The Brawl For All
Another WWE Black Eye...Literally
May 23, 2003 - by Emer Prevost
What? You don't remember the Brawl For All, either? Man, where have you been?
This was the WWE's attempt to cash in on the Toughman tournaments, which were
just starting to grow in popularity. And, not being gods of originality, Vince
and his crew worked quickly to build something from a seemingly quick burning
fad. The results will be shown in the following paragraphs. So, grab a soda
and some popcorn, 'cuz it's showtime, folks!
Anyone remember the Toughman competition? You know, that sport where redneck
wannabe boxers step into a cheap ring in a seedy arena and beat the crap out of
each other? You may have seen it on the FX Network, and it still sucked. Well,
this 24 year old sport is the last thing you would expect the WWE to rip-off of,
right? Well, if you thought that, you haven't been watching the WWE for too
long, or you have simply phased out the Brawl For All tournament.
The WWE's rules to the Brawl For All were modified from the Toughman rules, less
rounds (three rounds instead of five) but longer round length (three minutes as
opposed to one minute), and the Brawl For All handed out points for takedowns,
knockdowns, and total round domination. So, it is Toughman, but with a UFC
style scoring method.
But, here is the kicker. Where everything else the WWE has ever thrown at us
was staged, scripted, and rigged, the Brawl For All was all legit. Every punch
was a real tooth rattler, and every knockout was a natural knockout. After a
single tournament, marred by injury and questionable advancing, it is no wonder
why Vince McMahon hasn't opted to have another tournament.
Once more, we shall jump into the Wayback and head to June 29, 1998, the night
that the Brawl For All tournament began..
The first round opened on a lighter note, as Marc Mero (the only fighter in the
tournament who was a Golden Gloves winner) was defeated by Steve Blackman. But,
because Blackman was unable to compete in the second round due to injury, Mero
The next match was between Bradshaw and Mark Cantebury. Naturally, these two
bruisers went at it in a decent match. In fact, there really was only one
horrid match, and I'll cover that one when we get to it. In the end, the future
Acolyte won over the former hog farmer.
Next up, Savio Vega fought Brakkus. I really don't remember this fight at all.
But, I also have no memory as to who the hell Brakkus was, so I guess it is no
big deal. Brakkus lost anyway, so I guess we will never know who he was.
Here is a match that ended up making absolutely no sense. Hawk and Puke (Droz)
fought to a draw. No big deal, right? So, how did Puke advance? Beats me.
According to the tournament bracket, because Hawk was injured during the fight,
Puke got to advance. Even though it ended in a draw, Puke still fought Savio in
the second round. Whatever. I didn't book it, so it isn't my problem.
Then, we saw as the New Midnight Express exploded. Alright, so the team
disbanded before their Brawl For All match, I just like mentioning bad gimmicks.
Anyway, Bob Holly and Bart Gunn fought, and Bart won. These matches were all
really short, so saying that something that couldn't have gone more than nine
minutes was one hell of a fight would be a bit of a stretch.
The rest of the first round was nothing special. The only real news is another
loser advanced, but not because of injury. It seems that Dan "The Beast" Severn
withdrew from the round and Kama Mustafa advanced in his place. Maybe Severn
didn't want to risk being in the same boat as Hawk and Blackman. It seems
Severn isn't as stupid as most people think he is.
In fact, the rest of the tournament really wasn't all that good. I mean, I love
boxing, but the Brawl For All wasn't exactly entertaining. I love seeing guys
with big heavy gloves beat the crap out of each other, but the WWE's answer to
boxing wasn't the same. Maybe it is the fact that three eighths of the fighters
in the second round didn't earn their way in.
Well, Bart Gunn won the tournament, beating Bradshaw in the finals. And you
would have thought that that would have been the end of it, but the best part is
yet to come.
The second round, like the first, was very lackluster in execution. Well, that
isn't really true. The first round did it's job, but the second round is when
the tournament's driving force and reason for being was eliminated.
