Doing His Job In Plain Sight: Mike Chioda Explains The Art Of Officiating
Mike Chioda logged 35 years with WWE and saw all kinds of historical showdowns occur, so the former senior official knows that if you didn’t notice him, then he was performing his role as referee beautifully.
Chioda joined Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone on behalf of AdFreeShows.com to talk about the art of officiating and more, stating that blending into the canvas is how he was taught when brought into WWF back in 1985 by the legendary Gorilla Monsoon.
“When you don’t notice the referee, the referee’s doing his job and Gorilla Monsoon used to say the same thing,” Chioda said, citing the old school ways of Chief Jay Strongbow, Jack Lanza and Rene Goulet. “Cause if you did things in the ring, even at a live event, I’d come back and Chief Jay would go, ‘Are you campaigning for yourself now?’ ‘No, sir.’ ‘Well don’t do any of that shit!’
Whether you did see him or not, Chioda has certainly officiated some all-time classics.
“There’s a ton of them: There’s Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold at WrestleMania with Mike Tyson as the enforcer on the outside. There’s Rock and Hogan,” which Chioda says is probably his all-time favorite bout to be a part of even if it wasn’t considered a five-star display of technical prowess.
“Even though it wasn’t such a technical match, a technical wrestling match, a high-flying match, the way the crowd responded to Rock and Hogan that night in Toronto at the Skydome, that always just sticks in my head. That match there and there’s a ton of matches that really stick out strong, but I’d probably have to put Rock and Hogan on the top. I kind of just marked out for that match tremendously. The icon where I was growing up for many years, Hulk Hogan, and then facing the guy that was passing the torch to The Rock, basically. And then The Rock will say, ‘Yeah, you pass the torch to me,’ but then he went off to Hollywood after that!”
Chioda was a part of WWE’s mass releases last April, but he happened to see countless talents have their respective runs in the company during his time. When asked who he felt was underutilized over the course of his time behind the stripes, he had three people in mind, but Dolph Ziggler was the star he felt was suffered the most from the erratic booking.
“I believe he is getting somewhat pushed now, but there was so many years where that kid had so much good talent and I’ve seen a lot of talent that had a lot of potential and just never made it. Just didn’t get through the political standpoint of the company. They kept giving it to Dolph and taking it right back. It’s hard,” he added.
A talent that Chioda did see claw his way to the top of the card was Daniel Bryan. Chioda remembers the mountains the ‘Yes Man’ had to climb before becoming champion. One match, in particular, occurred in 2015 where Daniel Bryan was supposed to get a big win against Randy Orton, but the bout was called off mid-match by Triple H and the former American Dragon was very close to breathing fire backstage.
“The confrontation I remember, he got in with Triple H at the Gorilla position,” he said. “Daniel Bryan got hurt and they made me call the match. I kept asking Daniel, I said, ‘Daniel, you okay, brother? You okay?’ ‘I’m good, Chioda. I can finish, I can finish.’ I said, ‘You sure?’ I say, ‘He’s alright,’ but they canceled the match when it came from up in Gorilla and I remembered he stormed out so hot.”
Someone who has re-established himself yet again is The Miz and Chioda made note of the now two-time WWE Champion’s perseverance.
“You thought he was gonna get left back but then he just kind of boosted himself right back to the top, you know? And that’s good. He’s a good talent. He can cut a promo on the stick like unbelievable, Miz. And now he’s doing a lot of Hollywood stuff himself too.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)