Brian C. Hildebrand grew up a few miles down the road from me in Reserve Township.
Nobody ever loved professional wrestling more than Brian.
Brian learned the business, training at the great Dominic DeNucci’s wrestling school in a class that also included Mick Foley and Shane Douglas. Brian was terrific in the ring, but was only 5-foot-6, 145 pounds. Tiny. Brian occasionally wrestled as a Ninja Turtle.
Despite his size, Brian was going to be involved. For a while, he was a manager. But then he found his calling: Refereeing.
Brian (ring name Mark Curtis) got to the big time as a ref for World Championship Wrestling, where we worked together. Two Reserve Township kids.
Brian quickly became known as one of wrestling’s best referees. He added so much with his poise, quickness, athleticism and facial expressions.
And Brian was no one to ***k with when ***t got real, as a fan found out when he hit the ring on the Sept. 9, 1997 edition of WCW Monday Nitro.
Knee to the face, guillotine choke. After that, Brian was called “The Shooter.”
Brian died of stomach cancer on Sept. 8, 1999. If you knew him, you miss him. A true credit to the profession he loved.