Great Ideas That Didn’t Last: Marlena/Brian Pillman/Goldust Storyline


Brian Damage

Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative…but for various reasons….faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.


On September 7th, 1997 at the Ground Zero: In Your House pay per view…Goldust wrestled Brian Pillman in an “Indecent Proposal” match. If Goldust won…Pillman would leave the WWF forever…but if Pillman won…Goldust’s manager/wife Marlena (Terri Runnels) would be Pillman’s slave for 30 days.

Needless to say, Goldust lost the match after Marlena’s outside interference backfired. It forced her to become a slave to Brian Pillman for 30 days and that’s when things really started to heat up. For weeks after, the WWF showed vignettes with Marlena being used as somewhat of a sex slave to Brian Pillman.


Now keep in mind, this was a month or two before the WWF changed course and went into the ‘Attitude Era.’ It certainly was very risque for its time period. What made it even more intriguing was the fact that Brian and Terri were an actual couple back in 1990 when both were employed by WCW.


The series of vignettes were used by Pillman for the sole purpose of tormenting Goldust with mind games. The more vignettes aired…the more Goldust would fall into a sea of despair. Not only did Pillman show vignettes…but he would drag Marlena to ringside. A new look Marlena I might add. No longer was she dressed in gold, smoking a cigar and looking elegant. She was dressed in black…her nose pierced and her hair slicked back. Marlena looked terrified as if she was both mentally and physically abused by Brian Pillman.


In reality, it was Goldust who was abused by the thoughts of his wife held captive by another man. It was a captivating angle that played out for almost a month. The 30 day agreement was to expire on the night after the WWF’s Bad Blood pay per view. Brian Pillman was scheduled to take on Dude Love…but sadly, before the show…Pillman was found dead in his hotel room.


Plans for the angle had to quickly change with Pillman’s death and what we got instead…seemed not as good as what was originally planned. What we the fans got was Dustin (Goldust) and Marlena (Terri) having a sitdown interview with Jim Ross. During the course of the interview…Dustin stopped and told Marlena he could no longer go through with the marriage. Dustin turned heel and left his shocked wife.


Dustin Rhodes would change from Goldust to ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust,’ and Marlena would eventually start managing Val Venis before turning heel herself and forming PMS (Pretty Mean Sistas) with Jacqueline and Ryan Shamrock. That’s how the angle played out after Brian Pillman’s unsuspecting death. Here’s what would have occurred if Pillman had lived….

According to Terri Runnels, the original plan was for Marlena and Goldust to be reunited after the 30 days of captivity. They would have a wedding on Monday Night Raw to renew their wedding vows. They ceremony would go normally…until the pastor asked…”If there are any objections…let them speak now or forever hold their peace…”

That is when Brian Pillman would come out and object to the wedding and brutally attack Goldust leaving him a bloody mess. Marlena who now has her husband’s blood all over her white wedding gown…jumps into the arms of Pillman. She would get a microphone and pronounce her love for Pillman and that she was now leaving Goldust and her daughter Dakota to be with Pillman. Terri ays the entire plan for the angle would have been visually stunning and would’ve helped elevate both Goldust and Pillman as superstars. Sadly, that never happened…but it was certainly great while it lasted.


3 thoughts on “Great Ideas That Didn’t Last: Marlena/Brian Pillman/Goldust Storyline

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2015 week 26 | Ring the Damn Bell

  2. Yeah I remember this one. Man I really wish, as do we all, that Pillman hadn’t died and this angle had been allowed to play out the was it was supposed to. Of course I wonder what the natural conclusion would be. Sure Goldust and Pillman are definitely getting elevated, and possibly Pillman might even be in line to win a very temporary run with the WWF World title (as even has been speculated various times over the years) but what’s the endgame to all this? Does Marlina eventually leave Pillman after getting tired of his abuse, or is she eventually written off? The world may never know…..


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