Brian Pillman Jr. Talks AEW Status, Teddy Hart Docuseries, Moving On From Varsity Blonds, Wealth Of Generational Wrestlers - Exclusive

There is a generational shift going on in pro wrestling and there is one man who likes to think he's breaking out in ways his other contemporaries are not: Brian Pillman Jr.

Whether it is Dominik Mysterio or Charlotte Flair in WWE, Pillman Jr. or Brock Anderson in AEW or the freshly signed Billington Brothers in MLW, it would seem the business is ripe with the offspring of legends trying to make a name for themselves. This Sunday, Pillman Jr. will get another chance to prove he is the top of the mountain when it comes to pro wrestlers with the business in their blood when he takes on Kerry Morton at Big Time Wrestling: Return Of The Dragon this Sunday. The event will be streamed on FITE.


In this exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman, Pillman Jr. discusses the big match this weekend, his AEW status, the changing AEW landscape, Peacock's "Dangerous Breed" docuseries about Teddy Hart, and more!

A Generational Race To The Top

Nick Hausman: You're taking on Kerry Morton this Sunday. What percentage of matches these days would you say involves you and another generational talent?

Brian Pillman Jr.: Oh, it's a lot. Yeah. Definitely, living the gimmick. Yeah. Me and Kerry have worked a bunch of times now.


Is there any kind of divide in the locker room with the generational guys or no? Does any of the talent care?

I give a s***.

Okay. It's like a lot of generational talent right now. I just saw the Billington Brothers just signed with MLW.

Yeah. It's definitely a prime era for that. There's a lot of young guys that are doing really good. Are we on the record now or are we-

Yeah, we're talking. You can say whatever you want right now.

I don't think any of them hold a candle to what I've been doing and the work that I've put in. But they're working their way up. I think there's a little bit of a misconception that all these guys are talented, and people might overlook Brian Pillman Jr. and the work that he's put in and how he's gone out, and grinded his ass on the indies, and tore through the pandemic and earned a spot at AEW.


There's not any problems. It's just, these guys need to know who's been f***ing paving the way for them, because I didn't have my dad holding my hand. You know what I mean?


I went out there and did all this s*** on my own volition. I quit my comfortable desk job at a Fortune 50 company to chase a career in pro wrestling. Nobody asked me, nobody tapped me on the shoulder, nobody bothered to reach out to me to get into wrestling. I did it all on my own. I went and trained with the best trainer in the world, Lance Storm, at the Calgary Storm Wrestling Academy. There's a distinct advantage I have over all of these second generation wrestlers, right? That said, nobody's holding my hand, so no matter how many reps or how hard they try, they'll never be able to simulate the adversity that I face getting into this business or in my entire life without my father.

When it comes to the grit and the determination and just how sick of a person you have to be to succeed in this business, these kids don't hold a candle to me, whether that's Hook or Austin or Colton, even my own adversary, Brock and Kerry. Unfortunately, they'll never be as good as I am because I've been through more s***.

Hungry For His Spot

Do you feel overlooked at the moment, Brian? I kind of get that vibe from the way you were talking.

It's definitely a lot of hunger right now. I'm hungry for a spot back on TV. I'm hungry for the respect that I once had. It used to be all, "He's the young up and comer. He's got all the potential in the world. He's got the look. He's got everything." And then, people, just a few won, too many angles aren't booked in my favor. And all of a sudden, I'm some jobber. People forget that. I wrestled Nick Aldis for the NWA Heavyweight title. I was a super indie champion, Warrior Wrestling champion.


I was in the main event picture in the early stages of AEW. I wrestled for the TNT title. Me and Griff wrestled for the tag titles and a four star match against The Young Bucks.

There's a lot of stuff that went through the pandemic unnoticed. You know what I mean? Because we didn't have the fans and everything. And unfortunately, for me and Griff, that was our time to really shine because that's when we had our spot. We were getting used a lot. We were working hard. We were really cutting our teeth on this next level of pro wrestling. But when I step into a ring with a Kerry Morton or a guy like that, another second generation wrestler, I have nothing but respect and understanding for what they've gone through and how the business has affected their lives.


But there is a certain element that I'm on a different level than they are at, and I think a lot of those guys, a lot of the younger ones actually respect me and ask me for advice and stuff. When Cody was around, I always went to Cody for advice on things, on what I can do to separate myself. And Cody has a unique story and a unique perspective on stuff.

I think that's an exciting time for wrestling, but I do think that it is a time that I'm using to separate myself from the average guy. I've been taking every opportunity I can get lately, whether that's on the indies or at AEW. Whatever they give me, I've been knocking it out of the park. I'm on a different level right now. Yeah.

AEW Status

Couple of questions, real quick, because we're talking about your AEW stuff right now. What is your status? Are you still under the same deal or did they change your deal when the three-year deal mark came up or anything like that?


No marks have come up yet.

Okay. So, you're still under the same deal? What's with the change in creative? Because I saw the tweet... I think it was back in August, after the tag match on Dynamite where you didn't even get tagged in and it didn't seem like... You obviously are thrilled with the creative you're being handed at the moment?

