WWE Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Character
This is a two-disc set featuring the one and only Brian Pillman. This was a DVD I really wanted, but as I think about it, I don’t really know much about Pillman or his career. Pillman died when I really first started watching wrestling again in the mid 90’s. I know all the highlights and his brief WWE run, but all the rest will be new to me.
Pillman wrestled in the three main companies, ECW, WCW and WWE. He was born in 1962 and died tragically in 1997.
The Film (1:33:11)
There’s a nice Pillman Tribute still shot to start the film, then a montage of comments and clips of Pillman. Pillman was born about 6 years after his youngest sibling and 13 years after his oldest. His father died when he was only 2 months old and 2 years later, Pillman had trouble breathing and it was discovered he had polyps. He had to have a trach put in just so he could breathe and he had about 40 surgeries on his throat to remove them.
He started playing hockey but switched to football to get a scholarship, since hockey wasn’t big in his hometown of Cincinnatti. He didn’t get the scholarship but he did get a walk-on spot at Miami, Ohio. He had a great career, but like high school, he didn’t get a job in the NFL. So he tried out for the Bengals, and made that team, too. He only played one year in the NFL when he went to the CFL. He hurt his ankle and it was suggested he go into wrestling and got in touch with the Harts. There’s a brief segment showing the former football players who have gone on to wrestle.
So Brian wrestled in Calgary with Stu and managed to get noticed by Jim Ross, who worked for WCW at the time and it was off to Atlanta for Pillman. A lot of people talk about the flying style of Pillman, including Benoit, which is kind of weird to see now. Pillman had a good run as a singles wrestler, then wrestled with Tom Zenk, but that run didn’t work out. Pillman next became a big part of the Light Heavyweight Title in WCW, becoming the first champion. Pillman had an incredible series of matches with Jushin Liger.
Brian would enjoy great success in the ring, but probably wouldn’t have a greater moment than when he married his wife, Melanie, and part of his wedding video is shown here. Both Brian and Melanie brought children from other marriages, but they both had their own child, Little Brian.
Brian got a new tag partner in the mid 90’s named Steve Austin. Austin was ready to be a singles star and didn’t like that he had to work in a tag team. They worked very well as a team, calling themselves the Hollywood Blonds. One of the Blonds good moments was on the Ric Flair interview segment called Flair for the Gold. So the Blonds would make fun of them and spawn their own segments, Flair for the Old. Unfortunately, back stage politics ruined the Blonds. I think it was Dusty who booked then, and he tried to defend his decision, and Austin is still bitter about this now.
Pillman went on to join the Horsemen, and became the Loose Cannon, even causing Bobby Heenan to cuss on TV one night. Kevin Sullivan would feud with Pillman and one night in one match, Pillman called Sullivan Bookerman and left the ring during a match. No one really knows if it was a work or a shoot, but Pillman told Ross he was always in character, though Austin thinks a lot of it was real.
The plan after that was for Pillman to go to ECW for 6 months and then back to the WCW, but it didn’t turn out that way. Pillman was introduced in the ECW Arena and immediately became a heel and the Loose Cannon character was in full effect here. He was really out of control, even going as far as defecating on the floor of Paul Heyman’s house. Pillman was at the height of career now, becoming the talk of all three promotions.
It all came crashing down for Pillman when he was in a very serious accident that rotated his foot 180 degrees, and really damaged his face. That tore Brian up, and he felt really guilty about that night. Pillman would fight on and sign a contract in June to work for the WWE. Bruce Prichard thinks that Pillman came back a little too early.
Pillman would have one of his two big angles in the WWE with Steve Austin, where Austin would “Pillman-ize” his leg with a chair. This angle was to allow Pillman to have his ankle fused to his leg. Following that incident, there was an interview at Pillman’s house where Austin showed up and Pillman brandished a gun. Now people consider it a turning point, turning wrestling shows into sports entertainment and really pushing the envelope.
