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Crazy Like A Fox - The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later


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#21 JaymeFuture

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 12:18 PM

For those interested in picking this up for Christmas, Amazon has an offer on - use this code for $5 off any $15 spent on any print book:

BOOKGIFT17

#22 dawho5

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 12:57 PM

I am about halfway through.  I really like seeing Pillman's side of things against the backdrop of 1990/1991 WCW.  I've been watching enough of that recently to see how chaotic the booking was and it is well represented in the book.



#23 JaymeFuture

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 10:31 AM

Thanks very much dude, let me know what you make of it as you progress through.

 

Had a big piece written on the book by Alex Marvez for Sporting News this past week, which can be seen here: http://www.sportingn...fb1r6glsguafb80



#24 dawho5

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:24 AM

Finished it up yesterday.  Great read and I liked that the end was upbeat in the face of all the tragedy.



#25 SPS

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 08:58 PM

Here's what I've written to post as my Amazon review once I get chance to post it later tonight,

 

 

"Finally got to sit down and finish this during the holiday break and was tremendously pleased with how much I enjoyed and learned from this book. This book was well worth the money and was so well put together and well written compared to some wrestling books I've read and I've read a whole lot of them.

 

The amount of stories and viewpoints from the people who knew Brian best from all different eras of his life both personally and professionally really helped paint the picture of who he was with both the amazing admirable qualities and the sometimes disturbing faults. Brian was by no mean a perfect person but his spirit and overall intentions when not clouded by his own demons or faults seemed to still shine through.

 

The pacing of the book was great as it didn't drag but also wasn't rushed and gave fair weight to all the milestones and periods of Brian's career that sometimes get glossed together in previous tellings of Brian's life and career especially his WCW struggles. Also the amount of obvious suffering and struggle the man went through as a child with the throat issues was explained in a way that I really could sit and take in how much of a struggle something like that had to be to endure, which I hadn't gotten before when talked about in other reflections of Brian's life.

 

The parts I enjoyed most were the bits of Brian's thirst for learning wrestling history and the funny story of him calling and riling up Lou Thesz by questioning of  him on some the accuracy of his book after consulting Stu Hart. The amount of books on conmen and research he did in crafting the Loose Cannon character really was fascinating and makes me want to seek out and read those books and check out the film House of Games. And the list of quotes of Brian's wit on commentary with JR in his WWF announcing stint had me rolling in laughter all these years later.

 

Overall the sentiment of a lot of the folks making the point of not feeling guilty for Brian's untimely death but rather sad and terrible about it happening is the same way I felt about his story and the fallout of what happened to his kids. It was sad and terrible that they were left without Brian and left with a mother and "step father" to use the term loosely that also were plagued by demons of addiction that made the whole family suffer in life in a way that Brian probably would've been devastated to see if he had lived.

 

I'd strongly recommend this book to any fan of pro wrestling especially of that era because the honesty and gems of information and sobering lessons are such valuable knowledge in truly gaining an understanding of the wrestling business as it was and what it can be without the proper checks and balances. How such a talented  and intelligent person can with some terrible choices anyone can make destroy and jeopardize their entire body of work and livelihood and the methods taken to attempt to remedy and salvage it can cause  their own self fulfilling prophecy and untimely demise and also leave those they hold most dear susceptible to those same demons in their absence."

 

 

So I loved the book and easily rank it in the top 5-10 wrestling books I've ever read. Thank you for putting such obvious great and hard work into this project as the result was such a fantastic read and journey on a person who really was a rare innovator in the history of professional wrestling.



#26 JaymeFuture

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 01:04 PM

Thank you both for the comments, glad to read that you enjoyed it.

Dawho - believe me, following the few chapters previous I was dying for a semblence of positivity to reveal itself.

SPS - please do post that! That's really massively appreciated, almost overwhelming. I know what you mean about looking at the literature Brian poured through to prep for the Loose Cannon, I did the exact same to try and grasp Pillman's outlook from that point and it really is something else.

#27 DMJ

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 02:53 PM

Haven't finished it yet, but am nearing the end. I went ahead and left a 5-star review on Amazon. 

 

Thank you for writing a wrestling book that is intelligent and well-researched. I posted my review under my wife's name (it was her Amazon account I ordered it on) and I'm hoping it helps spread the word on how good this book is.



#28 JaymeFuture

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 07:57 AM

Wow - thank you so much for leaving the Amazon review, I greatly appreciate that. Funnily enough heard from a couple of people this weekend saying they bought it based on those reviews, so I am extremely grateful.

#29 BigBadMick

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 03:25 AM

My wife bought me the book as a Christmas present. I'm up to the start of 1993 now. As everyone else has said, really good, detailed work on the early part of his life and career.

 

I hadn't really thought about how much he disappeared in the latter part of 1990, that was interesting. And I didn't know the first idea was a tag team with Benoit in late 1992.



#30 JaymeFuture

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:22 AM

Thank you very much - let me know what you think as you progress. In my opinion the book picks up as it goes along, though others seem to love the WCW section mid-90s the best, interestingly enough.

 

As a quick heads up, I was interviewed by Meltzer and Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Radio on Friday to talk about the book, which you can find at the following link: https://www.f4wonlin...-pillman-249756



#31 dawho5

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 11:09 AM

You're not wrong.  The WCW section was very good and I liked a lot of the info in there.  But the book itself really gets rolling at the end and gets hard to put down.  Well, up until that last little bit where you're wondering if there's even the faintest hope of a happy ending for somebody.



