So I know the conventional wisdom is Brawl for All was set up to put Dr Death over and make him an opponent for Stone Cold before Bart Gunn changed the plans. But even if Williams did steamroll through the tournament and win it, when would he have had a program Stone Cold? Brawl for All ended in August, and Austin was tied up with Taker through the end of the year, before transitioning to earning and then keeping a shot at the Rock at Wrestlemania (which was going to be the main event no matter how many lower card guys Steve Williams could KO in a shoot). Would they have cut the Undertaker (with Kane) feud short? Also, even if he did get over as a legit bad ass, he wasn't going to be more over than Ken Shamrock in that role and Shamrock's tough guy rep didn't take past the upper mid-card and he never got a program with Austin. Was Brawl for All pointless even if it went the way they hoped?
I don't think it was supposed to be an immediate program. My gut feeling is that they were having him win it as a more long-term way to prep him for a post-WM run with Austin in 99. Given they had no challengers for Steve after he won it in 98, I think this was their way of creating one and having him ready so they didn't run into that issue again.