Thursday, June 9, 2011

Between the Ropes: A Referee's POV

by Peter Soriz and Giles O'Brien

Love him or hate him, well most just hate him he’s the one that doesn’t know how to do his job, is completely blind, surely that was a fast count or just a two count, who am I talking about? The referee who can be found anywhere around the world stepping into the squared circle alongside the wrestlers who are the reason people buy tickets for the shows.

Many people see the referee as just the guy that gets in the way of the action the guy that vainly tries to break up the brawls just when they are getting good or just in time for the face to receive a devastating blow. The referee is neither face nor heel but has the constitution of a wet noodle, falling down unconscious to the slightest blow and will be completely oblivious to any activities the heels are getting up to behind his back but will always be alert for when the face is about to do something wrong. When the fan favorite losses the match the crowd instantly looks to blame the ref, hey the guy is just doing his job everybody makes mistakes but sometimes that one mistake can shatter the dreams of a wrestler and that missed interference that causes the face to lose his title, but is it really the ref’s fault that his hand came down and counted three.

The referees in EPW are just as important as the EPW wrestlers for without the man in the striped shirt calling the shots making sure the rules are being kept in order there would be no matches for without someone to declare a winner, there can’t be a finish to a match. That being said anyone could do the ref’s job right? How hard could it be to stand there and count to three? Well there’s a bit more to it than that, so with this article let’s dive a little deeper and see what it takes to be an official EPW referee and what a better way to start than to get to know them.

Matt Smarkson, Giles O’Brien and Peter Soriz are the men that step into the EPW ring as the officials, while all three men are doing the same job they bring a different style of refereeing to their matches just like the wrestlers not all are created equal, all are of different shapes and sizes, all are at a different level of match skill and experience but all can do the same thing count that ever important pin fall at the end of the match.

Photo: Explosive Pro Wrestling

The most senior official Matt Smarkson has seen his fair share of matches over his five years in EPW, in that time not only has he worked in Western Australia but also in promotions in South Australia and had the privilege to work with some current WWE Superstars at the NWA show which saw the creation of the NWA Australian title.

Photo: Explosive Pro Wrestling

Giles O’Brien has been with EPW for four years and has worked with a number of interstate wrestlers as well as some of the best this side of the country has to offer. He has seen his fair share of beatings at the hands of said wrestlers being one of the more authoritive figures in the ring.

Photo: Explosive Pro Wrestling

Peter Soriz is the newest to join the ranks of the EPW referee’s and is still learning each and every match recently refereeing his first tag team title match , and working his way up to referee his first EPW championship match.

Like the EPW wrestlers the referees have taken their fair share of bumps, sometimes the referee lying unconscious has changed the outcome of a match for both the better and worse result but some bumps have been more severe than others. In 2009 at ReAwakening 8, while breaking up a brawl between Jamie Jurah and Devlin Reeves, Peter Soriz took a fall onto the lighting fixtures slicing his side open and requiring a trip to the hospital and six stitches. At the Hell or Highwater event of that same year Giles O’Brien took a chair shot from Bobby Marshall which left him in a pool of his own blood and eventually having to have the wound on his head glued shut.

Ask any wrestler what the biggest thrill is and they will answer performing in front of a crowd of people all cheering or booing their name, the same can be said for the referees whose purpose is to remain invisible to the crowd until they are needed for those all important counts where for the briefest instant the spotlight is on their falling arm be it for a two or that all important three. In EPW each referee could find himself doing up to possibly three matches in one night and each is treated like the main event not just as a sign of respect to the crowd but to the wrestlers who are putting their bodies on the line for that moment of crowd reaction which gets the adrenaline running. As the music hits and the victor is celebrating the referee is disappearing out the back and preparing for the next match and what waits in store for everyone there.

It’s a tough job it’s a physical job but I’m sure none of these men would have it any other way.

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