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I'm Next: The Strange Journey of America's Most Unlikely Superhero Hardcover – November 7, 2000

3.8 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Bill Goldberg's friends were skeptical when he decided to quit being an NFL defensive lineman and take up pro wrestling. "Billy Goldberg, a wrestler?" said his pal Roger Duchowny. "Jews don't wrestle... except with guilt." But Bill was a last-string lineman with a bad groin injury, and a born performer. So he went to study with the runty Jedi master of wrestlers, Dewayne "Sarge" Bruce, who used to wrestle as "the Leprechaun in the Dungeon of Doom." Sarge got Billy through basic training with flying colors. Duchowny, a director for The Love Boat, suggested that Billy devise a catch phrase, and they came up with "Who's next?" Needless to say, "Goldberg" proved a more imposing stage name than "Billy." And at his 1997 match in Salt Lake, Goldberg whomped the well-known Hugh Morrus (a.k.a. "Humorous") with style, throwing in a back flip for good measure.

Goldberg was on his way. Soon he had a look (bald, gloves, a cool, thorn-themed arm tattoo from Georgia's Psycho Tattoo), and a signature entrance, through a shower of sparks. (The key is to be as wet as possible, because sparks do sting.) There have been times when, for all his success, Goldberg has regretted following his instincts. "Using a real cattle prod was my idea. If I was going to lose, it was going to look as realistic as possible, but when I ate the voltage I knew why those big beasts were so cooperative. As the crowd started to chant 'Goldberg. Goldberg. Goldberg,' I lay there wondering what the hell I was doing flopping around the ring like a fish in a Speedo." Still, art is its own reward, and he has no regrets about severing his tendons, getting 196 stitches, and nearly crippling himself by punching through a limousine window instead of using the scripted prop, a sledgehammer. "My girlfriend could break a window with a sledgehammer. Where's the theatrics in that?"

Bill Goldberg's grandpa was in the circus. Like grandpa, like grandson. Only in Bill's circus, the clown, the strongman, and the barker are all rolled into one. Goldberg is one of the barking strongman clowns to watch. --Tim Appelo

From the Inside Flap

Goldberg is a one-man ass-kicking machine. He's as exciting a superstar as the wrestling world has ever seen and when he was finally beaten, it took three guys and a cattle prod to do it. I'm Next is the high-energy, exciting, and hilarious story of how he went from unemployed football player to undefeated World Champion in just eighteen short months.

Goldberg chronicles his rocketlike rise to wrestling stardom from his "upset" win against Hugh Morrus in his first-ever televised match, to winning the U.S. title against Raven, to jackhammering living legend Hulk Hogan for the pin and the world title.

Best of all, you'll get to hear Goldberg's real opinions about other wrestlers. You won't believe what he has to say about guys like Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, the Rock, and Scott Hall.        

I'm Next also covers Goldberg's life from the time when he had a first name. Growing up, Bill Goldberg never wanted to become a wrestler. All he wanted to do was play professional football. And he did . . . until a 330-pound offensive lineman nearly separated his private parts from his torso. He was forced to reinvent himself in a radical way -- especially for a guy whose parents were a Harvard-educated doctor and a classical musician. He became a professional wrestler.

But Bill didn't just become Goldberg overnight. He trained at the legendary WCW Power Plant, where stars are made and dreams are shattered. In I'm Next he tells the whole story of his character's creation -- the bald head, the gloves, the tattoo, and the genesis of his famous battle cry, "You're next!"

He also talks about the hectic life of a wrestler on the road. You'll see him at major sporting events hanging out with guys like Brett Hull, Shaquille O'Neal, and Bill Elliot. You'll follow him as he takes batting practice with Mark McGwire and drinks from the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils.

What emerges is a picture of a complicated man on a strange and unlikely journey. One minute he's delivering a spear that would stop a charging rhino, and the next he's delivering a speech to the United States Congress on behalf of the Humane Society.