Pillman returned in 1997 to feud with Austin (and Austin said that Pillman beat the crap out of him) and this led to a great 10-man tag at Calgary Stampede with the Harts vs. Austin and his band of friends. Sadly, looking at the men on Bret’s side (Owen, Pillman, Bulldog and Neidhart) 3 out of the 5 are now dead. I don’t even know if Anvil is still alive as of this time (January 2009) but it’s really sad to think about it now. Pillman continued to work but struggled with his ankle.
Pillman would co-host the Shotgun Saturday Night show, and co-host with JR on some Raws. That didn’t sit well with Pillman. He just wanted to wrestle. He had to take a lot of pain pills and it led to the infamous drug test that JR ordered. All of Pillman’s friends new he was in bad shape towards the end. Pillman would embark on a controversial feud with Pillman and Goldust, where Pillman ended up wearing a dress. This was an actual love triangle where Pillman went out with Terri before Goldust did. They wrestled at Ground Zero and Pillman won, winning the services of Marlena for 30 days. They had the XXX files of Pillman during this span.
The angle would never be concluded. At the next PPV, Hart and Pillman were late. Hart showed up but Pillman never did. Pillman never showed up because he had died in his hotel room. Vince McMahon made the announcement at the Badd Blood PPV. They had a memorial for Pillman the next night on Raw. Melanie, Brian’s wife, would appear on Raw to speak about Brian the next day. She said she wasn’t pressured into it. The official cause of death was a heart attack, and Melanie wanted to just clear the air about what had happened. We end with his friends and family talking about the life of Pillman.
This was a really good look at the life of Brian Pillman. Brian’s wrestling career was shorter than most who have had DVD collections like this, so it was easy to chronicle the great in-ring moments. What I really liked about this was its no-nonsense look at the out of ring behavior of Pillman, and showing how he was the Loose Cannon outside of the ring, too. Seeing how events in his personal life shaped his wrestling career make for a unique perspective. I recommend this for any wrestling fan to see how events outside of the ring can shape a human, and I didn’t think it was sugar-coated at all. It was an honest 90-minute documentary.
1) Road Warrior: Rental Car (0:39)
This is a story, told by Animal, of Pillman borrowing his rental car and losing the rear bumper.
2) Stone Cold: First Meeting (0:56)
Austin talks about meeting Pillman for the first time, and being a fan before meeting him.
3) Stone Cold: How to Remember Brian (1:48)
Austin wants Pillman to be remembered as a great family man and wrestler. He lived every day like it was his last. Austin thinks about him everyday since he was his best friend in the business.
4) Eric Bischoff: Pillman Living the Character (2:18)
Bisch tells a story of Pillman going off on a hotel clerk to stay in character.
5) Jim Ross: NAPTE Convention Center in Vegas (2:44)
Vince and the WWE were at a TV conference where WCW was, too. Pillman showed up at the WWE’s table and acted a bit crazy. Pillman told JR it was all a work and just wanted to make an entrance.
6) Jim Ross: Pillman asks JR for a meeting (1:43)
This was from way back at Clash at the Champions and Pillman wanted to talk to JR. Basically, Pillman wanted to show JR a bowel movement. Yeah, he was a bit crazy.
7) Bill Cunningham: Tribute Show for Brian (1:01)
Bill was a radio host who did a tribute show for Brian on the air.
8) Mick Foley: First Match with Brian (0:42)
Foley wrestled Brian early in WCW in 1989, and Pillman and Foley wrestled a good match and Foley says it helped pave the way for his career.
9) Calgary Stampede Wrestling 03/26/88: Bad Company Interview (1:33)
This is a very early interview for Pillman, as Brian and his partner (looks like one of the Harts) and they get a present from a fan.
10) Pillman’s XXX Files (6:25)
This is a compilation of all the XXX Files. This is basically Pillman with Marlena playing tricks with Goldust.
11) WWE Raw 11/4/96 – The Gun Incident (6:43)
What haven’t I written about this? This was the gun incident they mentioned in the main film.
