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Posts Tagged ‘Project Mayhem’

MWR’S Referee Roundtable with legend Dave Hebner

Posted by flairwhoooooo on August 14, 2010

I have been working on this article for the past couple of months. This feature is designed to know more about the one guy who is often forgotten but vital to a matche’s success. That man is the referee. An often heard cliché is that the best ref is one that is not seen. That statement is true but there is no doubt that you will see the ref at one point during the contest and most definitely during the final seconds of the match.

I personally got to see first hand the importance of a referee during a short “ booking” period last fall for an upstart promotion. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best talent in the game today so I could have picked names out of a hat and felt good that the card would come off good.

Little did I know how hectic being the booker was (that story is for another day) but two people that many may not notice plays a big part in making the show a success and I am speaking about the ring announcer and the referee. I was lucky to have two men who take great pride in their work on those two shows, Eric Davis and Luke Roberts. Both of these guys could have sit back and let me drowned but they stepped up to the challenge and the show was much better for it. I saw on those occasions as “booker” how important each mans job was and for that I am forever grateful for these two’s talent.

In this roundtable of professional referees around the Midwest I am joined by some of the best today. First we have Martin Thomas, Thomas, I had the pleasure to check out in action many times at CSW in Kansas. Steve Biley from Iowa was one of the founding fathers of 3XW, a company that won the 2008 Promotion of the Year and is always a popular choice from MWR fans to check out. Eric Davis is one of the most recognized referees in St Louis working for just about every promotion in the STL. Brandon Schmitt, Jeromy Robb and Mark Wilson are all students of Harley Race and can be found throughout the Midwest at other promotions as well. Last but not least we have David Switzer who is in his very first year represents my friends from IWA Productions and  David has a desire to become one of the best.

There is no doubt that most referees have a true love for the sport and I always look forward to speaking to each of these fine men who have became good friends of mine to boot about their experience’s inside the squared circle.

Now MWR Fans I hope you enjoy MWR’S Referee Roundtable at the end of this feature we are joined with one of the ALL-TIME GREATS in the sport Dave Hebner. Hebner and his twin brother Earl have been involved in some of the greatest matches and angles in sports history from WWE’S Wrestlemania to today’s TNA. Dave is the only current referee with his own branded T-shirt (White with black stripes with the writing “Yes I did it“)

A true legend in his profession we are honored to have Dave Hebner be a part of this feature.

Brian Kelley
MWR Owner .

1) Lets start out by letting the fans know how long each of you have been a refer and how you got your start in the sport?

Martin Thomas

I’ve been a referee for 10 years now. I hate to admit it but I got started by breaking my ankle and having a midlife crisis. I was recovering from ankle surgery, realized I was out of shape and getting worse, so I started bugging Michael Strider about training for Central States Wrestling. I wanted to be a wrestler, discovered my body thought I was too old for that, so I went into refereeing instead.

Steve Biley

Well, I have been a ref for 4+yrs. I was one of the original owners of 3XWrestling in Des Moines. Just like many pro wrestling fans, I wanted to be part of the action growing up. After starting 3XW with Todd Countryman and Dave Andersen, we all thought that maybe I could ref to help with the budget, since I was free. Brian Ash and others would show me things and give suggestions. The rest is history

Eric Davis

I started in the summer of 2005, and well I went to a show with a friend that had been wrestling for a little while, and they needed a ref so I said that I would do it and I got a crash course in the business and then luckily met up with the right people and got the training and from there to here I’m a zebra through and through

Brandon Schmitt

Refs can find themselves in a bad spot just by trying to do there job as Brandon Schmitt finds out in this three way match between Trent Stone, Trevor Murdoch and the Cancun Kid (Photo Credit Bill Smith

I had my first show on September 21, 2007 in Eldon, mo. I’d been friends with the first graduate of Harley Race’s Wrestling Academy, Matt Murphy for a number of years when i approached him about doing a fundraiser for my old high school in oct.’06. I helped set one up in ’06, and one in March of ’07. I was invited by Harley to a couple of shows that summer to just sit back and observe the refereeing side of the matches. I started training at Harley’s school a few weeks later. A couple of shows ago, in Council Bluffs, IA, I officiated my 500th match.

Mark Wilson

Lets start out with letting the fans know how long each of you have been a referee and how you got your start in the sport? I began attending the Harley Race Wrestling Academy in January 2009. I refereed my first match in Bolivar, MO on March 28, 2009, which was a WLW Ladies Title match between Amy Hennig and Stacey O’Brien. After the match, Mr. Race told me I had done a good job. That meant more to me than I can express. After a show in Slater, MO, both Mr. Race and his wife, BJ, told me that I had done an excellent job. That vote of confidence from them made me extremely happy. As of this writing (June, 2010), I’ve had 28 shows since January 2, 2010, which averages to a little more than one show a week, none of which would have been possible without Harley and BJ Race.

Jeromy Robb

 I completed my ref training in 2007 at the Harley Race Wrestling Academy.

