|Whether as a loose cannon or flyin', Pillman was special|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
For one, Pillman was perhaps the most charismatic person ever to step into a wrestling ring. From his wild eyes to his raspy voice and command of the language in a way that made people turn around and listen to him, he was a magnet for attention spans. He made people stand at attention, even as he wasn't able to work at an adequate level thanks to his foot injury. The home invasion angle where he pulled a gun on Steve Austin was notable because, well, he pulled a gun on Steve Austin, but he was able to project both frightened paranoia and unpredictable madman behavior that really made adding in the shock value of the gun both superfluous and absolutely sensible.
But his WWE tenure was only a tip of the iceberg. For many people, he was the first real junior heavyweight to catch their eyes. World Championship Wrestling with Flyin' Brian gave people a taste of what was to come, even if he was more known for his freewheeling team with Austin as the Hollywood Blondes, working WCW into a shoot over his release, showing up for a cup of coffee in Extreme Championship Wrestling, and then his WWE tenure. But for fans around the end of the '80s and beginning of the '90s, he was a revelation.
Few people have had the lasting impact over long careers that Pillman had in his short one. He lit so many fuses and traveled down so many roads that it's hard to imagine his career not culminating in a WrestleMania main event and a place in WWE's Attitude pantheon alongside Austin, Rock, Vince McMahon, Mick Foley, and the Undertaker. Wrestling was better for having known him for however short a tenure he was within it.