10 things fans should know about Brian Pillman
An innovative top-flight wrestler in the late 1980s and early 1990s who also proved to be an excellent character performer thanks to his “Loose Cannon” gimmick, Brian Pillman was one of the great wrestlers of his time. . Fans can see his influence on wrestlers like Jon Moxley, whose character – particularly as Dean Ambrose in WWE – sounds like a blatant shout out to Pillman.
Sadly, Brian Pillman tragically passed away in 1997, so many younger fans might not know too much about him, especially since All Elite Wrestling paid homage to Pillman during their shows in Cincinnati in 2021. Tokens a quick look at what wrestling fans should know about him.
Growing up in Cincinnati, Pillman played college football for the University of Miami in Ohio before moving on to the Cincinnati Bengals and then the Calgary Stompers of the Canadian Football League. Pillman’s time in Canada would lead him to a pursuit of professional wrestling, having trained with Calgary’s Stu Hart in the mid-1980s, making his debut in 1986 for Stampede Wrestling. There he formed a team with Bruce Hart and spent some time playing for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Pillman gained greater visibility in 1989 when he signed to World Championship Wrestling and made his debut as a high-flying babyface named Flyin ‘Brian. Pillman proved to be a must-have talent, as he incorporated lucha libre inspired movements into his arsenal, which was hugely innovative at the time. Aside from a title with the NWA US belts, Flyin ‘Brian is said to be a star in WCW’s short-lived Light Heavyweight division, becoming a two-time champion and hosting classic matches with Jushin Thunder Liger.
In 1992, Brian Pillman turned heel, forming a team with Barry Windham and unsuccessfully challenging Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat to Starrcade ’92. But when Windham decided to go solo, Pillman found a new teammate in future star and future “Stunning” rival Steve Austin, becoming The Hollywood Blonds and beating Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas for the World Championships. WCW team, enjoying a 168 day race with the belts.
Unfortunately, an injury would sideline Pillman, forcing Steven Regal to replace him in a tag team match where he and Austin lost the titles to Arn Anderson and Paul Roma at The clash of champions 24. Soon after, Austin turned to Pillman, turning the latter into a babyface in the process.
Become a rider
In 1995, Brian Pillman would be part of the feud between Four Horsemen founders Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, alongside Anderson. In response, Flair begged top babyface Sting for help, which led to a match at Halloween devastation 1995 when this whole story turned out to be an elaborate ruse. Flair once again betrayed Sting, revealing that he and Arn are reuniting The Four Horsemen again, with Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit to complete the group.
The Loose Cannon is born
In late 1995, Brian Pillman’s character began to evolve as he adopted a more “edgy” bad boy look and began to act more and more erratic and unpredictable. In one notable incident, he unexpectedly caught Bobby Heenan at ringside, causing the legendary manager and color commentator to swear on live television. Pillman became unmanageable – so much so that even the other riders were starting to see him as a problem – and this new iteration of old Flyin ‘Brian would be dubbed “The Loose Cannon”.
“I respect you, Booker Man”
Pillman’s savage behavior led to a special stipulation fight with Kevin Sullivan in February 1996 Superbrawl VI: a strap-on match where the loser has to say “I respect you” to the winner. Sullivan was WCW’s chief booker at the time and got into a few kayfabe matches on several occasions, but this one turned out to be the most infamous. After a minute of the game, Pillman abruptly picked up the microphone, said “I respect you, booker man,” and walked away. The incident was scripted with the intention of Pillman spending time at ECW to further develop his character and then return, but it didn’t work out.
About a week after the SuperBrawl incident, Brian Pillman surprisingly showed up at Extreme Championship Wrestling CyberSlam show, where he cut a promo in the ring, trashing ECW, ECW fans and threatening to pee in the ring. As security attempted to remove him, he pulled out a fork and stabbed a “fan” in the crowd on his way out.
The plan for Pillman in ECW was to build a match with Shane Douglas, but that unfortunately never happened due to actual circumstances. A horrific car accident would not only cause Pillman to break his ankle, but also put him into a brief coma. While he had had a match earlier in 1994, Pillman never had a match during that period.
Pillman has a gun
Brian Pillman was still recovering from his injury when he signed to WWE in 1996, but still appeared on TV, commenting on Colors and acting as his old pal Steve Austin’s sidekick. However, Pillman began to side with Austin rival Bret Hart, which caused Austin to turn on him and lead at an infamous moment. Monday evening gross.
During a live interview at Pillman’s home, Austin attacked and attempted a break-in, which resulted in Pillman pulling out a gun. Noiseless gunfire and profanity ensued, and the segment proved so controversial that WWE was forced to apologize.
A moment in Brian Pillman’s short WWE career would become a staple in the professional wrestling lexicon. In 1997, Pillman will join the Hart Foundation now at the heel with Bret Hart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart and will enter into a real feud with Steve Austin. Another classic moment would ensue with Austin putting Pillman’s ankle on a chair and stomping on it. It has become a common trope in wrestling, but it is often referred to as The Pillmanizer or Pillmanizing as a verb.
Bear the last name
Continuing his father’s legacy, Brian Pillman Jr. made his debut in 2018, wrestling indies before gaining greater visibility in Major League Wrestling, where he was a member of a new Hart Foundation stable. with Davey Boy Smith Jr. (son of British Bulldog) and Teddy Hart.
In 2020, Pillman gained even wider exposure, making his debut for AEW and gradually improving his skills and profile in the ring, teaming up with Griff Garrison as the Varsity Blonds, a clear tribute to the classic tag team. from his father to WCW.
Brian Pillman has definitely been called a “cowardly gun” for a reason. Here’s a look at when Pillman crossed the line!
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