12) Bad Company vs. Midnight Cowboys (6:09)
This is for the International Tag Team Championship and is courtesy of Calgary Stampede Wrestling, 4/23/88. This is JIP, at the 15-minute mark according to the announcer. Pillman gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Cowboys. Pillman hits a splash from the top but can’t get the pin when Brown breaks up the pin. It’s Brown and Rogers for the Cowboys, and Pillman and someone else for the Company. Pillman is tossed to the outside, which is usually a DQ if the ref is paying attention and now Pillman is the face in peril. Pillman eventually makes the tag which leads to a flying clothesline which ends things at 5:52 (shown). Eh, not too much of a tag match, as the ending literally came from nowhere. No rating because of the clipping.
13) Brian Pillman vs. Lex Luger (17:10)
This is for the US Heavyweight Title and it took place on 10/28/89 at Halloween Havoc. Jim Ross talks about the football pedigree of the two men. Luger was your champion at this point. Luger tries to use the strength to take control but Pillman responds with a tackle and dropkicks that sends Luger reeling to the outside. A baseball slide has both guys brawling on the outside. Pillman rolls Luger back in and wants to follow with a springboard back in but Luger evades, enduces Pillman to chase him and Luger stomps him on the way into the ring, giving him control. Pillman responds with an arm-wringer but Luger fights out of it. He tries a hiptoss but Pillman lands on his feet and goes right back to the arm of Luger. Luger shoulderblocks out of it but Pillman goes right back into the armbar. Pillman gets a crucifix pin for two and goes back to working the arm. Luger shoves Pillman off to the corner but misses a blind charge. Pillman tries for a splash from the top rope but Luger rolls out of the way. Luger drops Pillman on the top rope and clotheslines him down. Luger works the back until Pillman gets a sunset flip from nowhere for two. Pillman ducks a clothesline that sends Luger to the outside. Pillman tries the standing punches in the corner but Luger atomic drops him down and sets up Pillman for a superplex. Pillman pushes him off and tries for a sunset flip off the top for two. Pillman hits a flying elbow and a springboard dropkick but Luger’s foot makes the ropes. Pillman goes for a neckbreaker but misses a missile dropkick. Luger hotshots Pillman onto the top rope and that’s enough to finish things at 16:47. There was a lot of rest holds, and the finish came out of nowhere, but it was a watchable match. **1/2.
14) Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (9:27)
This is an NWA bout from the US Tag Team Tournament held on 2/12/90. I guess this is to crown the new champs. Pillman and Michael Hayes start. Pillman gets a sunset flip for a (slow two) when Garvin is tagged in. Hayes is tagged back in only to get rolled up again for two. Zenk is tagged in and he works the arm, as Hayes moves in slow motion. Zenk becomes the face in peril but really, nothing too interesting is going on to warrant how he became that way. Pillman is tagged in and dropkicks Hayes off the apron to the outside as the Freebirds regroup. Pillman is dumped to the outside where he’s double-teamed. Back inside, Pillman tries for a hiptoss which Hayes converts to a bulldog in a nice-looking spot. Garvin is tagged in and heads upstairs but Pillman dropkicks him and Garvin is crotched. Garvin tags Hayes as Pillman makes the hot tag to Zenk. Powerslams follow for the Z-Man, followed by a double body press. All hell breaks loose, Hayes tries for a DDT, Pillman hits a springboard flying forearm and Zenk is able to get the pin and the titles at 8:53. Very hot ending to a brisk paced 9 minute tag match. ***.
15) Flair for the Old (4:31)
This is from the 06/05/93 WCW Saturday Night. Before DX impersonated anyone, before the Huckster and Nacho Man, Pillman poked fun at Ric Flair’s interview segment, Flair for the Gold, with his own Flair for the Old. Arn Anderson comes out to voice his displeasure.
16) WCW 1995 Flyin’ Brian: Up Close (4:25)
This is Pillman in 1995 in a WCW interview segment where he talks about playing football. He talks about the Blondes breaking up, being on an episode of Baywatch and vying for the Cruiserweight title.
