Sheamus for ending Jamie Noble's wrestling career. No one says anything about D'Lo Brown paralyzing Droz, Owen Hart breaking Steve Austin's neck, Brock Lesnar breaking Hardcore Holly's neck etc. For some reason though, people are still giving Goldberg flack for ending Bret Hart's career. So, people need to just stop it. It's a part of the profession.
I also got one more little gem for those that want to hate on Goldberg for ending Bret Hart's career. Did Bill Goldberg give Bret Hart a severe concussion? Yes. But here's the elephant in the room that no one wants to admit. After this match, Bret Hart CONTINUED TO WRESTLE!!!! Bret continued wrestling which included a hardcore match with Terry Funk where you know he was getting hit in the head with foreign objects after he already sustained that concussion from Goldberg. Bret Hart kept wrestling matches even though he had a severe concussion. BY HIS OWN ADMISSION, Bret Hart kept wrestling because he says he didn't realize the severity of his injuries!!! He wrestled a hardcore match with Terry Funk, and wrestled Kevin Nash too. In other words, he continued wrestling for nearly 2 months KNOWING he was having lingering effects from his severe concussion (even if he didn't know how severe his injuries were). He knew something wasn't right and he kept wrestling, and kept getting hit in the head when he should have been recovering from his injury. Bret Hart did not seek the medical help that he should have because he said he didn't realize how serious his injury was. So, knowing all this... it is VERY REASONABLE to assume that had Bret Hart gotten the medical attention that he should have afterward instead of continuing to wrestle hardcore matches and get beat on the head for 2 months after his initial concussion that there's a chance he may not have ended up having to retire prematurely.
So, did Goldberg injure him by giving him a severe concussion? Yes. BUT Bret Hart COMPOUNDED the injury and made his situation FAR WORSE by continuing to wrestle for months afterward instead of taking a few months off to recover. It was said that he may have suffered as many as 3 more concussions after the initial injury. So he chose to keep wrestling with a concussion instead of taking time off. So, while Goldberg did injure Bret Hart... he is obviously not totally responsible for ending his career. Bret Hart very well may have ended Bret Hart's career. As sad as it is to say, Bret may have screwed Bret.