I'm Next is the inside story of what really goes on behind the curtain in professional wrestling. And you'd better believe that the soap opera story backstage is more bizarre than what you see in the ring. Bill Goldberg is a man of intensity who tells it like it is. And he shows it, too, through dozens of never-before-seen photographs from his personal collection.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (November 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609607804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609607800
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,010 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Groff on November 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book! I am a huge fan. However, I am also a "Pro Wrestling fan come lately". I didn't start watching until '99, well after Goldberg was established, and after the 175-0 streak. So it was awesome that I could catch up on all of the great stuff thatI missed!
This book was so compelling that I read it all the way through in less than 24 hours after it arrived! It was also so compelling that it prompted me to write my first ever Amazon.com book review! This book was obviously written in HIS own words, not some author's interpretation of his words. As I read it, I could almost hear Goldberg himself narrating it! It was a great, no BS book! Honest words from an honest guy.
Goldberg is a funny guy too, I never knew that! I can't count the number of times that the book made me actually laugh out loud! (The in-ring Ric Flair/Jackhammer quote is priceless!) The book is hugely informative, and sometimes over-informative! =) Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some!
I would almost give it 4 stars is because of the "then some" mentioned above. I really wasn't interested in reading about Great Great Grandma Wolfson from Russia etc, but hey, it's his book, I'm sure not gonna argue with him! Furthermore, if I ever meet him in person, I would never want him to know that I was the only chump at Aamzon.com who had the nerve to give Goldberg only 4 stars! Especially now that I know how driven he is too succeed in absolutely EVERYTHING that he does! I think he would take it too personally, and I just couldn't live with that kind of guilt! =) Goldberg is 5 star everything as far as I am concerned!
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Format: Hardcover
When compared with its other wrestling brethren (auto)biographies, Bill Goldberg’s “I’m Next: The Strange Journey of America’s Most Unlikely Superhero” holds up well against it’s competition. Overall, this book was pretty good. It is great for what it is, a good look into his life (as all biographies SHOULD be) and a great look into how his wrestling character and career evolved.
Here’s what we learn about Goldberg:
1. First and foremost we learn about his football career (and perhaps manhood) ending injury.
2. How he got into the wrestling business through his association with tons of WCW wrestlers whom he worked out at the gym with including Sting, Luger, DDP and Buff Bagwell.
3. A VERY comprehensive look at how he broke into the business, including negotiating with both the WWF and WCW, his training at the WCW Power Plant and the evolution of the Goldberg character including look, fighting style, etc.
4. A comprehensive look at his ENTIRE WCW career from start to (at the time) present. It’s an honest, unbiased look at how Goldberg quickly rose through the ranks. He is very honest about his capabilities and how he has been privileged. He does not have a “big head” whatsoever.
5. A look into his family background. (with Guest Chapter Authoring’s by Goldberg’s dad and brother)
6. A look at his ENTIRE football career from high school to college to WFL (World League), brush with the Canadian CFL to the NFL.
In addition to this, you also get a great look into the MIND of Goldberg. He comes off as an intelligent and a very genuine individual who has deep beliefs and deep convictions.
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Format: Hardcover
I would rank this offering somewhere between the shameless self aggrandizing of The Rock and the very ambitious efforts of Mick Foley. This book can be read quite easily in 2 days, unlike Bret Hart's offering which takes less than 2 hours. I think the decision to start the piece with Goldberg's experiences as a pro wrestler and go into his childhood and pre-wrestling experiences later is going to appeal to the vast majority of potential buyers. As a result this book feels more like two short books offered back-to-back. There were some incidents - such as the unfriendly encounter between Goldberg and Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula at a basketball game - that were narrated twice, and I felt this could have been avoided or reduced with more careful editing. Given the relatively short length of the book one could argue it was completely unnecessary.
I was rather surprised at the frequent examples of Goldberg's undisciplined behaviour during his leisure hours prior to his wrestling career, including the admission that he failed a drug test during his senior year with the U of Georgia Bulldogs, resulting in his suspension just prior to the Gator Bowl. It is also noted that his shortened professional football career was attributable to injuries sustained in action and not to his own carelessness or recklessness - although the author perhaps went to excessive length to establish this.
I got the very strong impression the author was the black sheep of the family prior to his wrestling success, although this is never stated or implied in the book. It seems he was trying very hard to prove himself especially to his dad and older brothers in spite of his many problems, and finally succeeded.
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