Exciting, innovative and one of the most well-rounded athletes in the business would sum up Jerry Lynn. High flying, technical mat brawler who took the world by storm when his debut televised match gave him the WWF the Light Heavyweight Championship. A veteran of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the NWA:TNAs former X-Division and former Tag Team Champion has taken Nashville by the brass and shoved it in front of the camera.
This honest, truthful interview has to be one of the most straightforward interviews Ive ever had the pleasure of conducting.
Without further delay, the Belle of the Brawl gives the readers former ECW Champion, former WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, and former X-Division Champion, Jerry Lynn.
Lekisha Oliver (LO): Lets get started. You said that you grew up in Minneapolis, how long did you live there?
Jerry Lynn (JL) : Since I was six. Yeah, I was born in Duluth and then my brother and I were put up for adoption and grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis ever since.
LO: Did your brother follow in the same career path as you?
JL: Nah, hes pretty busy. He had to move out to Bakersville, California, for his job a couple years ago.
LO: Thats pretty cool. Do yall keep in touch?
JL: Not like we should. But were both pretty busy.
LO: I understand completely. I guess growing up, did you do a lot of sports?
JL: I wasnt a jock or anything. I didnt like jocks. I was the one always picked on. I was a late bloomer. When I finally got my coordination to work, I tried every sport I could. I never tried football because I was too short for that. I wanted to play hockey. But thats an expensive sport and my parents really couldnt afford it.
LO: So what did you end up working at?
JL: Oh, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, wrestling, track, that was during school. During the summer it was softball or tennis whatever. I liked doing everything.
LO: Sounds like you were pretty well-rounded.
JL: Yeah and in the winter I would just go to parks and get in on pickup games. And after high school, a couple of us, every couple weeks, would get some ice time at an arena and play some ice hockey.
LO: Well did you ever think of going to college?
JL: Nah, I tried going to vo-tech but I couldnt afford it anymore. That was the extent. I didnt really like school.
LO: I understand. Lets see, when did you get the idea that you wanted to start wrestling?
JL: Around 1986. I wasnt ready so I trained for a couple of years. When I thought I was ready I tried.
LO: You actually got to trained and into the business?
JL: Brad Reigens.
LO: Where abouts did you train?
JL: It was a place called Hammel that was about a half-hour outside of Minneapolis.
LO: You said you trained for two years before wrestling?
JL: Yeah that was before I gave it a try. I was 155 pounds. I had to put on some weight and get in shape.
LO: Looks like you finally accomplished that. Since youre pretty built now.
JL: Yeah it took years though.
LO: Did you ever consider steroids or anything like that, or did you go naturally?
JL: No Ive done it. Especially when you get a bad injury. Like after my knee injury, I had a doctor prescribe them for the injury. So I think they are out there for a purpose and not just to get guys to look like bodybuilders.
LO: Did you see any adverse reactions by your body while you were taking them compared to when you werent?
JL: Um..just a shorter fuse.
LO: Like roid rage?
JL: No it wasnt really a rage, but things tended to irritate you a lot quicker. But you know I never raged because I was doing that under a doctors care. It wasnt like some of these body builders that like go overboard.
LO: Speaking of injuries. How much have you actually had injured?
JL: Lets see, Ive broken both my feet, my ankles, fractured my hip and tore my abdominal at the same time there, I have broken my nose countless times, not counting toes and fingers. What else..I tore my right patella tendon and needed surgery for that. You know Ive been busted open many times and needed stitches.
LO: So you think the knee injury was the one that altered your career path with the WWE?
JL: No, I dont think that had a difference. There were other guys that were out with neck surgeries and stuff. So it kept going like if I was written into their plans or not. Because after I was let go after my first year, I knew I wasnt written in. So I figured after my knee surgery, my days were numbered anyway.
LO: I know that they let you go, do you think it was because they didnt have a "spot" for you? They were looking for something different.
