If there had been no injuries or withdrawals, who would've won Brawl for All?

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by G., Jun 21, 2017.

  1. ヒュー G. レックション

    Nov 29, 2011
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    Dan Severn withdrew after winning the first round, saying "A man of my stature has noting to prove. I prefer to fight with my hands unbound." but I'm not sure if it was legit or he was made to withdraw by creative, being former UFC after all.

    Steve Blackman won his match but then withdrew after getting injured.

    Steve Williams was supposed to win it all but he was supposedly injured before losing to Bart Gunn.

    If none of this had happened how do you think it would've played out differently? Would Bart Gunn have still won?
  2. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

    Jun 28, 2011
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    I'll cite my sources if prompted to do so, but I have a theory on the Brawl for All.

    I think that WWE creative was very disorganized at the time, and they weren't really sure what they were green lighting. The UFC had done their first, wildly successful, tournament to recognize the supreme fighting style only five years prior. I think that the original idea was that this tournament would recognize the performer who was the most legitimately tough of anyone in the locker room.

    Now; where I think everything was disorganized was in that I don't think that the WWE had a clear idea of who they expected to win. I remember watching promos for a guy named Brakus where he was claiming that he would debut at and win the Brawl for All tournament, only to be easily destroyed by Savio Vega. Dan Severn was allowed into the tournament, and his win over The Godfather was an absolute snoozer. Dr. Death appeared to have been ridiculously out of shape when he beat Pierre Ouellet by the skin of his teeth.

    I think that there were many different factions of WWF creative, that wanted many different things to occur, and it became the jumbled mess that it became. It's my understanding that Ken Shamrock wasn't allowed in the tournament because of his UFC background, and that Dan Severn was a last minute replacement (for whom, I don't know). It's my belief that the WWF didn't realize beforehand how boring it would be to watch a Greco-Roman wrestling specialist like Dan Severn take an opponent to the mat and waste the entire round repeating that same strategy, thus they changed the rules to allow an automatic break if an opponent is taken down and had Godfather advance instead.

    I believe that the WWE decided in the middle of the tournament that they wanted to go with a tournament that more resembled the Toughman competitions by encouraging more striking during a stand-up fight.

    In an interview with Dr. Death, he explained that he was told that he would be permitted to do anything shy of permanently injuring his opponents, only to have the rules change thus forcing him to adopt a fighting style that wasn't his forte. Dr. Death referred to Bart Gunn in that interview as a "knockout machine".

    I think that Bart Gunn was a pseudo-fortunate beneficiary of the rule changes to where his superior striking precision gave him an indomitable advantage over his opponents. I say "pseudo" because Bart would be rewarded with a crappy go-nowhere meta-angle where Jim Ross was angry with him, and he was obliterated by Butterbean at WrestleMania in a match that effectively wrecked any potential of anyone looking good for having participated.

    I think that if there were no rules changes, Dan Severn would have wiped out the competition. I think that Dan vs Butterbean would have ended with Dan submitting Butterbean. Butterbean is one of the toughest guys in the world, but I've seen him tap to a 150 pound Japanese submission specialist.
  3. neildittmar

    neildittmar Getting Noticed By Management

    Jan 20, 2009
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    I'll start by saying that regardless of the angle, stips, or participants in play, Vince McMahon is a control freak who always has a definitive vision for anything that plays out on his programming.

    That said, I was always under the impression that Brawl for All was Dr. Death's tournament to win in an effort to legitimize him as a true smash mouth competitor. If equating it to a more contemporary angle, it was to be akin to Brock Lesnar's second run with WWE after his stint in UFC.

    The problem of course is that when the proverbial gloves are taken off of the competitors and they're told to compete for real, one can't control the environment in the manner that Vince does. Between the injuries and such, I think the whole idea went off the rails fairly early on and instead of scrapping the tournament, the decision was made to just let it roll. I still think the biggest swerve (for WWF creative) was Bart Gunn winning the whole thing.

    Following Gunn's win, Bart could've been taken off TV and his gimmick repackaged into something closer to what Brawl for All was supposed to represent with his performance in the tournament legitimizing said gimmick. The whole thing could've also been quietly dropped with everyone (including Gunn) going back to what they were doing beforehand. Instead, the match with Butterbean at WrestleMania served as the final misstep.
  4. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

    Jun 2, 2006
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    I actually think Steve Blackman may have been the one to upset the applecart and was never convinced his injury was 100% legit... more that they spied how he took Mero apart and decided to remove him and change the rules.

    Ultimately, it was a crap fest whatever the outcome... Williams wins we get an out of shape Dr. Death shoved down our throats and they never go for someone like Brock. Blackman or Severn win, no matter how convincingly, there is a low charisma guy getting pushed.

    The only possible upside for Severn winning would have been Ken Shamrock coming in... but having seen them fight twice in the Octagon, would it have been better in the WWE ring?

