A little Reigns reprieve for ya…
1) Is there any reason why Vince and co. couldn’t have salvaged the Brawl For All disaster by giving Bart Gunn a flash-in-the-pan crack at Austin? Under no circumstances would they ever headline Wrestlemania, but considering so few of the Attitude Era faithful even knew who Dr. Death was, I can’t picture he and Stone Cold pulling Silverdome money either. Why not coast off Bart’s win and his legit fighting prowess by having him bully his way up the card for a few months, land a "corporate enforcer" type gig, sucker-punch Austin a few times during the run-up to a B-PPV, then get his comeuppance in the main event? Modified "Hogan payday" booking to be sure, but Stone Cold standing tall was still very much in vogue in mid-98/early-99, and it would have rendered the Brawl For All something less than pointless.
2) Conventional wisdom holds that Bart was fed to Butterbean at WMXV as punishment for scuppering creative’s plans. That said, suppose Bart landed a lucky punch and/or brought his A++++ game and knocked the "human waterbed" silly. Birth of a badass new star, or does a red-faced Vince McMahon immediately place an emergency call to Mike Tyson and book a live execution for Backlash?
1. Bart wouldn’t have gotten a shot because it was such a disaster and they just wanted to get him off TV for a while to forget the whole thing.
2. That being said, the Butterbean thing wasn’t punishment, they legitimately thought that Bart could just go in there with no real training and knock him out because Butterbean was considered a joke. Everything I’ve heard says that they were shocked when Bart went down as quickly as he did.