#32 JaymeFuture

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 06:57 AM

Just for an update to those who were waiting for this to be released on Kindle - the day has finally arrived, and you can now procure 'Crazy Like A Fox - The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later' as an e-book. 



#33 BrianB

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 11:25 PM

On my first pass through I enjoyed the 1st section the most, but found the final 3rd or so from the loose cannon gimmick creation to the ending the most informing and harrowing. But as I've re-visited and read sections, those wcw sections steadily gain in my opinion. I think Meltzer was 100% right to credit your insight on reading between the lines about booking in WCW during that time. In particular, I think reading between the lines on  Dustin Rhodes coming in and his eventual impact was spot on. And I'm not sure that really comes through clearly in the newsletters of the period.

 

Just for an update to those who were waiting for this to be released on Kindle - the day has finally arrived, and you can now procure 'Crazy Like A Fox - The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later' as an e-book. 

 

Great I'll be picking this up too, since the search function will be really useful because there's so much great stuff within this book and highlighters and page marking started to get unwieldly when I thought about it.

 

Liam, if you don't mind commenting. Where do you come down on the Meltzer and Wood divide on where Brian Pillman ultimately hoped to go? I'm sure someone as thoughtful as Brian would've waffled, but he must've come in with a clear target and probably by the time he actually got to playing one against the other in negotiations fairly openly, he'd have re-assessed and decided what was the best situation. What's your take?

 

Related sidebar: I know you've mentioned how you wonder how Pillman's never realized plan to crash a WWF MSG houseshow would've gone over with Vince, if Brian had pulled it off. (I suspect it would've soured Vince myself.) But if Brian had gone to the WWF, without the car wreck, how do you think he would've thrived over a the long run? To what degree would he have to adapt and reign he's playing the gimmick to hilt in? Obviously, Vince in the professional sense didn't heavily promote or continually push guys like Brody, the Road Warriors, or Terry Funk, which were the main wrestler inspirations to the Loose Cannon gimmick, and Vince, by most accounts, had a strained relationship with Piper as well, who was the other major influence. On the other hand, Vince was behind in the wrestling war. Do you think he'd have made a hit and then needed to switch sides like Brody, Road Warriors, and eventually Piper, did? Or could he have lasted it out with Vince, and potentially as Kim Wood provocatively put out there....made the Stephanie move without it blowing up in his face?



#34 JaymeFuture

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 07:59 AM

Well, firstly, thanks for the comment on the WCW section - it's interesting to hear that, a few people have echoed it and it's very appreciated.

 

To answer your question, I believe that when it all started, he was thinking WCW. No doubt. Con the conman. Bischoff is a bullshit artist. We can't get a big contract by just being very good. The entire thing was that the weakness of the boss was his ego. There's a story that Eric made a bet with Harry Anderson, who worked high up on the financial side at Turner, that if he could turn a profit with WCW in 1995, Harry would have to get on his hands and knees at the Turner Christmas party and hand Eric a dollar. And he did - by offloading certain contracts and expenses on other books. But that sums it up - Bischoff was desperate to create the perception that he had come in and was on Vince's level. You talk to, or just listen to, some wrestlers talk about Vince at that time, and they think that he's this genius beyond reproach with a Machiavellian ability to know everything and see everything coming. It's absurd. But Bischoff wanted to be Vince, and he bullshitted his way into the position and he wasn't the most respected guy by the wrestlers before he got the job, and their respect was everything. Brian, with the scam, had currency for Bischoff - the ability to make Eric look like a master manipulator. But as the book mentions, by doing so, it gives Brian the massive platform of doing what he wants. 

 

As time goes by, Brian absolutely was less certain. He didn't really want to leave WCW, but it crossed his mind that the WWF was becoming a more and more viable option than he first anticipated. If he's healthy, he takes the offer he managed to push Bischoff up to after the wreck, no doubt in my mind. 

 

If he'd gone to Vince healthy and with enough of his bearings in tact, he would have done well with him. Because as much as the character and the contract manipulation was inspired by those guys, if he was more level headed when he worked with McMahon, I think he would have ended up as a very close confidant, because Vince would have adored the alpha male he was in real life. That just gels - Vince was a wannabe jock himself, and he'd had loved prime Brian as the smartest guy, toughest guy, womanizer type. Maybe as he progresses they fall out as most people tended to at the time with Vince, but I don't think they fall apart until Brian is in a position where it doesn't matter to him any more. Either way, his future was huge.



#35 SPS

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 09:28 AM

Liam, with the positive feedback from this book are you planning on writing any other wrestling books in the future?



#36 BrianB

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 11:34 PM

Thanks for responding. That all sounds right on to me, especially when I tried to think about everything.

 

What do you think his WCW future would've been projecting a year or so out, assuming he re-signed and dodged the car wreck? I started thinking about it, and there just seem tons of routes. Some great for Brian, and some fairly awful. I started typing some of that up, but realized there was even more than I'd thought of at first. I'll post up my full thoughts tomorrow. Just briefly, some of the main stuff that occured to me would be how he'd navigate those shark waters with Hall and Nash coming in, along with Hogan's return (and probable hard on for Pillman to do a job to him). Best case scenario seems like he gets a DDP type slot (outside shot for undercutting Luger). He's then in a great position to re-negotiate his contract and get a raise, which is in the interest of his old comedy buddy Kevin Nash, and in the interest of Scott Hall. And worst case is he's either stuck in the horsemen and ends up shoved into the midcard or upper-tier midcard but nwo job duty, OR Bischoff is talked into putting him into the revitalized, but work-rate heavy cruiserweight mix and Pillman isn't positioned above somebody like Syxx.






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