The Failure That Was BRAWL FOR ALL
Pro Wrestling Stories vol23_FI

Published on May 19th, 2015 | by Pro Wrestling Stories

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The Failure That Was BRAWL FOR ALL

Bart Gunn and boxer Butterbean seen here in a Wrestlemania 15 promo photo. WWF Brawl For All- an idea which didn’t go to plan.

This installment comes straight from Bob Holly’s autobiography, ‘The Hardcore Truth’ . Bob has been given criticism over the years for being a tough, stiff, brash and not afraid to say it how it is type of SOB. In his book, he showed a different side of himself. While never afraid to shoot from the hip and cut to the chase on issues from his time in the pro wrestling business, Holly’s literary debut showed that he can stand alongside Jericho, Hart and Foley with one of the best pro wrestling autobiographies out there.

One particular story from his book that sticks out for us was his discussion on then-WWF’s clusterfuck of an idea which introduced shootfighting into the squared circle. This, of course, became known as Brawl For All.

Read on to find out who the key players were behind booking this gimmick, who WWF had plans for to win it and how it all fell apart in the end for one particular ex-Smoking Gunn.


“As usual, time was passing, I wasn’t making any real money, and I wasn’t going anywhere. Austin was taking off and a few of the other guys at the top of the card were doing well, but there was a load of the mid-card guys floating around doing nothing. Then somebody had an idea about a shoot fighting competition, which ended up becoming the Brawl for All.

Our ratings were getting better and we had drawn level with WCW again, but Vince was always looking for ways to stay ahead in the ongoing Monday Night War. They decided to take 16 of the guys who weren’t doing anything and put them in a tough-man tournament. They were going to have us go out there, on a live-TV wrestling show, and fight for real in an attempt to get some ratings. It was also an attempt to get a wrestler by the name of ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams over. Jim Ross, who was in charge of talent, had been lobbying to bring his buddy Steve in for a long time but Creative didn’t know how to do it. Steve had wrestled in Japan for the majority of his career and had a reputation as a genuine badass, so they figured they would introduce him in the Brawl for All, he’d walk through everybody, and boom, they’d have a credible guy they could leapfrog over everybody else to put up against Austin in the main events. Everybody backstage thought it was a bunch of bullshit. J.R. was shoving Steve down everybody’s throats, saying he was going to destroy everybody. Nobody had a problem with Steve before, but J.R. was putting him over so often that the boys resented him and hoped he’d get knocked out.

They got together their group of 16 mid-card wrestlers who they figured were the tough guys. They put Bart in the tournament but I wasn’t included. They didn’t think that Sparky Plugg could fight. That pissed me off. Obviously, they didn’t know that Ol’ Sparky was a tough motherfucker!

Most of the people they had in there were pretty tough. Some of them talked a good fight but couldn’t back it up. Tiger Ali Singh had been bragging that he was a shoot fighter and a bare-knuckle champion and could do this and that, but when it came to it, he chickened out and said he wouldn’t do it. They needed a replacement and Bradshaw told Bruce Prichard, who was one of the guys in charge of organizing the whole thing, “Bob may not look like anything much but he’ll surprise you. . . .” Bruce gave me a call to ask if I wanted in. I said, “Hell yeah, I don’t know why you didn’t ask me in the first place!” I was pretty excited because I figured I could make some decent money and I’d have a chance to show them how tough I actually was.”


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