Dark Pegasus Video Review: Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon.
Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon
by J.D. Dunn
- Road Warrior: Rental Car
- Stone Cold: First Meeting
- Stone Cold: How to Remember Brian
- Eric Bischoff: Pillman Living in Character
- Jim Ross: NAPTE Convention Center in Vegas
- Jim Ross: Pillman asks J.R. for a meeting.
- Bill Cunningham: Tribute for Brian
- Mick Foley: First Match with Brian
We’re JIP. The graphic says 4/30, so I guess that was the airdate, not the actual date of the match. Clipped to 15:00 in. Pillman destroys both men with dropkicks and nails Rogers with a flying clothesline. Brown is there to make the save. Pillman SPLATS Rogers with a Superfly Splash. Again, Brown makes the save. Brown tosses Brian over the ropes when the ref isn’t looking. Brown gets two off a legdrop. The Cowboys double suplex Pillman for two. More clipping. Pillman SKIES over a double backdrop attempt and hits both men with a body block. Rogers goes up, but Bruce Hart shakes the ropes to crotch him. Pillman makes a blind tag to Hart, who delivers a flying clothesline for the win at 5:45 (shown). *1/2
Pillman escapes a couple of tie-up attempts and mocks Luger. It’s hard to pull off a cocky babyface act, but Pillman does it nicely. Luger gets cocky and tries to toss Pillman, so Pillman darts back in and spears him. A dropkick sends Luger to the floor, and Pillman chases him around the ring. Back in, Pillman grabs a wristlock for a bit. Luger whips him to the corner, but Pillman blocks his charge with a boot. The Superfly Splash misses for Pillman, and Luger takes over. A lariat to the back of Brian’s head knocks him for a flip, and Luger gets a big face pop (in Philly). Pillman comes back with a sunset flip and ducks a clothesline, sending Luger to the floor. Pillman hits a springboard clothesline, but Luger is in the ropes. D’oh! Pillman goes up and MISSES a missile dropkick! Pillman goes for a crossbody off the ropes, but Luger catches him in a Stun Gun for the win at 16:49. Good stuff. You’d think of it as a “big man vs. little man” match, but these two didn’t look that far off from each other in style and strength. 1989 was a great year for the Luge. ***1/2
Oh sure, put this match in but not the ****+ Capitol Combat match with the Midnight Express. Well, I guess they want to show Pillman winning since it’s his DVD and all. This is the infinitely lamer version of the Freebirds with Jimmy “Jam” Garvin instead of Buddy Roberts. Pillman and Zenk dominate with their state-of-the-art offense. The Freebirds stall quite a bit before isolating Zenk. Long chinlocks follow. Nothing of note happens until Pillman gets the hot tag. A donnybrook erupts, and Hayes goes for the DDT on Zenk, but Pillman springboards into a clotheslines for the win and the titles at 8:53. **
This is a confluence of several rivalries. Sting and Flair hate each other, of course. Scott Steiner had just taken Flair to the limit at the previous Clash of the Champions. Windham and Arn Anderson were terrorizing the tag ranks, but Arn got injured just before this so Larry’s taking his place. Babyface Pillman ignores Captain Sting’s advice and charges into the ring to attack Windham. Despite Windham’s size advantage, Pillman winds up beating him from pillar to post (with the help of a blatant low blow, which the crowd digs). Pillman works Barry’s leg in between scraping Barry’s face along the cage. Pillman has problems flying because the ceiling of the cage is too low. That won’t come back to haunt them. No way. Flair’s team wins the coin toss, and the Man himself jumps Pillman from behind to make it a two-on-one. Fast-forward a bit. Sting cleans house but gets stomped down by Larry Z. Rick Steiner hops in and cleans house on Flair & Windham. Larry tries to toss Rick’s head into the cage. I’ll let you guess how effective that is. Sid comes in and kills the faces dead. Scott Steiner is the final entrant, evening things out a bit. The faces get QUADRUPLE FIGURE-FOURS! Flair goes to the eyes to break it up, though, allowing the heels to take over. Flair and Windham are bloody messes. Everyone but Pillman and Sid just kind of congregate in one ring, allowing Sid to try to powerbomb Pillman. Problem: the cage is so low that Pillman’s feet hit the cage, so Sid just drops him right on his head. As if that’s not enough, Sid then gives him ANOTHER powerbomb. El Gigante runs out and begs the refs to call the match, which they do at 22:09. Despite the sucky ending, this match was…THE BALLS. ****1/2