David Switzer

 I’ve been a ref for about a year now. I got started almost as a fluke. A couple friends of mine, Alex Castle and Christian Rose (Project Mayhem) told me one night that the regular ref at IWA-Productions in Olney, IL had advanced far enough in his training that they were going to let him start wrestling. This left them without a regular ref. They asked if I wanted to give it a try. The following Wednesday, I showed up early for a crash course in reffing, they gave me one squash match to work, they liked me, and I’ve been their main ref ever since.

2) What promotions have you worked for?

Martin Thomas

Martin Thomas gives former WLW Women’s Champion Stacey O’Brien the rules prior to her match with Amy Hennig (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

CSW, NWA Dynamo, Metro Pro Sports Wrestling, WLW, PWP, TNA, and probably a few I’ve forgotten, no offense intended.

Steve Biley

3XW, NWA-No Limits, NWA-Central States, PWP. Worked a joint 3XW/IPW show. Worked for a couple others not really worth mentioning.

Eric Davis

The ones that I work regularly are IHW, LWA, PWE, and HVW. I’ve also worked ICAW, RPW, RCW, IWAI, CJTPAAW, HCW, FTW, and a few others I can’t remember.

Brandon Schmitt

Harley Race’s World League Wrestling of course. NWA Brew City Wrestling, AWA in Milwaukee also. Central Empire Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Phoenix, Metro Pro Wrestling. I know I’m probably leaving out some–I apologize. (Going to have to dig out my notebooks!)

Mark Wilson

WLW, of course, Maximum Wrestling Alliance in Spavinaw, OK, Compound Pro Wrestling in Tulsa, OK, Mid South Wrestling Alliance in Midwest City, OK, and Arkansas Pro Wrestling in Siloam Springs, AR.

Jeromy Robb

Ricky Kwong is warned for excessive choking in the ropes on Evan Money at MECW from Jeromy Robb (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

World League Wrestling (Camera Man), 3XWrestling (Ref, Camera Man),Metro East Championship Wrestling (Ref), Metro Pro Wrestling (Ref)

David Switzer

My primary promotion is IWA-Productions in Olney, IL. We do weekly shows on Wednesdays, and a Saturday show about every six weeks. I also have reffed an NWA show in Streator, IL. And I’ve done some shows for ICAW in Anna, IL. I will work at my first New Midwest show in Springfield, IL on July 10. EDITORS NOTE: Switzer has since worked for NMW and PWE since he turned in his answers) I’m still new enough that I am not at all well known, but promoters are starting to find out about me.

3) What is the key for a ref to be successful?

Martin Thomas

Stay out of the way and don’t be seen until you’re needed.

Steve Biley

Steve Biley makes sure that Gage Octane is not choking Zach Thompson

Talking to the wrestlers before hand and knowing what they have planned, and keeping alert during the match. Remembering that most of the times you are the complete wimp, but yet still have to maintain order.

Eric Davis

Personally I think its communication with the workers and making sure you know your role in the match to help the workers get their gimmicks over, the standard Indy ref that just stands there and then slowly gets up after slowly dropping down for the count. And above always do your job if it isn’t the finish and the worker’s not listening to the count or doesn’t kick then damn it.

Brandon Schmitt

First and foremost, when you start your training is to SHUT YOUR MOUTH. Watch and listen, because chances are, the ones training you have years of experience in this business, AND YOU DON’T! I hate to sound mean about it, but there isn’t a text book to teach you how to ref, so a lot of what you learn is going to be by making mistakes and learning from them. So when a veteran of the ring is telling you something—-LISTEN TO HIM! No matter whether he’s pulling you to the side or screaming at you to correct you—LISTEN. A referee can make or break a match, and he’s doing his damndest to make sure you can be trusted in some pretty big situations.
I don’t know if I can put this next part into words or not, but here goes nothing:
I can’t imagine NOT doing this for as long as I can. There truly is no better place than inside the ring–in the zone with the boys– lungs burning, flying around the ring during a 30 min tag match– not hearing a word spoken between anyone– everything clicking– a chaos that can’t be explained. Crowd popping’ the whole damn match. Then, still hearing the crowd after everyone has come back through the curtain—-DAMN! Those moments are what I heard the late, great Dr. Death Steve Williams once describe to me as “Cornbread! Ain’t nothing better than that!” I thank God for this business and those moments!

Mark Wilson

The refs are so close to the action that often even they can’t believe the impact that comes from the moves that they take, just like this one that Santana G will sure to feel the next morning from Amy Hennig at WLW in Park Hills Mo. (Photo Credit Mike Van Hoogstraat )

Actually, I think there are several things that separate the best referees from all the rest. Primarily, keeping oneself in good physical shape is a must. Enduring the warm-up at Mr. Race’s wrestling school is a true test of what kind of physical shape you are in. If you referee every match on a six match show, being in top physical shape will keep you as able to do your job in the main event as much as in the first match. Secondly, study, study, and study. I watch as many WWE, TNA and YouTube videos every week as I have time for to pick up different things from good referees and to ignore from the average or worse refs. Before the matches, listening to the wrestlers and what moves or holds they might try to use during the match will give you an idea of where you need to be in the ring to stay out of the way.

