Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas was the latest guest on VOC Nation’s Talkin Sass program to discuss all aspects of the wrestling business. Highlights are below.
Growing up a wrestling fan:
“It’s amazing because as a young child you watch it on television and you dream about being able to go (to the matches). Then as you start getting older, sometimes with some people (including myself) you start thinking ‘hey maybe one day I can do this.’…As a nine year old going and watching (wrestling in person) for the first time and sneaking down as close as you can…it’s just an incredible feeling.”
How he started as a driver for talent:
“It was incredible. All this stuff is going through your head. Jack Tunney hands you the keys to his Fleetwood Cadillac and says ‘hey go to the Marriott by the airport and go pick up Andre, and Timmy White is traveling with him so make sure you pick up Timmy too.’ You’re trying not to go ‘holy crap it’s Andre’; you’re trying to be professional but at the same time inside you’re jumping up and down and saying ‘this is gonna be great.’ (I picked up at various times) Hogan, Piper – who use to call me Gabe because growing up my hair was curly and he said I looked like Gabe Kaplan… it was awe inspiring. The hardest part was trying to act professional (and not) like a giddy little kid.”
Pat Patterson said that he should start refereeing:
“Pat (Patterson) just went to Jack (Tunney) one day and said ‘hey we got the kid here; he does his stuff and all day he just sits around and waits for us to finish so he can keep doing more stuff. Why don’t we use him (and) make him a referee?’ And I remember Jack’s exact words to Pat were: ‘We don’t want to smarten the kid up yet do we?’ And Pat’s like ‘he’s already in the back with all the boys in the locker room. He kind of knows what’s going on, we’ll just teach him to ref.’ So Pat came up to me (and told me to buy referee gear and start bringing it with me).”
Recalls refereeing his first match:
“In February of 87, we were at a spot show in New Market, Ontario and Chief Jay Strongbow walks up to me – he was the lead agent for the night – and says ‘hey Jimmy do you (have) your ref stuff with you? Put it on you’re reffing tonight.’ What am I supposed to say, no?… He said ‘you’re going to do one match with SD Jones versus Jose Luis Rivera’… So I went to SD and said I’m reffing your match tonight (but) I’ve never refereed a match before. He said ‘Listen to me, stay close, I will get you through it.’ He talked me through the whole match. I must have been very robotic but at the same time he got me through it… That was my first experience. If it wasn’t for SD it might have been a different story.”
On the Edge vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania:
“I so much thank you guys, I appreciate you guys having the confidence in me, I won’t let you down. And Taker just looked at me and said, ‘we know you won’t.’… Taker is scary but at the same time, there’s just this aura about him. It’s the way he presents himself: The way he comes out, the way he walks, that look… it’s kind of scary but you’re more in awe I think… When we were going over the match, they wanted a spot to take me out of the match. It had to be something devastating enough to have another referee (Charles Robinson) run down. Taker looks at me and says ‘are you OK taking a big boot?’… (it was so cool) this is Wrestlemania and I’m taking a big boot from the Undertaker; it doesn’t get better than this.”
On his favorite stars of today:
“I’m a storytelling guy. I like guys who go out there and (tell a story). If I was able to go out now and work a match with Randy Orton, right now that would be my guy. Someone who is really getting into his own and has found his niche is Roman Reigns… It just goes to show you that as your career progresses – as a young person in the business you can get over, but getting over doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing – things are falling into place. Randy gets it, and right now Roman is getting it.”
Full interview can be found below.