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Exclusive: Brian Pillman Jr. on the growth of MLW, being PWI's "2019 Rookie Of The Year," career goals & more

Brian Pillman Jr. / Photo by Harry Aaron for MLW
Brian Pillman Jr. / Photo by Harry Aaron for MLW
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 28 Feb 2020, 18:59 IST
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Arguably the fastest-growing wrestling league today, Major League Wrestling -- MLW, for short -- is seen around the world weekly via its TV series Major League Wrestling: FUSION, which regularly includes the likes of "Filthy" Tom Lawlor, The Von Erichs (Ross & Marshall Von Erich), Low Ki, Salina De La Renta, Injustice (including Myron Reed), Mance Warner, and The New Hart Foundation. MLW is also the parent company of the MLW Radio Network, the leading provider of professional wrestling podcasts in the world.

Among the top talent recently seen on Major League Wrestling: FUSION is the aforementioned The New Hart Foundation, which includes Brian Pillman Jr. Son of legendary WWE, WCW and ECW performer Brian Pillman -- also known as "Flyin' Brian" and "The Loose Cannon" -- Pillman Jr. was both MLW's "Rookie Of The Year" in 2018 and Pro Wrestling Illustrated's "Rookie Of The Year" last year in 2019.

Less than two and a half years into the wrestling business as a full-timer, it is unbelievable as to how much of a natural Brian Pillman Jr. is both in and out of the ring. We spoke about this, the growth of MLW and plenty more within our February 26, 2020 phone chat. However, we did not have the opportunity to discuss with training with current WWE producer Lance Storm, a former WWE, WCW and ECW title-holder.

The full conversation is embedded below, while part of the chat has been transcribed exclusively for Sportskeeda. For more on Brian Pillman Jr. -- who officially moved down into MLW's middleweight division earlier this month -- you can follow him via Twitter and Instagram on social media; the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast, which this interview will likely appear on later this year, can be heard via iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and PureGrainAudio.com.

On being PWI's "Rookie Of The Year" for 2019:

Brian Pillman Jr.: The award was given out this January to present the 2019 year. I'm beyond humbled and honored to receive the award. I really didn't expect it, just knowing that I've got a lot to prove, myself. A lot of goals and expectations for myself. I wasn't even thinking about the implications of being "Rookie Of The Year" until it finally hit me. It hit me that a lot of my hard work and a lot of the learning and things I've been doing is paying off...

Considering that I had my very first professional wrestling match on December 31, 2017, so my career of having matches is just a little over two years. But as we all know, this is a sport, this is an art, this takes a lot of time to grasp and a lot of time to master. So to say that I was a professional from my first match -- obviously I was a working professional since that time -- but for someone like me to come as far as I did in two years, I think it's quite deserving of a "Rookie Of The Year" award.

I also earned the "Rookie Of The Year" for MLW in 2018, and I think Ronda Rousey got the Pro Wrestling Illustrated "Rookie Of The Year" [award] in 2018, so it just speaks volumes to what types of athletes and careers they're giving this award to. I definitely feel very deserving of it, looking back at my first two years in the sport.

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On whether wrestling is a long-term career path for him:

Brian Pillman Jr.: I think my story and every bit of me comes into wrestling with a full heart. I think my story is a wrestling story and it's a real story. I'm not making up any gimmicks or fake names, I'm going out there each and every day and it feels real to me in every way. Wrestling is my number-one focus, I think I'll be a professional wrestler for at least the next 20 years.

But of course being who I am and being in the spotlight, I try to carry myself with a certain level of charisma and star power. If another venture, whether it's acting or comedy of any sort, I would love to be involved in it. At the end of the day I am a performer and I do it for the people. Whatever the people would like to see me in, I would love to be a part of it. I don't think that's anywhere out of the ballpark for me.

Published 28 Feb 2020, 18:59 IST
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