Hey, first off I would like to apologise for my column last week. It was rushed as I had a busy week and I didn’t put that much effort into it. Anyway, this week is about pro wrestling referees. Before you get into this column, some parts obviously are in terms of kayfabe so just remember that. Enough about the intro, lets get into the column!
What can be said about professional wrestling referees? As most will know, the referee is near important just as the wrestlers performing and entertaining the crowd. It’s the referee’s duties to signal wrestler’s information about the match. Example’s of this is when they let the wrestlers know how long is left in a match, when it’s time for a commercial break as an interesting move/scenario must occur for us to keep wanting to watch the show also to help them gauge the crowd’s reactions. As you would probably notice just from watching events, you can see an ear piece on the referee, this is wireless and it allows the referee to have communication with guys backstage. Have you ever wondered why referees are usually not that big? This is because they have to be up to no more certain weight and height, on most occasions at least. Usually referees are no taller that 6 feet, weigh no more that 180 pounds. This purpose is to emphasize the height of the wrestlers that are in the ring with them.
I will not insult your intelligence and inform you that wrestling is worked. Every pro wrestling fan will know this (Except Mysterio fans). Also as you know injuries can happen at anytime so referees use a signal called ‘the X signal’ to alert paramedics and officials backstage to come out and assist to injured superstar (Sin Cara at MITB). The ‘’X’’ signal across the chest is just to give paramedics and officials a warning that….that wrestler could be injured. Why is it not only paramedics are called? Since the match would have taken an unexpected twist, backstage officials would have to quickly come up with a way to finish off the match…so us IWC fans won’t be crying.
There are referees…but there are also other types of wrestling referees. There is special guest referees which we are all familiar it is Stone Cold’s part time job, just kidding but he is a prime example as he has done so numerous of times. It just adds an extra feature and hype to the match. There have been special referees such as Muhammad Ali, Shane McMahon, Matt Knowles. If you find a special guest referee in a non special type match it is unusual. An obvious part of a match with a special guest referee is that more than likely they will be biased to a wrestler. Also, you will often hear about special guest enforcer referees aka an outside the ring/ringside referee making sure that the normal referee misses something and the enforcer referee will notice it. If the official referee assigned to a match becomes injured then the special guest enforcer can step in and do the normal referees duties. Aside from that, it is also to have physical power at ringside to make sure nobody becomes apart of the match if they shouldn’t be.
The following I would like to thank WWE referee Tony Smith as he showed interest in this topic and kindly answered questions for me. It was kind of like a little interview in a way…so special thanks to him. You can follow Tony on Twitter.
I asked Tony would most referee’s be former wrestlers and he replied with no…about an average of 25% would have been former wrestlers. I wasn’t shocked but I personally was a little surprised, I thought maybe around 50% would have been former wrestlers because they would be in the business and a referee would be choice if the wrestling wasn’t working out or they didn’t like wrestling and loved the business that becoming a referee worked for them. I also asked Tony…what is the worst thing about being a wrestling referee? I noted to not include the schedule in his answer. His reply was….someone getting injured in a match. Makes sense I suppose, it causes an upset during the match and you would have to think fast or what have you. The last questioned I asked him was what inspired him to be a wrestling referee? Tony replied with being the best at an extremely hard and entertaining occupation. Not everyone can do my job. I found this answer the most interesting out of all 3 questions I asked him. So, gathering what we read from the third question, it proves that it is indeed hard to become a professional wrestling referee. When he said not everyone could do his job, it seems like a difficult task to become a wrestling referee…well at least a top one.
That’s it for this week folks. I hoped you loved this column and it was the first column that I did on referees. I enjoyed doing this could I had a little more fun with the help on WWE referee Tony Smith. It seems that there is a lot more to being a pro wrestling referee that what we all think. Also, I think it was a good topic to write about instead of doing the same as everyone else and writing about CM Punk, so hopefully you have enjoyed this. Again, I would like to thank Tony for kindly spending time replying to his tweets and answering my questions.