The WWE Brawl for All tournament of the late '90s still resonates with wrestling fans and experts alike. Its controversies have been thoroughly dissected, not least in the "Dark Side of the Ring" episode. However, if there's one moment from the tournament that stands out starkly in fans' memories, it's the climactic showdown at WrestleMania 15.
The final pitted Bart Gunn, the unexpected winner of the Brawl for All, against the heavyweight Butterbean. The end was swift and brutal: Gunn was knocked cold by Butterbean. The backstory to this was illuminated further by Butterbean during his stint on "Insight with Chris Van Vliet." According to Butterbean, many expected Bart Gunn to be defeated by "Dr.
Death." "From what I gleaned behind the curtains, Bart knocking out Dr. Death was not part of the plan," said Butterbean. "They got me on board, essentially to serve as Bart’s 'punishment.' "
Butterbean's Prep with McMahon
Butterbean recounted his interaction with Vince McMahon prior to the fight, describing how McMahon instructed him to go all out.
"When Vince told me to give it my all, I was more than prepared," Butterbean stated. "Honestly, it felt simple. Had Bart taken a brawling approach, I would've reverted to my roots from my tough man days. Boxing for three minutes requires pacing; it feels way longer than people think.
One minute just zooms by. Bart's decision to try and box was his downfall." The knockout itself, Butterbean admits, was among his career bests. In retrospect, he believes the match should have been halted earlier. "Looking at the knockdown before the final blow, I honestly felt the match should've been called off then," Butterbean opined.
"His eyes weren’t focused; he was on his feet, but clearly not present. The result was a devastating knockout. Word backstage was that Bart was disoriented for nearly two weeks after." While the WWE Brawl for All remains a divisive topic, Butterbean's insights provide a revealing glimpse into the machinations and decisions that characterized that epoch in wrestling history.