    It ended where it deserved to end, with egg on everyone's face except Bart Gunn... and it's one of WWE's most shameful episodes the way he was treated.
  5. Jonyboyuk2

    Jonyboyuk2 Getting Noticed By Management

    Feb 2, 2012
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    If Dan Severn had stayed in he would have won it hands down. He would have taken both Blackman out and Gunn out. If Gunn had fought Blackman, Blackman may have won as long as Gunn didn't land a killer punch. But that is about it. Dan Severn was a UFC champion and a brutal fighting machine.
  6. No Count Pup

    No Count Pup Just call on me brother

    Aug 1, 2007
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    For the wrestlers who competed, I think Dan Severn would have won. He was one of the legit toughest guys in WWE history and a skilled fighter. I don't think there was anybody in his league at the time besides Ken Shamrock. Bart Gunn deserves respect for winning the tournament, but he did not have to go through Dan Severn, Steve Blackman, or Ken Shamrock. Bart Gunn would have also lost to 1994 Dr. Death Steve Williams.

    It's a good thing Kurt Angle didn't debut in early 1999. He may have been stuck in that tournament and lost all his cred.

    Despite it all...

    Brawl for All was fun. I know most wrestling fans say they hate it today. I give WWE props because it was entertaining. Nobody was shutting off their TVs when it was on. What did fans lose, more build for Big Boss Man vs. Undertaker? WWE should take more chances because fans enjoy unpredictability.

    There was one problem: the marketing standpoint. Wrestling promoters are supposed to protect their biggest draws or potential draws. To put guys who were already known to be tough brawlers, such as Dr. Death, Steve Blackman, and Dan Severn out there and force all but one to lose in the middle of the ring was not a bright move. The tournament should have been offered to wrestlers in the back who weren't getting much air time but were willing to "make a name for themselves" in a legitimate fight environment.

    The winner could have received a Hardcore Championship match at WrestleMania vs. Billy Gunn. It would have been an entertaining match with the Brawl for All winner chasing around the cowardly champion and eventually claiming victory. Or, Hardcore Holly could have walked into WrestleMania as Hardcore Champion to face the Brawl-for-All winner and put on a great match.
  7. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

    Sep 26, 2014
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    I enjoyed the brawl for all tournament even though it was a bit of a disaster with injuries and damaging reputations I did remember looking forward to it every week though and would have loved to see it become an annual event, The only criticism I have is the match against Butterbean at Wrestlemania and how it made the winner and every competitor who entered look weak, They could have really pushed Bart Gunn at this point instead of throwing him into a match against one of the best in the world where he clearly had no chance. The worst thing to happen to the career of Bart Gunn seemed to be winning the brawl for all tournament as they almost seemed to punish the guy for winning it when it should have been the opposite of that.
    As for the original question if he hadn't of dropped out I would have bet on Dan Severn winning it.
  8. dalenichol

    dalenichol Dark Match Jobber

    Mar 1, 2011
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    It's a difficult question and depends on who you ask, I suppose.

    Steve Blackman has been quoted as saying that his original plan would'be been to kick down on the opponents knees, pretty much breaking them, but was told that this wouldn't be allowed. If he was allowed to use his full kicking arsenal, there's a good chance he would've won it.

    If the use of takedowns and ground and pound was allowed (I'm not sure it was?), Dan Severn would've won it hands down, if he'd decided to stay in the tournament.
  9. Psykohurricane55

    Psykohurricane55 Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    May 13, 2011
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    If you believe what Bruce Prichard said on this matter on his podcast, this was all a vince russo idea because he wanted to teach Bradshaw a lesson. The problem was it was a bad idea from the start and guys either found a way to get out of the tournament by faking injury or actually getting injured. In the end, i really don't think that anything would have changed because the fact was that Bart was a legit tough guy.

    Everybody that where there pretty much said it that Dr Death wasn't in great physical condition when they put him in there. He was semi retired at the time and hadn't wrestled in a while, so when he got injured, that was just a sign that he really wasn't in shape. As for blackman and severn, the story that i've heard is that both guy got put in the tournament because of the Martial arts background but after winning their respective first round matches, pretty much realise that they didn't want to do this anymore because they thought it was beneath them since they we're professional fighters and they we're fighting amateurs. So Their a good chance that if they didn't withdraw from the competition, the finals would have been blackman vs savern because nobody else was on their level.
  10. harrythem

    harrythem Championship Contender

    Feb 26, 2010
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    There was an interview with Ken Shamrock in Power Slam magazine a few years ago where he confirmed he was asked to take part in BFA but he turned it down because these guys had gone out of their way to help him adapt to WWE and he didn't want to repay them by using his UFC background to potentially hurt them.. Kinda makes sense but Shamrock vs Severn would've been a good match in the BFA.
    enviousdominous likes this.
  11. thebarber

    thebarber Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Dec 27, 2011
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    its common knowledge the Brawl for All was simply created to get Dr Death Steve Williams over with the WWE crowd, and put him straight into a feud with Austin. This is fact. Williams was paid in advance the $100k or whatever the prizemoney was to win the tourney, as JR had no doubt his boy was going to win. Severn was paid off to leave the tourney, Read Bob Holly's book. Bart Gunn was a legitimate hard nut who could throw a mean left, and backstage the talk was Gunn or Blackman would win, all injuries and bets aside. Blackman being injured on Williams side made it all the more great for JR, but Gunn destroying Williams, and injuring him in the process ended his WWE run before it began. As WWE had to pay Gunn the winnings, on top of having already paid out Williams, this is solely why they booked Butterbean, to recoup the money they lost to Gunn and to embarrass him in the process.

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