Lightning Kid vs. Jerry Lynn (GWF, 12/27/91, GWF Light Heavyweight Title Match)

This match was an interesting one. The Global Wrestling Federation is a promotion I’ve always found more entertaining to hear discussed than watched, as covered extensively in a pair of Joe vs. The World podcasts discussing all of the assorted stories both on and off screen. However, Lightning Kid and Jerry Lynn are definitely two of the wrestlers considered “actually good” from the GWF roster, men whose matches were still very entertaining despite any and all insanity (and endless tournaments) going on around them. Watching the first few minutes showcased this perfectly, as they exchanged some excellent matwork with enough flashiness to really stand out from a lot of the other American wrestling of the era. Lynn was springboarding off the ropes with arm drags, Waltman was somersaulting out of wristlocks, it was all really fast paced and well executed stuff to be throwing out there so early.


The rules for this were unusual and, if I’m being honest, I found them more disruptive to the flow of the match than anything. They dictated that Lightning Kid could only win with the Lightning Strike, his tombstone piledriver, whereas Lynn could only win with the comparatively boring sleeper hold. Basically, it was modern WWE main event style but formalised, meaning a lot of the stuff between the finishers came across as an afterthought. With these stipulations in mind, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the fans would have been wildly supporting Lightning Kid. After all, he may have been a jerk, but he was a jerk with a way cooler finisher, unlike Jerry Lynn who didn’t even have the courtesy to do a cool somersault before applying his rubbish hold. What the hell, man.

No, Kid was very much the bad guy in this, something I don’t think he gets enough credit for. For a man who later became unfairly associated with the “wrong kind” of heat, Sean Waltman was great at playing a credible smaller heel wrestler. This was actually a pretty even, fairly wrestled match but Kid would break that up every now and then by throwing sportsmanship out of the window and throwing a cheap shot to gain the advantage. The most important thing I think Waltman showed, particularly in the early 1990s, is that a smaller wrestler doesn’t have to be any less exciting to be effective in the villainous role. This dude was throwing cool kicks, doing planchas and taking wild bumps and the people still booed him, partly because of his own work and also because of Lynn’s very traditional babyface work. This included stupidly agreeing to some amateur wrestling spots with Waltman, like this guy wasn’t just gonna stomp him down instead. None of this is indirectly throwing shade at a weight-specific WWE Network production and any accusations to the contrary will be considered a declaration of war.


The Best of 3 Falls stipulation also fell somewhat flat for me, mostly because it seemed like they blew through the first two falls at a speed only usually seen in CMLL when the lads have to make it to another town later in the night. The additional falls to factor in meant that there wasn’t much room left for finisher teases, something you’d expect with finisher vs. finisher rules, so the end result was Kid winning the first with his finisher, Lynn winning the second with his, then Lynn winning the final fall after some misfired interference from “The Palm Beach Playboy” Scott Anthony (right before the character developed a denim/flannel fixation). There was almost no build to these finishers and it felt like they had to cram too much into a very small window. The fact that I wasn’t entirely happy with the stipulations but they still managed to work around them and have a good match says a lot. These two had many better matches prior to this but you’re never likely to go too far wrong with this combination. And hey, at least there were no bungee cords in this one. ***


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