Long-serving WWE referee Mike Chioda has lifted the lid on events which led WWE rarely run shows at Madison Square Garden.
Speaking on the Monday Mailbag podcast on AdFreeShows, Mike Chioda explained how an ex-WWE employee effectively priced WWE out of running shows at their spiritual home.
The former WWE referee revealed that a former WWE employee joined Madison Square Garden after leaving the company. Armed with his intimate knowledge of WWE and how much money they made running ‘The Garden’ he helped his new employer raise the fee WWE needed to pay to use the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena.’
“Steve Taylor. Steve Taylor used to run Event Operations. He was a camera guy for WWF for many years. Then he was in charge, after Terry Garvin left, who was head of Event Operations, Steve Taylor was head for a good ten years. Steve Taylor got fired, he left the company, got fired. Guess who he started working for? Madison Square Garden. So he knew everything on how much money the company was making at The Garden and everything like that. That’s when our price became higher at The Garden.”
Chioda continued, explaining that breaking the curfew at ‘The Garden’ came at a price because as a company, WWE were making so much money at the gate.
“When the guys used to run over time at the Garden, at curfew I know it used to cost like, anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000. It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t like a $5000, $10,000 fine.”
“If you’re running The Garden, and you’ve got a full house, you’ve got a million dollar gate. It wasn’t a cheap price to go over the curfew at The Garden because that union stuff was strict there.”
The referee turned podcaster detailed how after the price was increased to use Madison Square Garden, WWE began to almost exclusively use Brooklyn Arena.
“Then Steve Taylor took over. That’s when it became harder of the WWF/WWE to go into The Garden, to do shows. And that’s why it’s strictly, pretty much doing Brooklyn Arena right now.”
“Steve Taylor knew how much money the company was making from The Garden and he went straight to work for the The Garden, he kind of screwed the company back, because then The Garden was charging the company a lot more money. Then the company decided not to go there all the time, which sucks. Brooklyn’s great, Brooklyn’s fantastic, the arena’s fantastic. But The Garden’s, The Garden. You know, that’s the Mecca of shows, concerts and everything.”
While telling this story, Chioda also recalled John Cena costing WWE that aforementioned fine for breaking the arena’s curfew. Chioda explained that while the curfew break didn’t go down well with Vince McMahon, once Cena was in full flow he didn’t care.
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