Jeromy Robb

Listen, Position, Training and Heart.

David Switzer

To me, the keys are pretty simple. Pay attention. Use your ears when you have your back turned to the action, so you don’t turn around at the wrong time. Crowd reaction is key to timing when you can’t see what is going on and you don’t have a wrestler in front of you to be your eyes. Know the tendencies of your wrestlers. Anticipate where they will end up after certain moves, so if they go for a cover, you are already in a good place to drop down and count. Always know your finishes before you go out, at least when possible. I usually ref a whole show, often with no intermission, so I have to know everything before I step into the ring for the first match. Remain actively involved in the match, but without trying to draw attention to yourself. Nobody is there to see the ref, unless your mother is in the crowd, but if the ref screws up, the whole match is down the toilet. And stay out of the way. If they start running and flying around the ring, anticipate where they are going, and don’t be there. Also, I was told early on that I have one thing going in my favor, and that is that I have absolutely no ambition to ever wrestle. I guess a lot of refs are wrestling trainees who really don’t have their heart into reffing. They are doing it to pay their dues.

4) On the flip side what is some of the most common mistakes that a ref makes in a match?

Martin Thomas

Thomas went from trying to maintain order between two of the most beautiful women to trying to maintain order with two powerhouses in Dinn T Moore and Michael Strider (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Too many refs want to be involved in the match. Not necessarily doing moves but they are too close to the wrestlers, they take attention from the wrestlers by breaking them apart too early or do something to draw attention to the ref. Either that or the ref looks bored and stiff during the match, that drives me crazy.

Steve Biley
Not maintaining order when you are supposed to and not following “the rules” I have seen guys that where reffing and just stand there with there thumb up there a## and make the match look stupid.

Eric Davis
Most common mistakes are not doing their job, like I said before if they are out of the ring and not listen to the count or aren’t releasing a hold before the five count, do not cover for them repeatedly you have to show authority and if its a reason for dq then do it and always count if both shoulders are down, in submission moves either workers shoulders can be on the mat and that is a pinfall, but most Indy refs don’t remember to look for it

Brandon Schmitt
Not taking charge in there. For example— don’t stop your count if a wrestler isn’t breaking a choke-hold. Get in his face and let him know that there are rules to the contest. And if he abuses it again and doesn’t break the hold before you get to 5– DQ him! Let HIM do the explaining when he gets back to the locker room. Another thing referees need to do is– be loud on every count, whether it’s a 1,2,3– a 5 count, or a 10 count. On my very first day of training, Harley told me that no matter if it was a show with 50 fans or 50,000—he wanted the person in the last row of the upper deck to hear the referee slap the mat, and KNOW if it was a 1 or a 2 or a 3 count. Those things there are my little pet peeves when watching other referees through the curtain. In general though, be the ref that the boys can depend on.

Mark Wilson
Staying out of the way, paying attention to everything going on in the ring, moving around constantly to be in the best possible position. If you want, you can be just a fat, dumpy ref with his shirt untucked and who stands in the corner and waits until it’s time to make a count, or you can get yourself into shape, study good referees, be aggressive and let the crowd know that you are the official in the match and that you are going to do your best to make certain you call it as fairly as possible.

Jeromy Robb
Not Listening to the Veterans

David Switzer
Being out of position when a wrestler covers his opponent. It shouldn’t take more than a second or so for the ref to be down and counting. And again, listen for crowd reaction, or for the sound of a wrestler dropping to the mat before you turn around if there is cheating behind your back. Otherwise, you turn around too soon; you see the foreign object in use, and blow the whole match for everyone. I know because I’ve made that mistake. Nothing makes you look bad like seeing something you shouldn’t have and pretending that you didn’t. The fans are smart enough, they don’t buy that.

5) Who in your mind is some of the top refs in the sport today?

Martin Thomas

I have to apologize again, I’ve been retired for 2 years, so I haven’t focused much on wrestling and I don’t watch it on tv.

Steve Biley
Me….absolutely a joke!!! Ya know, I am not always up on names, but I have seen a few of the east coast guys and they are great,

Eric Davis
Bryce Remsburg of Chikara,Shimmer and CZW among others, I think he is a great ref he can fit any match style and help you get your gimmick over, Rudy Charles is a pretty good one, and I like Slick Johnson to he sets himself apart in which ever way he can.

Brandon Schmitt
Mike Chioda and John Cone. Those two are at the top of their game each and every night. And that’s why they are where they are–WWE. I’ve been fortunate to have worked a few shows that John has attended, and each time he’s been more than willing to critique my matches and answer any questions that I’ve had. For that I am forever grateful!

