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I hope you enjoyed the Golden Rantie Awards.  Perhaps I’ll do it again in about six months.  But for now, I think it’s high time I give you my Referee Ratings.  We all know them, some of us love them, and we all know that they’re the most important guys in the ring, because only they can count 1-2-3.  They help control the pace of the action, and help wrestlers young and old work matches and make sure that every man and woman who steps through those ropes looks like a million bucks.  Am I overhyping the refs?  Maybe a little.  But you can’t deny that they’re damned important.  Since there are 9 WWE referees (a new guy just worked his first match this evening on Raw, so I can’t really comment on him much), I’ll go through their pros and cons a little more quickly than I did at the Golden Rantie Awards.

Let’s start off with a veteran ref: Charles Robinson.  This guy has been around for about 15 years, and his experience shows nowadays.  Robinson is a former WCW referee, and has been working with WWE for about 8 years.  He’s the only lefty ref, which has got to mean something.  What, I’m not sure.  So, why is he first?  Well, a lot of people actually like Charles.  He’s a very consistent ref, and isn’t afraid to get into the fray like some refs I will be discussing later in this post.  Robinson’s counts are usually very consistent and steady (though he did rush a pin count tonight on Raw) and he’s got a strong voice that can rise over the audience around him.  He’s also great at selling if he ever gets hit by a wrestler by accident.  Definitely one of the best in the business at what he does.

From Charles Robinson, we go to another longtime veteran referee: Mike Chioda.  Mike’s been the man in the striped shirt for over 15 years, and, much like Robinson, is a very keen and consistent ref.  His voice, when counting, is very strong (sometimes even booming), and his counts are extremely consistent.  He’s also willing to pull a wrestler off of another when a rule is being broken, and he’s not afraid to scold a wrestler for breaking the rules.  He does seem to have a tendency to check a wrestler’s shoulders when pinfalls are being made, which slows the eventual count, but that’s a minor issue.  Otherwise, WWE’s got two solid, talented referees in these two.

And since we’re on the subject of vets, I might as well give you the other real WWE vet: Jack Doan.  Doan’s been around, again, for about 15 years, and, much like the two that preceeded him, is a very strong, consistent referee.  He may be better known as “the ref who gets to call all the diva’s matches,” as he did back on Smackdown a few years back.  I think Jerry Lawler once called him “the luckiest ref in the business.”  I may be making things up.  Either way, Doan is a true vet, with consistent counts, a good voice, and doesn’t mind getting into the middle of the action.  Unlike Chioda, however, Doan doesn’t usually check the shoulders before starting a pinfall count.  His counts are a touch fast, but they never vary, so that’s a big bonus for him.  I’d be happy if these guys were the only three refs in the company.  But then I’d be leaving out my favorite ref.

Who is my favorite referee, you ask?  Why, it’s none other than John Cone.  Cone’s WWE career started out shortly after the rebirth of ECW.  He was one of the men in black who had to control the wild and crazy guys like The Sandman and Sabu, all while helping younger guys come up to the big time.  Cone is probably the most fearless referee, always jumping into the action when a rule is being broken and never afraid to reprimand a heel for nearly getting disqualified.  His voice is powerful, so we all know what the count is, whether it be for a pinfall, a count-out, or a potential disqualification.  His pinfall counts are a little inconsistent, but that’s probably because he hasn’t been around as the previous three refs.  Still, I love it when a ref gets involved in a match instead of just staring and counting the pinfalls.

Let’s see…who’s next?  How about Chad Patton.  No relation to Mike Patton as far as I know.  We don’t get to see Chad very often.  Usually just during PPVs when there are a lot of matches on the card.  Patton is somewhat nondescript, fairly average, middle-of-the-road type of ref.  Consistent counts, decent voice, and while he doesn’t get involved with wrestlers as often as, say, John Cone, he’s not afraid to let them know if they’ve broken the rules.  He’s been around for about 10 years, so he knows the craft, and he knows to stay out of the way.  Which is sometimes good, and sometimes bad.  But still, he’s definitely not even close to the worst ref.

Marty Elias…O Ye of the Fabled Faste Counte.  I always wondered if wrestlers working a match with Marty as the ref had to remember that he counted faster than other refs and had to prepare to kick out of a pinfall earlier than usual.  But to be fair, Marty has slowed his count considerably over the past year or so, and is very consistent.  His voice isn’t the loudest, so we don’t always know where we are in a count-out count, but that’s okay since he uses his hands.  He has very good facial expressions as well, expressing disdain when a wrestler breaks the rules and doesn’t break an illegal hold until a count of four.  That much has got to be worth a few extra points.  And, since I’m being completely honest here, I liked Marty back when he had hair.  Kind of like Batista.  Guys who shave their heads are creepy.

Just two left.  Aaron Mahoney (very likely no relation to Balls Mahoney) is the second-newest WWE ref (behind the mysterious new ref we saw during the Big Show/Evan Bourne massacre of a match).  And while his inexperience does show at times, he’s usually very good at keeping wrestlers in line.  Plus, he’s the only ambidextrous ref in the company.  So no matter where a pinfall is taking place, he’s ready with at least one arm for the count.  He’ll only get better with time.

And now, it’s time to discuss the worst referee in WWE: Scott Armstrong.  I haven’t liked this guy since he started working in ECW back during the rebirth.  I’d always thought that if WWE was going to compress the referee staff, that they would have kept Mike Posey from ECW instead of Armstrong.  Posey was younger, more direct, and had a more consistent count.  Armstrong’s pinfall counts vary wildly as far as timing is concerned.  He always counts the final pinfall of the match faster than every other count, and he’s very often out of position when a pinfall occurrs.  He’s also very reluctant to get into the middle of things if a brawl is beginning to break out, and when a DQ count should start, he usually waits about five seconds before beginning the count.  Also, I just don’t like his face.  WWE would be better without him.

So those are my opinions on the WWE referees.  If you’ve got any thoughts, questions, what have you, feel free to leave a comment.  I’m always open to discussion.

One quick note about Raw tonight.  If you don’t want the guest host for tonight ruined, stop reading now.  For those of you who have seen it, didn’t Seth Green look like a child in the ring with the rest of those guys?  I swear, it looked like a bunch of grown men and a nine-year-old trying to wrestle with them.  It was weird.  But at least he was entertaining.  I doubt this “special guest host” thing will last very long, though, as it’s already starting to get stale.  Raw needs stability!  Bring someone back as GM!  Hell, you were promising Ric Flair a job, then pulled it away from him.  Why not give him the GM job?  People’d love it.  Trust me.  I think I’d do pretty darn well as a writer/booker for the company.  I think, anyway.

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