Back in 1998, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were steadily battling it out in the Monday Night Wars, always looking for the edge in the quest for ratings. They were also signing as much talent as possible to keep them from the competition.
The problem is that led to bloated rosters and a strain on the creative team.
One of the ways they went about solving this was to put together a legitimate shoot fight tournament they dubbed the Brawl for All, done in part to capitalize on the rise of Toughman competitions and, to an extent, mixed martial arts. It was also a way to give Dr. Death Steve Williams a big push, as it was widely assumed he would emerge victorious, what with his reputation for being a legitimate tough guy and all.
The tournament was a disaster.
It was a bad idea from jump street. Pro wrestling fans didn't want to see weird fights like this with wacky rules. Wikipedia:
Each match consisted of three one-minute rounds. Whichever wrestler connected with the most punches per round scored 5 points. In addition, a "clean" takedown scored 5 points and a knockdown was worth 10. If a wrestler was knocked out (decided by an eight-count rather than a ten-count), the match ended. The matches were scored by ringside judges including Gorilla Monsoon.
The fans didn't take to it and it did nothing but expose the shortcomings of the wrestlers involved, though it wasn't like the tournament was stacked with top tier talent. Again, Williams was supposed to tear ass through it and cement his status as a badass but he got knocked out by Bart Gunn, effectively ending his push and before long, his time with the WWF.
Gunn would go on to win the entire tournament, knocking out Bradshaw in the very first round on this date in history (Aug. 24, 1998). Bradshaw was another guy with a reputation as a backstage bully, a big man who wasn't afraid to throw his weight around.
Imagine how embarrassed he was to get knocked out on live television.
Ultimately, Gunn would go on to have a boxing match against Butterbean at WrestleMania 15, which ended via one of the sickest knockouts you'll ever see. He never did get a major push on the strength of winning the Brawl for All and was released from the company after he was clowned by Butterbean, proving the entire thing to be a gigantic waste.