Mark Wilson
I learn constantly by watching John Cone, Charles Robinson, Mike Chioda in WWE and Slick Johnson and Brian Hebner in TNA. Mr. Cone has given me feedback at the WLW shows he’s attended, and that has helped me out tremendously. I’d say the best referee in the business at this time is Mike Chioda, but my favorite of the current crop of referees is Slick Johnson. He obviously keeps himself in shape, looks like he can take care of himself in the ring if a wrestler tries to intimidate him and makes is calls clear and loudly for the wrestlers and the audience to understand. The greatest referee of all time was probably Tommy Young. I’ve watched as many of his matches from the NWA that I could get a hold of. Carl Fergie was another referee in Mid-South/UWF from that era who was a good referee.

Jeromy Robb
John Cone, Charles Robinson

David Switzer

Switzer keeps an eye out for the action as Zebra Cakes uses legal double teams (Photo Credit

I really enjoy watching John Cone in the WWE. Todd Sinclair in ROH is another favorite. Locally, Robbie McCann is outstanding.

6) What has been your favorite match that have been the official for and why?

Martin Thomas

I’ve got a couple of favorites, (Matt) Sydal/Delirious/Payday Patterson from a few years ago in CSW. Three of my favorite guys to watch and work with. Another match is my favorite just because it’s funny, in a tiny little town, my pants ripped from the crotch to the knee. Embarrassing but funny at the same time. Everyone in the ring had a hard time finishing the match because we were laughing so hard and I had to borrow someone’s sweatpants to finish the show.

Steve Biley

I am not sure I can give a favorite. I have reffed a lot of REALLY fun matches that when I was done, I was like wow!!!! Brian Ash, Gage Octane, NSE, Mark Sterling, Jimmy Rockwell are just some of the guys that I have worked matches with and said WOW when I was done. Sterling vs. Octane was INCREDIBLE to work.
One that I distinctly remember is working with Keith Walker when he held the NWA World Tag title. That big SOB was one guy that legitimately scared the SH#T out of me in the ring.

Eric Davis
Wow that’s a pretty hard one a lot of them have been a lot of fun but I would say Dash Rando vs. Billy McNeil, it was at the first LWA pro wrestling heroes family show in house springs mo and in the match both Dash and Billy went under the ring and I followed and I came back out with bee outfit on over my ref shirt and did the rest of the match like that, the crowd wanted more of the bee costume lol.

Brandon Schmitt
Tough question! There have been some real fun ones, but so far, nothing compares to Go Shiozaki vs. Darin Waid at the Night of Legends II in Waterloo, IA back in the summer of ’08. In front of legends like Harley Race, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper, Baron Von Raschke, among many, many other greats, those two beat the hell out of each other, at 200mph for the entire time limit draw. A beautiful, yet exhausting match that had had the crowd showing their appreciation with a standing ovation after the final bell. That’s when Waid begged myself and the crowd for “5 more minutes.” Once the crowd started chanting, and Shiozaki agreed to the o.t. period, we started an extra 5 min. A couple of minutes into the o.t., Shiozaki caught Waid off the top rope and hit the GO FLASH for the win. And once again, the 2 of them were given a standing-o from the crowd and the legends attending. We had high-flying, brawling (in and out of the ring), and scientific wrestling that told a story, all in one match. Darin and Go had the crowd in the palm of their hands that night, and I’ll always be honored to be a part of that match.

Mark Wilson
I would say that my favorite match to referee so far was the main event of the WLW 10th Anniversary Show in which Brian Breaker defeated Superstar Steve for the WLW title. It was such an honor to be involved in a match of that caliber and to have been in front of some of the greatest legends in the business that night: Harley Race, Bret Hart, Terry Funk, Bob Geigel, Bill Kersten, and the numerous other luminaries present. Members of my family were in the audience, too, and my oldest sister snapped a picture of me handing the belt to the new champion.

Jeromy Robb
Jeremy Wyatt vs. Tyler Black: The Passion these two Wrestlers have is just Amazing.

David Switzer

Dave Switzer counts the pin for a huge match this year as Brandon Aarons went for the win against Ring of Honor World Champion Tyler Black at Pro Wrestling Epic. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

With only about 200 matches’ reffed, I don’t have a large list to pick from. But I really enjoyed a match I did in Vandalia, IL between Matt Cage and Eugene. Cage is a friend of mine and always a pleasure to work with. Eugene was a real pro and great to work with. I had a lot of fun in the match. Eugene involved me in a lot of his comedy routine, which drew from my acting experience. I also took the hardest bump I have ever taken in that match.

7) Now for the fun what was your least favorite match?

Martin Thomas

A hardcore match for a small promotion, it was horrible. I actually asked the manager of one of the wrestlers to hit me so I could get out of the ring for a bit…which he did, thankfully

Steve Biley
Remember the comment about places not worth mentioning….

Eric Davis
honestly almost every match I worked in FTW a lot of bad memories from when I worked there, but I did make some good friends that and wish I could see again.

