Mark Madden

Mark Madden

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Brian Pillman died 20 years ago today. It remains one of the most profound losses I’ve experienced. “The Loose Cannon” was a close friend and confidant, and a big part of him lives on in the way I do my radio program.

Had Brian lived, he’d doubtless be a huge participant in wrestling’s creative process. Wrestling could certainly use a mad scientist right now.

Brian’s son, Brian Jr., is 23 and the spitting image of his father. He’s training at Lance Storm’s wrestling school in Calgary…Alberta, Canada. No one is a better teacher than Lance, and I’m certainly rooting hard for Brian Jr.

Here’s my Brian Pillman/Super Bowl XXX story. It never gets old.

I was covering Super Bowl XXX – Dallas vs. the Steelers – for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Brian was between companies, having conned his way out of WCW by way of building his brand through multi-promotional insanity and a vague promise to come back. (He didn’t. He signed with WWE in June, 1996.)

Brian called me up. At 2 a.m., like always.

Brian: “Hey, you have a press pass for the Super Bowl, right?”

Me: “Uh…yeah. Why?”

Brian: “Here’s the plan. You give me your press pass. I use it to get into the game. I run onto the field during the game and chain myself to the goalpost. It’ll be on TV everywhere.”

Me: “OK, but…here’s the problem. Then I can’t get in. I can’t cover the game. I’ll get fired, and probably never work in my profession again.”

Brian, after a long pause: “Look, I can’t be the only one making sacrifices.”

If I had it to do over again, I'd have given Brian the press pass.

Brian Pillman, RIP. Here’s his take on my least-favorite city, Philadelphia:

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