By Giancarlo Aulino
Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) referee Jimmy Korderas worked with many of the industry’s biggest stars including: Hulk Hogan, The Rock, The Undertaker, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in his 22-year long referee career.
In 2008, Jimmy officiated the main-event of WrestleMania XXIV – the biggest event in professional wrestling - between The Undertaker and Canadian superstar Edge. Jimmy currently co-hosts Aftermath on Sportsnet 360 - a talk show that recaps WWE’s Monday Night Raw, Smackdown Live, and previews upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) events.
In this Beyond The Game interview Correspondent Giancarlo Aulino speaks with Jimmy about how he became a WWE referee, the role of a professional wrestling referee, his show Sportsnet show Aftermath and more.
Giancarlo: Jimmy, you were a WWE referee for 20+ years. I’ve always wondered about this because fans hear stories about their favourite wrestlers working the industry scene, working around the world, and finding their craft and their character. How does one become a referee for WWE?
Jimmy: Nowadays, it’s a lot different than when I started refereeing. I started working for Jack Tunney way back in the day, and in those days you didn’t train to be a referee. I was on the ring crew, setting up the ring, and it kind of morphed into becoming a referee because I was just hanging around. It was Pat Patterson who said: “Well, the kid is hanging around, he’s setting up the ring and tearing it down, and during the show he’s just waiting for the show to finish. Why don’t we use him, we’ll make him a referee.” Slowly but surely one thing led to another and I didn’t know how long it would last, but it turned out to be a pretty good career over twenty-years.
Giancarlo: There’s some difficulties that fans aren’t aware of because they have that perception that referees know the outcome—it’s sports entertainment. What would you say were some of the difficulties of being a WWE referee?
Jimmy: The biggest thing was learning that as a WWE referee or professional wrestling referee, for that matter for any company, is that the referee is not the focal point and shouldn’t be the focal point. He is like a supporting actor to help the story go along, when the two or four guys, or however many wrestlers are in the ring, are trying to tell a story. You’re just there to help them tell their story, and the best way you can do that is to stay invisible until you need to be visible. Like I said, you’re kind of that supporting actor where people will go “Hey, I know that guy. Where do I know him from, I know I’ve seen him” and for me that’s fine. Some people like to be more visible. That wasn’t me. I kind of understood the role of the referee and knew that I wasn’t going to be a superstar so to speak.
Giancarlo: After your time with WWE, you took that knowledge that you had of the industry to Sportsnet and joined Arda Ocal and Renee Paquette on Aftermath. Now it’s Caroline Szwed, Anthony Carelli, Nug, and yourself. For those that may be unfamiliar with Aftermath, how would you describe the show to them?
© Sporstnet | YouTube
Jimmy: Best way to describe it, and I’ve said this to a couple of people, is I like to refer to us as wrestling’s version of the Talking Dead. We break down the show; what happened that particular week on television or on pay-per-view. Then we talk about what we liked and what we didn’t particularly like, and we critique that way. What we would like to see going forward is predicting “oh, I’d like to see this happen in the future, maybe this will happen”, like you do with pretty much any form of entertainment - everybody kind of does it. What we don’t do is deal with rumours, cause rumours are just that - rumours, and I hate to say it but most of them are just plain negative. We can critique without having to be totally negative the entire time because in my opinion, it’s not all negative. There’s positives, and with me being inherently a glass half-full kind of guy, I’d rather focus on the stuff I liked than the stuff I didn’t like. If people would put more energy into the stuff they liked as opposed to constantly complaining, maybe they’d enjoy the product a little more. That’s just me. Maybe I’m being too critical of the people that are constantly critiquing, I don’t know.
For the FULL interview with Jimmy Korderas, click here.
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