During a recent episode of his weekly ‘Grilling JR’ podcast, Old School WWF Legend Jim Ross remembered the WWF run of the late, great Brian Pillman.
Here’s what J.R. had to say:
“When Brian was released from WCW, there were a lot of options, with WWF as the top candidate. Vince thought Brian was cool and had balls. I helped him negotiate the deal.
Brian had another chance of getting back in the game, and Vince was going to give him a good shot at getting over as a main event-level guy. That was all well and good until he suffered a hummer accident. That didn’t help the cause very much. I felt so bad for him because that was a serious piece of business.
He couldn’t catch a break. That accident added to his consternation, attitude and stress. I really wish we could have seen a healthy Brian Pillman for an extended length of time, so we could have really seen what he was like. It just wasn’t meant to be.
He never lost his confidence, but he was also becoming more dependent on pain medicines to try and get around, and even just to walk. All the damage the car wreck had done was really daunting.
But, he kept fighting, that’s what was amazing about him. He wouldn’t say ‘I quit’ or ‘I can’t do it anymore’, no matter what.”
Eventually, Jim Ross suggested to Brian that he could become the next Jesse Ventura or Bobby Heenan, if he would turn into a full-time heel color commentator, but Pillman felt insulted by that proposal.
“When I suggested that, he got angry. The writing was on the wall, people just didn’t believe he was healthy enough to pull this off in the ring.
He had all the tools needed, but if Brian wasn’t wrestling, Brian wasn’t happy. But the more we talked about it, the more Brian tried to make it happen. He was in so much pain just to get around, it was sad.”
In 1996, ‘The Loose Cannon’ Brian Pillman talked Eric Bischoff into releasing him from his WCW contract for real, in order to work the dirt sheets, go to ECW for a bit and then return to WCW TV later on to shock the fans.
However, Brian did go to ECW briefly, but used his free agent status to screw Bischoff and sign a deal with the World Wrestling Federation, where he worked until he passed away on October 5th 1997.
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