Most second generation wrestlers are groomed to succeed in the industry from a very tender age. However, Brian Pillman Jr., the son of the late great Brian Pillman, has undertaken a rather unconventional journey, which saw him lose passion for the wrestling business for more than 20 years.
Soon after Pillman's demise in 1997, a four-year-old Pillman Jr. attended a number of memorial fundraiser shows held in his father's honor, meeting the likes of Chris Jericho, Hardy Boyz, Chris Benoit, and a host of other wrestlers who paid homage to the legacy of "The Loose Cannon".
However, Pillman Jr. admittedly failed to cultivate a love for wrestling and was subsequently kept away from the business by his mother through most of his adolescent life.
"Once the magic faded away from those memorial shows, I did not watch wrestling for a very long time. My mother was understandably bitter about my father's death, and she didn't do me any favors in trying to connect me with anyone in the business. I wanted a normal life with a college degree and a good job. Wrestling never fit into my plans," Pillman Jr. told Boston Wrestling MWF in an interview.
Turns out, Pillman Jr. wasn't "normal" after all. Despite his mother shielding him from a business which he calls "physically dangerous and taxing," Pillman Jr. finally discovered his love for wrestling in his early 20s.
"After 20 years of being a normal guy, I realized I wasn't very normal and belonged in the circus called professional wrestling," admitted Pillman Jr., who is currently under contract with MLW.
It was barely four years ago when the 26-year-old Pillman Jr. gave up his "very lucrative job in database management" to follow in the footsteps of his father.
"I hung up my keyboard and grabbed a pair of boots," chuckled Pillman Jr before acknowledging that it took him years to realize that he was always meant to perform in front of live audiences.
"I have always garnered a lot of attention the minute I walk into a room. It is a talent of mine, and I bring that same energy to every building and room," added Pillman Jr.
After training under Lance Storm in Calgary followed by a brief stint with OVW, Pillman Jr. wrestled his first publicized match on the independent circuit on Dec. 31, 2017. Barely three years into his first bout, Pillman Jr. is already viewed as a future star in the wrestling business.
During the interview, Pillman Jr. also touched upon the episode of Monday Night Raw in October 1997 which aired tribute messages for his father.
"I never had any issue with WWE for the way they handled my father's death. My father always had the mentality of the show must go on. He was very serious about suspending belief, to keep people guessing on what's real and what's not. Since I plan to give my life to the business as well, I hope my passing is also met with dramatics," he remarked.
While still under contract with MLW, Pillman Jr. has made several appearances on AEW programming, participating in the Casino Battle Royale at AEW Double or Nothing and AEW Dark. As reported earlier, Pillman Jr. explained the clause in his contract which allows him to wrestle elsewhere.
In 2021, Pillman Jr. is expected to be a highly-coveted free agent when his contract with MLW expires.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Boston Wrestling MWF with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.