Mr. Hyde - #0011: I could have been a contender: Brian Pillman|
By: Mr.Hyde | Posted: 02/12/10
Can you remember what you were doing the night Brian Pillman pulled a gun on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on RAW? I don't know what I was doing or what was going on around me, I just know that Pillman had my full attention. It wasn't always that way.
After a short professional football career Brian Pillman was trained in the infamous Hart Dungeon. Starting his career out as a heel in a tag team with Bruce Hart, Pillman won the Stampede Tag Titles on a few occasions. After the tag team was done he used his then girlfriend Trisa Hayes to potray his sister so he could get over as a face. He would have her at ringside, then when heel wrestlers would mess with her he would come in to rescue her. You may know Triza Hayes as Buelah McGillicutty. Yes, that one.
Moving to the NWA, just before the WCW name change, Pillman would win a variety of singles and tag team titles, including the short lived Light Heavyweight Championship, before going heel and teaming with "Stunning" Steve Austin in the Hollywood Blondes, a name with a storied history, they would win the Tag Team Titles. After losing the titles to Arn Anderson and Paul Roma of the Four Horsemen, Pillman would go face again and fued with Steve Austin. Pillman gradually shifted into a tweener taking on both sides of the fence.
Pillman would team with Arn Anderson against Ric Flair and Sting, which would result in the three attacking sting and reforming the Four Horseman with Chris Benoit. Pillman soon started dressing different and was starting to creat the "Loose Canon" character, which would place him in view of a lot of people. Soon he would no longer be that "Flyin'" Brian guy. He was also one of the first guys to break "Kayfabe" on screen. In a famous match with "I Respect you Strap match" with Kevin Sullivan Pillman would leave the ring and grab a mic screaming out "I respect you booker man!" Thus revealing to the whole world that Keven Sullivan was the WCW booker. Any mention of booker man was cut from subsequent airing's of the match. Not long after that Pillman would leave the ring against Eddie Guerrero and grab Bobby Hennan by the collar causing the infamous "What the f*** are you doing?" from the Brain. Pillman was soon fired from WCW. In Bischoff's auto biograhpy he reveals that the whole thing was a plan for Pillman to go to ECW and develop the "Loose Cannon" character more, get more heat, then return to WCW.
Even though Pillman never stepped in the ring with ECW this time through he was a heat magnet. He went on tirades against Bischoff and WCW, he threatened to "whip out his johnson and piss in the ring", he attacked a planted fan with a fork, he refereed to New Jack and Mustafa's tag team as Nigga's with Attitudes. If Bischoff's claim of sending PIllman to ECW to gain heat were true, then it succeeded and backfired. Pillman was the talk of all three federation and he soon signed with WWF. Before making his first appearnace in the WWF he was in a car accident which left him in a coma for ten days. When he did arrive in WWF he had to use a cane to walk.
Pillman was the first talent to sign an guaranteed contract with the WWF. While he healed from his injuries Pillman worked as a commentator. When he was ready to return to the ring he did so by once again attacking a planted fan at ringside. Back in the ring Pillman aligned himself with the New Hart Foundation; Owen Hart, Bret Hart, Jim Niedhart, and Davey Boy Smith. Pillman would soon fued with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin which led to the infamous gun incident. His next fued was with Golddust over Marlena. Before the fued could be played out Pillman died of a heart condition known as Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease. Drugs and alchohol also contributed to his death. Unknown to Pillman his wife was pregnant at the time of his death. Just recently Pillmans' stepdaughter Lexi was killed in a car accident, she was just starting a wrestling career.
I wonder if Pillman was still around for a few more years if he would have gotten the chance to be World Champ? Would the Monday Night Wars have played out differently with Pillman around? Would the WWF had won the ratings back from WCW sooner wiht Pillman around? Pillman is still one of those guys that people talk about in what if's, much like his friend Owen Hart.
Pillman's career only spanned a total of ten years, seven of those were with WCW, ECW, and the WWF. The last few years of his career his name was on the lips of every wrestling fan. He had managed to do what few wrestlers before him or after him have done, he got our attention, gripped with both hands and refused to let go. He was decent in the ring, not the best, but on a microphone or by his actions he was charismatic like few others. I remember being pissed when he no showed the In Your House PPV for a match against Mick Foley. I remember being shocked the next night when it was announced that he was dead. I remember crying halfway through then ten bell salute.
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