Brian Pillman Jr On Finding His Own Identity, Sitting Under The Learning Tree & Being A Good Judge Of Character

Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

Brian Pillman Jr. was one of the three guests on the newest episode of Total Engagement with Matt Koon and in the fist part of the interview, the relative rookie of the wrestling world talks about his growth as his own wrestling persona separate from his famous father, the vast amount of learning trees he sat under, and how he’s always learning, but is always confident. Quotes are below:

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo for Wrestlezone.com)

Brian Pillman Jr. on becoming his own identity separate from his father “Flyin'” Brian Pillman:

Oh yeah, it’s one thing when you got all the older fans and the people, “Oh, I watched your dad, this, that and the other,” but it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame when like young kids are looking up to you and kids are mimicking your persona and the things your body language in the ring. It’s one of those things where I am connecting with new fans, I am generating my own personality in the ring and I’m not trying to be my father at this point. I never was trying to be him, you know? There’s some things that are similar and some of the older fans are gonna, “Oh, your dad did that the same way, you know,” but at some point in my career and I can’t pinpoint exactly when but at some point I started garnering, and I gotta thank MLW for letting me work in front of the camera and letting me do promos and segments and stuff cause that’s where I can really be me. That’s what I’ve really been a natural at is so much at the promos and stuff, and now I can finally say in the ring I’m finally coming into my own. A lot of fans from a lot of different demographics and age groups are on the train, they’re on the bus with me, we’re gonna take that bus all the way it it stops at the top, you know?

On knowing wrestlers that are genuine with giving feedback and those who are just trying to get a “rub”:

Some people that are genuinely trying to help me get better are still watching my matches and still giving me feedback so you know what I mean? There’s always the guys that want to get the rub for acting like the good guy, “Oh, I watched his match and I gave him feedback,’ and then you got guys like Rich Swann and Andrew Everett who they watch everybody’s matches and they give people feedback because they care, not because they want to say that they helped Pillman’s kid. There’s certain guys that stick with you and keep giving you advice. Guys like Tommy Dreamer that have helped me so much, tremendously in my career. I got to thank him a ton.

On being a good judge of character and always being on your game:

Well that’s the thing, you really never know. I think I’ve had a great judge of character since I’ve started, just cause I kind of grew up with street smarts and stuff like that, so I’ve pretty much always known. Some characters are harder to read than others, specifically once you get up into the upper echelons of the independent wrestling stars and you got this big names are showing up. Like I was booked on a few shows this year that I had no idea that like Cody and Hangman and The Bucks were just gonna show up randomly. So it’s like the promoter worked all of us, you know? None of the boys knew they were coming up, making a surprise thing. Then you find yourself in that environment and you know you’re wanting to put on a good show cause you might want to impress the AEW guys and hopefully get a chance at AEW. So then all of a sudden you’re changing up your demeanor and stuff and then you gotta ask yourself, “I should be this professional at every show. I should be pushing myself at every show, but like I said, you get into your comfort zone sometimes when you’re working with the same guys all the time and then you get on the show with some bigger names and that takes you out of your comfort zone, you might say some stupid things that you shouldn’t have said, you know?

So you’re just trying to have fun, but at the same time it’s the wild wild west. It’s the independent scene and guys are out here to get over and have fun, but at the end of the day we don’t have any corporate guidelines, we don’t have anybody telling us what to do, you know? So you just try your best to please the promoter and of course please the fans. The fans are definitely your first line of command. The fans will determine your fate, right? So you wanna please the fans first, the promoter second and then hopefully impress some of the boys too that way you’ll maybe get booked for one of their promotions. So many wrestlers have promotions now too, so you’re really wrestling for them as well because maybe they’re “Oh, I love your work.” They see you in the locker room and you might want to work for them too. So you’re always under pressure, and gosh, I’ve been under pressure since my first frickin’ match, you know? At this point I’m just used to it and even if I have a bad match I’ll shrug it off. Oh, you know, you’ll have a bad one sometimes cause you don’t want people to see you sweat. You don’t want people to see through you and that’s the thing. I’ve always had a very strong confidence and sometimes that confidence rubs people the wrong way and sometimes it gets me in trouble, but I’ll never change who I am cause I know where I’m headed.

On when the hand shaking gets a little out-of-hand:

Yeah, you know, it’s like, Lance [Storm] was the same way and I’m starting to be the same way, the hand shaking is f—in’, it’s a little ridiculous. It gets a little out of hand. I’ll say this – if it’s a new promotion and I’m coming up and I don’t know anybody, then hell yeah, I’m gonna shake everybody’s freakin’ hand in that building, but if I’ve worked there every week since I’ve started wrestling, and I know everybody’s name, and their middle name and their grandma’s name and we work together every freaking week, you do not need to shake my hand when you come in the building. But we got lots of young guys that they come in, they feel like they gotta shake your hand every freaking week. I’m not naming any names, but there comes a time when there’s hand shaking – we’re okay, we’re good. You don’t need to shake my hand every damn day.

On still being a rookie, but still finding himself being asked for advice:

You know it sucks cause like I still am. I’m still very new to the business, I’m still learning so much, but I can’t sit here and lie and say I haven’t been under some very impressive learning trees. I have learned a lot in a short amount of time, I don’t want to get cocky. And when people ask me for advice, honestly I’m like very humbled cause I’m like “Really? You’re asking me for advice?” Sometimes it’s people who have wrestled longer than me. I’m just like, I’m humbled to think that some people are very impressed with my work and they actually see how comfortable I am in that ring and how I can really work a crowd cause a lot of these guys are vry crisp in the ring, they are very solid on their times and their timing, but they’re not that comfortable in front of people and they can’t really work a crowd like I can so at least there’s something I can offer a little bit of expertise and I do love talking to people and I do love sharing what I’ve learned from Lance Storm, what I’ve learned from Rip Rogers and being on a show this of course this past weekend with Jim Cornette makes the second time I’ve worked with Jim so you got guys like that in your ear. I’m not gonna sit here and act and play dumb, like I don’t know about wrestling when I do, you know, but I’m also not going to pretend I know it all, you know what I’m saying?

Listen to the full podcast below:

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