1) Brian Pillman & Sting & The Steiners vs. The Four Horsemen (22:51)
This took place at WCW Wrestlewar on 02/24/91. This is a WarGames match, by the way. Pillman has his shoulder taped thanks to an injury at the hands of Ricky Windham, so Pillman charges in at Windham right away to get his revenge. Pillman uses the top of the cage to dropkick Windham. Pillman lowblows Windham to the delight of the fans. Pillman grinds his face onto the steel and Windham is busted open now. Pillman hits a flying clothesline and Windham is in trouble. Pillman is firmly in control until the coin toss to decide who is next into the ring. Of course, the Horsemen win the toss and Ric Flair comes charging in to work over Pillman. Pillman is double-teamed and bumps like crazy until the two-minutes elapses and Sting is let into the ring. Sting goes right after Flair and clotheslines the two Horsemen down. Sting squares off with Flair as Pillman puts the figure four on Windham. Larry Zybyzko is in and goes right after Sting. Rick Steiner is in next as he goes after the heels. Steiner hits a belly to belly suplex on Flair then sends him into the cage. Flair gets busted open as a result. Sid makes his appearance into War Games now, and the Horsemen are able to work on the three faces. Pillman sends Flair into the steel as Sid pounds on Sting. Steiner is sent into the cage but no sells it and sends Larry Z into the cage. Scott Steiner completes the octuplet and pandemonium is running wild. We see Sid and Rick calling spots in the corner (completely miked up) as Sid is sent to the corner and into a Scott Steiner flying clothesline. Sting goes for the Scorpion Death Lock as Sid works over the shoulder of Pillman. All the faces put the figure four on the Horsmen, but none the Horsemen refuse to surrender. The Horsemen find a way to break free as everyone meanders about the ring. Pillman squares off with Flair as the rest of the ring moves in slow motion. Pillman eventually finds his way into the grasp of Sid, who powerbombs Pillman in just a terrible fashion. Pillman’s feet hits the top of the cage and thus lands right on his freaking neck. Sid, never the brightest bulb in the box, does it again. This time, Pillman lands on his back (still in a sick bump) and he’s done. El Gigante runs down to tend to Pillman as the ref calls the match at 22:08 on account of Pillman being knocked out. The fact Pillman wasn’t paralyzed because of that is miraculous. The original ending was probably going to be the same thing, but that was a sick bump. This was quite boring once all eight guys were in the ring. *** on the basis of the hot opening minutes.
2) Brian Pillman vs. Richard Morton (13:20)
This is from Halloween Havoc 10/27/91 and is for the World Light-Heavyweight Championship. For some reason, the referee is wearing a helmet. Oh, it’s a camera. That has bad idea written all over it. Morton has Alexandra York in his corner, a woman who would become Marlena aka Terri Runnels. The two are still in the feeling out process, and the crowd is just dead. Morton locks on a headscissors but Pillman breaks and puts on a side headlock. Ross tries to explain away how boring this match is to this point. Morton comes back with an atomic drop but Pillman rolls up Morton for two. Morton comes back with a clothesline for two. Morton works the arm of Pillman, and we go nowhere until Pillman hits a spinning kick out of nowhere. Morton pounds at Pillman in the corner but gets slapped across the chest for his efforts. Shoulderblock sends both men to the outside in a really contrived spot. Pillman’s shoulder is sent into the ringpost but he recovers first and hits a flying bodypress on Morton as he gets into the ring to finish things at 12:55. Wow, another finish that was out of left field. Really boring. *
3) Brian Pillman & El Gigante vs. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson in a Loser Leaves Town Match. (3:19)
This comes to us from Clash of the Champion XV, held on 06/14/91. Anderson and Pillman start off, but Arn is quickly knocked away and Windham comes in. Windham wallops Pillman and is DDT’d for two. Arn comes in and goes upstairs but he’s dropkicked off and to the outside. Pillman follows with a tope. Arn comes in and attacks El Gigante to no avail. Windham comes in but Pillman hits a missile dropkick off the shoulders of El Gigante. He covers but Arn breaks the count. Arn is knocked down and Pillman goes for a splash, but Windham holds his foot. Arn distracts El Gigante as Windham hits a big boot, which is enough to finish things at 3:05. Fast-paced, but too short to be worth anything. *.
