Love them or hate them, WWE referees play a crucial role in every match. Whether they make the audience cheer by performing a three-count for a fan favorite wrestler or they’re being booed because they miss a critical low blow made by a top heel, WWE referees can make or break a match.
Refs not only have to withstand boos and jeers from an unhappy crowd of wrestling fans, but they also have to make sure each wrestler plays by the rules, ignore all of the many distractions outside of the ring, and be tough enough to stand in the ring with some of the biggest and most brutal athletes in the world.
What many wrestling fans don’t quite understand is that the job of a ref is more than just pounding the mat when a wrestler is pinned or kicking a tag team opponent out of the ring when he hasn’t yet been tagged. A ref is a critical part of the storyline in many matches, and he does much more than meets the eye. These 20 incredible facts will change the way you look at the referees of the WWE.
20 WWE Referees Aren’t Just Chatting with the Wrestlers – They’re Helping Them Out
19 Refs Wear Ear Pieces for a Good Reason
18 The WWE Refs’ Uniforms Have Changed with the Times
17 Referees Have a Difficult Job – and Get Paid Handsomely for Doing It
16 But Some Referees Object to This Pay
15 A Select Few Refs Are Immortalized as Action Figures
14 One of the Longest Tenured Employees is a Referee
13 The Longest Tenured Employee Was Also Suspended
12 The Wellness Policy Also Applies to Referees
11 A Fake Ref Injury Can Change the Entire Match – and Upset the Crowd
10 Refs Can Actually Get Hurt Too
Sometimes, injuries aren’t just fake. Anyone standing in a ring with some of the biggest, toughest men and women in the world is bound to get a few bumps and bruises. In an intense matchup when elbows are flying and chairs and tables are being scattered around the ring, it isn’t hard to see how easy it is for anyone in the vicinity to get injured. Some of the top referees of all time have taken some pretty hard blows and have walked out of the arena with injuries.
9 WWE Referees Can Be Easily Distracted
A ref’s job is to keep a close eye on the match to make sure that the best wrestler wins. As already mentioned, making sure that everyone fights clean and fair is all part of the job description. However, in some storylines, refs are easily distracted, leaving the crowd wondering what in the world is going on. Whether it’s by breaking up a fight outside of the ring, looking the other way when a player takes a dirty shot, or just doing something else because it fits better with the storyline, referees sometimes miss a lot of the in-ring action, which often leads to an unexpected victory.
8 Special Guest Referees Sometimes Make an Appearance
7 Most WWE Referees Are Male
6 Fans Can Get a Peek Inside of the Ring with Jimmy Korderas
5 Referees Reportedly Have Staged DQs
4 Refs Sometimes Get Their Own Storylines
3 Refs Fight Back
2 Refs Can Be Heels, Too
1 Sometimes, Referees Are Just as Surprised as the Fans
It only makes sense that WWE referees would have the inside scoop on all of the matches beforehand, right? Not necessarily. While most matches are predetermined and results are given to staff within the WWE, including the ref officiating the match, other times, the officials are left in the dark. One prime example is the infamous Undertaker versus Brock Lesnar match that took place at WrestleMania. Since this was such a high-profile match, the WWE was very secretive about the results, sharing with only a select few so that no leaked details would be revealed. Referee Chad Patton, the official overseeing this notorious matchup, was not aware of the results beforehand, according to sources. These sources say that he was simply told to begin counting whenever shoulders hit the mat. Some rumors speculate that he was actually told that Undertaker would be taking the match right before stepping into his ring. If these rumors are true, then he would have been just as surprised at the outcome when Brock Lesnar beat Undertaker’s undefeated streak.
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