Tony Khan is one of the biggest fans of professional wrestling but it is best that he stay out of the Bill Goldberg business.
In many ways, professional wrestling has a tight relationship with its history. Frequently, big names from the past return for “one final pop” from fans and respect from their peers before going away. Sadly, some individuals stick around for much longer than requested or expected. Bill Goldberg is such an individual and his periodic returns to WWE created a wave of collective groans across the industry. He’s now a free agent and it would be best for Tony Khan, one of the biggest fans of professional wrestling today, to stay as far away from Goldberg as possible.
One of the biggest understatements someone could make would be to simply call Khan a “fan.” This is an individual who makes it clear he loves professional wrestling and the place it holds in his life. While some will criticize him for it, it’s that same love that guides his leadership of All Elite Wrestling. At 40 years old, Khan represents a segment of the biggest target audience within wrestling and his fandom shines through with some of the legends he’s brought to AEW.
Bret Hart, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Sting, and Arn Anderson are just a brief list of individuals from yesteryear that have been involved with AEW in some fashion. Khan even recognized Owen Hart through an impactful tournament and partnership with his family that was well-received by fans. More than twenty years ago, when Khan and fans like him were wrapped up in all things WWE versus WCW, Goldberg was one the biggest names and attractions in the industry.
Now, as reported by Fightful Select, Goldberg is a free agent and no longer tied to WWE. In an industry where big-name signings and “huge announcements” happen frequently, some individuals are already clinching their teeth. Hopefully, that potential love for Goldberg in the past doesn’t open the door for Khan to welcome him in the future.
Yes, Goldberg’s run in WCW and WWE from 1997 to 2004 was an enjoyable time. He was presented as a big deal attraction that decimated all the foes that stood in his way as he ran up “the streak.” Fans ate it up and there was money to be made. But that time has long passed.
Since 2016 Goldberg has made periodic returns to the WWE. But those returns often created questionable booking that was shoehorned into creative decisions that harmed many fan favorites. In 2017 he ended Kevin Owens’s run as WWE Universal Champion in 22 seconds – doing damage to Owens’s status on the main roster that he hasn’t fully recovered from in the eyes of many. In 2020 he defeated The Fiend in what could be considered the final blow to that character’s mystique in the company. In 2021 he became one of the few individuals to defeat Bobby Lashley, one individual that has enjoyed consistently strong booking since his return to the company. And don’t forget about his six-minute match against Roman Reigns in 2022 at a time when WWE badly needed to build new stars.
Did Goldberg pop a rating? Yes, he sure did. But was that momentary boost worth the long-term damage? Not at all.
Bill Goldberg would never fit into All Elite Wrestling
Can anyone blame Goldberg for continuing to secure the bag? Absolutely not. That is why it is up to the promoters in power to avoid leveraging an individual that doesn’t quite have a place in wrestling today. Imagine if Goldberg stepped through the curtains of AEW. Where would he fit? Does he defeat Powerhouse Hobbs for a run as AEW TNT Champion? Khan wouldn’t possibly put Goldberg up against MJF who would embarrass him on the microphone and in the ring, would he?
The AEW roster is stacked with names that would wrestle circles around the 56-year-old Hall of Famer. With so many compelling storylines in development heading into Double or Nothing, it would be a waste to sidetrack one with Goldberg’s appearance. There’s so much more that needs to happen on AEW television each week, that dedicating time to Goldberg would be met by collective vitriol.
Tony Khan loves professional wrestling, just as many others do. However, he’s one of the few that directly impacts what fans see and enjoy on television each week. If the last few years say anything, it’s best for his still-developing company to stay out of the Bill Goldberg business.