Monday, November 26, 2007

Performer Analysis: Jerry Lynn

I was looking through some basic house show results from around the country and found Lynn's name semi- main eventing at some local Pennslyvania booking and became incredibly sad. A man who has been working in the business for 20 years is relegated to working with Mr. Booker-man's 400 pound chaw spitting cousin. So, I thought this a perfect time for his analysis.

1) Innovation- 7

Lynn's contributions to innovation in the wrestling world are sometimes underplayed, mainly because they haven't always affected the industry as a whole. When he first started in professional wrestling, there was no junior or cruiserweight division to speak in the States (Japan was already promoting the smaller athletes) until he and Sean Waltman (the Lightning Kid) began a feud down in Texas that really encapsulated what smaller men were capable of doing inside the ring. Probably one of the more respectable things to come out of Global (we won't talk about Mike Davis' moon rock). Then in the midst of the biggest boom in wrestling history, in a small fed running out of Philly, Lynn and RVD start a feud that everyone in the world turns their attention to mainly because of the style of matches they were having. And of course, Lynn was there in the hey day of the X division and helped birth that style as well, with the likes of AJ Styles and Low Ki.

2) Conditioning- 7

Lynn has never had a bodybuilders physique but that's okay because I don't think his body would look right with it. He wasn't built to carry that kind of weight. He has really high stamina and previously a long, lanky physique, now padded in the midsection as all men do as they grow older. He's worked tons of longer matches in his career and can hold his own in a longer paced match. If steroid or drug use was part of his career, I don't think it's factored in very much.

3) Skill- 8

Lynn is a great worker, and has excelled in match quality, above all else in his career. His work ethic is very strong and he knows how to implement lots of little things in matches to help the overall quality. I'd say his lack of charisma doesn't always help point out these intricacies but as far as his in ring performances, usually very high quality. He sells pain very well, and takes great bumps and is not afraid to take a risk for the overall sake of the match. He works well with a great many number of opponents, although smaller workers around his size is his forte. He works very well from underneath and doesn't mind doing a job to put someone over. He's a great journey man competitor and an invaluable backbone player anywhere he works.

4) Psychology- 10

Experience counts for something in this business. Lynn has picked up tricks of the trade wherever he goes, whether it be from his trainer Brad Rheignens, former opponent Lance Storm, or former fellow Heat jobber Scotty 2 Hotty. Lynn knows how to implement great psych into his matches, such as nagging injuries from previous matches, desperation comebacks, and moves that can finish someone. He doesn't have a giant ego, or a Superman physique, so he knows his limitations and works within them, in a realistic sense. Lynn is a fan of near fall pins (as am I); his only down fall is not sticking to the age old adage, "less is more" and tries to combat the younger talent with a barrage of innovative moves when a good old fashioned small package near fall can pop a crowd more if done correctly.

5) Interviews- 5

As with most technically proficient athletes, Lynn's weakness is on camera although he's not as bashful as most, but he's also not very polished. Lynn can cut a feud fueling promo, but not a money one. Not one that will get the crowd behind him or the people watching on TV at home behind that feud and think "I need to go pay money to see this match when they come near us!" His obsession with death metal always seems to creep his way in to his earlier work and I really was appalled at some of his TNA stuff, playing up as being like the grandfather of the X Division, but I guess it worked for him, oh that's right, it didn't,he got canned so Pacman Jones could stand on the ring apron like an idiot for 3 months.

6) Character- 5

Jerry Lynn has pretty much always played Jerry Lynn, a hardworking guy who loved to compete. We've seen flashes of a sadistic side to him, such as painting his chest with blood like war paint which has been done to death now. Other than that, he's been a face nearly all his career, except that wretched run with Cyrus as a guy who only competes in main events. As my cousin Melissa used to say when she was a teenager, "Gag me with a fork."

7) Fans- 5

It's hard to judge how a real crowd would react to Jerry these days after seeing him in the TNA Asylum so long. There are only 150 people there and they drone like zombies to whoever comes out so that's not a good indicator. I would say he is a recognizable guy, but not overtly so. I think the fans appreciate his hardwork over the years and would get a great reaction due to respect. But, he is not a guy that's going to draw waves of fans to see him, not a money player at all. I'd say large scale crowds and fans would be indifferent to him, maybe even shit on his wrestling style were he to be in front of a WWE crowd again, just as they did when he was there the first time.

8) Basics- 9

Lynn has a great understanding of most basic wrestling holds and when to apply them in a match. He's definitley old school in that he doesn’t just fall on the mat and grab a body part, that when he cinches in an armbar he knows exactly where to put the pressure at to make it look real. He can work a training school match pretty well I would say, but I really hate the way he hits the ropes. It's pretty exposing because he looks like he is afraid of getting hurt and as a fan, I watch and wonder "that shouldn't hurt should it?" his punches are decent (actually I think he's a forearm guy.)

9) Feuds/ Matches- 7

Lynn has had 2 feuds that will be remembered once he is long gone, the first one being with Sean Waltman. Their matches in Global were unlike anything that was around in the States because they were working a New Japan Juniors style that hadn't been brought to America yet. TNA capitalized on this feud nearly 20 years later, bringing both men back in for a long awaited return match and even though both men's best days were behind them, they put on a 4 star match that was among the best in 2005. His 2nd was with "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam. RVD was known as a showman and loved to put on the best matches of the night, but when Lynn started hitting his stride in the land of Extreme, fans took notice and clamored to see these two go at it, which they did many, many times. They seemed to have a chemistry together that was far beyond that of any other 2 men in the promotion and the feud caught the attention of wrestling fans worldwide during the height of wrestling's mainstream popularity. I would say this feud is among the many reasons ECW propelled itself out into a bigger spotlight at the time. He also had minor feuds over the years with Justin Credible, AJ Styles, Low Ki, and more recently Chris Sabin. Lynn unfortunately has missed out on many great matches with top superstars over the years that surely would have been treats, so his rank is a little lower than most.

10) Gutcheck- 7

In an interview on a TNA DVD release, Lynn basically said he just loves to compete and that's what drives him. It's not the money,(although without that, who would really be doing this job?), or the fame, or the women it was the desire to compete and have a better match than his last. If that is what drives the man, there are certainly worse things. I think my finding his name amongst a small local indy show in PA proves that point. Lynn has never acquired superstar status in the industry, he's had few t shirts, or action figures, but he has been a World Champion (ECW) and he has put on some classics to be remembered. He's a quiet figure on the wrestling landscape, but certainly a positive influence for younger competitors and a treat to watch for fans.

Final Score: 70
Ranking: Superstar
PO: thumbs up


Brian said...

i think this is one of your better analysis'.. - reading it gave a real sense of lynn as a worker and what he's accomplished in his career.. - a 10 on psych is arguable, but i'll give him the benefit of the doubt this time..

Adam said...

Good work on analyzing one of my favorites! Lynn is a highly underrated performer and I could watch his matches any day of the week.

Jessie said...

i appreciate the comments...Lynn is also one of my favorite workers to watch...kind of smarts that he got shit on by TNA and yet we still have to watch Black Reign and Relic look like drunken fools at a S * M party