Speaking to The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast, Jerry Lynn looked back at his career before his final Ring of Honor match at Final Battle. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
On his run with WCW and the creation of Mr. J.L.: “Brad Rheingans had ties with them, and he had asked me to come to his camp and help train the session he had at the time, and I asked him “It’s been seven years, what do I have to do to get a break?” And Brad said, “Well, it’s all changed, it’s TV now, you have to come up with something visual.” So I had an idea in my mind before he mentioned that, ’cause I’d been going to Japan quite a bit for Universal Pro and Michinoku, and saw a lot of cool masks, and no one was doing that in the states.
“And at the time the Power Rangers were pretty popular on TV so I thought I’d come up with something similar to that but not exactly like it. And they (WCW) said that was exactly what they were looking for. So when I showed them the outfit, they brought me in, but they gave me such a lame name. But I was probably the last thing they had on their minds, because they had a lot of heavy hitters, with the NWO and stuff. I would tell people, no, that’s Jushin Liger.
His time in ECW: “It was ironic that I even went to ECW because when I was living in Atlanta wrestling for WCW I’d get together at my buddy’s place and watch ECW, and I always swore up and down that was one company that I would never work for. I was watching Balls and Sandman trading chair shots, then they’d hit each other with anything the fans handed over the rail; frying pans, Super Nintendos, and microwave ovens. It was crazy. But I ended up there anyway…
“I had a tryout match in WWF with Taka Michinoku, and when that aired, Paul E. knew I wasn’t with WCW anymore, and he had Chris Candido hunt me down. He asked me if I wanted to do a couple shots. So I was like OK, this is what I want, and one more thing: I don’t want some idiot hitting me in the head with a frying pan. It worked out alright at first, but then I wound up getting clocked in the head with that kendo stick, a few chairs here and there, and I don’t know how many tables I went through, and how many Van Daminators I took.”
On working with Justin Credible and taking the next step: “At first, I would come up with ideas involving here and there, tables and who knows what else, and I always asked permission first, and I’d get shot down. And finally, Justin and I had a 2-out-of-3 falls match at the Arena, and I told Justin before the show that we’re not going to ask permission to do anything out there. We’re just going to go out there and do what we do. And after that, everything changed. I was just tired of being held back. I had more freedom.”
Working with Rob Van Dam: “The first time I wrestled Rob, I came back through the curtain, my nose was bleeding, my lip was bleeding, I had blood coming out of my shoulder, my head was stuck turned to the side, and Al Snow sees me and said “you look like you’ve been through a war,” and I looked at him and said “it’s not supposed to be like this!” It’s funny, Rob and I played rough, and it seems like every match either he or I or both of us got popped open. And the more they (the fans) were digging it, and the louder and rowdier they are, the harder we worked.”
The creation of the “New F’N Show” moniker: “This is the coolest thing. I never could never think up a weird, wacky gimmick for myself, you know, some show biz name or anything like that. And in Asbury Park at Living Dangerously, I think it was Rob and I in his first PPV match, after a series of moves, one whole section of the crown started chanting ‘New F’N Show.’ And the name just stuck. It was kinda cool that the fans gave me that name.”
On the current state of pro wrestling: “When you have the bookers and storywriters hired from Hollywood, and they know absolutely nothing about wrestling, it becomes, you know, what do you do? When I do seminars, I tell guys watch older wrestling from the 80s. It was working, they must’ve done something right. Like in the earlier days of TNA, I liked the way they were furthering storylines. When I was in the feud with AJ Styles, we would do stuff like one of us would jump the other in catering, and we’re fighting over tables and stuff instead of going to the ring and having a Def Comedy Jam with microphones. It’s ridiculous.
“There’s so many times with guys out there sounding like two kids on a playground going ‘my dad can beat up your dad.’ If you’re really pissed off and you’re serious, and you’re in a built up feud and there’s heat, you’re like alright, shit’s on, let’s go. That’s why I miss the old NWA days where the Four Horsemen followed Dusty into the parking lot of the TV studio and jumped him. Stuff like that. Or when Eddie Gilbert and Tommy Rich in the USWA, Tommy Rich just bloodied him and Eddie came out and apologized, he had tears in his eyes, a heartfelt apology, and then he turned on him again. It was brilliant. Old school worked. Old school psychology will still work, you just fit the fancy new moves like a piece in the puzzle, where they make sense. Otherwise it’s just a stunt exhibition.
“There’s a lot of guys that are in this to prove how tough they are. It’s not about that. If you do this for any significant amount of time, you’re gonna lose. The human body wasn’t made for this whatsoever… Brad Rheingans, the guy who trained me, told me the secret to having a good match every time is if you and your opponent go out there and try to make each other look like a million bucks. But now it’s so many guys that are like ‘I wanna get this in.’ It’s all me-me-me. And when I’m gonna be in there with someone like that I’m just like ‘oh, God, this is gonna be like pulling teeth’ and ‘am I gonna get out of this alive?’ and all, and they forget the show isn’t about one person, it’s a team effort.”
If there was anyone he didn’t look forward to working with: “I’ll have to admit, Rob and I were practically married it seemed for a couple of years there, and there were some nights I just wanted an easy night. And when I saw my name with Rob I was like ‘oh, boy.’ ‘Cause he wasn’t going to let up, I wasn’t going to let up, we were wrestling each other three nights in a row on a weekend, it was crazy, and all those house show matches were PPV matches, I think.”
If the future includes opening a wrestling school: “That’s a tough gig. You gotta have a building, you gotta have a ring, you gotta have insurance in case someone gets hurt. Most people who wanna get into wrestling don’t have money. I wouldn’t want to put someone on a payment plan ’cause who’s to say they won’t quit after a few weeks and then run around and say Jerry Lynn trained me, and they’re the drizzling shits. So I’d collect all the money up front, but no one has money. So that’s a tough gig.”
For more with Jerry Lynn, including his time in Global (GWF), his chemistry with Justin Credible, working up the ladder in wrestling, the family atmosphere and the fans in ECW, his time in the WWF, watching roller derby and wrestling growing up, the faceplant against Rob Van Dam, injuries over the years, the beginnings of the X-Division, his favorite metal bands, his upcoming, and last, match for Extreme Reunion with Homicide, and the possibility of coming out of retirement for Rob Van Dam’s last match, go to ShiningWizards.com and listen to Episode 66.