Dec 30th 2017 marked the beginning of the pro wrestling career of Brian Pillman Jr. Pillman earned a victory over Johnathan Wolf in Indianapolis. The debut match of a wrestler may not seem noteworthy at first glance but there is more to the story. Pillman Jr is following in the footsteps of his father Brian Pillamn. The younger Pillman, according to his twitter page @FlyinBrianJr, has invited the world to “follow me on my journey to finish what my father started.”
Pillman Jr’s pro debut was not met with the usual fanfare that the son of a former WCW and WWF wrestler might normally garner. The younger Pillman wrestled for an independent promotion in Indianapolis. His debut did not go unnoticed as many current and former wrestling industry personnel offered support across social media.
The younger Pillman has reportedly been booked to an independent promotion called Black Label Pro. He will be a participate in the Black Label Pro Rumble according to Sports Keeda. In an interview with EWRESTLINGNEWS, Pillman Jr indicated a desire to eventually wrestle for the WWE as the final step in his “ultimate goal to follow in my father’s footsteps.”
Following In The Footsteps Of Greatness
If the name “Flyin’ Brian” sounds familiar, and it should, it’s because Brian Pillman Jr’s was also a professional wrestler. The older Pillman’s career was tragically cut short. Brian Pillman wrestled under the name “Flyin’ Brian” Pillman. “Flyin’ Brian wrestled in the now defunct WCW and the WWF. Early in his career he teamed up with Stone Cold Steve Austin as one half of the “Hollywood Blonde’s”. He also enjoyed a brief stint with Ric Flair as a member of the four horsemen according to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News.
The elder Pillman showed promise as a wrestler and showed flashes of what could have been. Many thought he would develop and realize a long and successful career. He had memorable matches against the likes of Sting, Ric Flair among others. He suffered form multiple injures both in and out of the ring. These injuries included a jeep accident which resulted in a broken ankle and a dislocated jaw.
These injuries led Pillman into a world of addiction to pills, alcohol and drugs according to Matt Hester of Bleacher Report. His potential would never be realized as his life was cut short due to an undiagnosed heart condition on October 5, 1997. Pillman had not always been using, but the fact that he did would end up affecting his heart. Heart conditions were common in wrestlers who died young from heart related issues, such as Eddie Guerrero.
However, Pillman’s was likely hereditary, as the same heart condition also affected his father and he would die from it too years prior to Brian. Due to his use of pain killers, his condition worsened faster than it did for his father. That meant that Pillman would die like his father did, but through a sped up process. This is something Pillman, Jr. may also have and need treatment to help.
Taking Over the Family Business: Notable Wrestlers Who Are Chasing the Dream
Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up most will say I want to be like my Dad, I want to do what he does. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and pro wrestling is no exception. The industry is filled with children who followed their Dad into the business with varying degrees of success. As with any industry name recognition can open doors for you but can also be a source of immense pressure.
This is by no means a comprehensive list but I have included some of the notable father- child pairings that have entered the world of professional wrestling. We have already discussed Brian Pillman and Brian Pillman Jr. There is of course Rocky Johnson and The Rock. Stu Hart and sons Brett and Owen Hart. Dusty Rhodes and sons Dustin and Cody Rhodes. Bob and Randy Orton, and also Ric and daughter Charlotte Flair. These pairings have all been successful for both the children and the parent.
The flip side of the coin is when the success does not present itself to the younger generation. This can cause stress, frustration and often the results can be tragic. Such was the case with Ric and Reid Flair. Reid passed away of an accidental drug overdose in March of 2013 according to OWW. Here’s to much future success for Brian Pillman Jr. as he embarks on his pro wrestling journey.
Until Next time:
“Leave it in the ring in 2018!“