That's just the nature of the beast. We all want stuff to happen right away. But they did sign me and Griff to some lucrative longer deals, so it's not like there isn't food on the table, but there comes a certain aspect where you start to get hungry for more and you want to get back in the spotlight, and I think that's...

I didn't get into wrestling just to take a paycheck and to sit at home. I got into wrestling, for the most part, to tell my story and to finish telling my father's story, and to bring him pride, and to keep his last name in the picture. And if I'm not in the picture right now, then that means I'm not doing him as proud as I could. I could be doing it a lot better for the Pillman name right now, as far as keeping the name relevant.


It's pretty much every day that I'm not on TV as a day that I'm taking radical change towards that. You know what I mean? I'm trying to change myself physically, mentally, and in the ring, and everything. It just makes me work harder when they don't use me. And I think it's just the nature of the beast, right? You got a lot of guys that work there, a lot of talented people.

The reason I've gotten to the level I'm on is because I've gotten to work with a lot of these older guys and they've taught me and s***. It's a very good system. There's a lot of good communication now with rotating guys on and off, so no complaints at all. It's just that, I've got a lot of motivation. I got a big chip in my shoulder.

And just frankly, I'm just not going to let guys to overlook the fact of the experience that I have, the amount of matches I have, the people I've been in there with. It's a list I hold in high regard. And a lot of my work, I'm just starting to take more pride in because no one else will for you. You know what I mean? No one else is going to give you that push. You got to kind of push yourself sometimes.

Ditching The Jock Image

Do you mind me asking, when is your AEW deal up?

A few more years or so.

You got a couple of more years? Okay. You guys are now the Blonds, right? You're no longer the Varsity Blonds. There's been a name change, I believe. I think the last matches you guys had like a month ago on Dark. Do you see this right now as a chance to reinvent yourself? Do you feel like the table's being reset right now, and you're trying to find whatever that new thing is, that you can kind of cling to and run with in AEW?


Yeah. I mean, I know who I am and I'm going to start being me, whether or not that lines up with the creative of the company. I hope it does. But in the current moment, while we're not in any specific angle or storyline, we're just going to be me. We're going to be the Blonds and we're going to go for more of a creative vision of how I see myself and as a star, and not just some jock, some rowdy f***ing varsity jock.


Because me and Griff are stars. It's the bottom line. We're two of the best looking guys on the roster. We're in incredible shape. Chris is an incredible athlete. I never have to second guess where he's at or what he's doing in the ring. We're a well-oiled machine and we've been tagging for almost three years now. I mean, we did a whole year with AEW during the pandemic unsigned.


Our first year, we were completely unsigned athletes. And then, we did a whole year as signed athletes, and now we're going into our... We're in our third year now, and we'll be there three years in July.

People forget the experience that we have, the people we've wrestled, the top tag teams in the world, FTR, Young Bucks... And Griff's a real heater. Griff's an incredible, incredible athlete. His only thing is he's young, so he might not be as urgent and excited as I am for every little thing because I'm 29-years-old. Anytime I get in the ring, it's f***ing WrestleMania. You know what I mean? I've got to make a moment and I've got to get myself over, I've got to get him over, and then, hopefully, join into a faction at some point in the near future. We got some eyes set on some guys.

The Backstage AEW Vibe

How has the vibe changed in the past couple of months, Brian? I mean, there's been a lot of change in leadership, and there's obviously been a lot of stuff that came out at AEW All Out and things like that. How have things changed here in the past couple of months for the company?


I was just recently there for the Cincinnati show, and I think things are great. I mean, that's just coming from me. I've always been big supporters of the Young Bucks and stuff, and I [hadn't] exactly had a problem with Punk either, so it kind of caught me off guard when a bunch of guys that I look up to and respect, decided they wanted to get in a little tussle.


But it is what it is. That's sort of just how egos collide. And I guess, I would go as far as to say that it probably wouldn't happen with any other performer other than Punk. I think he's just a unique kind of guy that...

Well, he's kind of like your dad, right? A lot of people kind of compare him to...

Yeah, he's kind of... Yeah. Yeah. He's kind of got that loose cannon in him. He's got that dog in him.


Sure. Okay. Fair enough.

But no. I mean, at the end of the day, it's not 1997 anymore. Punk's got a old school mentality. I think at the WWE, and maybe, perhaps, during those years coming up there, that would've been a solution. That would've been acceptable. Sticking up for whatever you believe in. I mean, who knows what was going through his head? Whatever. But that's just not the culture at AEW. That's not how we work. That's not how the company was founded.

And to be frank, I came to AEW because of Cody and the Young Bucks and Kenny. I mean, it's a hundred percent why I went there. I really liked those guys. I believed in those guys. Sorry, Chris Jericho, too. Jericho, Kenny, Russell, Kingdom, Cody doing his thing, the Bucks, everything, the Revolution. It all started because of these guys. These guys literally created the company. Call them presidents, call them founders, call them whatever the hell you want, call them the tag champs. I don't know. But they are the reason that AEW exists, right?

Sure. Yeah, and I know.

