When WWE made multiple company-wide cutbacks on April 15, Mike Chioda was a surprising name on the list. Chioda had been a referee in WWE for over three decades and seemed like he would be there for life before his April 15 release.

Making the release all the more surprising was the fact that he had signed a new contract with the company in March.

"It took me by complete surprise," Chioda told Chris Jericho on Talk Is Jericho. "I had surgery in October, I had a torn rotator cuff and torn bicep. Surgery went great, I healed up, and was ready for WrestleMania. I signed a new contract in the middle of March when my contract was up and got a bump in pay. Then, I get a phone call on April 15. It was a big surprise. There was no reason. I asked if it came from certain people like Vince [McMahon] or Stephanie {McMahon] and he [unidentified] said 'no, it didn't.' It not like they pulled me out of a hat. I don't know if it's heat, but how can you have heat if you've been off for six months rehabbing? It took me by surprise."

Chioda started working with WWE in 1989 and became the senior official in 2002. He was working as the senior referee on SmackDown when he was released.

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