#PillmanWeek: Difference of Opinion

It's the Final Day of #PillmanWeek, the 22nd installment of our (patent-pending) Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. As always, we finish everything off with a Difference of Opinion, this time mostly about exactly how crazy The Loose Cannon really was.

Nick: Snowed a little by you?

Dave: Uh. Like, 16-18 inches between yesterday/last night/early this morning. I just spent two hour shoveling.

Nick: So, a little.

Dave: Yeah. Just a Northern New England little bit of snow.

Nick: It rained a bunch around here, so while it snowed a decent amount yesterday, by this morning it was pretty much completely gone.

Dave: Brag about it, why don’t ya?

Nick: I am. It was the whole point of this conversation. That, and to talk about Brian Pillman.

Dave: Right, that guy.

Nick: Who you know much better than I do. A WWE child, he was mostly just off-his-rocker “insane” when I was watching. You have a much better idea of the overall Brian Pillman.

Dave: He’s one of my all-time favorites. Not in the sense that I think he’s one of the best of all time, but if you asked me to sit down for four hours and watch only promos and matches featuring one person, Pillman would be on my very short list.

Nick: Yeah, watching the promos and old matches, he’s really something else. It’s not just that he was ahead of his time. He would be progressive right now.

Dave: Exactly. That’s a big reason why it’s a shame he died, aside from his wife and kids of course, that’s the biggest reason it’s a shame he died. But even if he couldn’t really go anymore, he had so much to give to wrestling. I could see him as the booker of whatever promotion was the alternative to WWE and actually going big with it.

Nick: He understood the storm that was coming better than anyone. Do you think that has to do with his work ethic, his enthusiasm, or just a “beautiful mind” type of thing? Because he’s pretty much the consummate overachiever, but they don’t always end up being savants.

Dave: I would check all the above. As I said in Better Know, he was so driven to be successful that I think he would have become the all-time student of whatever game he was trying to get good at.

Nick: He reminds, oddly, of Lance Storm. If Lance Storm were a certifiable lunatic. Because, there’s the “oh, he was just ribbing the boys” stuff. And then there’s the “he shit on the floor of someone’s living room” stuff. He was clearly, at the very least pretending to be, unbalanced.

Dave: My goodness, if Storm had a touch of the Pillman lunacy, Team Canada would have been great. Because Storm got what Pillman never really got, which was the recognition as a great champion. Pillman was U.S. Champion several times, Tag Champion several times, Junior Heavyweight Champion several times, but WCW never really said “Here is Brian Pillman, a great champion.” They chose to say “Here is Brian Pillman, a really exciting young star.” Which is the same mistake WWE makes with athletic, over, young guys all the time. See: Kingston, Kofi; Bourne, Evan; Langston, Big E.

Nick: Do you think that his act may have worn thin with the people he worked with? I mean, in terms of his longevity in the business, wouldn’t that have been a concern?

Dave: Oh, I know it did. Haha. I think guys would have gotten over the anger over being worked, which I think was the big part of it. The guys he let in on the act (Austin, Kevin Sullivan) LOVED it. Guys were just sore that he was keeping a secret from them. I’ve heard Mick Foley say he took it really personally that Pillman wasn’t on the level with him about the degree to which he was working. And, in my opinion, that’s just jealous/frustration over not understanding the smartest guy in the room. From an Ayn Rand perspective, Pillman had no responsibility to explain his genius to his peers who didn’t get it.

Nick: She also thinks poor people should thank rich people for being rich, though. So, would you have been okay with working with some like him? I don’t know if I would. I am also a bit of a control freak, so I may not be the best person to answer that, though. (BUT LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THE SITE LOOKS!)

Dave: Well, I personally hate the balls off Ayn Rand; I was using that example somewhat sarcastically. But I know what you mean. I think he was way more “controlled” in the WWF than he was in WCW or ECW; like, Vince McMahon would not stand for not knowing what was going on. He’s very script-driven.

Nick: I just wonder what dealing with someone who is always on would have been like, not from a in-ring working perspective, because he seemed like a safe good, trustworthy hand. But all the other crap.

Dave: I agree that working with crazy people is a pain in the ass, but we’ve all done it, and the bottom line is that if someone’s good at their job, you let it pass.

Nick: Do you think that has hurt his standing in the history of the WWE? Meaning, of course, the history of professional wrestling according to the WWE.

Dave: Well, I think all the dominoes leading up to Chris Benoit have damaged standing in WWE history. Including Pillman and Davey Boy. Only Eddie Guerrero’s legacy is still celebrated outright. But, I think Pillman’s legacy will always be somewhat protected from ruin due to his connections to Austin and Jim Ross. At the end of the day, the two of them will have as much say in the way people remember the mid-to-late-90s as Vince McMahon.

Nick: And independently from him on some level, too. Because of their podcasts. Which, spoiler alert, we should be recording one of just the two of next week. But, I digress. I think that he’s in the weird space where people will find out about him through the WWE Network, but the WWE will only mention him in episodes on the Network. I think he’ll be one of the big guys we’ll see a clear delineation between “mainstream” WWE lore and WWE Network lore.

Dave: Yeah, I know what you mean. If you watch the Network for this historical stuff, you will know him. If you just use it to follow the current product, they may never mention him ever again.

Nick: Which I guess means you don’t think he ends up in the Hall of Fame. Because he seems, especially if Jake is there, qualified for it.

Dave: As I said, I think his proximity to Austin could eventually land him in there. I mean, dude, Koko B. Ware. Yeah, he’s fairly analogous to Jake.

Nick: Yeah, but Koko B. Ware also didn’t die of a Broken Heart.

Dave: Wow. Way too soon. I love Jim Ross and agree with 85% of what he says, but that line kills me.I know that documentary was put together while they were still sweeping everything possible under the rug, but man was that statement crass coming from someone who knew better.

Nick: Hold on one second, I’m watching a YouTube video of Ross on Pillman.

Sorry … it was about the longest unbroken piece of “human waste” that JR has ever seen.

Dave: That’s a pretty great story.

Nick: “He knew something special was happening”

Dave: Him making the referee guard it so nobody flushed it while he rounded up people to check it out… That’s the kind of “furtive craziness” that hints at brilliance.

Nick: Yeah, and Pillman was one brilliantly crazy piece of shit.