Remember Johnny Gunn? No? Maybe Tom Brandi or Salvatore Sincere would ring a bell? If not, then it shows how successful his runs across all the big three North American promotions were.
Gunn’s WCW career was most notable for a six-man tag match at Halloween Havoc in 1992 in which he, Shane Douglas (who seems to be a common thread in this piece), and Tom Zenk tagged to face Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, and Michael P.S. Hayes. Not only did his team win but Gunn pinned the “Pretty Sexy” ex-Freebirds leader clean. Gunn formed a team with “The Z-Man” and even challenged for Barry Windham’s NWA World Heavyweight title on an episode of Saturday Night.
Gunn subsequently jumped to Eastern Championship Wrestling. Gunn actually picked up a belt, winning the ECW World Tag Team titles alongside Tommy Dreamer. After beating then-champions The Suicide Blondes in nine seconds, Gunn got an injury from which he would never return. His place was taken by – you’ll never guess who. Yes, Shane Douglas! Douglas turned on Dreamer, hitting him with a chain and causing the duo to lose the tag straps.
Gunn became Salvatore Sincere when jumping to the WWF in 1996. Dressed in white and pink, the faux Italian wrestled on some PPVs but only in dark matches. He did feud with Marc Mero over Sable during which Mero revealed Sincere’s real name as Tom Brandi. He continued under his real name, memorably entering as the third entrant in the 1998 Royal Rumble; he lasted seconds before elimination (by Terry Funk (Chainsaw Charlie) & Mick Foley (Cactus Jack)). He gained notoriety for doing signings and matches under the name The Patriot, without the permission of original Patriot Del Wilkes.
A wrestler can rarely appear in all three promotions without their career and name status propelling through the roof.
If there were one promotion “Dr Death” is synonymous with, it is All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) although he stepped into WCW, WWF, and ECW rings too.
Most infamously, Williams stepped into WWF under the pretence of winning the shoot Brawl For All tournament. Supposedly a tool to put over Williams, a hamstring tear hampered him and saw his early elimination. Bart Gunn won whilst Jim Ross commented: “not a single soul was made” as Gunn was rewarded with what the WWE Attitude Era book by Jon Robinson a “cringe-inducing shot” which knocked him out in a boxing match against Butterbean. Williams could not recover after being knocked out by a long-irrelevant faux cowboy.
Williams had been present as Jim Crockett Promotions bled into WCW. Originally in The Varsity Club, Williams brought over his All Japan team The Miracle Violence Connection alongside Terry Gordy. The team had constant hard-hitting and lengthy WCW encounters which aided Williams even to challenge for the NWA World Heavyweight title. Williams was always protected in WCW and billed like a top star. The same cannot be said for his return run in 1999 in which he was managed by the abysmal Oklahoma and even lost to The Misfits’ Jerry Only.
Less spoken of than either of his runs in WCW or WWF is his time in ECW. Debuting at The Doctor Is In 1996 to team with Tommy Dreamer against Taz and Brian Lee, Williams went on to solo wins over established stars. At Crossing The Line Again, Williams took his first US pinfall loss in nearly a decade when falling to ECW World Heavyweight champion Raven. He made one more appearance afterwards in this strange ECW run.