Mike Chioda logged 35 years with WWE and saw all kinds of shenanigans as a referee, but nothing prepared him for being told he would step into the ring as a competitor.
Chioda spoke with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo about his career as an official in WWE, and the one night he actually competed in a tag team match. Taking place on the October 4, 2001 episode of SmackDown, Chioda was paired with Chris Jericho and The Rock against Nick Patrick and The Dudley Boyz. Chioda says he had a lot of fun in his first (and only) wrestling match, but he didn’t know about it until that day.
“Man, that was a lot of fun. First match ever, I’m in there with The Rock and Chris Jericho – two pros, you know? Two old schoolers (and the Dudley Boyz as well) and Nick Patrick and it was a great time. I remember they told me, ‘You’re in a match today.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘Yeah, you’re wrestling today.’ I said, ‘I’m wrestling?’ I say, ‘In what?’ ‘In your referee shirt, your referee gear.’ So I said, ‘Oh my God.’ I had to try The People’s Elbow probably like about ten times, but it was a lot of fun.”
Chioda also recalled Bubba going over the match with him, explaining that he was supposed to sell a clothesline, but he oversold it. When it was all said and done, Chioda said it was a night he’ll never forget.
“I remember Bubba coming up to me he says, ‘When I give you this clothesline, you better sell that son of a gun all the way.’ Since that clothesline, I took that bump, I must have been holding my shoulder all the way through to the end of the match. I go back and he said, ‘Chioda man! You oversold that too much!’ I was like, ‘What? I sold it all the way to the back! I was registering it.’ ‘You oversold!’ I said, ‘Oh, now you’re gonna tell me I oversold!’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m not hot at you for that. I’d rather be hot at you for overselling than underselling.’ That was a lot of fun. A lot of fun. I’ll never forget that. That was awesome.”