Jimmy Korderas has given his perspective on the infamous Kurt Angle and Daniel Puder incident from the November 4th 2004 episode of SmackDown.
The former WWE referee was in the ring when the interaction occurred. During the segment, the Olympic gold medallist challenged the 2004 Tough Enough contestants to get in the ring and wrestle. Daniel Puder, a professional MMA fighter, accepted the challenge. Shortly after the bell rang, Puder placed Kurt in a legitimate kimura lock, nearly breaking the former WWE Champion’s arm in the process. Speaking to Lucha Libre Online, Jimmy Korderas describes what it was like on that day:
“Kurt [Angle] was supposed to wrestle with whoever won that challenge. But then he went kind of on his own [out of script] and said: ‘Does anybody else wants to challenge me?’ That’s when Daniel Puder put up his hand. He got in. They started on a more amateur style of wrestling contest. I didn’t knew it at the time because I wasn’t versed in MMA, [but] a Kimura Lock, that he has placed on Kurt that I just knew was not good. I kinda looked back at Al Snow who was standing in the corner and looked at me and went [mimics a worried look]. We looked at each other. When they fell and Daniel Puder fell on his back, I said: ‘I’m counting. I don’t care’”.“I started counting and he may roll up his shoulder after two but I didn’t care. I counted three anyways. Thinking back, I should’ve thought: ‘This is amateur’. So I could’ve counted one and ended it like that. It was just a reactionary thing. I was thinking myself: ‘We had to end that somehow. What do I do?’ That’s what came to mind. Kurt was very upset at Puder. You saw that afterwards they got into each other’s face.”
When I walked to the back, I walked through Gorilla [Position] and Gerald Brisco gave me a thumbs up. I was kind of avoiding everybody. Then Fit Finlay came to me. He asked me: ‘Who told you to count?’ I said: ‘No one. I just reacted’. He said: ‘You probably saved his arm’”.