Brandon Schmitt
That one night when I attended a show where I wasn’t working. If I’d have known ahead of time that it would be SO hard to just sit in the crowd and watch and NOT be in the ring, I wouldn’t have gone. Pure hell, period.

Mark Wilson?
I recently had a match that was presented to all of us as a traditional 3 way match, but it was announced as elimination 3 way match. I asked the wrestlers which it was, and they seemed as confused as I was. Nonetheless, we ended up with one wrestler being “counted out” by me and he was eliminated, leaving the final two wrestlers in the ring to wrestle to a pinfall finish. I guess we made chicken salad out of chicken manure in that one.

Jeromy Robb
Hahahahaha. I’m good :)

David Switzer
A four match gauntlet where DA Morrison had to do 3 singles matches, then a 1-on-2 handicap match, defending his IWAP Club Championship. It was a weird night where we only had about 4 wrestlers at the show. DA did all he could, given the circumstances, but there was no break for him or me between matches and the whole thing was just unnecessary and a bad experience.

8) What Superstars have you been in the ring with?

Martin Thomas

I’ve been very lucky and worked with some of the best indy talent around, bigger name talent working with Harley, and been the sole referee for a TNA house show.

Steve Biley
Jerry Lynn, Tracy Brooks, Malia Hosaka, Keith Walker, Tyler Black, Zac Gowen, Awesome Kong. I know I am missing some

Eric Davis

Eric Davis has refed some of the biggest matches in St Louis over the past few years, here he is the man in order between WWE Hall of Famer Bob Orton and “Bloody” Harker” Dirge at Independent Hardcore Wrestling in Dupo Illinois)

Supersters? Well bigger name Indy people would be Mike Quakenbush, Davey Richards, Claudio Castagnoli, Arik Cannon, Tyler Black, Ian Rotten, Mickie Knuckles, MsChif, Dazie Haze, Delirious, Alex Shelley, and a couple more.

Brandon Schmitt

Brandon Schmitt clowns around with former WWE Star Eugene after a battle royal in Eldon Missouri (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

These men and women are all superstars in my book, but some more well-known names are—- 3 time World Tag Team Champions Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Roddy Piper, Chris Masters, Rosie, Eugene, NWA World Champion Adam Pearce, Tony Atlas, Joe (Mike McGillicuty) Hennig, Marty Jannetty. That’s just a few off the top of my head.

Mark Wilson
Ritchie Steamboat
was in a three way match for the WLW in Waterloo, IA at the Dan Gable Hall of Fame show in July, 2009 in which I was the official. I reffed two matches in Oklahoma that included Jesse White, son of Big Van Vader. Former ECW star Angel Medina was in a tag team match I reffed in Arkansas. Trevor Murdoch has been probably the biggest star I’ve officiated for.

Jeromy Robb
Several

David Switzer
If, by Superstars, you mean nationally known guys who have been on TV, there aren’t many. Honky Tonk Man, Eugene, Jay Bradley (Ryan Braddock in WWE). The Sheik is well traveled, as is Mike Sydal. That’s about it.

9) Lets us know what is your biggest pet peeve that a wrestler will do during match and what can a wrestler do to make your job easier?

Martin Thomas

Two pet peeves: Wrestlers that don’t want to listen to me in the ring and wrestlers that are only concerned with themselves.

Steve Biley

Honestly, communicate before hand what you want and how you want it. There are so many styles out there that not calling something because most don’t want it, but you do, let us know.

Eric Davis
Biggest pet peeve? hmm thinking that they are a superstar and can get to the venue last minute before the match and expect a 5 star match, promotions have call times for a reason get there when your supposed too, and communication is key and the workers that communicate with refs before and during the matches it helps out tremendously and just listen and respect the ref he is the authority figure in the match make him a joke and no one will think he’s credible when needed to be authoritive.

Brandon Schmitt
I can’t really think off anything right off the bat. I used to hate it when a wrestler would be a dick in the locker room to the referees, but now, I’ve learned that if you want respect, you got to earn it. Have me work one of your matches and you’ll respect me afterwards. I work hard and take the shows seriously. If you’re still wanting to be an asshole to me afterwards—-you’re probably an asshole whether you’re in the locker room or at the store buying groceries.

Mark Wilson
It is more prevalent in Oklahoma and Arkansas for a wrestler or tag team to come to the ring with a “posse.” Excellence Personified, a faction that includes some of the best wrestlers in those two states, constantly are distracting me during their matches. Dustin Heritage, Jack Legacy and Michael Barry are probably the best wrestlers in that part of the country, but they, along with their manager Mike Iles, are invariable grabbing the bottom ring rope, jumping up on the apron or they are pulling some other general chicanery. Though I didn’t catch anything illegal in the match, I’m almost certain that their antics cost Brian Breaker the MWA Heavyweight title against champion, Jack Legacy.

