20 years ago today, history was made at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta after Goldberg, still undefeated, beat Hulk Hogan to capture the WCW title on WCW Monday Nitro.
It was on July 6, 1998, as WWE and WCW were deep into their Monday night war, that Eric Bischoff decided to give away a bombastic pay-per-view match on free television for the sake of television ratings. A Hogan vs Goldberg match would have made wonders in terms of PPV revenue for the company back then, but the war with Vince McMahon and WWE was more important for the powers that be in Atlanta.
Over 40,000 fans packed a large portion of the Georgia Dome on that night, a stadium which 13 years later would host over 71,000 wrestling fans for WrestleMania XXVII.
Towards the end of the match, Goldberg kicked out of Hogan’s leg drop, and the late Curt Hennig – in an nWo shirt – came out. But following him were Diamond Dallas Page and NBA legend Karl Malone to prevent the interference and Malone eventually hit the Diamond Cutter on Hennig to a big pop from the crowd.
Eight minutes into the match, as Hogan was distracted by the events unfolding at ringside, Goldberg hit the spear on Hogan. “That’s part one, now finish him off, finish him off,” screamed Bobby Heenan on commentary. “This is it! This is it! Your career is on the line here. Do it, do it! This place will erupt when he picks him up,” continued the late Heenan.
“He’s got him up,” screamed Tony Schiavone. Schiavone hit a big “Oh hell yeah” when Goldberg dropped Hogan with the Jackhammer and counted with the referee for the three count.
That night, the gamble of having Goldberg vs Hogan on free television paid off with Nitro getting an average of 4.8 rating. The segment involving the match drew a monster 6.91 rating, a new record at that time. It was one of the last few wins for WCW on Monday night as starting from November 2 of that year, Raw swept Nitro every week until WCW’s death in March 2001.