5) Brian Pillman & Barry Windham vs. Johnny Gunn & Tom Zenk (5:35)
This comes to us from WCW Saturday Night, 12/26/92. I guess Pillman made up with his foe Windham by this point. Pillman and Zenk starts off, which is interesting since they used to be teammates. Pillman offers a handshake but he’s a bad guy now and pearl harbors Zenk. Pillman goes upstairs but jumps right into a big boot from Zenk. Windham makes his way into the ring, which draws Gunn, and the heels bail. Windham and Gunn restart in the ring, with Windham overpowering Gunn in the corner. Windham is caught in a bodyslam and the team of Zenk/Gunn work the arm of Windham. Pillman comes in, Windham cheap shots Zenk coming off the ropes and Windham comes in with a belly to back suplex on Gunn. Pillman comes in, Zenk makes the hot tag, Gunn cleans house, but gets clipped by Pillman as Windham lariats him and that’s enough to finish things at 5:12. Standard TV match. *.
6) Hollywood Blondes vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (16:28)
This is from WCW Slamboree, 05/23/93. This is a steel cage match, the Blondes are champs at this time, and Steamboat and Douglas are both wearing masks. So I don’t know who is in the ring. So Austin and let’s say #1 start off as Austin goes right for the mask. #1 takes Austin out and toe holds Pillman on the way in. Based on wrestling style #1 is Steamboat. Douglas is tagged in and puts Austin in a hammerlock. Austin breaks free but is rammed into the cage. Austin is tossed back first into the cage now, as Shane hits an axehandle from the top. Pillman is tagged in and he chops at Douglas in the corner. Pillman is hiptossed down, allowing Steamboat to tag in. Austin tags in an tries for a bodyslam but can’t, since he hurt his back. Steamboat goes to suplex Austin, who gets hung up on the cage. Douglas goes for a splash while Austin hangs there but Austin drops as Shane is flying through the air. That looked like it hurt. Pillman comes in and chokes away at Douglas. The Blondes use the towels to choke Douglas and then start working the knee. Pillman comes in but a dive from the second rope connects with the raised foot of Douglas. Pillman gets up first and tags Austin, but Austin hits a big boot of Douglas. Douglas tries for the tag but walks into a spinebuster. Pillman tries for a splash but hits the knees of Douglas. This time, it’s enough for Douglas to make the hot tag to Steamboat. The dos hombres clean house, send Austin and Pillman into each other, the Blondes get knocked out and Steamboat climbs to the top of the cage and hits a bodypress onto both Blondes. The ref counts two but the bell rings anyway. Steamboat hits DDT’s on both men but only gets a two for both. Douglas is whipped into Austin, who hits the Stun Gun. Pillman takes care of Steamboat and Austin’s pin is enough to retain at 16:06. Really hot ending. ***.
7) Brian Pillman, Sting & Dusty Rhodes vs. Paul Orndorff, Steve Austin & Rick Rude. (15:03)
This is a Thundercage Match and took place at Superbrawl, 02/20/94. A Thundercage is like the Hell In A Cell, in that it goes over the whole ring, leaving room on the outside, too. The bars are very wide however. Sting and Orndorff start, Sting cleans house, then we start over again. Austin comes in and hurts his knee and goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, which is broken up by Orndorff. Austin and Pillman end up squaring off and Pillman takes a wicked bump into the cage. Pillman’s cut open now as Rude works over the Flyin’ one in the ring. The ring is really cut in half now, though the action is non-existent. Austin comes off the top rope but flies into a Pillman dropkick as Sting is tagged in. Sting fends off Orndorff on the outside and busts him open and after 10 minutes, Dustin is tagged in. Dustin tries to bulldog Rude but Rude drops Dustin onto the top rope. Rude follows with a second turnbuckle belly to back suplex. Austin comes in and tries to charge at Dustin, but Dustin moves and Austin ends up getting caught between the bars of the cage. Pillman comes in and cleans house, leading to all 6 men being inside the ring. Austin ends up being backdropped by Sting and Pillman, then Sting slams Pillman onto Austin to end this thing at 14:37. This was a major yawner. *1/2.