Jeromy Robb
Listen, and Listen (not to just me)

David Switzer
My biggest pet peeve is easy. Chewing gum and spitting it out on the mat during the match. Happens at least once almost every show. I get tired of picking it up. Drives me nuts. Another one is when they take too long to cheat while my back is turned. I hate when I have to turn my back, and they take forever to cheat. Especially when they use the old “remove the turnbuckle pad and cheat while the ref is putting it back on” routine. I once had to turn my back and pretend to tie the turnbuckle pad on for almost a full minute because the guys were too slow behind me. Makes me look incompetent, because in the fans’ eyes, I should be watching the action. That’s what they can do to make my job easier. Cheat fast. And if you use a foreign object, hide it before I turn around. Many times, I miss the cheap shot, but when I turn around. They still have the chain wrapped around their fist and make no attempt to hide it. I just have to play dumb, and that also makes me look bad to the fans.

10) Who is your favorite wrestler to officiate for and if there was any Superstar that you have not been a referee for who would you want that to be?

Martin Thomas

I can’t say that I have a favorite wrestler to officiate for, I’ve enjoyed working with 90% of the wrestlers I’ve been in the ring with and I’d consider that to be a good record. If there was any way I could pull it off, I would love to work with Vader. He’s one of my all time favorite wrestlers.

Steve Biley
Hard question! All the guys I have worked with, Mark Sterling. He has stomped mudholes in me, but the guy is INTENSE!
Ya know, Superstars are fun, but really not a lot different than the great guys I already work with.

Eric Davis

The referes job does not end after the match at times. Here ref Eric Davis (Far left) is joined with Kiwi to assist the destruction caused by the Dixieland Destroyer at High Voltage Wrestling.(Photo Credit Mike Van Hoogstraat )

I have a couple actually that I really like working with Dingo was one, Brandon Arrons, Mike Sydal, Sean Vincent, any incarnation of Billy McNeal is good. I would like to work more of the top Indy guys the ones you can learn a lot from like Mike Quakenbush he’s a great guy to have in the locker room I always enjoy when he’s around.

Brandon Schmitt
My favorite so far would have to be Trevor Murdoch. He can be a handful once he steps through those ropes, but he’s so damn old school that you can’t help but like the guy. A true brawler, yet not afraid to take it to the top rope if it means the difference between a win and a loss. When Murdoch speaks, you better listen up, because that guy loves this business and if you aren’t giving 110%, he’s going to let you know how he feels about it. Still a damn handful though!

Mark Wilson

Brian Breaker. I’ve officiated most of Breaker’s WLW matches in the last year and a half, and, though he constantly pushes the limits of the rules, he almost always finds a way to win. If he isn’t a two time WLW champion soon, I will be very surprised.

Jeromy Robb

Tyler Cook gets the bad news from Jeromy Robb that he was unable to pin Jeremy Wyatt in a very close call at 3XW in their rematch this year. (Photo Credit Brian Kelley)

Mark McDowell. I would like to Ref a match with Mr. Anderson …. Anderson

David Switzer

I have a lot of personal friends who I also ref, guys I knew before I was a ref, and I would like to list them here. But my honest answer would have to be Brandon Walker. I haven’t reffed him for a while, but have done several of his matches in the past. Just a real pro in the ring. A veteran who has the respect of every guy in the locker room. He just makes the sport look good, and would be my favorite guy to ref. As far as a current Superstar I have never reffed, again assuming Superstar means a big name TV wrestler, I would go with Velvet Sky from TNA. More seriously, I would probably say Chris Jericho. I don’t think he is capable of putting on a bad match, and I would love the opportunity to ref him once. More realistically, on a Midwest Indy level, I would like to ref Jimmy Jacobs.

11) What advice would you give someone if they would like to become a ref?

Martin Thomas

There’s too many people who think reffing is just a shirt and count to 3, there’s a whole lot more to it and it shows when you’re the idiot that just puts the shirt on and gets in the ring. A bad ref can ruin a 5 star match.

Steve Biley

A refs job is never easy with a mastermind like Todd Countryman at ringside.

Get trained, don’t think you are EVER smarter than the wrestler who paid a lot of money to learn to do what they do, and just do it.

Eric Davis
Listen to what the vets tell you get to shows early and try to learn everything you can watch people work in the ring work with them, after matches talk to the workers ask if their was anything you could have done or if you where in the way, and always be respectful and be ready for plenty of practical jokes when you are first starting out.

Brandon Schmitt

CARDIO! Better get your lungs ready and your legs ready for some abuse. Let’s just start there.

