Alan Wojcik interviews author of the new Brian Pillman chronicle book, Crazy Like A Fox”, Liam O’Rourke. Get O’Rourke’s new book at on www.amazon.com in North America and the UK.
Below is a review of Crazy Like A Fox, reviewed by Alan Wojcik.
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“The intricate detail of Brian’s wrestling career is the major star of Mr. O’Rourke’s writing.”
CM Punk’s “pipe bomb” promo, the Montreal Screwjob, “Broken” or “Woken” Matt Hardy, Bray Wyatt, “the Demon King” Finn Balor. All these events and character creations occurred after the tragic passing of BRIAN PILLMAN on October 5, 1997 in a Minnesota hotel room. Just imagine if his heart had not given out from drug abuse, what the former “Flyin’ Brian” AKA “the Loose Cannon” would be doing in wrestling today. Brian has been gone now twenty years and his legacy is remembered fondly by author LIAM O’ROURKE in his biography “CRAZY LIKE A FOX: THE DEFINITIVE CHRONICLE OF BRIAN PILLMAN, 20 YEARS LATER ($16.99, 309pp, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).
If you watched the WWE’s DVD release on Pillman released in 2006, many of the bare bones of Mr. O’Rourke’s book are familiar. He covers Brian’s battle with vocal cord nodules that gave him the raspy voice we all remember and his rough child hood. Brian’s legendary battles to play high school and college football at nose tackle at the diminutive size (Pillman grew to 5’10”) where he earned many awards and accolades are also covered in great detail. We also get insight into his short stint in the NFL with his hometown Cincinnati Bengals where he met lifelong friend Kim Wood who would help Brian make the transition from the grid iron to the Hart Family dungeon in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The intricate detail of Brian’s wrestling career is the major star of Mr. O’Rourke’s writing as he covers the journey from Calgary (Stampede Wrestling) to the NWA/WCW (World Championship Wrestling) to the WWF (now called World Wrestling Entertainment.) To help us on the journey, Mr. O’Rourke interviewed Raven (who worked in WCW as Scotty Flamingo), Kim Wood, journalist Dave Meltzer, radio personality Mark Madden, Bruce Hart and others who were there for the fun. They cover Pillman’s arrival as “Flyin’ Brian” and his struggles to shine despite the horrendous creative decisions made by NWA/WCW personnel. My favorite part includes how the Hollywood Blondes with “Stunning” Steve Austin was conceived and eventually destroyed.
Also outlined in intrinsic detail is how Kim Wood and Brian came up the infamous “Loose Cannon” that was the talk of the wrestling industry for several years. Even a lifelong fan like me didn’t know some of the story and I loved every page. The story nearly ended for Brian once before his passing, when he nearly died in a car accident near his Walton, Kentucky home. Despite having his ankle fused limiting his in-ring mobility, Pillman signed with WWF and became a star right up until he went to sleep in Minnesota on October 4, 1997. Fans of the pre-attitude era WWF will enjoy the infamous Pillman-Austin 9MM incident broken down by Mr. O’Rourke.
The only flaw in the book is Brian’s personal life and children are not featured enough. They do take up the last chapters after Brian’s passing and you will be brought to near tears when you read how Brian’s widow Melanie treated Brian’s kids after his passing. For more thoughts from Liam, follow him on www.Twitter.com/LiamORourke86 .