By the late 80s, the NWA was in the middle of a youth movement. Gone were the fixtures like Dusty Rhodes, the Rock n Roll Express and Nikita Koloff. The new kings of the hill were young upstarts like Sting, Lex Luger and Flyin Brian Pillman.
Flyin Brian received a lot of fanfare with some cool vignettes before arriving. His high flying style was revolutionary for NWA fans and he quickly became a major player battling Lex Luger, the Midnight Express and eventually the Four Horsemen.
Packaging: This is the standard revised Elite packaging. I always get a kick out of seeing WCW on these WWE figure packaging.
Mattel seemed to be asleep on the proofreading wheel here. His accessories are listed as Steve Austin’s vest and Randy Savage’s shirt. That’s true since that’s the parts used, but it’s so weird that didn’t get caught.
I’m glad that didn’t apply to his bio — for the most part. Pillman never was an NWA Tag Team Champ, he and Z-Man were the U.S. Tag Champs, but maybe there’s a licensing issue there? Otherwise the rest of his accolades from this stint of his career are included.
Likeness: Jakks mailed it in and simply went with the Psycho Pillman head for their Flyin Brian. By default this is immediately the best Flyin Brian figure, but Mattel did him justice.
Mattel did a really nice job getting Pillman’s smile down. I’m glad they went with ripped torso as Flyin Brian was pretty cut for his size. Pillman’s hair hasn’t been the easiest for companies to get correct, but there’s a good amount of poof to it up top and the mullet is magnificent.
Scale: I always saw Pillman as short. Z-Man was a lanky 6’1” which made him look taller but Pillman wasn’t much shorter than the 6’1” Arn Anderson. Pillman looks to be just about right at 6 feet.
Paint: There’s not a lot of complex paint work here. The black laces on the white boots came out fine and the Cincinnati Bengals inspired stripes are done very well.
My only problem with the paint job was the hair. The wash is too pronounced as Flyin Brian had it much lighter in the 80s.
Articulation: Pillman is another figure that’s really fun to play around with thanks to the Elite articulation. There’s no move in his arsenal that’s hard to implement. Maybe one day I’ll master rope moves and can try his flying springing clothesline from the top rope.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Mattel definitely did right by Flyin Brian giving him his two ring wear attires. First it’s his vintage 80s shirt with frayed sleeves. It’s plastic, which I hate, but probably the best way to go with the sleeves and V-neck collar. The tampo is clean and sized accurately.
Additionally, he gets his starred vest. This is a little off as Pillman wore longer vests with fringes during his solo run. It wasn’t until teaming with Austin as the Hollywood Blondes that he went with the waist length vest.
And Pillman gets a piece for the exclusive diorama. I’m not a fan of these as they’re not big enough and the stand breaks up the visual. But if you need a stand for your figures, there you go.
Worth it? I got Flyin Brian for $20. That’s the standard Elite price, but if you catch a store on a right time, it’s an even better deal. I notice Flashbacks tend to eventually drop in price so if you’re more patient than me that might be a better plan.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Flyin Brian represents the era I really got hooked into the NWA/WCW. This is probably hoping in vain, but I’d love to see a Z-Man figure to team with him.
Where to get it? I found Pillman at K-Mart and then a few days later at Wal-Mart. Toys R Us hasn’t had Elite 47B in stores I’ve seen and Target has already moved on to Series 49. You can always just grab him from Amazon.