Mike Chioda, who refereed WrestleMania 35’s United States Championship match, has discussed having to tell Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio to wrap up their match immediately.
At 55-years-old, Mike Chioda is one of the most synonymous professional wrestling referees, having spent over three decades with WWE prior to his shock release in April 2020. WWE’s former senior official has donned the stripes for some of the company’s biggest moments, including WrestleMania headliners and Money In The Bank cash-ins.
In April 2019, Chioda was the referee for the evening’s United States Championship encounter between Rey Mysterio and the defending champion Samoa Joe. The match lasted just 58 seconds and saw ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’ steamroll through Mysterio to retain the championship.
Mike Chioda discussed the encounter on the latest edition of his Monday Mailbag podcast, available at AdFreeShows, revealing how he had the dubious task of breaking the news to Rey Mysterio mid-entrance that they had to end the match immediately (h/t Wrestling Inc.):
“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’.”
Although he wasn’t a competitor in the match, Mike Chioda was just as upset as Rey and Joe were:
“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.”
Mike Chioda would be released from WWE in April 2020, ending his 31-year association with Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment giant. As well as being a referee for the company, the New Jersey native also competed on the 4 October 2001 SmackDown broadcast, teaming with Chris Jericho and The Rock to beat The Dudley Boyz and fellow referee Nick Patrick.
Following his WWE release, Mike Chioda would make a couple of appearances for All Elite Wrestling, most recently officiating the TNT Championship match between Cody Rhodes and Darby Allin at the 2020 Full Gear pay-per-view.