Monday, October 5, 2015

18 Years Gone

I'll always respect you, Pillman-man
Photo Credit:
Today, in 1997, the wrestling world lost one of the edgiest and charismatic personalities it has ever seen in Brian Pillman. He died in a Bloomington, MN hotel room on the eve of In Your House: Badd Blood, where a congenital heart defect reared its ugly head and caused the myocardial infarction that took his life. Pillman was only 35 years of age, and he seemingly had a bright future ahead of him in the Attitude Era WWE. He was a revolutionary junior heavyweight, an A-plus tag team worker, and a genius on the microphone all in the same vein. He was tied at the hip with Steve Austin for several years in both World Championship Wrestling and WWE, where the two engaged in perhaps the most controversial angle in wrestling history.

The infamous "home invasion" story played out on November 4, 1996, and today, it would not even see the light of day because of concerns over guns in the United States. But in 1996, pre-Jonesboro, pre-Columbine, guns were just another prop for pro wrestling to use to skirt the edge. Looking back at it, the most telling things are that Steve Austin, the character, really was a giant, throbbing, sociopathic asshole, and that Brian Pillman really looked like he was going to shoot Austin if he entered his home that night. Additionally, Jerry Lawler really wanted Kevin Kelly to get killed that night by advocating that he reach for a manic person's gun as he was waving it. No, Lawler, you don't do that, ever. Anyway, the segments are collated below in one handy YouTube video. Rest in peace, Brian Pillman. He was a personality too electric for this world, and pro wrestling has been way too cold in the 18 years since he passed.