STAMFORD, Conn. – World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (NYSE: WWE) Executive Officer Linda McMahon announced that beginning with the next pay-per-view event, all matches will use instant replay to correct potentially incorrect calls. “We have the most exciting and diverse product in all of sports entertainment,” McMahon told the assembled media at a press conference today, “and we feel that this gives the customer what he or she wants.”
Some details remain unfinished, but it appears that replay will be used to correct specific rules violations such as the striking of an opponent with a foreign object or with a closed fist. Additionally, pulling of the hair or of the tights will now be subject to review. Sadly, the Greco-Roman Thumb to the Eye – a move long rumored to be illegal in professional wrestling – will reportedly not be subject to review by instant replay.
“Our referees are the best in the world at their jobs, but the action in our ring happens at such a fast pace that sometimes it’s very difficult for a referee to see everything, and occasionally calls get missed,” added WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. “Why, just the other night, manager Santino Marella stood on the ring apron during a women’s championship match – where he has no business being, I might add – and while the referee had his back turned [chastising Marella], [current Womens Champion] The Glamazon blatantly pulled her opponent’s hair. With the use of replay technology, the referee would be able to properly admonish her for such a dastardly act.”
Not everybody in the WWE is convinced replay is necessary, however. According to Senior Referee Mike Chioda, who requested anonymity for this story, WWE officials made the proper call 98.6% of the time. When he believes he’s off the record, he considers this a slap in the face to decent, hardworking referees whose value as employees has long been underappreciated. His viewpoint, however, failed to alter the course of senior management within the company.