WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has reflected on the tragedy of Brian Pillman’s untimely death in 1997 and how he found out about it.
On October 5th, 1997, WWE held the In Your House: Badd Blood pay-per-view in St. Louis, Missouri. In the main event, Shawn Michaels faced off with The Undertaker in the ground-breaking Hell In A Cell match, famed for the debut of Kane who cost his brother the match.
However, the night was tinged with sadness as the news broke during the day that Brian Pillman – then a featured star in the company – had passed away at the age of 35.
Speaking on Foley Is Pod, Mick Foley – a friend and colleague of Pillman’s – reflected on finding out about Pillman’s death and how he had tried to help the star live in a healthier way to prolong his life:
“Jim Cornette comes in and he says, ‘Pillman’s dead.’ in a way that made me think like he’s in big trouble, right? He’s messed up somehow, Pillman’s dead. And then whether it was – Jimmy did let us know he was not, you know, maybe not speaking figuratively, you know, literally, Brian passed away.”
“I remember calling my wife and I was in tears, and really broken down. It was the fact that Undertaker and Shawn went out there and had that match for the ages, some testament to those guys, I was really relieved that I wasn’t put into a match that night, it was just devastating.”
“Because you saw Brian when he had that meeting with the doctor about the longevity of his life, and he made that change, conscious change and I felt like I was part of that. And that he was not just the work friend, but that he would come to see me and we shared phone calls, and I may have been part of his recuperation, that made me feel really good.”
“You see a guy excel in a way that’s organic, you know, and he surpasses any ceiling that his character supposedly had. The last several months, they had been sad. So I mean, match quality is the least of our concerns now that we look at the big picture. But here’s a human being who was in the car with me the night before, you know, hours before his death. We’re at the Super Eight. So I guess you know, I was still thirsty, saving those dollars. He did not ride with me to the arena the next day. And when that news came in, it was really devastating.”
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