Mark Wilson

Take control of the match is the definition of a good ref, even the 2009 mwr Wrestler of the YeaR Mark Sterling needs to obey the rules of the countout. Mark Wilson is not passive in his warning of the ten count. (Photo Credit Mike Van Hoogstraat )

Study any of the referees on the current WWE and TNA rosters, and look for older matches with Tommy Young, Earl Hebner, Joey Marella, Pee Wee Anderson, Nick Patrick and Gary DeRusha. Attend the best school in the country, the Harley Race Wrestling Academy. It’s worth the investment. Mr. Race’s name will open all kinds of doors for you. Keep your cardio work up and take as many bookings as you can get. Working with a vast array of wrestlers and many different crowds will prepare you for almost anything that could happen in the ring. And, perhaps the biggest thing, realize that you are there to help the wrestlers shine, not vice versa. If you do your job, you won’t get very much credit, but you will have accomplished that goal. People in the business recognize a good referee, and certainly know the bad ones.

Jeromy Robb
Make sure you want this lifestyle and get Great Training I’m Trained at one of the premier training academies in all of North America Harley Race Wrestling Academy and LISTEN

David Switzer

Watch wrestling. Watch a lot of wrestling. Study the refs on TV. Just like the wrestlers on TV, the refs on TV are also the best at what we do. See how they react in certain situations. See how they position themselves. Even though I’m new to the business, as far as in-ring goes, I’ve been watching wrestling religiously since 1981. Most of the guys I ref weren’t even born then. But I understand what is going on in the ring. Work as hard at your part of the match as the wrestlers do at theirs. Get in shape so you have the cardio to get through a whole show. It’s pretty common for an Indy show to only have one ref, and they aren’t going to stop the show because you are tired. And little things like knowing the rules of various matches. I worked a show a while back that had a last man standing match. I didn’t ref it, but the guy who did have no idea what the rules of the match were. As a result, the match went way longer than it should have. He didn’t know when to count and when to stop counting. Really looked bad.

12) Last but not least how can a promoter contact you to be a referee for them?

Martin Thomas

At the age of 43, I’m finally on facebook…and a lot of people are laughing at me right now.

Steve Biley

Well, if they need an old fat guy that does a pretty good job they can just email me @ stevebiley@gmail.com

Eric Davis
Preferably n facebook http://www.facebook.com/Eicdavisref or email at Trow86@hotmail.com after we talk then I give out my number.

Brandon Schmitt
My email is brndnschmitt@yahoo.com. I surprisingly have been found by promoters on facebook, so I do check it a little more frequently now. I love getting as much time in the ring as possible–so get in contact with me—I’M YOUR MAN.

Mark Wilson
My cell number is 417-389-2090. I have a Facebook page under my name, Mark Wilson. I always look forward to every show, whether in a familiar territory or a new one.

Jeromy Robb
I can be reached several ways Facebook (Jeromy Robb), EMail(jeromy2002@yahoo.com), Phone 515-208-3659

David Switzer

My name is David Switzer. I can be found on facebook under my name, or emailed directly at switzr1@gmail.com

http://www.myspace.com/twinrefs

1) Lets start out with letting the fans know how long each of you have been a refer and how you got your start in the sport? I started out in the Richmond Virginia area I have been in the sport for 27 years now. My twin brother Earl and I watched a lot of tapes and matches to try to improve what we could do.

Dave and Earl Hebner . Can you tell who is who ?

2) Who in your mind is some of the top refs in the sport of all time? I would say Tommy Young. I think that Tommy was one of the top men to ever ref. I will always say that the Hebner’s was the best of all time but you can not take anything away from Tommy. Tommy was real good ref.

3) What has been your favorite match that has been the official for and why? I referred Steamboat vs Savage at WrestleMania III and I always thought that was one of the biggest matches in the world and several Hulk Hogan match’s, Harley Race and Ric Flair, we always were the ref for all the big stars.

4) What is something that a ref does that would surprise the common fan? If a guy gets hurt the ref will be important to lead the match where it needs to go.

Dave Hebner (Photo Credit Mike Van Hoogstraat)

5) On the flip side what is some of the most common mistakes that a ref makes in a match? Sometimes they are in the wrong place and at times they are so excited that they will go down and miss the count or be ten miles from the guys shoulder and not even be close and start counting 1-2 . Instead of being hand to hand they will be feet to feet and there feet would be in the way.

6) Lets us know what is your biggest pet peeve that a wrestler will do during match 6d what can a wrestler do to make your job easier?

7) What advice would you give someone if they would like to become a ref? You can do it, though it is very HARD, you have to be in the right place at the right time. When you go over the finish make sure you get it down and get it down right make it look good. I have seen wrestlers go to “hit” a ref and he miss him by ten feet and the ref still takes the bump down, that’s not good, the fans are not dumb.

8) What match recently stands out to you as one that is for the memories and is it still fun for you? It’s still fun to get up there every now and then, right now my legs are all broken up and I can not do what I use to. I still can do a match here or there and do it well. The people enjoy it and love it. You have to be into it, sure and its glory but you still have to keep your mind into the match.

9) Any other thoughts of your time as a ref.?Feuding with my brother was always special, the fans enjoyed it. It was interesting, I remember one night in Richmond with Hermie Sadler’s promotion where Earl took on his son Brian in a loser loses their hair. Brian won and Earl lost his hair and the fans ate it up.