Why are you going to bite the hand that feeds you? You know what I mean? Why are you going to shoot yourself in the foot? If Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson were like, "Look, we're going to go out there and it's just going to be a f***ing circus, guys. We're just going to do a bunch of f***ing s***. We're all going to dress up like clowns, and everybody's making half a million dollars." Guess what? I'm going out there dressed like a clown.


I don't give a f***. These guys built the business. They built the brand and the style of wrestling. A lot of people compare my style to Kenny. I'm sorry. I f***ing watched too many hundreds of hours of that motherf*cker and him wrestle.

There's that explosive elite style that is what created AEW that the Young Bucks and Kenny created, that people simulate and emulate on the indies and stuff. And God forbid, if I'm not going to emulate that style because those are my heroes, those are the guys I look up to, and that's just how I trained. Kenny has a lot of Canadian wrestling influence too, and I was trained Canadian style as well. So, sorry everybody. For everybody that wants to call me a Kenny Omega bootleg version.

Teddy Hart

Well, you bring up that Canadian style. And while I have you, Brian, I got to bring this up. I started my day-to-day watching the final episode of this "Dangerous Breed" docuseries about Teddy. Teddy Hart. Now...


I plead the fifth. 

Maybe best here. But we've both worked with Teddy, you a lot more closely with Teddy than I did. But I've spent time around Teddy too, and I know Teddy is a very large, erratic character. What do you think about the stuff that's being alleged against Teddy? And the way that this is all being framed right now with the docuseries and everything. Do you have any thoughts on it?

I haven't watched it yet, but I'm sure it's all true because he's got a lot of dirt on him.

Are you still in touch with Teddy or no? 

No. To be fair, I kind of just stopped communicating with him and I kind of cut him off quite a while ago, over a year, at least two years ago. And most people have commended that decision. They said, "You're smart for doing that." I love them to death. Of course, I love the Hart family and they've done so good by me. We've been having some great shows up in Calgary.


But Teddy is sort of the big elephant in the room when it comes to the family and everything. And I've just made it abundantly clear to everybody that I don't associate with him anymore, just based off of my experiences with him in MLW. I've made these decisions long before the documentary came out, right? I wanted to separate myself from Teddy. And hoped that he would get help. I just didn't want to keep his wrestling going. I didn't want to keep getting him booked and keep having him a part of my stable, if he's just going to be Teddy, right? And if he ever grew up and became someone else and cleaned his act up, then there'd be potential to see him again. But he's not somebody that I want to deal with.

No, and you have every right. It's not like I'm communicating with Teddy.

Yeah. As far as the documentary goes, they didn't interview me for it. I mean, I had a short time around him, this MLW. There's not much I could say other than, look at him. You know what I mean? You've seen everything he does, his lifestyle, his eccentric attitude.

I'll tell you what. It was a lot of fun to be around him, but he taught me a lot about what not to do. Everybody's a lesson, right? In your life.

And I think we're happy to hear that, Brian. I just want to ask you about it because it's literally fresh. I'm sure you're going to hear about it. The thing came out yesterday and it's... Dude... It's wild, man. I have a wife now. I got married not long ago, but I go, "Liz, did you ever meet Teddy Hart?" She's like, "Oh, yeah. He had the cat at that MLW show." And I was like, "Yeah. Let me show you something here." And I put on the trailer for it, and she was like, "Oh my God."


Yeah. I've got some stories, but those are stories best left for a locker room setting.

Looking Ahead To 2023

We're wrapping up 2022. I'm heartened to hear that you kind of see yourself at a reinvention phase right now. I think the transition out of the Varsity Blonds into the Blonds, it's all very fresh right now. What can people expect from you in 2023, Brian?


What do you expect? They stole the girl from us. We lost the girl. What do they do next. They f***ing trademarked the name Varsity. I had a lot of s*** happen in my life recently. My mother passed away.

We had the program with the House of Black where they just kick their asses and took our girl. MJF defeated me at Arthur Ashe. All these failures have piled up to the point where I've just had enough. I've had enough of it. I'm tired of playing a good guy, generic f***ing baby face wrestler. I'm tired of being that guy. It's not who I am.

To be quite honest, I'm kind of a piece of s***, and I think Griff is too. And I think Griff and I are going to start turning that edge up on guys, and we're going to start eating guys up in the ring, and start showing them that we're on a different level than they are. Because I think us, just being kind, and polite, and easy going, and yes or no sir, kind of just doing whatever and having fun with it, has given people the wrong idea that we're not like these main event machines, because that's what we are. We are absolute athletic powerhouses and we're going to be going for those tag titles like we always have been going.


I think The Acclaimed are great. They have a wonderful act. The crowd loves them. But when you put a couple of guys in there that aren't concerned with being loved, that aren't concerned with getting over with the crowd, we're literally just concerned with beating the s*** out of you and taking your titles. Then, you remove all that distraction, then you have an uphill battle to climb.

So, I think that we would be a good match going up against The Acclaimed. I think it would be a good dynamic. And I think people are going to start to see that the Blonds are a couple of television stars.