This was during the ill-advised heel period for Morton as he sold out to the corporate interests yet still kept the mullet. Ross points out Wally Yamaguchi of Kai-en-tai fame, in the crowd. I’d say this is a mismatch of styles, but that’s not quite right. Morton, a natural face, is playing heel, a role he’s not really cut out for. This might have been interesting if the roles were reversed. Pillman finishes with a flying crossbody at 12:42. *
Everyone in the match knows that Gigante can’t wrestle, including Gigante, so he just kind of lets Pillman handle things. Good idea. This is the result of the Horsemen injuring Pillman in the Wargames match. Why these aren’t in chronological order, I’m not sure. Pillman dominates both members of the Horsemen until Windham shoves him off the top rope and kicks him in the face. Gigante is busy with Arn, so Windham gets the pin at 3:10. Clipping? I remember it being longer. Oh well. Windham would find himself hounded (tee hee) by a mysterious masked man known as Yellow Dog shortly after this. I’ll let you guess who it was under the mask and who was booking. 3/4*
Pillman turned heel somewhere around September of 1992, but you’d never know it from the DVD (you’d think they could put that in the extras since it led to the formation of the Blondes and all). What’s even stranger is how he wound up with his hated rival Barry Windham. Barry was actually a babyface until he turned on Dustin Rhodes a few weeks before this. They had some mutual enemies, so they hooked up as a tag team. Actually, now that I read it, it’s probably not interesting enough to include. Z-Man and Pillman were tag partners at one point. Gunn would go on to become Savatore Sincere and The Patriot II. Zenk and Gunn are both pretty-boy babyfaces, so they get they get a lot of fired up offense before Pillman and Windham decide to start cheating. Pillman sneaks in and cuts Gunn’s legs out from under him as Windham blasts him with a lariat for the win at 5:28. *
Dos Hombres are Ricky Steamboat and
The Thundercage is basically a Hell in a Cell with bars instead of fencing. This was during the period where Flair was booking, so everything is instantly more interesting than the Dusty Rhodes era. Sting destroys Rude early, so Austin tags in and fakes a knee injury. Pillman and Austin go at it as payoff for their feud, and Austin tosses Pillman’s face into the cage. Pillman bleeds and plays face-in-peril. Rude actually uses a kneedrop off the top instead of a fistdrop. MOVESET~! Pillman catches Austin with a dropkick in midair. HOT TAG TO STING! Sting and Dustin clean house, but Rude counters Dustin’s bulldog by crotching him on the top turnbuckle and then superplexing him back in. Sweeeeeeet. The match breaks down into a brawl again, and Sting presses Pillman onto Austin for the win at 14:37. This had the kind of energy and excitement that’s missing from a lot of matches these days. ***1/4
This is from the first ever Nitro in the Mall of America. We’re JIP to Lyger hitting a Kappou kick in the corner. A moonsault bodyblock gets two for Lyger, and Jushin settles into a chinlock. They botch a rana spot, but Lyger sells it anyway. Pillman gets another sloppy headscissors, but Lyger hits him with a cannonball off the apron. Steve McMichael voices some really disturbing commentary, saying, “Give it to him! Give it to him the way he likes it!” Lyger hits a rana for two but gets caught with a dropkick coming off the top. A rana off the top gets two for Lyger. Pillman comes back with the Tornado DDT for two. Lyger picks him up, but Pillman reverses to a rollup for the win at 6:48 (shown). This one doesn’t hold a candle to their earlier match, but it was quite good for its time. ***
