Legendary referee Mike Chioda detailed how filming WWE matches during the pandemic era was “a mess.”
Mike Chioda started making refereeing appearances with the WWE as far back as 1989 and has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the wrestling business. He was the official for some of the most iconic matches in WWE history, including Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid on Raw, Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock at WrestleMania X8, and The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28.
He even got to compete in the ring himself when he teamed the The Rock and Chris Jericho to take on the Dudley Boyz and rival referee Nick Patrick during the Invasion in 2001. Chioda scored the victory for his team when he pinned Nick Patrick after delivering his own People’s Elbow to the former WCW referee at the behest of The Rock.
However, nothing in the referee’s career could have prepared him for the difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because fans were no longer allowed to gather, WWE spent months filming their television in an empty Performance Center, and even WrestleMania 36 was held in front of zero fans.
Speaking on his Monday Mailbag podcast (available via AdFreeShows), Mike Chioda spoke about his experience working on taped shows and how he and other officials lamented the process of filming matches with multiple cuts.
“During COVID when I was actually working a little bit, they said tapings at WWE for one match would take like three hours. Cut. Do this. Cut.
“Charles Robinson and some of the guys when I met up with them for dinner at WrestleMania, Chad Patton and them guys were telling me it took 2, 3, 4 hours to do one match because they had to cut so many times, splice it, and do this. It was a mess.”
Mike Chioda worked for the WWE for 31 years until his release from the company in April of 2020.