Jimmy Korderas Breaks Down AEW Dynamite Grand Slam, CM Punk's All Out Media Scrum, Craziest WWE Referee Moments, & More! - Exclusive

For over 20 years, Jimmy Korderas called it down the middle as a WWE referee. Whether it be inside the daunting Hell In A Cell, ringside for an Inferno Match ,or helping to keep control during a Survivor Series elimination contest, Korderas never let his own inclinations affect the outcome. Now that he is no longer responsible for counting the three at the end of big bouts, he's transitioned to calling it down the middle as a pro wrestling pundit. Initially a member of the Aftermath team in Canada, Korderas has since pivoted to giving his own takes on Twitter with his daily "Reffin Rants." Each rant is kept to one minute, but Korderas routinely get the internet wrestling community buzzing with his straightforward, no-nonsense observations of the business.

Following "AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam," Korderas joined Wrestling Inc. Senior News Editor Nick Hausman to give his thoughts on the show. 

CM Punk Goes Nuclear

I'm going to ask you what I've been asking all of my friends that I've been talking to in the last three weeks. How'd you feel watching CM Punk go at me there in the scrum, Jimmy? You've known me for years at this point. What was your reaction to the chaos that ensued there?

I was taken aback by it, let me put it that way. I don't get it. It's almost like he was looking for an excuse to go off, so to speak, and you just happened to be the right guy at the right time for him to get his shots out, for lack of a better term. You didn't provoke it, in my opinion.

No.

But again, here you are, fellow Chicagonian. Is that the terminology?

Chicagoan. I'll take it. Sure. 

Okay. And you are familiar with him. I'm sure he's familiar with you. So he figured, "Okay, here's my opportunity to go off on a tangent," and unfortunately you were the fodder for it.

Well, I had a good time. Anyway, it's been about three weeks now since all that took place. How do you feel AEW's done, rebounding in the three weeks since?

I think they've done all right, because there's no Young Bucks, there's no Kenny Omega, there's no CM Punk. These are all big names for them. But the rest of the roster is stepping up to the plate, which is a good thing. But at the same time, they just have to be careful. As I say quite often on the podcasts that I do here, they always seem to ... I get they don't have as much TV time as the other company, but at the same time, it doesn't mean you have to cram 20 pounds of potatoes in a 10 pound bag.

Ring Of Jericho

Jericho, the new Ring of Honor World Champion, a phrase I never thought that I would say in my entire life. How'd you feel about them opening the show with this bout and putting the Ring of Honor title on Chris Jericho?

I like the fact that they opened the show hot with this match and putting the title on Chris Jericho. Now with Chris Jericho being the ROH champion, that championship has been elevated to a point that it hasn't never been before.

And people are going to say, "Well, that's disrespectful to..." No. It's not meant to be disrespectful to Claudio. It's not meant to be disrespectful to anybody who's held that title before, but Chris Jericho is the biggest, globally-known superstar to hold that title right now. So I think he elevates that title, and hopefully going into the future, ROH now being affiliated with AEW gets to branch off and have their own TV show, whether it's a syndicated weekly one-hour show or whatever the case may be. Their opportunity to sell this show is greatly increased with a name like Chris Jericho attached to that title.

Yeah. It's a little weird to me because it was a brief run for Claudio, right? It really wasn't that long at all. Handful of title defenses at best. Did you get the vibe that, again with Omega gone, the Bucks gone, Punk gone, maybe getting that title off of Claudio Castagnoli just so he can become available to move elsewhere on the card? I don't know if that went through your head when you saw the title change.

I don't know if it went through my head when I saw the title change, but it definitely went through my head right now that you mentioned it, because that is a very good reason why ... Look, Claudio Castagnoli fits right into the AEW mold, that audience. He's tailor-made for that core audience of theirs.

Oh, totally.

Yes. So moving him to the AEW roster ... Oh, wow. Main roster.

It's weird because Jericho's not leaving AEW TV. He's just going to have the ROH title. But Claudio, again, it's not like he's moving from Ring of Honor to AEW. He's just becoming, I think, more available for various AEW feuds or title picture or whatever it may be. You know what I mean?

