WWE’s Saudi Arabia shows have often been at the brunt of criticism – for more than one reason too, with the moral implications of running shows there being a whole issue in itself. Even from a quality standpoint though, these events have offered up some of the very worst PPVs in wrestling history. In 2019, WWE produced the Super ShowDown event, which was headlined with a dream match between two legends of the business who had never had a singles match before. WCW icon and former multi-time World Champion Goldberg took on living legend and former multi-time champion in his own right, The Undertaker. However, the end product was an absolute disaster.
UPDATE: 2023/11/22 14:30 EST BY TONY PARKER
Why Didn’t Mike Chioda Stop The Match?
Fans might have wondered why WWE never stopped this dangerous match, especially when Goldberg got concussed. Mike Chioda, who was the referee in this bout, recently revealed how he didn’t get permission from backstage to finish the bout and also why Goldberg and The Undertaker made sure they finished the match as planned. It was old school business.
The Undertaker Vs Goldberg Was A Dream Match
A WCW/WWE Monday Night War Fantasy
By the time 2019 rolled around, fans were very much aware that both The Undertaker and Goldberg were far from the top of their game from an in-ring standpoint. Goldberg hadn’t competed in two years, not since his feud with Brock Lesnar, so his condition was a little more unknown to fans, though his age wasn’t slowing down, so expectations were fairly low. In the case of The Undertaker, he hadn’t wrestled since his atrocity of a match in which he teamed up with Kane to take on Triple H and a returning Shawn Michaels at the previous Saudi Arabia show, in what was up there with the most absurdly bad main events in WWE history.
Even with the lack of faith in their conditioning, The Undertaker and Goldberg are two huge names with legacies that will last forever. It was also a match which fit the billing for a Saudi Arabia event, as those shows are given more money to pay top level names and part-timers. If the match was kept short, much like Goldberg’s previous matches in his initial comeback run, then it could have been an effective match that didn’t outstay its welcome. Unfortunately though, things didn’t quite work out that way.
The Match Between Undertaker And Goldberg Got Off To An Okay Start
Two Veterans Whose Conditioning Failed Them
The pair made their entrances and faced off in the ring, with the crowd understandably hot seeing these two mega names stand toe-to-toe in a singles match for the first time ever. Goldberg would initially hit two spears, starting the match off at an electric pace. After a near-fall, Undertaker sat up and stared down Goldberg. It seemed very much as though this was simply going to be a greatest hits compilation, but that quickly went south.
Undertaker went for a chokeslam, but Goldberg countered with a take down, wrenching on the leg with a submission hold. This was quite a surprise, as Goldberg wasn’t really known for his technical ability, though it must be noted that he did use this move in WCW, even busting it out in his very first match in the company. The move wasn’t executed very well here though. Goldberg went for another spear, but disaster struck. Undertaker dodged, with Goldberg throwing himself at the ring post, receiving a legitimate concussion. From there, the match fell apart.
Undertaker And Goldberg Could Have Suffered Permanent Injuries But Still Finished The Match
Referee Mike Chioda Reveals Why They Didn’t Stop
Goldberg was clearly groggy as Undertaker delivered some offense, along with one of the worst executed chokeslams ever – challenging his terrible one against Hulk Hogan in 2002. Undertaker then hit a scary tombstone, in which Goldberg’s head collided with the mat, which could have caused very serious neck damage. Goldberg would eventually get the advantage, and proceeded to hit a terrifyingly bad Jackhammer, in which Undertaker landed right on his head and neck.
The match was genuinely scary to watch by this point, especially when the two fell awkwardly as Goldberg attempted a Tombstone of his own. Thankfully, the match was wrapped up not long after as Undertaker hit another chokeslam and won the match. After the bell, Undertaker was visibly upset at the match. It was quite simply awful, being among the most unsafe and potentially damaging matches in WWE history, with the two genuinely being in danger at some points. Both Undertaker and Goldberg weren’t happy with this, with eyewitness on the journey back, per Sportskeeda, stating that Goldberg was unhappy the entire way home. Both men would have “redemption” matches that year, with Undertaker competing at Extreme Rules and Goldberg at SummerSlam, but the memory of this bout is hard to erase, especially with the fear that viewers were feeling whilst watching it, and the very real apprehension at watching the two execute their signature moves on one another due to several botches throughout. Thankfully, the two didn’t work with other part-timers again, instead competing alongside full-time wrestlers who were much safer and offered better protection.
WWE Referee Mike Chioda Reveals Why The Match Wasn’t Stopped
Chioda Didn’t Want To Piss Off The Saudi Officials
In a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, former WWE referee Mike Chioda provided a backstage perspective on the infamous 2019 Super ShowDown match between The Undertaker and Goldberg. Chioda recounted the challenging circumstances leading up to the midnight showdown, noting the exhaustion among performers due to the late hour and jetlag. He mentioned Goldberg’s intense pre-match ritual of hitting his head on the dressing room door to amp himself up. As the match unfolded, Goldberg seemed fine during the initial moments, even going through the planned spots with Chioda in the ring. However, the situation took a turn for the worse when Goldberg collided with the turnbuckle and the post, leading to a series of errors. Chioda described the aftermath of Goldberg’s botched finisher, expressing the genuine fear in the moment.
The Undertaker, visibly frustrated, deviated from his iconic character, sitting up and looking around in an uncharacteristic manner. Chioda admitted to feeling a sense of relief that the situation didn’t result in a more severe injury, emphasizing the tension as The Undertaker displayed visible signs of displeasure. Despite the challenges, Chioda reflected on the collective effort to navigate the difficulties of that night, and revealed why it was not stopped. He said:
“I remember trying to talk to Gorilla going, ‘What do I do? Do I stop it? He’s getting worse. He’s getting worse.’ Billy’s like, ‘Standby, Chioda. I’m like, ‘Guys, let me know. He’s just he’s getting worse.’ Because he didn’t come off the rope. He was on that rope one time he wouldn’t come off. When he first asked me it’s like, ‘I’m okay. I’m okay.’ But then he just started getting worse as the concussion really kicked in.” He added, “I didn’t hear anything from Gorilla at that point. I’m thinking, ‘Holy shit.’ I know, they paid us a lot of money to be here. I know. They paid the talent I think a lot of money. I think Goldberg got a couple million. This one got this. I got my 200 You know, you know, but it was like, you know, they paid us a lot of money. I got to finish this, like the old-school way. He did finish it, barely. That man’s leader of the ring, man, he’s The Godfather of [the] business. So anybody to be in there with? It would be Taker, that’s for sure.”