JL: You know they said that their creative department couldnt come up with something for me. That was a bunch of bull. You know if you look at some of the guys that have been there a long time, they continued to do something new with them, revamping them. So, if youre written in, and you know the right person, that could take care of you and give you a job and try. So I dont buy that their creative department couldnt come up with anything for me. Cause they can come up with anything for anybody.
LO: Thats about true. I talked with one of my editors today about the interview and he wanted me to ask you about an interview that you cut during one of the pay-per-views, I guess while you were out. He seemed to think that was one of the reasons why you were let go.
JL: No, I heard those rumors too. Now if it was, what happened was that Paul E. gave me the verbiage for the promo. I did the promo verbatim. I didnt change the verbiage or anything. Then I heard the rumors that JR or the office got mad, that I got away from what I supposed to say. I followed exactly what I was supposed to say. And if I did upset the office, they should have had the professional courtesy to talk to me about it, which they didnt. I didnt hear one word about it. I saw Linda McMahon the next weekend and she said that shed seen it and she liked it.
LO: Since you did get let go, I guess the next step would be about ECW. Many have said how you and Rob Van Dam tore the house down. Other than Rob, who do you think that you had some of your best matches with at that point?
JL: Okay, I would say Justin Credible, Lance Storm, I had some great matches with Mikey Whipwreck and Chris Candido. There were some great wrestlers.
LO: What in your opinion caused the downfall of ECW?
JL: Of course it was financial, it wasnt the product itself. They were buying their plane tickets when they needed them instead of two weeks in advance. Of course deals with TNN and the video game company. Plus, Paul E. and his partners contrarily didnt care if the company made it. You know, I think Paul E. was working for Vince the whole time, booking for Vince. He would show up at the arena with a notepad and a pen and then look around and say what are we doing today? You know. So, and plus when he said he was out in LA trying to get a TV deal with USA or FOX he was out there getting a payday shooting the RollerBall movie, while we were all back home. Tommy Dreamer was running the show, the checks werent showing up, guys were getting their cars repossessed, and having trouble at home. So it was like he knew that after everything was over he would have a job with Vince and he didnt really care.
LO: Seems kinda rude if you ask me.
JL: Oh Yeah.
LO: Well if youre in the business to make money, you are supposed to take care of the ones that take care of you.
JL: Its a real backstabbing business. Some people think its a brotherhood, but its very backstabbing because theres not a lot of positions that you can make money in. Everyone fighting to keep their positions.
LO: I know that for a truth. How was the moral backstage during this time?
JL: Oh horrible. You know we still felt pride for our work and we still believed in our company. We still went out there and busted our asses and still put on the best show out there.
LO: I guess moving to NWA:TNA, how did you get into that one?
JL: Well after I left the WWF, I did the WWA pay-per-view in Las Vegas and in Australia, and Jeff liked my work and he mentioned something about it and wanted me to work, I moved down to Nashville.
LO: I guess how are you liking TNA?
JL: I like it right now. You dont get told to tone it down so you dont outshine the superstars. Go work hard and try to put out the best product that you can. But I think lately theres too much talk and not enough action. Even some of the fans have been showing up with signs that say that Total Nonstop Action has ceased. You should just stick with what got you noticed, but thats just my philosophy. You know some people like the comedy stuff, some like the high-flying stuff, and some people like the technical stuff. But I still think that you dont need fifteen to twenty minutes of just talking.
LO: I think thats how the WWE has gone down. You know they are just sitting down there running their mouths instead of progressing the storylines. There is only so much time to do that. I mean, there is only a few precious hours a week to make everything work. TNA is starting down that road. It seems as thought TNA has gotten more talkative since Russo came aboard. Theres a lot of talent that is in TNA, including your former tag partner, AJ Styles, what do you see for the future of the individuals that are young and hungry for the business?
JL: Oh, I think guys like AJ, especially since hes learning so fast, hes got many more years to go.
