Mike Chioda Discusses Why Vince McMahon Stopped Commentary From Saying Referee Names, Talks WWE Firing Dave and Earl Hebner


Longtime professional wrestling referee Mike Chioda, who most recently worked AEW’s Full Gear pay per view, sat down for a Q&A with Conrad Thompson on Hear what he had to say below.

How Vince McMahon thought saying referee names took up too much time on the show:

“It was one night at TV on a RAW show. Vince kept hearing the referees’ name and he didn’t know who that referee was. I don’t want to say his name but he just didn’t recognize the referee at all. He heard the announcers saying the referees’ names too many times. He had a fit right there and said, ‘I don’t want to hear anymore referees names on TV at all. Do not mention their names anymore.’ Ever since that night, they stopped announcing the referees’ names. He thought the referees’ names took up too much time on the broadcast show.”

On Dave and Earl Hebner getting fired:

“I remember Earl was selling merchandise with the WWE logo on it. He did have some out of the car he was selling. I had bought some from him. I know a lot of the boys were buying some nice sweaters and sweatshirts and jackets. I remember being disappointed because I thought how is the company letting Earl sell stuff and making money but not let us do anything on the side to make money as far as merchandise? I’m thinking wow, the company really hooked up Earl. I never saw Dave involved in the situation. I think because he was his brother, I think he got dragged down into it. Dave talked to me quite a few times after the situation and said, ‘I had nothing to do with this situation and please pass the word on.’ What I heard is they had a store in St. Louis and they were selling merchandise out of the store, like a WWE store and it was all merch. I think they sent a private eye in there. He had asked to buy some title belts and some championship belts and they said, ‘Yeah, we can get those for you also., it will take a couple weeks. I heard they sent a private eye in there and they were selling stuff not authorized by the WWE. They were making bootleg merchandise. I thought the company was making it for them. I remember one day we were in the Meadowlands sitting out by the trucks on the phone. I remember Earl walking up and meeting with Dennis O’Reilly who was the head of merch with WWE, WWF back then. For quite a few years Dennis was quite a big guy in our merchandise department. He was let go and he wasn’t with the company for a few years but then I saw Earl meet Dennis outside the Meadowlands parking lot. I thought, what’s going on there? Why is Earl talking to Dennis now a few years later? I heard that Dennis was with a merchandise company so he was with another merchandise company. After all that came about later on, I remembered seeing that meeting between those two at the Meadowlands and I thought, hmm.”

Details on Mark Eaton getting fired from WWE:

“He was the timekeeper for about 30 years. He started doing production. In El Paso, TX, the security came and got him right out of the office and said, ‘Get your things and let’s go. Pack up. You’re leaving and you’re fired.’ That’s the way that was done. I have no idea why.”

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