Sunday, August 5, 2007

Peformer Analysis: Brian Pillman

Pillman is from Cincinnati, OH (where I hail from) and even went to school at Miami University(where I went to school, too.) He had a throat affliction called polyops that put him in the hopsital 30 times as a young kid, but he never gave up. He was a walk on at Miami and made All-American teams twice, then without being drafted, made squad on the Cincinnati Bengals as a nose guard. Pillman then went through the toughest wrestling school in the last 30 years at the Hart Dungeon and gained his professional training. Although he died tragically, only after eleven years in the business, he is still remembered fondly by all who knew or watched him perform. This is his analysis.

1) Innovation- 10/10- Springboards.
Flying body presses. Air Pillman. He revolutionized and objectified highflying wrestling more than anyone in the US scene until that time. He was the biggest small man to become a star over night in NWA and it was his determination and amazing high flying that took him there. That alone is enough to warrant a high score. But after he became severly injured around '95, Pillman created his "Loose Cannon" persona and again, changed the landscape of wrestling single handedly.

2) Conditioning- 7/10-
During the fist half of his career, Pillman looked in great shape and his athletic prowess showed it. He was a fiend in the gym and had great stamina. As his years wound on, and injuries piled up, his conditioning became half of what it once was. Pillman still went above and beyond his capacity, but his body couldn't do the things he wanted it to. He turned to pain medicine and also suffered a career ending car wreck, which to anyone else would have finished them off for good, but Pillman rebounded and still performed in ring.

3) Skill- 7/10-
During his younger years, Pillman honed his skills and developed a ring style that worked for him and was fun to watch. He worked all the top stars of NWA during the first half of the 90's and succeeded admirably against them, providing great matches. After his injury and car accident, Pillman's ring work was cut in half and his mobility was severly severed. Most matches, he barely did anything but play to the crowd. But, he could bump and still did all the way up until the end of his career.

4) Psychology- 10/10-
No one could get in your head like Brian Pillman. He put everyone on edge during his "Loose Cannon" days. His erratic behaivor in and out of the ring threw off friends, family, reporters, everyone that was around him; he actually seemed to be "living his gimmick." He had his opponents thrown off even before they got to the ring. When he walked out on Kevin Sullivan during that famous match and uttered the words, "I respect you, booker man," that proved that there was no length Pillman wouldn't go to, in or out of the ring. In ECW, he threatened to pull out his manhood and piss all over the ring, and some (as told on the feature) swore that they saw him do it. His in ring work and psych was just as crazy. His facials showed extreme pain at all times, except when he was on the offensive. You couldn't see behind his eyes because they were bulging out of his head and he was smiling whenever inflicting damage on an opponent.

5) Interviews- 7/10-
Pillman was never afraid of being in front of the camera. He cut a lot of promos very early on in his career, despite his voice not sounding as clear as most. He showed a lot of passion and character during his face run in WCW on the mic. When he became a Hollywood Blond, he showed a different side with more fire and a witty side. Then, when he became "The Loose Cannon", it all went out the window. Even if the content of his promos wasn't good, no one noticed because everyone was too concerned with what he was actually going to say. But, nonetheless, keeping in character, Pillman was liable to say anything and everything and it was usually entertaining.

6) Character- 10/10-
"The Loose Cannon." It's a one of a kind in this business and that is rare. No one will be able to pull this off again, for one reason, is that it will always be compared to Pillman and called a complete rip off. Another is that who could possibly do what he did: he had every major wrestling company in the world wanting him and the guy was basically a cripple, but he was turning heads and making ratings and keeping everyone guessing. He was a leged years before he should have ever been one and all because of the idea of that character.

7) Basics- 10/10-
Pillman knew his stuff; he came from the Hart Family Wrestling School, so you know he was well versed in the mat game, but he didn't hide it. Even though he is known for his high flying style, if you go back and watch his old matches, you'll see tons of mat work. Pillman had some matches that weren't high risk at all, but some very basic wrestling matches. His chops rival Flairs, and if you don't believe me, go back and watch the matches from his DVD release. He Kept great pace and could go with anyone. Pillman knew his stuff.

8) Fans- 8/10-
As a face, he was cheered and for a consistent amount of years. He wasn't just a flash in the pan like a lot of young, good looking faces. But, keep in mind, unlike most of those guys, he could wrestle and he did it damn wel. Then, as a heel, both as Hollywood Blonde and Four Horsemen, he was booed and jeered appropriately. I think there were quite a few people that still cheered him as the Loose Cannon because the gimmick was so original and cutting edge, it was hard not to get into it, but no matter how "cool" it became, he stayed heel and always found another reaons ot make the fans hate him.

9) Feuds/ Opponents- 7/10-
While Pillman has had his share of great feuds, there weren't that many that set the world on fire. But don't take away the fact that he worked extensive programs with Jushin Liger, Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, Steve Austin, Goldust, and several others. And as evidenced on his DVD, he has competed in several different big matches, including War Games and excelled in those arenas.

10) Gutcheck- 10/10-
this is the easiest score to give out for Brian Pillman. His whole life is about guts. Everything he accomplished before his death was about his guts and his heart and he displayed them every time he went out to the ring. I believe he truly loved the wrestling business and that could be why he became so enraptured with it during his last few years and became his character. Even before he entered wrestling, the odds were against him. First, his polyops, then his size, his lack of scholarships or respect on the gridiron and earning his stripes the hard way in the wrestling business. Brian Pillman becoming a success was a gutcheck in it's own right.

Score: 86
Ranking: Legend
PO: Thumbs Up

No comments: