Where Are They Now? Bart Gunn

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May 22, 2013

Even though it looked like Bart Gunn was destined for success in WWE after his Brawl for All victory, the knockout artist’s reality was the opposite.

“They sent me home and I sat there,” he said. “It was frustrating. Then they came up with the fight with Butterbean.”

Officials had pitched Gunn on fighting superheavyweight boxer Butterbean on The Grandest Stage of Them All, WrestleMania XV. With the wheels spinning on his WWE career again, Gunn accepted the bout against the lethal 400-pound behemoth. He went to professional boxing trainers to get ready and quickly realized that this battle was going to be a serious challenge.

“It was really different, because everything I did was wrong,” he told WWEClassics.com. “When you look at the Brawl for All, I was a sloppy fighter. I look at it now and know what I did wrong.”

Gunn prepared as best he could, but Butterbean’s experience cut through his defense at The Show of Shows. Bart was viciously knocked out in the first round. He knew his inexperience as a fighter cost him.

“He had 60 or 70 fights. That was my first as a boxer,” he recalled. “I was very green. Looking back on it now, I should have done things a little bit differently.”

After his loss to Butterbean, Bart Gunn saw that his time in WWE was coming to an end. He began looking for opportunities elsewhere. Oddly enough, his shocking knockout of Dr. Death in the Brawl for All had made him a respected name in Japan.

“When I knocked him out, that basically opened the door for me,” Gunn said. “They’d already seen a lot of the footage. The Japanese follow American wrestling, especially now, because of the Internet. They knew exactly who I was.”

Gunn began competing in Japan after leaving WWE in 1998. He returned to the tag team ranks, joining forces with John Laurinaitis (known in the ring as Johnny Ace) for a massive tag team tournament in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Though they didn’t win, they stayed together and went on to capture the promotion’s tag team titles in 1999.

He continued in Japan for the next six years, before stepping away from the ring in 2004.

“I was getting a little older,” he said. “Plus, with personal stuff, it was time to move on.”

Gunn soon entered the world of mixed martial arts, fighting twice in 2006, with one knockout win and one loss by decision. He was hoping to get another opportunity against Butterbean, who had made the jump from boxing to MMA.

“I always wanted another shot at him, because of the way I was thrown into it with WWE,” he said. “I saw that he was doing MMA and thought that it was a little more my style.”

Unfortunately, a potential rematch fell apart during the negotiation process.

Instead of continuing to fight, Gunn returned home to Florida, where he works as an electrician. Picking up where he left off in 1993, he found it surprisingly easy to get back into the trade.

“I didn’t lose anything,” he said. “I retained everything I learned, even though I hadn’t done it in 15 years.”

See photos of Bart Gunn today

He did admit that going back to a regular lifestyle was jarring at first.

“[As a wrestler], you’re living out of a suitcase and sleeping in a different place every night,” Gunn explained. “To have the ability to sleep in your own bed every night is pretty cool.”

In addition to his electrician work, he’s also dabbled in home construction as he recently put a major addition onto his house. His mother now lives in the three bedroom, two- and-a-half bathroom structure.

When he’s not working, Gunn enjoys riding motorcycles, barbecuing and playing with his grandkids.

Even though he’s no longer competing, Gunn still enjoyed one last moment on the big stage of WWE, taking part in a battle royal on the 15th anniversary episode of Raw.

“It was nice meeting all [the new Superstars] and seeing all the guys I wrestled with,” he said. “The whole experience was really cool.”

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