Back in the late 1990s, Bill Goldberg became a legitimate mainstream phenomenon, and helped WCW win a whole lot of weeks in the Monday Night War. The reason he caught fire was because of his spectacular undefeated streak, which reached its apex when he decimated Hulk Hogan on Nitro. Although Asuka is probably going to beat his streak, kayfabe or no kayfabe, anyone who watched wrestling at the time will remember Goldberg as an absolute force of nature during his string of victories.
During an episode of Bischoff on Wrestling, Goldberg talked to then-WCW head honcho Eric Bischoff about the streak, and why it worked so well. Goldberg has one very simple explanation: it worked because it wasn’t planned. (Transcript via 411Wrestling.)
“That’s why it worked. It wasn’t pre-planned. You guys gave the people what they wanted to see. Sure, they wanted to see Benoit and Guerrero chain wrestle and tell their story with all the false finishes and all of that. There’s something to surely be said for guys like Mike Tyson walking out and in thirty-two seconds knocking somebody’s block off. People just sit up on the edge of their seat and go, ‘What just happened?! Did I just see that?!’
“When The Giant and I went around the country and did dark matches he’d smoke a cigarette, pick up Charles Robinson and go to chokeslam him before he was even introduced. I’d spear him and jackhammer him before the bell even rang and people went berserk. You guys just gave them what they wanted. It was organic. There was no plan to it. I greatly appreciate what you said about, ‘Get this great character on TV,’ but nobody knew unless you were clairvoyant.”
As has been said before, a big part of the reason Goldberg’s recent run in WWE worked so well is because it was a callback to that first WCW run, and although it was almost surely meticulously planned out this time, it still managed to keep people on their toes. As to Goldberg’s point, he’s totally right. I’m sure Daniel Bryan would attest to great things happening when you don’t plan them out too much.