Referee Mickie Jay Speaks Out On His WWE Release

Matt Boone

JustnCredible818 sent along the following:

One of the most-recognizable referees in the history of professional wrestling & sports-entertainment, who has spent more than three decades in the business, Mickie Jay, joined The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network for his first public comments since being released by World Wrestling Entertainment earlier this year. Many stories and/or rumors have been floating around about Mickie’s health since departing the WWE, and Mickie wanted to take his first moments on "Your Home Of Wrestling Radio" to set the record straight: that he is currently living in Key West, FL & loving life. "I’m just living it up the best I can down here in Key West." The Mayhem’s National Correspondent & former WCW announcer, Scott Hudson, along with Mosh & Blade, were especially thrilled to hear about Mickie’s current health prospects after the initial diagnosis that he received last year. "Back in September of last year, I was diagnosed with lymphoma, which is form of blood cancer & the lymph nodes. And long story short, the doctors here in Key West, which is pretty similar to 1840’s medicine down here, basically gave me six months to live & told to get my affairs in order. A good buddy of mine from Cleveland got me move up there & got me hooked up with The Cleveland Clinic. I went through chemotherapy, and as of April, during my last round chemo, the doctor told me there was no sign of the disease in my body & that I was in complete remission."

"The Rise & Fall Of WCW" forthcoming DVD release by World Wrestling Entertainment is being talked about by many long-time fans of the company, as well as plenty of today’s fans as well. There are those that believe that the WWE will put their slant on it, and based on this reason alone, some of people who view the finished product may look at World Championship Wrestling as all negative, despite it having several positives over the years. Scott was asked about the WCW locker room & how everyone got along: from top to bottom. Hudson stated "there were cliques inside cliques in WCW" and a good majority of the times, the referees & the announcers hung out, so that’s how he & Mickey became friends. Hudson asked Mickie who the referees in the promotion were answering to & what was their hierarchy. "The referees basically answered to the booking committee or whoever thought they were boss that week." He added: "There’s a lot of facets of WCW that really didn’t run that smoothly, obviously. But there were a lot of good times we had there."

Mickey refereed the now infamous 1998 Starrcade match between Kevin Nash & Goldberg, a contest in which many people calls the "beginning of the end for WCW." Mickey was posed the question of whether he thought this bout was a big moment in the company & in which many critics think World Championship Wrestling dropped the ball. "To tell you the truth, I would have to agree with that (that WCW dropped the ball in the Nash/Goldberg match). Goldberg was not only a hot commodity, he was the hottest commodity. And the way it was done, I really didn’t agree with. Just the way it was done turned a lot of people off. That’s just my opinion. But I do believe that was one of the turning points of WCW."

It has been well over eight years since the final edition of WCW Monday Nitro (from Panama City Beach, FL), which was the official end of WCW, and only select few knew their fates, while everyone else was left to fend for themselves & to potentially figure out other future endeavors. Mickie gave his insight onto what happened that fateful Spring night in Panama City Beach: "That evening, Shane McMahon was there, pulled everyone in the dressing room, & brought up to date on stuff about WWE purchasing the company. He basically told everyone in there everyone would have a chance with the WWE. My chance didn’t come to about three or four years later. I was thankful for the opportunity. My mindset during that night (the last Nitro) was complete nerves. I think everyone was on edge…Nobody knew what was going on."

Mickey hit the ground running after being hired by the WWE, refereeing some of the biggest matches in company history: including Kurt Angle vs. John Chen at the 2005 WWE Survivor Series & "The Rated-R Superstar" Edge vs. Mick Foley’s Hardcore Match at WrestleMania 22. Trial by fire to say the least for a new referee. "It was complete thrill for me. When I started, I started in Florida, and to go from driving the ring truck & putting the ring up, and being the only referee & if lucky making 50 bucks a night, to being one of the top referees in the WWE. It was a fantastic experience. I learned a lot up there being able to work with some of the great talent."

The ECW brand of today is a place for younger talent to develop. However, in no way shape or form should it be confused for the original ECW. Since the inception of ECW on SC-If/Dayfly, many critics/armchair quarterbacks have seen heading to ECW (if you are an already established wrestler, referee, or announcer) has a demotion. Mickie’s takes on the situation may surprise many. "At first I did kind’ feel that way. But actually Vince McMahon himself came up to me & told me that he needed someone with experience out there to fill the void, and he asked if I would do him a favor basically. But once they hired a couple more referees. they moved me to SmackDown, which Vince said he would do."

Many inside & outside of the business were shocked (and even some appalled) by the way Mickie’s employment situation was handled by the WWE & him being released from the company. Some have even used words such as "heartless" & "unsympathetic" in describing World Wrestling Entertainment after wishing him well in his future endeavors…especially while he was still battling cancer. Mosh asked Mickie if he was upset over the firing or if he took it in stride. "I’ll tell you the truth…Not really. I don’t really have any ill feelings at all, and I’ll tell you why. They kept me on for about five months after my diagnosis. And after they released me, they paid me for three months, which they really didn’t have to because in the contract I signed, they would payout for injury pay, and of course, I wasn’t hurt in the ring. So they really didn’t have to do anything for me, and I have to say John Laurinaitis was very cordial they way he handled things with me, and I have no ill feelings. In fact, I don’t how I would have survived if they would’ve have paid me out for those three months."

With TNA releasing one of their referees Rudy Charles within the past few days, a potential roster spot could have become open for a possible Mickey Jay return to the business…in the confines of the six-sided ring of TNA Wrestling. Will Mickey Jay make his return to professional wrestling with TNA? "If that opportunity comes up, I would be thrilled to work with TNA. There are a lot of people, not only in the ring, there are a lot of people backstage, from Keith Mitchell (former WCW producer) to Jim Cornette…I would love working with TNA. I can make that drive (from Key West) in about five hours."

As a final parting shot to The Mayhem Nation, Mickey gave a message to not only his fans, but to fans of professional wrestling. "I’m just itching’ to back in the ring, and to everybody out there that might have seen me in a ring in the last 23 years, I want to thank everybody because without the fans, wrestling isn’t nothing. There wouldn’t be wrestling."

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