7) Brian Pillman vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger (6:58)
This is their 1995 WCW Nitro Match from September 4th, not their classic from Superbrawl II. This looks like it took place in a mall. They work a very fast-paced match, which sees Liger go for an early surfboard. Pillman comes back with a headscissors takedown but is sent to the outside. Liger hits a somersault kick off the apron then tries to suplex Pillman back in from the apron. Pillman reverses that and sends Liger to the outside and follows with a crossbody off the top rope to the outside. Back and forth action sees Liger hit a powerbomb for two. Liger sets up Pillman on the top rope and hits a hurricanrana for two. Pillman responds with a DDT from the second rope for two. Pillman follows with a roll-up that’s enough for the victory at 6:45. Slightly better than average TV match. *1/2.
8) Brian Pillman vs. Dean Malenko (6:35)
This is from WCW Nitro, 01/22/96. Pillman was a Horseman at this point, and truly playing the Loose Cannon role. The two work a mat-based match for the early goings. Dean hits a suplex and a chinbreaker for two. Pillman comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam but doesn’t want to cover, instead deciding to taunt the referee. Powerslam for Malenko gets two. They end up brawling on the outside, won by Malenko. Malenko drops the gut of Pillman across his knee then goes for an ankle-lock of sorts. Pillman makes the ropes and breaks the pin. Malenko has his foot caught in the ropes and Pillman pins him for the victory at 6:22 since the ref never saw Malenko’s foot wrapped in the ropes. *1/2.
9) Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero (6:08)
This match comes to us from Clash of the Champions XXXII, held on 01/23/96. Pillman stalls to start, then throws the four fingers in Eddie’s face. Eddie dropkicks Pillman to the outside, and Pillman goes after Bobby Heenan, and he actually legit ruffles his feathers. This was mentioned in the main program and this match is on here more for that than anything else. When order is restored Eddie hits Pillman with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Pillman comes back with slaps to the face. Pillman misses a blind charge and Eddie counters with a swinging DDT from the top rope. Eddie covers but only gets two. A roll-up also gets two. Pillman gets a cross body out of nowhere and grabs the tights to get the three count at 5:57. Standard TV match. *1/2.
10) Brian Pillman vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (12:18)
This is from the 06/16/97 episode of Monday Night Raw. Austin slugs away at Pillman to start so Pillman bails and causes Austin to chase. This was in the midst of the Austin vs. Harts feud, and Pillman was the fifth member of that Hart group. Pillman goes upstairs but Austin catches him and crotches him on the ropes. Owen Hart, Neidhart and British Bulldog are handcuffed to the ringposts on the outside. Pillman charges at Austin with a chair but Austin punches it into his face. That busts Pillman’s nose open and he sends Austin into the steps. We cut to commercial and come back with Pillman controlling things in the ring. Austin comes back, stomps a mudhole in Pillman, then stuns the ref. Pillman responds by going low and taking out some brass knuckles. Pillman covers but Austin kicks out. During this, the Hart Foundation manage to get the keys and unlock themselves and all team up against Austin. Mankind, Goldust, and Shamrock all run out to help Austin and this thing is over at 8:29. Austin attacks Shamrock and takes a belly to belly suplex for his efforts. The Legion of Doom come out to break them up. Looks like we have our five men tag set up. Enjoyable TV match. *3/4.
11) The Hart Foundation vs. Steve Austin, Ken Shamrock, Goldust and the Legion of Doom (32:04)
This epic 5-man took place at Canadian Stampede, held on 07/04/97. Austin and Hart start off, and the Calgary crowd is absolutely rocking, literally shaking the camera. Hart and Austin slug it out, with Hart getting incredible face heat and Austin the heel heat. They are cheering every offensive move by Hart, his clothesline, his headbutt, and his atomic drop. Austin takes over with a lowblow, then stomps a mudhole and goes for the Million Dollar Dream. Hart reverses that into a pinning combination for two. Austin sets up Bret on the ropes and charges but crotches himself. Anvil and Shamrock are tagged in, with Shamrock going for the ankle lock, which Pillman breaks.
