Jim Ross has denied a longstanding rumor that he used his influence in WWE to get one of his closest friends a main-event position in that company.
Aside from being a commentator for many years, Jim Ross has also served as head of Talent Relations for WWE. As a result, he wielded a degree of influence over storylines and creative direction, but he never abused that influence for his own personal gain or that of any close friends.
But that hasn’t stopped rumors and conspiracy theories from spreading among fans and even among wrestlers. One such a theory concerns the infamous Brawl For All tournament, which put professional wrestlers in real fight situations to see which of them really was the toughest.
The tournament was an unmitigated disaster that had serious repercussions for everyone involved. Many wrestlers were hurt, but none worse than “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, who was brought in from All Japan Pro-Wrestling to be Steve Austin’s next main-event opponent.
However, that top-level run never materialized because Doc suffered a severe hamstring injury while fighting Bart Gunn. That injury, coupled with Doc’s age, overall condition, and inexperience in real fights, caused him to get knocked out by Gunn.
Jim Ross refutes claim that he tried to manipulate the Brawl For All tournament to help Steve Williams
Many fans and even some wrestlers have claimed that Jim Ross wanted to use the Brawl For All tournament as a means to get Dr. Death over with WWE’s audience so that they could see him as a credible threat to Austin when Austin was in his prime as a superstar.
However, JR denied these accusations as “bulls**t” on an episode of his Grilling JR Podcast.
“There was so many injuries, medical bills, talents getting embarrassed. It didn’t have an upside. I think it was a very poorly kept secret that Bart Gunn was the cream of the crop, even though many of my detractors thought that I had loaded the tournament so ‘Doctor Death’ Steve Williams could win it.
That’s total bullsh*t. I had nothing to do with the bracketing or who fought who or whatever. It’s a good story, but it’s just not accurate.”
Steve Williams’s WWE career collapsed shortly thereafter and he returned to All Japan where he finished his wrestling career. As for the tournament’s winner Bart Gunn, he ended up getting demolished by heavyweight boxer Butterbean at WrestleMania XV and soon followed Doc to All Japan, where the two settled their differences in a grudge match in 2001.
h/t Inside The Ropes for the transcription