This site is unabashed in its affection for our striped friends, individuals who literally can make a good match…great. Refs set match pacing, allow individuals and/or implements seemingly secondary to a match to play primary roles, also willingly take the occasional brutal bump to further the story line.
In sum: behind every classic contest is a wonderful ref calling the shots. Akin to the pro wrestlers inside the ring, it truly is an art form to referee a pre-determined outcome while suspending disbelief, in tandem. Conversely and trust me: you’ll notice bad refereeing when you see it.
Here in West and Central Florida, we’re blessed by the array of terrific independent promotions and corresponding talent that passes through. This includes referees, of which there’s not shortage of wonderful zebras in the vicinity.
Thus, following in the sizable footsteps of the great Monster Tarver (Ty Evans) is Referee Chris Sharpe, a veteran pro wrestling official and now Florida resident to tell his story. Straight from his fingertips:
Growing up in Richmond, VA – and fascinated by our friends…the world famous, Hall of Fame pro wrestling referees The Hebners(!) – there’s always been a special place in my heart for the role of the pro wrestling referee.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I always had a feeling…a knowing!…that I was one day going to be involved someway, somehow, with professional wrestling.
When I was almost 17, I began training in an outdoor ring. By 18, I was wrestling, managing and refereeing events along the East Coast at as many places that would have me. It didn’t matter the role.
Still, and after three years (about to turn 21), I wanted more: it was time for a change of pace. Thus, I packed up everything I owned, and moved 10 hrs away to what at the time was the best wrestling school available to me. (By ‘available’ = any other and you would have to have a contract to be there.)
This school was Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, KY. The lessons I would receive there over the following half decade plus went far beyond being able to count to three. For instance, I attended Rip Rogers‘ training class as both a referee and wrestler several times a week, for years.
My schedule was a grueling one. I often refereed an hour long match where the bell rings at 8am…then trained with the rest of the class until 3 or 4pm…to then drive to a house show to set up, perform, tear down…and repeat the next day. This occurred up to five time a week, all in different towns, one of them being our weekly television show.
On screen I was a referee, a character, and sometimes even a competitor. Off screen, I dove into every role I could. Video editing, making posters, selling tickets, setting up lighting, agent-ing pre-tapes and matches, helping coordinate and produce live events, write TV, and commentate. There literally isn’t a role that I haven’t performed at least a dozen times.
Because of this unique experience and the relationships I’ve made within the industry, I’ve been very lucky to have worked with the most highly regarded wrestling companies on the planet.
I’ve recently relocated to Florida & I’m very excited for what the next big experience brings me.
To book Chris Sharpe: email@example.com and/or his Twitter page. This talented referee is on the lookout for opportunities in the Florida geographic region.
To tell your tale on ‘What Pro Wrestling Means to Me,’ please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM via Twitter.