This is about two weeks before Pillman’s infamous respect match with Kevin Sullivan so he’s in full on psycho mode. Mostly, he barks at the fans and the camera in between stalling. Malenko gets pissed off and gives him a brainbuster. Pillman comes back with the Tornado DDT but refuses to cover him. The Tiger Suplex gets two. Malenko hits his press gutbuster to a big pop and takes Pillman down with a leg sweep. They brawl near the apron where Malenko gets his foot caught in the ropes. Pillman takes advantage and knocks Malenko cold for the pin (even with Malenko’s foot in the ropes). **1/4
Pillman gets into Eddy’s head early and then bails out to argue with the fans and announcers. Eddy sends Pillman to the floor with a dropkick and threatens to dive out on top of him, so Pillman grabs Bobby Heenan and pulls him in the way. Heenan shouts “What in the fuck are you doing?!” on live TV. Heenan takes a walk before returning and apologizing. In his shoot interview, Bobby says he was watching the monitor and thought a fan was attacking him. Eddy, who is still in gutsy babyface mode, gets a few rollups in on Pillman before Brian rolls through a crossbody and grabs a handful of tights for the win at 5:58. More famous for the Heenan incident than anything in the ring. **
Owen, Anvil, and Davey Boy are handcuffed to the corners. Austin is on the verge of becoming the biggest star in wrestling history while Pillman is struggling to live up to the hype he had coming in. At this point, though, Austin is way above Pillman’s station, so it’s basically Austin squashing Pillman in between beating helpless Hart Foundation members. Austin knocks a chair back into Pillman’s face, busting his nose open. The ref gets bumped, allowing Pillman to go low and load up his fist to knock Austin out. A second ref comes in and counts two, but Owen pilfers the key from the unconscious ref and unlocks all the other members of the Hart Foundation. That makes it a four-on-one for the DQ at 8:31. Mankind, Goldust and Ken Shamrock make the save. Austin tries to jump Shamrock because he’s Austin and that’s what he does, so they get into a brawl. The Legion of Doom come down to break it up because they’re all going to be teammates at “Canadian Stampede.” Wild brawl. Goldust tries to smooth things over, but Austin says he’s only teaming with them because Gorilla Monsoon is making him. **1/2
For all of those who defend the current Raw product as the best it’s ever been, watch the previous match and tell me it’s not more interesting and energetic.
And that match sets up…
This is the pinnacle of the WWF in 1997 before all the controversy with Bret and Shawn. This is a RAUCOUS Canadian crowd to put it mildly. Austin and Bret start out with Bret beating his ass. Austin applies the Cobra Clutch, allowing Bret to work in his usual counter. This time, though, Austin lets go to avoid being pinned. Neidhart tags in but gets Thesz Pressed. Shamrock hits Anvil with a roundhouse kick and goes for the Anklelock, but Pillman blatantly breaks it up to a huge pop. Pillman tags in, knocks Shamrock down, and uses Shamrock’s hand to “tap out” for him. Hilarious stuff, especially with Pillman’s “He’s tappin’ ouuuuut!” Owen hits Goldust with an enzuigiri as the fans chant “Austin sucks!” Hawk gets a gutwrench and a splash for two, but Davey Boy tags in and powerslams him. Bret drags Goldie to the corner and ties him in the tree-of-woe. The Harts lay the boots to him as the crowd goes RABID!
Owen misses a charge, and the LOD hits the Doomsday Device. Anvil makes the save, triggering a HUGE ten-man brawl. That leads to the spot where Austin smashes a chair on Owen’s knee in between picking a fight with Bruce Hart. Austin takes a pummeling as the refs help Owen to the back. Steve gets out of trouble and drags Pillman to his corner where the Americans can get their shots in. He gives Pillman a Stunner, but Bret takes him to the corner and smashes his knee in retaliation for the Owen incident. Austin is taken to the back now, making it a four-on-four. Shamrock grabs Bret’s leg but stops to mock him, so Pillman cleans his clock with a clothesline.
