Brian William Pillman was an American professional wrestler and football player best remembered for his stints in Stampede Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively.
Pillman established a reputation as “The Loose Cannon,” a wrestling gimmick that saw him do a series of staged shootings that earned him a reputation for his unpredictable temperament.
He was also known for being incredibly agile in the ring, albeit a vehicle accident in April 1996 left him with severe ankle damage, limiting his ability to compete.
By the conclusion of his career, he had collaborated with Stone Cold Steve Austin, a long-time friend and former teammate, on a storyline involving a pistol, and with The Hart Foundation during the early stages of the Attitude Era.
He died abruptly in 1997 as a result of an undiagnosed cardiac condition.
Pillman was born on May 22, 1962, in Wales, to a Welsh mother named Mary and three sisters named Angie, Linda, and Susan, as well as a brother named Phil. In August 1962, Pillman’s father died of a heart attack when he was three months old.
Pillman had several throat polyps as a youngster and had between 31 and 36 operations to treat them, many before the age of three.
Pillman spent much of his early childhood in a hospital due to medical concerns, only returning home for Christmas.
Pillman’s mother elected to send him to a public school so that he could spend more time with his friends, leading him to become the family’s sole Presbyterian.
Brian Pillman Career
Pillman remained in Canada when his football career ended and resumed wrestling training with Stu Hart and his kids. In November 1986, he made his professional wrestling debut in Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling.
Pillman and Hart’s son Bruce created the Bad Company tag team shortly after (not to be confused with Badd Company).
Bad Company defeated Ron Starr and the Cuban Assassin in the finals of a tournament in April 1987 to win the Stampede Wrestling International Tag Team Championship.
Pillman returned to the United States in 1989 and began wrestling for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he earned the nickname “Flyin’ Brian” for his physical skills and wide range of aerial acrobatics.
Along with “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, he was one of the first American wrestlers to adopt a variety of Mexican lucha libre maneuvers into his arsenal.
Brian Pillman Private Life
Prior to her marriage to Dustin Rhodes, Pillman dated Terri Runnels in WCW, which was later used in a 1997 angle between Pillman and Goldust.
In March of 1993, he married Melanie. Melanie was the mother of two children from a previous relationship, Alexis Michelle Reed and Jesse Morgan.
He had two children from two previous relationships at the time, Danielle and Brittany. Brian and Melanie have two children: Brian Zachary and Skylar King, the latter of whom was born after Pillman’s death.