One of professional wrestling’s most famous referees has admitted they shed few tears over the WWE departures of Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis.
After working in Jim Crockett Promotions for much of the 1980’s, Earl Hebner joined WWE in February 1988.
Over the next 17 years Heber officiated some of the most famous matches in WWE history, as well as being the third man in the ring for the main event at Survivor Series 1997. It was Hebner who called for the bell to signal that Bret Hart had submitted while locked in a Sharpshooter from Shawn Michaels at the urging of Vince McMahon.
Hebner’s WWE tenure came to an unceremonious end in July 2005 when he was fired for allegedly selling WWE merchandise at an outlet store in St. Louis without permission. Earl’s brother Dave who also worked for the company was fired after undergoing knee replacement surgery.
Speaking during a recent K&S Wrestle Fest event, Earl Hebner said that the brothers were “screwed” by Vince McMahon over their respective exits.
“One thing I will say is, Vince screwed us, And it came to haunt him, because where is he at now? That was his payback. I’ve got to tell the truth, whether I get there or not — the truth’s the truth.”
Vince McMahon retired as WWE CEO and Chairman of the Board in July 2022 surrounded by allegations of sexual misconduct and unrecorded personal company expenses.
Hebner added that it’s simply time for McMahon to “pay the price” just like everyone else for their mistakes.
“Well, hey, everything comes to an end,” Hebner continued. “And money can’t buy the world. It can buy some things, but it can’t buy the world. It was just a matter of time, because all of the old people who used to do the sorting and dealing for him is not around anymore. So now he’s got to pay the price like everybody else.”
With regard to John Laurinaitis who also left the company as part of the scandal, the veteran official could barely contain his excitement.
“I celebrated,” Hebner said when asked how he responded to the news about Laurinaitis’ firing. “I hated him and I still hate him… He abused his power to everybody. He was two-faced and has always been — he’ll laugh, smile at you, and stab you in the back.”
Earl Hebner wasn’t the only person to revel in Laurinaitis’ exit as one top star branded him the “biggest snake in the business.”
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.