When Vince and company first conceived the Brawl For All, they had intended it
to be a push for "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, who had recently signed with the
company. The WWE's bookers had assumed that the legendary Williams would be the
man to win it all, plowing down all those who got in his way. Well, that
happened in the first round, but he was hammered by Bart Gunn in the second
round. When this happened, the WWE saw all hopes of a push for Dr. Death slip
right through their fingers.
And, we all know what happened after Williams lost his fight, right? They tried
to get him over as a masked ninja, and then as a bodyguard of sorts for Jim
Ross. These, too, went the way of the dodo, and Steve Williams' WWE adventure
came to a close. Then, he went to WCW and was right back where he left off in
the WWE, but now he was with some jag off ripping on Good Ol' JR instead of the
So, in the end, the WWE has pretty much attempted to rid themselves of the bad
memory of when they actually tried legit fights, by simply never mentioning
anything about it. But, as long as I am still breathing, I will continue to
twist the knife into that open wound that is the Brawl For All debacle. While
modern sheep-like fans can say that the WWE has done no wrong (and anyone who
says that today needs to be drug out into the street and shot), I can just
regale them with the tales of Duke "The Dumpster" Droese, the Gobbledy Gooker,
and The Brawl For All.
I find it funny that the worst match in all the Brawl For All mess was the best
part. On March 28, 1999, Brawl For All winner, Bart Gunn faced Toughman god,
Butterbean in a special Brawl For All at WrestleMania XV.
Now, WrestleMania XV wasn't the greatest of the bunch. In fact, most people,
like myself, would state that it may be the worst WrestleMania of all time.
But, when this match happened, and if you blinked, you missed it. In less than
a minute, Butterbean had knocked out Bart Gunn. In fact, giving Bart a minute
on his feet in that fight would be kind.
But, since Vince McMahon is into nostalgia right now, I say bring back the Brawl
For All. But, rather than a 16 man tournament, let's just go with 8. With
something that has injury written all over it, we need Nathan Jones, A-Train,
Big Show, Mr. America, Rosey, Jamal, Goldberg, and Scott Steiner in it. See
that, four RAW and four Smackdown! stars. This could be a one night tournament
at the Survivor Series. And, if even one of the eight rejects I listed would
get injured and be out for a while, then that is one less hunk of wrestling
waste to watch on Monday or Thursday.
So, Mr. McMahon, if you are reading this, please bring back the Brawl For All,
and let those eight names be the fighters. The fans would really love to see
these fine athletes [insert muffled chuckle] fight it out in the ring and
entertain the crowd [muffled chuckle turns into a muffled laugh] with their
technical prowess [insert insane laughter].
TEN MINUTES LATER...
Alright, I'm better now. But, honestly, folks, if the Brawl For All does come
back, let us all hope that NWA:TNA or MLW or any other decent promotion gets TV
deals by then, so we can all tune in to some real entertainment. Or, we can
watch as Vince once more looses some potentially decent talent to injuries
suffered in a rotten, short, boxing rip-off.
And the moral of the story is:
If you are a wrestling booker and you want to push a legend, don't gamble on
said legend winning legit fights. Just use the old fashioned rigged fights and
ensure that the push will actually work.
by Emer Prevost
Sam Kuypers a.k.a. Makaveli wrote:
Tell me, why does the WWE always tries to do other stuff besides wrestling. I mean you are talking about the Brawl for all Debacle, i am talking about the three Tough Enough debacles and offcourse the two Diva searches. You know why the WWE does this, my idea is that the WWE attempts to bring in more "normal" people, not like us. So what do normal people like, legit fights and T & A.
Now if you look at the smaller promotions you will see that they focus more on actual wrestling. They are not trying to get normal to watch their product, because there not even enough not wreslting people watching.
In other words, unless the WWE get's some real competition from a real wrestling product, they will keep bringing these kind of gimmicks to their show to bring in normal people, so GO TNA!
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