Harley Race, Nick Ridenour, Dave Hebner and Ted Dibiase

10) Any last thoughts for the fans at MWR? I would like to the fans to know that Midwest’s own Nick Ridenour is the greatest referee of all time. He has been trained by the Hebner’s and for that he can be nothing but the best.

Thank you Dave for taking the time to be there with us.Thank you and have a good day

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The Submission Squad and The Hooligans tear up the Midwest

Posted by flairwhoooooo on September 12, 2009

By Jason Thomas

What started as a competition between two up and coming tag teams has turned into a war that is sweeping across the mid-west and has made an impact on a lot of area promotions.

The Submission Squad (Pierre Abernathy and Evan Gelistico) made there name in the Saint Louis based LWA but have been branching out over the last two years. The Squad has made stops in Chikara Pro as well as IWA-Mid South have held tag titles in 4 states and have worked in two countries. Making there home in LWA as well as IWA-TX the Submission Squad is on the right path of breaking out on a national scene.

The Hooligans (Mason and Devin Cutter) made there names in the Georgia area training under former WWF superstar Mr. Hughes. The Cutters then made there home base in East Saint Louis where they looked to make an impact on the tag team scene. The Hooligans shined in the first ever IWA- Mid South tryout show earning full time jobs and tons of exposure. Since then the brothers have worked all across the mid-west and fought top teams in the IWA. This team is also on the path of breaking onto the national scene.

On June 13th in Dupo Illinois these two paths crossed for the first time as the Submission Squad took on the Hooligans for the first time on the IHW debut show. This back and forth match saw the Submission Squad come out on top. What we thought would be a one time match up has turned into much more.

The Hooligans have Evan Gelistico where they want him. (Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

The Hooligans have Evan Gelistico where they want him. (Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

We fast forward to August 8th as the Hooligans jumped at the chance to face the Submission Squad in there home base of the LWA. The Cutters got there second chance at LWA gold in New Athens Illinois/ However for the second time the brothers fell short as the Squad pinned the Hooligans.

The Submission Squad had felt that there rivalry with the Hooligans was over as they had beat them two times in a row but a open door would be what turned this rivalry personal. The Submission Squad was asked to put there LWA tag team titles on the line against the Hooligans on the PWN event and the Squad did not want to turn down the chance to debut in a new area so they accepted and you had The Submission Squad vs. The Hooligans 3 for the LWA tag team titles.

The Submission Squad improved there dominance of the Cutters on Aug 15 when they defeated the Hooligans Lil Brother Neil Diamond Cutter and his tag team partner The Blackheart in the semi final match for the HVW Tag team Titles. (Photo credit Mike Van Hoogstraat)

The Submission Squad improved there dominance of the Cutters on Aug 15 when they defeated the Hooligans Lil Brother Neil Diamond Cutter and his tag team partner The Blackheart in the semi final match for the HVW Tag team Titles. (Photo credit Mike Van Hoogstraat)

On August 21st the Squad would meet The Hooligans in the match that would change everything. In a back and forth match the mid-west wrestling scene was shocked as The Hooligans won the LWA tag team titles. This was unprecedented as the LWA tag titles changed hands outside the LWA to a team who is not in the LWA. Not only that but the Cutters used outside help from the Epic War (based in California) tag team champions Tim Donst and Jaysin Strife to capture the titles.

Current LWA Champions The Hooligans(Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

Current LWA Champions The Hooligans(Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

The Hooligans were ready to take on Project Mayhem in the GAW tag team tournament. However on August 30th in Lincoln IL one half of the Project Mayhem team was hurt so they could not compete in the tournament. They did sign there own replacement and it was the Submission Squad. The Squad stormed the ring and fought the Hooligans in non-title (LWA) action. The Squad on this night beat the Hooligans thus ending there chance at the GAW tag team titles. However these two tag teams would brawl out of the building that night.

At GAW the feud continued but the LWA Championship was not on the line. Pierre would get the pinfall for bragging rights in this highly contested feud. (Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

At GAW the feud continued but the LWA Championship was not on the line. Pierre would get the pinfall for bragging rights in this highly contested feud. (Photo Credit Brian “Flair” Kelley)

We now go back to where this all began in the town of Dupo Illinois for the IHW promotion as it was set to be trios action featuring The Submission Squad along with stable mate Gary Jay taking on The Hooligans with there little brother Neil Diamond Cutter. This was not for the LWA tag team titles but was as intense as any title match you could see. The Cutter brothers on this night pinned the Submission Squad but the fight did stop there as these men had to be pulled apart after the match by security and referees.

During the intermission of this show The Hooligans attacked The Submission Squad and these teams tore apart the building and thus have all been suspended from IHW indefinitely.

As of this writing the next scheduled match between these two teams is October 10th in Granite City Illinois for the HVW promotion. They will face in the finals of the HVW tag team tournament. What started as a rivalry between two teams trying to break onto the national scene has turned into a war which may cause one of these teams not to make it

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