There’s something uber artistic and equally ironic about an individual tasked with maintaining sportsmanship in a pre-determined match operating under very distinct style and storyline conventions. I literally make it a goal of mine – after every house show – to thank each and every ref I come across on the way out of the venue. My shirt of choice at a recent PPV? Why a referee one, logically!
There are many different types of referees, of course. Pick your favorites below:
1. The over-intense ref, hell bent on ensuring corner tie-ups and or specific strikes are within allowed timeframes.
2. The excitable ‘ring the bell’ ref, leap and point, inherent.
3a. The slide and count ref.
3b. The slow count ref with the high arm arc.
4a. The ref easily distracted by a manager,
4b. or quick to toss outside interference from the premises.
5. The ref always in the middle of the action…and subsequently knocked out.
6. The ref athletes see as their buddy, unintended buddies (by nodding) of the pre-/post- match mic work.
7. The ref micro-focused on count outs.
8a. The ref that allows all outside interference,
8b. or the one not at all.
9. Pseudo-medic ref.
10. Tap out happy (‘do you give up?’) en masse ref.
11a. ‘Tag!’ registering refs for 2-on-2 (or more matches), to include maintaining rope feel,
11b. or the ones that allow entrance from any point outside the ring apron.
12. Ref insistent on legal man only.
13. Trigger happy DQ ref.
The list goes on and on. Refs come in all shapes and sizes as well course. Also combinations of the above, of course. It’s no wonder many are former wrestlers themselves. Keeping order is an art form in itself.
Here’s a shout-out to those striped stars of the squared circle. I salute you, 1-2…TWO times over. (That was 3, pal!)