Where Are They Now? Bart Gunn

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May 22, 2013

While their cattle-roping technique was impeccable, Bart and Billy Gunn were still fairly new to wrestling on a full-time basis. According to Bart, there was a lot of adapting to be done once they joined WWE’s roster.

“We were training a couple times a week and then wrestling on shows twice a month,” he told WWEClassics.com. “When you get to WWE, one month is like a year in the independents, because you’re working every night. From the time we got there, we were learning.”

Just as important as their chemistry inside the ring was the bond between The Smoking Gunns outside the ring. The guys were just as strong a team away from the squared circle.

“We got along very well,” he said. “We’d meet up in Orlando and fly to all the events. He’d be in charge of getting cars and I’d be in charge of getting the rooms. We both like the same foods, sleeping and training. Our personalities clicked and there wasn’t any conflict, which was cool.”

Their strong bond brought them success between the ropes. After injuries prevented them from entering a 1995 tournament for the vacant World Tag Team Titles, The Smoking Gunns defeated champions Bob Holly & The 1-2-3 Kid to capture their first WWE titles.

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Bart and Billy held the titles on two more occasions over the next 18 months. During summer 1996, Sunny became the team’s manager. The blonde bombshell’s budding romance with Billy drove a wedge between the Gunns. After losing the titles to Owen Hart & The British Bulldog, the pair split for good.

“That’s the way the business works,” he said.

On his own for the first time, Bart had to approach competition in an entirely new fashion, which took some getting used to.

“I’d always had a tag partner,” he told WWEClassics.com. “It was something new to me. I don’t want to say I had to learn it all over again, but it was a whole different concept.”

He wasn’t on his own for long though. Jim Cornette recruited Gunn to team with Bob Holly as The New Midnight Express. While the pair held the NWA Tag Team Titles, the WWE Universe wasn’t too keen on watching the duo rekindle their predecessor’s rivalry with The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in 1998.

Gunn was soon approached about taking part in a new concept: the Brawl for All, a brutal competition where Superstars would battle each other in a hybrid of boxing and wrestling. He initially balked at the idea.

“I wanted nothing to do with it,” he said. “I didn’t think it was a good idea to wrestle and do the fighting.”

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However, Gunn was looking for a way to find the success he had with The Smoking Gunns. The Brawl for All looked like his best opportunity.

“My career was kind of stagnant at the time,” he explained. “I thought it was a good way to jump start my career again.”

Bart shocked the WWE Universe with his brawling prowess in the tournament. After beating Bob Holly on points in his first fight, Gunn went on a tear, knocking out some of WWE’s toughest competitors, such as “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, The Godfather and JBL en route to winning the tournament. The feeling was unique for Gunn.

“It was kind of weird, because it was a fight and they were my friends,” he said. “Normally, you’re in a fight with someone you don’t like or there’s conflict.”

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