Esteemed referee Mike Chioda has discussed the time he was told whilst he was in the ring that he had to cut a WrestleMania match to just one minute.
Now 55, Mike Chioda spent three decades officiating for WWE. He’s been involved in plenty of high-profile matches, especially at ‘The Showcase Of The Immortals’.
It was one of those WrestleMania nights where Chioda was set to officiate the United States Championship contest, with Samoa Joe defending against Rey Mysterio. However, once he was in the ring a massive change was made to the match.
Talking on the latest edition of his Monday Mailbag podcast, Mike Chioda has recalled that he was told during the entrances of both competitors at WrestleMania 35 that the match had to be cut down to just one minute.
We had 15 to 18 or 22 minutes, originally, got knocked down to like 12 minutes. I remember Rey had this badass cosplay, his gear was made and he spends a lot of money on his gear. Samoa Joe had a different style. I remember it got knocked down to 12-15 minutes and then when I got in the ring, Billy Kidman said, ‘Go home,’ like, right away.
Rey’s in the ring already, did his entrance, Samoa Joe is coming down and I’m like, ‘Rey, they’re saying go home right away.’ He’s like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘I swear to god.’ He’s like, ‘[Chioda] are you f***ing with me?’ I’m like, ‘No, I swear to god he’s telling me you’ve got to’.
Mike Chioda went on to discuss how he was just as upset at the wrestlers that it happened, especially when this turned out to be his last WrestleMania.
I couldn’t believe they did that to Rey because I don’t think they cut anybody else’s match that night. They didn’t cut anybody else’s matches or anything, it was just Joe and Rey’s match. I felt bad. He just goes in there and kind of demolishes Rey and beats him. I felt bad for Rey, I really did. He was coming back, they had made some promises to him but they’re taking care of him now, him and Dom, which is cool.
I think he was going through a little bit of stuff with the company but he’s totally rebounded. Rey is such a professional and such a great person, man, a great guy, and he’s one of my best friends. That was just a bad weekend that weekend, and that was my last WrestleMania.
Having been surprisingly released by WWE in April 2020, Chioda has made sporadic appearances for AEW, including being the official for the TNT Championship match between Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin at Full Gear the same year.
With thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.