Jim Ross has opened up about how much money Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar were paid for their WrestleMania 20 in front of a crowd that was booing them.
It was supposed to be a dream match between two of the most unstoppable forces in wrestling history, but instead, it turned into a mess with the New York City crowd rejecting the first-time-ever match between former WWE Champions Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 20 in 2004.
The match was built up for a couple of months even though Goldberg was a Raw guy and Lesnar was on Smackdown. Goldberg actually got involved in Lesnar’s No Way Out 2004 WWE Title match loss to Eddie Guerrero although Eddie didn’t get the pinfall win right after Goldberg’s interference.
By the time WrestleMania 20 came around, most wrestling fans were very aware of the fact that Goldberg’s one-year WWE contract was ending. As for Lesnar, he was quitting the company because he didn’t like the travel schedule, even though he was a top guy. Lesnar, who was 27 in 2004, would go on to try out for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings later that summer and nearly made it before he was cut.
Since WWE likely knew that the fans would reject both guys, they put “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the role of the referee. The fans booed Goldberg and Lesnar the whole match, they chanted some unruly things and cheered anything that Austin did. Goldberg beat Lesnar clean with a Spear and Jackhammer to win the match.
On his Grilling JR [via Ad Free Shows] podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who worked for the company as an announcer as well as the Head of Talent Relations for many years, disclosed how much money Goldberg and Lesnar made in that match.
“I don’t know how long they worked, how long is this match? [JR is told it’s 13 minutes long] For 13 minutes of work they made 250,000 a piece. Quarter million dollars for 13 minutes work, but I don’t know it’s just funny how that stuff works out. It told me it wasn’t about the money, even though that’s the story that’s going around.”
After the match, Austin hit Lesnar and Goldberg with Stone Cold Stunners to go along with the $250,000 payment that both men received. It was Lesnar’s last WWE appearance until his return eight years later and Goldberg’s return was 12 years later.
It took over 12 years for Goldberg and Lesnar to have a rematch. That was at Survivor Series 2016 with Goldberg shockingly beating Lesnar in under two minutes. Lesnar would get the win back, and the Universal Title, at the next WrestleMania.
Jim Ross also spoke about what went wrong in the Lesnar-Goldberg match on his podcast well.