WWE History: A Look Back at the Failure That Was Brawl for All
The WWE has done a lot of great things in its history and a lot of dumb things in its history. One of the dumbest things it ever did was Brawl for All, a shootfight tournament held with wrestlers on the roster.
Brawl for All had confusing rules, sloppy fights and implications that affected those who competed for the rest of their careers. It bored fans who paid to see wrestling.
Here is a rundown of the travesty that was Brawl for All, which took place in 1998.
Dan Severn Wins Opening Round Match, Withdraws
The Brawl for All tournament was strictly voluntary for any wrestler, and at the time, the WWE had legitimate mixed martial arts legends with the company.
The first was Ken Shamrock, who was not allowed to participate. The other was Dan "The Beast" Severn, who participated in the first round, won and then pulled out, citing he had nothing to prove.
The reality was the WWE needed one more guy to fill in the tournament and asked Severn to join after initially not allowing him to participate.
This was just one head-scratcher among many in the tournament.
For an event that fans did not care about, a number of guys got hurt. In fact, some were injured to the point they were never able to perform at the same level again.
Road Warrior Hawk drew with Droz in his opening round matchup, but Droz advanced in the tournament because Hawk was legitimately injured. Steve Blackman won his opening round match with Marc Mero, but also withdrew from the tournament due to injury.
Savio Vega aggravated an old arm injury and was never the same. After the tournament, Vega stopped working for the WWE.
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams, a favorite in the tournament, messed up his hamstring in his fight with Bart Gunn. He was never the same either.
The Godfather succumbed to an injury as well during this tournament.
These men were not trained fighters and paid the price in the end.
'Death' of a Star
Speaking of "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, not only was he injured during Brawl for All, but he effectively ended the push he was receiving in the WWE by losing.
He was bred to be a top star with the company, but Brawl for All destroyed that.
He was a huge star in Japan, which would have transitioned nicely for him when pushed in the WWE.
He had the chance to be a huge star, but it was over in an instant.
Failure to Capitalize on Bart Gunn
Bart Gunn eventually won the Brawl for All tournament, but the WWE failed to push him. Gunn received pretty good fanfare from this tournament, but the WWE mismanaged it.
Gunn was a bright spot of a tournament that did not provide many positives. He beat Hardcore Holly by decision in the opening round, proving that he was capable of taking down tough guys.
He then knocked out tournament favorite Steve Williams, who was a legitimate tough guy with an amateur wrestling background. He would go on to knock out The Godfather in the semifinals, effectively putting him in the finale.
In the finals, he brutally knocked out Bradshaw, claiming the prize.
Then the dumbest thing came next.
The WWE put Bart Gunn in the ring with Eric "Butterbean" Esch, a professional boxer, at WrestleMania. Needless to say, Esch knocked out Gunn quickly, effectively killing the potential to make Gunn a star.
Lack of Definitive Victories
Not only were the fights sloppy, but guys didn't finish each other off because of the point system. This made the Brawl for All even more boring and confusing.
There were only four fights that ended in knockout. Three of them involved Bart Gunn, who knocked out Steve Williams, The Godfather and Bradshaw. The other knockout saw Steve Williams earn a technical knockout of Quebecer Pierre.
Yes, four out of 15 fights were finishes. The other 11 were boring, confusing decisions based on a stupid point system.
Jim Cornette is very opinionated, but his take on Brawl for All is brilliant. Check out the video.
Brawl for All was a huge mistake that should have never happened. It derailed careers and failed to entertain.
The wrestlers who competed in the tournament were Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, Mark Canterbury (Henry Godwinn), Bradshaw, Brakkus, Savio Vega, Droz, Hawk, Bart Gunn, Hardcore Holly, Quebecer Pierre, Steve Williams, The Godfather, Dan Severn, 8-Ball and Scorpio.
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