Pillman comes in and sends Shamrock to the corner and hits a backbreaker for two. Shamrock comes back with a belly to belly and Owen is tagged in to take on Goldust. Owen gets backdropped but comes back with an enzuigiri. Hawk comes in and hits a gut-wrench suplex/leg drop for two. Hawk gets a headbutt from the top rope but Owen kicks out at two. Owen comes back with the Sharpshooter but Animal breaks that up. Bulldog comes in with a suplex for two. He follows wit ha running powerslam but Goldust breaks up that pin. Bret comes back in to take on Animal and Animal quickly misses a blind charge. Goldust is tagged in and is quintuple teamed in the corner, drawing the American team who is quickly dispatched. Owen comes in and misses a blind charge, sending his shoulder to the ringpost, but a spinning heel kick and a missile dropkick makes the fans erupt for Owen. Owen is powerbombed and powerslammed, and the LOD hit the clothesline from the top, but Neidhart interrupts the pin and again all 10 men enter the ring, except Austin, who slams the knee of Hart into the ringpost, then drives a chair into it.
This prompts Bruce Hart to interfere at ringside. When order is restored, Anvil is tagged in as Owen limps to the back. Austin takes on Neidhart, then Pillman, and stuns him. Bret interferes and drives the knee of Austin into the ringpost in retaliation for what he did to his brother. Austin’s knee is injured now, as Bulldog covers Hawk in the ring for two. Neidhart and Animal do the test of strength, Hart comes in with the Hart Attack move for one. Shamrock goes after the leg of Hart but waits to long and is clotheslined down by Pillman. Shamrock is dumped outside and sent into the announce table courtesy of Pillman. All hell breaks loose on the outside now, with the Foundation sending one of the LOD into the steps. Back in the ring, side Russian legsweep for Hart leads to a pin, but Goldust breaks up that pin. Bulldog comes in to square off with Shamrock, and he stomps at him in the corner. Goldust is tagged in and goes for the Curtain Call but Pillman breaks the up. This leads to a Bulldog superplex but Animal breaks the pin. Austin comes limping out of the back, and he returns to action and whips Hart around, suplexing him for two.
Austin walks into a DDT, and a backbreaker leads to the elbow from the second rope for two. Bret follows with a sleeper which Austin reverses to a chinbreaker for two. Bret tries for the Sharpshooter but Animal breaks that up. Austin puts a Sharpshooter of his own on, but Owen comes running from the back and breaks that up. Owen is tagged in but is clotheslined to the outside. Austin follows and goes after the whole Hart family which draws Bret over there. Austin is rolled back into the ring and Owen rolls him up for the pin at 25:13. That doesn’t finish things, as a melee ensues in the ring, with the Hart family at ringside coming in and finally cops coming in to break things up. When things have cleared, Austin comes back with a chair and is destroyed by the Harts, and is then arrested. This was an epic, entertaining match, done perfectly. *****
12) Brian Pillman vs. Goldust (11:21)
This was Pillman’s last match, and it took place at Ground Zero on 09/07/97. Goldust and Pillman brawl on the outside to start, Pillman goes after Marlena which leads to Goldust connecting with a drop toe hold that sends Pillman into the steel steps. Pillman comes back with chops and tries for a bulldog in the ring but is crotched by Goldust. Pillman bails but Goldust follows and suplexes him on the steel entrance ramp. Goldust then drives Pillman’s family jewels into the ringpost. Goldust goes after the knee of Pillman. Pillman responds by breaking up Goldust’s bulldog attempt. Pillman goes upstairs but Goldust catches him and tosses him outside into the steel barricade. Goldust sets up Pillman on the top rope, but Pillman pushes him off. He goes for the missile dropkick but misses and hits the ankle. Goldust hits the Curtain Call, but Pillman’s hand hit the ref to knock him out, so no ref, and no count. Marlena makes her way to the ring and tries to hit Pillman with the loaded purse, but Pillman uses it on Goldust and gets the pin at 11:06 to a big ovation for a heel. Pillman was severely limited by this point, and it showed. **.
