Jerry Lynn was the featured guest on this week’s In The Room podcast. During an extensive, hour long interview, the 52 year-old wrestler discussed his work as a performer in the original ECW. WWE, WCW, and independent work were also discussed by the now-retired wrestler as well as his celebrated in-ring rivalry with Rob Van Dam and Lynn’s recent health issues and surgery. As reported by E Wrestling News and other sources, Lynn underwent neck surgery in early August. The procedure was complicated due to a number of bone spurs in the wrestler’s neck. An online crowd funding campaign to help Jerry with his medical expenses raised almost $18,000.
Brady Hicks, a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and host of In the Room asked Lynn about his recent neck surgery and Lynn indicated he is recovering well but noted he will need back surgery after he is fully healed from the aforementioned procedure. Jerry expressed appreciation for all of those who contributed towards his medical expenses, noting that he has always paid for his family’s health concerns prior to his latest surgery.
Co-host Jordan Garber asked Jerry how he became interested in becoming a pro wrestler, and Lynn shared his early impressions of the industry.
“It never really was my dream to become a wrestler,” Lynn explained. “I grew up — ever since I was six — watching wrestling. I was always a fan of it. But years ago back then — when I first started watching it was 1969 — the majority of the wrestlers were monsters. Especially in the ’80s. Everyone was well over six feet tall and 250 plus, you know? So I never even gave it a second thought of even trying it and then I met a wrestler one day and went to go watch him on an indy show and after seeing some of the matches, I thought, ‘My brother and I beat each other up better than this in the front yard.’ So I talked to [the wrestler] about it…and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you try it?’ I said, ‘I’m too small.’ And he introduced me to a promoter. That’s how I found out how you break into the business.”
Lynn went on to explain that he didn’t feel like he was ready for the business at first, but he eventually became comfortable and confident enough to move ahead. Jerry did note that he was not always warmly welcomed by bigger guys in the gym when he first started in the business. Later in the interview, Lynn recalled that one of his first jobs as a grappler was losing in “squash matches” in the now-defunct American Wrestling Association.
Discussing his work with Rob Van Dam in the original ECW, Lynn explained that his initial outing against the high flyer made an impression on a lot of people, from the fans at that show all the way up to ECW owner Paul Heyman.
“I think after the first time [Heyman] saw Rob and I wrestle each other, he knew there was something there, so he just kept putting us together,” said Lynn. “As far as the ‘New F’n Show’ thing, that was all the fans. At the Living Dangerously pay-per-view in Asbury Park there was a whole series of spots… All of the sudden one corner of the building started chanting ‘New F’n Show!’ and it just took off on its own from there. That was kind of cool because the fans gave me the name.”
Jerry Lynn and RVD went on to clash many more times in ECW. WWE hosted a bout between the two in 2001 for the company’s Hardcore Championship, and the men met in a Full Metal Mayhem match for TNA wrestling in 2011.
Comparing work environments, Jerry Lynn said he most enjoyed the fans and atmosphere of ECW. WWE, however, was another story. Lynn expressed some frustration in the lack of direction he was subject to during his stint in WWE. Brady Hicks asked if Jerry was bothered by the fact that he never had a noteworthy run in WWE, and the wrestler responded with candor.
“Yeah, it bothered me… When I was there, nothing they did with me made any sense,” Lynn recalled. “They had me come in and then right away, they go: ‘Okay, you’re a heel now.’ And I’m thinking, the majority of my career, I’ve been a babyface; Why are you going to all of the sudden say, ‘Here’s Jerry and he’s a bad guy now?’… So it was already an uphill battle. And I didn’t say anything because I was just doing what I was told. And then my first TV, they had me win the belt off of Crash Holly, which didn’t make any sense to me… I cheated, I pulled the tights to win and the crowd still popped… After that they just had me doing time-killer matches… And after that, they just had me doing dark matches for try outs. And I’m going, “Wow, this isn’t going the way I had hoped’.”
Lynn said he was released from WWE while he was recovering from knee surgery. He noted that doctors had told him he needed six months to recover, but WWE wanted him to wrestle after only three months. After telling WWE staff that he needed the full time to recover, Lynn received his release papers just two weeks later.
Closing out the interview, Jerry Lynn encouraged the new generation of wrestlers to “get up and go get it” when it comes to making it in the business. Having logged full-time stints in WWE, ECW, and WCW, Lynn also praised the work of independent grapplers who work as “weekend warriors.” Lynn noted that those men and women, just like the stars at the top of the business, are living their dreams in today’s wrestling scene.
[Image from Ring of Honor Wrestling via YouTube]