WWE referees are perhaps the most invisible, yet important members of the WWE roster. Referees jobs are the quite possibly the most essential; given that they are the officials that hold up the rules that are governed by WWE, even though many times referees have been known to overrule superstar’s judgements when calling them in the ring. They are the men whose names you forget but faces you recall, they are the ones that WWE put in some of the most dangerous positions all in the name of entertainment.
From Earl Hebner in the 1990s to NXT’s latest acquisition Drake Younger, referees have played a major part in some of WWE’s biggest and most famous storylines over the past few three decades. From The Montreal Screwjob back in 1997 to this year’s blockbuster feud between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, WWE’s officials always have a part to play, even if you didn’t know they were doing it. Sometimes the official can be more important than the wrestlers involved in the actual match and below are some of the reasons why.
The following is a list of fascinating facts that you perhaps didn’t know about WWE’s men in black and white stripes.
20 The Timekeeper Can Overrule the Referee
This is the newest interesting fact and was seen during WWE’s SummerSlam event when the referee was watching the action and failed to notice The Undertaker tapping. Instead the timekeeper, who was sitting at ringside a few inches away from the ring, saw The Phenom tap and decided to start ringing the bell without including the official in the decision.
19 Brad Maddox Made His WWE debut as a Referee
Former RAW General Manager Brad Maddox made his WWE debut as an official that was brought in to play a part in the CM Punk/Ryback storyline. Maddox had already refereed matches for WWE before Hell in Cell in 2012, but it was during this main event that he was brought to the WWE Universe’s attention and it was thought that he was working for CM Punk.
18 Sometimes An Official Doesn’t Know the Predetermined Outcome
In the days of Internet culture and the Internet Wrestling Community, it has become widely known that WWE is scripted. The thought is that the superstars and the referee always know the outcome of the match before they set foot in the ring, but this is not always the case.
17 Drake Younger was a Famous Independent Wrestler
Current NXT official Drake Younger was a famous independent wrestler before he was signed by WWE development team. After having some high octane hardcore matches with the likes of Jon Moxley (Dean Ambrose), Younger was hired by WWE and instead was given the opportunity to officiate. Younger has trained as a professional wrestler, so he could make the switch at any time.
16 Mike Chioda Has Been a Part of WWE Since 1989
Senior WWE Official Mike Chioda has been a part of the company for longer than many of the current main roster superstars. The Raw referee has even been in WWE longer than The Undertaker who made his official debut at the 1990 Survivor Series pay-per-view.
15 Scott Armstrong is Road Dogg’s Brother
Scott Armstrong is a well known WWE referee for all of the wrong reasons, as the referee has played a part in many high profile WWE storylines over the past few years, but many members of the WWE Universe are unaware that Armstrong already had connections within WWE.
14 Some WWE Officials Have Action Figures
One of the most notable and perhaps famous referees in WWE, Earl Hebner, made history when he was immortalized in plastic for the first time. The controversial referee is remembered as the official on duty during the Infamous Montreal Screwjob, but he was also the first official to have an action figure created in his likeness. Hebner was also the first referee to become a playable character on a video game when he became part of the WWE No Mercy roster.
13 Referees Are Also Subject to WWE’s Wellness Policy
This is perhaps shocking news to some people, but much like WWE’s main roster superstars, Officials are also expected to be a part of their wellness policy. This means that officials have regular physicals and drug tests to check that they have not taken any prohibited substances.
12 All WWE Referees Are Male
This is perhaps the most shocking statistic on the list, given the rise of female participation in sports over the past few years, but, sadly, all of WWE’s referees are male. The most famous female referee was Rita Marie who was a part of WWE back in the 1980s but since she left the company, there have been no long time females who have taken up the mantel.
11 Referees Talk to Backstage Officials Through Their Earpieces
10 Referees Can Be Heels
9 Referees Are Often Used In Big Storylines
8 WWE Officials Are Paid Handsomely
7 Referees Sometimes Know The Storyline Better Than The Wrestlers
6 Referees Have A Harder Job Than The Superstars
5 The Referee Uniform Is Now An International Symbol
4 Only Times Females Are Referees Is When They’re Special Guests
As previously mentioned WWE currently does not employ any female talent as a referee, which means the only time females are used as officials is if they are special guest referees.
3 Earl Hebner Knew About The Montreal Screwjob
Sometimes officials are told about story lines, if they are expected to be a part of them. As mentioned above, Chad Patton wasn’t informed about the ending of WrestleMania XXX’s match between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, but Earl Hebner was made aware of his part in the Montreal Screwjob.
2 WWE Referees Can Be Responsible For Their Own Travel Expenses
1 Referees Sometimes Stage Disqualifications
Following his release from WWE last year, Evan Bourne made some controversial statements about WWE officials in a famous outspoken interview. Bourne claimed that sometimes WWE officials took it upon themselves to uphold the rules and disqualify participants even if it wasn’t a part of the story.
He stated that if a referee was counting a five count before they disqualified a superstar then they could infact disqualify the participant and would face praise backstage for doing their job correctly, whilst the superstar would be told that they needed to know the rules better. These were just Bourne’s accusations and are still yet to be verified by anyone within WWE.
WWE officials may be where the saying “to be seen and not heard” actually came from, but as noted above, they have been a part of some of the biggest storylines in WWE history and have become fascinating stars over the past few years.
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