It's often said the best referees in wrestling are the ones you don't notice. Though WWE has identified head officials such as Earl Hebner throughout their history, in recent years, referees are there to do their job and not be mentioned.
Why is that?
Mike Chioda, who had been with WWE for 30 years before being released in April, provided a reason on Talk is Jericho.
"I believe it was they were saying the referee's names too much. It wasn't with me, it was with another referee, and [Vince] didn't recognize their name and he was like, 'Who is this?' They said, 'Oh, it's the referee.' He goes, 'Goddamnit, I'm done hearing the referee's name. I don't want to hear his name no more.' They were putting him over too much and he didn't recognize the name," he said.
Chris Jericho noted that Vince's reaction was "Classic Vince."
Chioda joked that Vince would use the phrase, "'Referees, they don't sell tickets, they comp tickets.'"
Though Vince might not know the names of some referees, he always had a good relationship with Chioda.
"It was always a good relationship, on the fly, Vince is a very busy man. There was a time years ago when we would have more conversations. Not so many in the last so many years. Vince comes out of the office, goes to Gorilla, will be there for some rehearsals. My relationship with Vince was awesome over 35 years," he said. "[Vince] said, 'I need you to put these rules into effect with young talent. Whatever you do, I will back you up.' He would always tell me, 'If you ever have to count him out, I don't give a damn. You do your job and make them work around you.'"
Despite his tenure and relationship, Chioda was released as part of the company-wide cutbacks on April 15. Elsewhere during the podcast, he revealed he signed a new deal with WWE in March. You can find his full comments regarding his release by clicking here.
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