Bruce Prichard Reveals How Brawl For All Came About, Thinking the Idea Was “Horrible”, Having to Pitch it to Talents, Were the Brackets Scripted?

bruce prichard
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The latest edition of “Something to Wrestle” with Bruce Prichard, moderated by Conrad Thompson, is now available to listen to in full at this link, and below are some highlights.

How Brawl 4 All Came About:

Well, the interesting thing is, somebody did an article on the Brawl 4 All, and spoke with several people. Some of those people who were involved, some who were not. In the article, and I guess over time, the creator and the person whose idea it was for the Brawl 4 All, Vince Russo, had made a comment that he came up with the Brawl 4 All as a way to shut John Layfield, [JBL] up, because Layfield made a comment, I say allegedly, trust me, John probably made the comment, something along the lines of; “Heck, if it was a real bar fight I would be the only one standing.” I believe this was Vince Russo’s idea, Russo had some good ideas. This has to top the list as one of the all-time worst ideas in sports entertainment enterprise ever. Anybody who had come up with the idea to shut up a loud mouth in the locker room to put that many talents at risk for serious injury for what?

On His Reaction When Presented with Brawl 4 All:

Well, first of all, at that time, I guess you would call it the “Dining Room at Vince’s House.” A lot of creative happened there. At the time, I was focused more on talent relations, and the developmental process, and wasn’t as involved in Creative. I was at an arm’s length and wasn’t there on a daily basis. So, as far as my involvement in that at the time, it was under a talent relations mantra. It was initially brought to me by Vince Russo, and when he initially brought the idea to me, I thought it was one of the stupidest, worst ideas I have ever heard and explained to him why I thought it was a bad idea. The middle of an entertainment program where everything is scripted, you want to have a legit shoot-fight in the middle of it. Explain to me how you are going to tell everybody; ok, all this stuff you’re doing with the big stars as we are telling you are bad a**es, that’s all b.s, but this stuff right here for these matches, this is real. I don’t know how you do that in the context of an entertainment television where everything is scripted.

On Having to Pitch the Idea to the Talent:

You know what, essentially it came up, and we were doing it in a couple weeks. Russo came to me and pitched the idea and listed everyone that they wanted to be in it. The idea behind it was that I had to get on the phone and pitch this idea to the talent that were being requested to be part of this deal. I ask if they want to go in and get into a “shoot” fight, a real fight and explained the rules to them against your competitors, and the winner gets more money and moves on in the tournament for more money and the loser gets “x” amount and you’re eliminated from the tournament. So, again, I made my feelings known and as I can do sometime, I made them very colorfully and loudly known, and then I got back and got the phone call about how negative I was, and the fact that I was crapping on someone’s idea, and I wasn’t just crapping on the idea, because I wasn’t. Vince Russo had some great ideas and was a creative guy, but this idea I felt was horrible. I was paid to give my ideas so I didn’t want to lie and say this idea was wonderful to put our working talent, who were working in a scripted occupation, to suddenly go into a real fight and get hurt and our tough guys end up that we portray on TV as tough guys may end up being portrayed as not all that tough. So, I was given the task to try and sell this to the talents, so I put my Salesman hat on and once I was giving my marching orders where I was going to do everything that I can to sell that ice cream to the Eskimos.

On Dr Death Being Presented in the Tournament:

It was an opportunity, kind of like a vehicle to take the guys that were not at the top of the card and elevate them, and give them an opportunity to shine in a different part. You have guys like Dr. Death Steve Williams, who was a top guy coming into the company, and we were hoping he was a top guy that we can draw some money with. Doctor was already under contract. We signed him to a contract, and no it was not part of the deal for him to come in and be part of the Brawl 4 All. It was a way for Russo, who looked at it as a way to introduce Doc, because Doc had been touted as the toughest guy walking the earth, and to see Dr Death during his day was one of the men walking the face of the earth. When Doc was young, and in shape, and was a legit bad a**. I consider Steve Williams a good friend of mine and a wonderful wonderful human being. You talk about a legit bad a** athlete, played Football and Wrestled in college at the University of Oklahoma, and there wasn’t much athletically that he couldn’t do. But Doc had been out of that competitive game for quite some time since coming into the WWF at the time, and you know, Doc coming into this was pretty much an odds on favorite to win the thing. So, Russo was looking at it as a way to introduce Steve Williams, JR was looking at it like no one else, I think, honestly, that Jim thought as long as Doc was in it he was going to win. He was a big proponent of Dr Death Steve Williams. You look at the competition and the guys that did agree to do it, and again, of the talent that were asked, they agreed to do it. JR is a passionate guy and love him to death, but again, nobody really knew, no one knew what we had. Going into it again, it’s like, if wrestling were real, professional wrestling, sports entertainment, there were a lot of us that would never have gotten into the game. I am no tough guy, so it’s like, you know, it just wouldn’t of happened, so you have different people. We asked Shamrock to be in it, but he didn’t want to do it.

On Whether the Placing of the Matches Were Scripted:

To level to the guy up, again, that take stages and you have to see what you have. There wasn’t anything set in stone as far as what would happen for the winner. It wasn’t a good plan and having to convince these guys to come in and do it, it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but at the same time, they played to their egos and would say, hey man, there is this huge opportunity, you say you’re the baddest S.O.B out there and the guy would say, ok, I will do that. Again, it just wasn’t well thought out. We were still thinking about rules before we had the first fight. We were talking real money and we were putting the guy’s in a real situation where they can get hurt and unfortunately lot of them did, so what we did was we had people in my office like Savio Vega, who was one of the participants, and put all the names in a brown paper bag, wrote everyone’s name down on a piece of paper, threw it in a bag and Savio drew the names. Each name drawn were the names on the bracket. 100% legitimate and you know, you can ask Savio how he did that. He was a participant, so if anyone has a problem with it, they can go talk to him, so that was how the brackets were made. It was 100% random.

To listen to the entire interview with Bruce Prichard on the subject of the Brawl 4 All, please subscribe to the show on