The crowd turns their hostilities toward Shamrock since Austin’s not there anymore. Pillman grabs Kenny and tosses him into the Spanish announce table with a maniacal cackle. Bulldog stops a mudhole, but Shamrock goes low to draw REAL heel heat. DBS comes back with a superplex as Austin returns to the apron and gets tagged in. Bret tags in two and IT’S ON! Austin dominates early but winds up in the Sharpshooter. Animal makes the save with a clothesline and gets booed out of the building. Austin puts Bret in his own Sharpshooter, but now Owen returns and makes a save for his team. Austin and Owen take it to the floor where Bruce dumps Stu’s drink on Austin, triggering a big brawl between Austin and the retired Hart brothers. In all the excitement, Austin slips back in but makes the mistake of turning to jaw with the Harts, so Owen rolls him up with a handful of tights at 24:32. The Hart brothers jump the railing and clear the ring of the Americans until security escorts Austin to the back. Austin returns and attacks Anvil with a chair before getting SWARMED by the rest of the Foundation. Security cuffs Steve Austin and takes him to the back. Austin still manages to flip off the crowd as the Harts celebrate what is probably their last happy moment together. Easily one of the best matches in WWF history. *****
Pillman had totally deteriorated by this point. This was during the period where they let Vince Russo base everything off daytime TV, so Pillman is claiming to be the father of Goldust and Marlena’s child. Seriously, could you get more hacky than to admittedly get your storylines from Springer and Maury Povich? Thankfully, this match is significantly better than the drivel that they turned in for Summerslam. Winner gets Marlena for 30 days. Goldust flapjacks Pillman on the stairs and counters his bulldog by crotching him on the top rope. They take it to the ramp where Goldie suplexes Pillman on the ramp. Pillman takes over for some weak brawling, but Goldust tosses him from the top to the railing and lets Marlena slap him. The ref gets bumped while Goldust hits the Curtain Call. Pillman takes away Marlena’s loaded purse and blasts Goldust with it for the win and Marlena’s services at 11:07. **1/4
This is from Superbrawl II and is considered one of the great opening matches of all time. The fans aren’t quite sure what to make of Lyger as he’s a foreigner but he doesn’t do anything particularly heelish. Ross talks about Pillman voicing his strategy of keeping Lyger on the mat to counteract Lyger’s flying ability. Lyger goes him one better, though, targeting Pillman’s knee when he’s not using the high flying maneuvers. The crowd is very impressed by Lyger’s back handspring fake out and starts tilting toward him. Lyger focuses on the knee again with a kneebreaker and a figure-four leglock. Pillman gets backdropped to the floor, and Lyger comes off the top with a cannonball. Pillman returns the favor by suplexing Lyger to the floor and flying out on him with a crossbody. Back in, Pillman blocks a dive with a dropkick, and they dropkick one another. They both try spinning wheel kicks, and that doesn’t work out well either. Pillman comes off the top with a crossbody. ONE, TWO, THRE-NO! Lyger tries a rana, but Pillman rolls through for two. A DDT gets two more, and Pillman and Lyger collide mid-ring. SUPERPLEX BY LYGER! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! The diving headbutt misses, and Pillman rolls Lyger up for the win at 17:00. Time has taken some of the luster off this one, but it’s still a solid match thanks to the psychology and storytelling that put it a cut above today’s more spotty matches. ****1/4
The 411: An exhaustive look at one of the talents that never quite made it as big as he could have. Sadly, I don't think we ever scratched the surface of what Brian was capable of as he self-destructed right when the industry was becoming more accommodating for guys like him. Pretty easy thumbs up, more for the matches than the bio.
|Final Score: 8.5 [ Very Good ] legend|