LO: Kinda like you, Ive seen you wrestle many times and I must admit that you are one of my favorites.
JL: Well, thank you very much.
LO: I dont give compliments very often, but when I do they come from the heart.
JL: Thank you.
LO: Youre welcome. Well where do you see TNA going, if they move back to a little more action and a lot less talking. I guess try to intermingle them?
JL: I mean, well like before where we did the little pretaped vignettes, instead of the live ones like we do today. I mean if you have satellite TV or cable or something, you have over two hundred channels and they are going to be channel surfing. You have to have a show that is going to click and keep moving. But they would change the channel if they keep talking.
LO: I guess since you have been at TNA the entire time, what do you think of any new development inside the company?
JL: I guess that its more behind the scenes that they need to work on. FOX Sports and Starz networks in Asia are giving us more exposure over there. If it works out, maybe wed get a spot on Fox Sports here in the states.
LO: That would be great. You all have a good product to sell. But I hate to sound like a salesman, but the X-Division, like Vince is taken looked at sees that some of the product that he thought wasnt what he wanted pushed properly, do you see that he is trying to copy what you all are doing and make it his own?
JL: Definitely. He was doing the same thing when ECW was going. He would see something on ECW and the next week you would see it on WWF. They get the majority of the credit because the majority of the fans in the country just see WWF and if youre not in WWF you dont exist, youre nothing.
LO: I wish that wasnt the case, but its true.
JL: Yeah. Especially when you tell someone that you wrestle, they automatically ask if you worked for WWF. Its like they dont realize that there are a lot of other places to work.
LO: Yeah, especially with independents in Tennessee, there are a bunch of them.
LO: Some people have talked about the Tough Enough thing, some people think that its kinda like cheating. Sort of an easy way in instead of working your way through the independents.
JL: Well, I dont think that its cheating to get into the business, its like paying to go through a training camp. But these guys arent paying for the training, they are just getting a free ride. I think that what they are talking about cheating is getting a contract right away instead of paying your dues through the Indy scene. But in this business, its about timing. Being in the right place at the right time. So theres other guys that have been paying their dues on the Indy scene and they got their job with the WWE. There are guys that happened to be at the right place at the right time. So they have nothing to bitch about.
LO: True, lets talk about your future. How long do you want to continue wrestling?
JL: I will continue to wrestle as long as my body holds out and I dont stink up the joint. If I cant perform to a certain standard, Ill bow out gracefully. Hopefully along the line that I can open up a training camp or if Ive made enough friends work as a road agent and help the younger guys. Well see where it leads.
LO: Is there any comments or anything that we didnt touch upon that you would like to say something about?
JL: No, not really. I would like to think that being fired from the WWF was a blessing in disguise. I was like this why you hired me, cause I was fighting guys that were getting their tryout matches. And it was like why did you even hire me. I felt like I was just wasting away. I mean it just wasnt fun there. Now, Im having the time of my life and now its fun again. As long as its fun, why stop doing it. I mean I had a lot of jobs that supported my wrestling habit. I wasnt happy getting up in the morning and saying I dont want to go to work today. But now I wake up everyday and think I get to go wrestle, so Im going to keep doing it. It doesnt hurt me not to.
LO: I missed that part earlier. When you first got started, did you get a lot of support from your family?
JL: No. When I told people that I wanted to be a wrestler, they all laughed at me. But then I had a few people apologize later. They thought it was a big joke.
LO: Well following your dream is not a joke. And I guess that the idea of going into wrestling, it was all acting.
JL: Well when I first got started it was a big mans sport.
LO: I forgot about that. Looks like you have prevailed in some forms.
JL: Well, I guess when I do something, I give it all Ive got and dont go half-assed.
LO: I would like to thank you for the interview.
JL: No problem.
Many thanks to Jerry Lynn for this interview, as well as NWA: TNA to give me the time for this interview. As always, Jerry is welcome back anytime.