What Didn’t You Understand About The Brian Pillman/Steve Austin Gun Angle?

Brian Pillman was interviewed by Kevin Kelly during the infamous angle with Steve Austin

Nah, brah, I’m not passing the buck. This baby WAS NOT MINE. However, I was told about it before it happened so I will walk you through the history of my non-involvement in this.

Wait a minute.


Actually, I think I was VERY INVOLVED. The truth is that it was my “new” look of the wrestling business at the time that I’m CERTAIN inspired this angle, even though I did not come up with it, write it, or produce it.

Man, you have to remember, at the time we are coming of some of the most forgettable angles and characters of ALL-TIME. TL Hopper, Freddie Joe Floyd, the Goon, Mantaur, WHO – those were the STARS of the “PRE-ATTITUDE ERA” Era. Just horrible, horrible creative, courtesy of the ‘dream team’ of Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson and Bruce Prichard at the time. And, no, I’m not making ANY EXCUSE for ANY of them—this period of the WWF was HORRIFFIC!!!

At this time I’m on the “outskirts” of the creative brass, just listening, learning and pretty much keeping my mouth shut. Prichard was acting as my “mentor” at the time, only for me to soon understand and realize that it was more a case of “friends close—enemies closer”.

So one day, sitting in my office, minding my own, Bruce walks in with a purpose and tells me that I’ve “got to watch ‘RAW’ this week”, because at the time I WASN’T watching it weekly because it was so god-awful. Now, if Bruce wants me to sit through a show that I know is going to suck before I even watch it—then he’d better have a good reason.

It was there where Bruce laid out the Brian Pillman/Steve Austin gun angle. Being that this angle was so different and cutting edge, I know that Bruce was looking intently for my first knee-jerk reaction. Now, if I’m being completely honest, I was absolutely speechless for a moment. I didn’t know what to say. This angle was just so different from ANYTHING ever concocted in the ‘bubble’ before. I remember telling Bruce that there was going to be CALLS OFF THE HOOK at both the company AND USA Network.

This was absolutely SHOCKING to me at the time and that’s why I really didn’t know what to think. I was SO caught off guard. You’re going to go with a guy wearing a BUFFALO HEAD out of papier-mâché to THIS—with no forewarning—NOTHING?!!!

SIDE NOTE: I was there when Mantaur debuted. As he made his way down the aisle and up on the ring apron, I knew there was NO WAY that HUGE, GIGANTIC, AWKWARD, MASSIVE, BULKY HEAD was going to make it through the ring ropes. Did anybody think about this beforehand? Well, the head DID NOT make it through, and Mantaur was forced to take his gimmick off before he even made it into the ring… on his DEBUT!!!

Kevin Kelly reporting live from Brian Pillman's home

Man, this REAKED of total desperation. Once Bruce left my office I then allowed it to REALLY sink in. After a while I realized–you know what—this was a GOOD IDEA. Maybe the presentation was a bit shocking, and it came out of nowhere, with no explanation, but—this was the direction the company NEEDED to go in. This was “real”, it was “dangerous” and good, bad, or indifferent people were going to be talking about it the next day. Personally, I would have built it for a few weeks, to lessen the blow a bit, but either way… IT HAD TO BE DONE.

So yeah, I’ll definitely give them credit here—especially Bruce. With hindsight being 20/20, this was truly ahead of its time.

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