13) Brian Pillman vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger (17:08)
Perhaps one of Pillman’s best matches, this took place at WCW Superbrawl II, held on 02/29/92, and was for the World Light-Heavyweight Championship, which Liger held. This was the opening match. Very quick start with both men trading leapfrogs and canceling each other out with dropkicks. Pillman goes to work on the arm but Liger makes the ropes to break the hold and starts pounding away. Pillman responds with a headscissors and a dropkick that sends Liger to the outside. Pillman continues the offensive with a seated dropkick through the ropes. Liger regroups and comes back in, and works on the leg. Pillman kicks out of it but Liger comes back with a moonsault for two. A dropkick sends Pillman bailing. Pillman comes right back and works on the lower back/neck of Liger. Liger wiggles free and tries for the surfboard but Pillman escapes. Liger goes for it again but Pillman manages to evade a second time. Liger sends Pillman to the corner and follows with a dropkick. Pillman comes back with a crucifix for two. Liger counters with a sunset flip roll-up for two. Pillman connects with a belly to back suplex for two. Liger is sent to the corner but Pillman misses the blind charge and hits his knee on the top turnbuckle. Liger starts working the injured knee, and puts on the figure four. While he has the move locked on, Pillman and Liger exchange slaps to the face and Pillman turns around to counter the hold.
Both men make the ropes and the hold is broken. Pillman continues selling the knee and Liger keeps going to work on it. Pillman responds with an enzuigiri and the fans are starting to get into it. They were basically sitting here staring into space but the guys are really getting the crowd into it. Pillman with a headscissors but he’s backdropped to the outside. Liger hits a moonsault from the top rope to the outside onto Pillman. Pillman makes it to the apron where Liger tries to suplex him back in. The two both try to suplex each other but both block. Pillman with a springboard clothesline and he suplexes Liger to the outside. Pillman follows with a cross body from the top rope. Pillman tries for a double axe-handle from the apron but Liger dodges and Pillman hits the steel barricade. Liger rolls Pillman in and tries for an axehandle of his own, which is countered by a Pillman dropkick. Pillman tries for the missile dropkick but a Liger dropkick cancels that out. Double spinning heel kick knock both men down. Powerslam for Pillman gets two. German suplex for Liger gets two. Liger tries for a superplex but Pillman tosses him off. Flying crossbody for Pillman gets two. Powerbomb for Liger gets two. Liger tries for another powerbomb but Pillman rolls through it and covers for two. DDT for Pillman looks to be enough but Liger makes the ropes. Liger ducks a clothesline and both men try for shoulderblocks and we get the double KO. Pillman gets up first and climbs to the top, but Liger crotches him and hits the superplex. Pillman kicks out at two as Liger heads back upstairs but misses the flying headbutt. Liger gets rolled up and bridges over and that’s enough for the pinfall and the title at 17:02. Just an amazing match, especially watching these two guys bust their asses and win over the crowd. Great match. ****3/4.
This is standard widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. The earlier WWE stuff is in pretty good shape, considering some of the terrible tapes I had of the original events.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is in the standard DVD case with an insert for the Cena/Kane movies (The Marine/See No Evil) as well as a fold-open four page Pillman insert with the extras and chapters and all.
D) Easter Eggs
We get the usual WWE commercials to start the collection (WWE On Demand, Home Video, the McMahon DVD, the Dusty Rhodes DVD, the Greatest Managers DVD, and the Don’t Try This at Home ad). This is an interesting collection for me to review. I never really knew much about Pillman besides the basics, and this helped things out a bit, but the matches for the most part weren’t that great. For the Pillman fan, this would be a nice collection to remember him by. For people who didn’t understand what the fuss was about Pillman, I don’t think this would help. The matches weren’t anything special, except of course the awesome Stampede and Superbrawl match. I don’t know if this was a definitive collection for Pillman. I would love some more Hollywood Blondes stuff, or even Pillman/Zenk stuff. Whatever, this is going to be all we get on Pillman, someone who was definitely gone before his time. We’ll go mildly recommended, on the basis of the two ****+ matches on here.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever