The Tragic Death of WCW and WWE Star Flyin’ Brian Pillman

Flyin’ Brian Pillman was one of the most electric personalities in wrestling during his time in WCW and WWE. He had the athleticism and personality to captivate fans, and it ultimately helped him have an alliance with the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin. Unfortunately, though, Pillman died at a young age. His legacy, however, still lives on.

Flyin’ Brian Pillman was an extremely entertaining wrestler

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According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Pillman played professional football for three years. The last stop of his pro career was with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. However, Pillman chose to stay in Calgary to learn more about wrestling from Stu Hart.

Pillman then launched his wrestling career in Stampede Wrestling, according to his WWE bio. He won two tag team championships with Bruce Hart there before he ultimately joined WCW in 1989.

Pillman then really became a star in WCW, as he ended up earning the nickname Flyin’ Brian. He also ultimately formed an alliance with Stone Cold Steve Austin, previously known as “Stunning” Steve Austin, which really impacted his legacy. The dominant duo, known as the Hollywood Blondes, even won a WCW Tag Team Championship together.

Pillman’s personality was captivating. However, after “revealing confidential information about WCW’s management,” he lost his job, according to his WWE bio. This then led to him joining WWE in 1996.

It was there where he joined The Hart Foundation and had a rivalry with his former partner, Austin.

Sadly, though, Pillman’s WWE career didn’t last very long as he died in 1997.

He tragically died at 35 years old

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According to Bleacher Report, Pillman died of a heart condition at only 35 years old in 1997. He was found in his hotel room.

Despite not being in WWE for very long, he still had a massive impact on the sport.

“He is remembered as one of the most influential Superstars of the 1990s,” his WWE bio reads. “His high-flying abilities paved the way for future competitors and his development into an impulsive personality was integral in ushering in WWE’s Attitude era.”

Additionally, Bleacher Report’s Erik Beaston remembered Pillman as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. However, he noted how serious injuries that Pillman suffered in a car crash prior to his WWE debut kept him from showing WWE fans how great he really was.

“He was flying around the ring before it was cool and he became controversial and cool just before the Attitude Era kicked off, a period of time in WWE history in which he could have easily become one of the biggest, most successful stars,” Beaston wrote in 2013. “One of the best wrestlers in the world during his time with WCW, it was a shame that his automobile accident did the extensive damage it did to his health, preventing a new audience in WWE fans from seeing just how truly great he was.”

Brian Pillman’s legacy still lives on

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Brian Pillman’s son, Brian Pillman Jr., was just a kid when his father died. However, he is now following in his dad’s footsteps. After playing lacrosse at Mount St. Joseph University and then earning a degree at Northern Kentucky University, Pillman Jr. now competes in All Elite Wrestling.

“It’s a shame I can’t form my own opinion on Brian Pillman,” Pillman Jr. said in 2019, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I can only go based off of the myths and the legends that I’ve heard and stuff like that, so it’s kinda interesting to be following in that kinda shadow of one that you’re never too certain of if you should even be following.”

While Brian Pillman is sadly gone, his legacy still lives on.