Exactly. That makes a lot of sense. And having Chris Jericho with the ROH title on AEW is absolutely fine, because look at FTR. They have several titles from other companies that they carry onto their television program. So I don't have an issue with that either. But like I said, for everybody who's going to get offended by me saying that Chris Jericho is bigger than the ROH title, I'm not saying he's bigger than the title, but he has elevated to a stature that I don't believe it's been before.

The Acclaimed Have Arrived

Well, you mentioned FTR. They were on the show backstage, talking about The Acclaimed, who we'll get to in a second. But The Acclaimed took on Swerve In Our Glory. FTR has been the number one contenders for half a year at this point. Do you do away with the AEW ranking system at this point? What do you think?

Well, it is fudging the numbers, so to speak. The ranking system is supposed to be there for a reason, because in theory, it's supposed to emulate real sport as opposed to sports entertainment. But it just seems like, regardless of whether it's a tag division, whatever division it is, the ranking system doesn't seem to matter when it comes to title matches. So why have it?

Well, this title bout, The Acclaimed versus Swerve In Our Glory, apparently came out of the scrums. Tony Khan was giving the scrums credit for this happening. I don't know that's necessarily true, because I think it had more to do with the fan backlash from All Out, where everybody seemed to want Tony to call an audible and put the titles on The Acclaimed. What do you think? In the moment, should they have called the audible at All Out and done it then?

In hindsight, it's easy to look back and say yes. But at the same time, waiting till now, doing it in their hometown, getting the pop that they did, maybe just that slight holding off wasn't a bad call after all. Do I like the way it happened? Maybe not, but at the same time ... Don't get me wrong. I thought the match was fine. As someone who comes from a referee background, I tend to notice things with the officiating that make me go, "Ugh." You know what I mean?

What are you talking about here? What happened during this bout that made you go, "Ugh", a little bit?

The little bit of interaction. The referee distractions. It happened in the first match. Okay, we get that. It happened in this match as well. And it just doesn't look good. The referee distraction is supposed to be there to help the heel team get heat, not put heat on the referee for looking stupid and looking like they're trying to look away so that they don't see the spot. And that's the way it felt to me. It felt like the referee was trying to look away just so he doesn't see the spot going on behind his back.

It needs to be a little more digestible ... It just didn't make sense. Just, "Oh boy, I'm just going to look over here." And that doesn't just fall on the referee. That falls on the talent, that falls on the agent who is producing the match, and stuff like that. That's got to be worked out. And not only that, we have more ref distractions later on, as well. So repetition too. Similar stuff and similar in matches. It's happening too much. Not just in AEW. This is happening across the board.

The Rumble Where Everything Went Wrong

Well, on the note of the audible from All Out, where a lot of people said, "Hey, maybe you should have called an audible then," some people on the team wanted to know if you've ever been in a match where an audible was called. If there's a moment you remember where something happened, where they changed up the finish on you and you had to kind of roll with it from there.

Oh man, I'm trying to think back. Nothing is coming to mind.

So how often do audibles get called?

Well, in WWE, everything's pretty stringent. I guess the biggest audible that people would remember is the 2005 Royal Rumble, when John Cena and Batista went over the top rope at the same time. Dave was supposed to hook the top rope and just missed it and they both landed and it was pretty much simultaneous. Oh my goodness. So Batista was the one who was supposed to go over. John was supposed to be on the ground. And when they landed, instinctively, the Raw referees went over to Batista and raised his hand. We knew that's who was supposed to go over in the first place so we didn't say anything.

So all of a sudden, a few seconds later, we hear in our earpiece from the back, from Gerald Brisco, "One of the SmackDown referees, go over there and raise John Cena's hand." And it was Charles and I, so we ran over and now we're arguing back and forth. "He won." "No, he won." "No, he won." And while this is going on, we can hear them talking in our earpiece. Okay, I'm getting a little bit behind the fourth wall here.

That's fine.

Can hear, "All the referees that are in the back, find the general managers, Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff," the SmackDown and Raw respective general managers, because they wanted them to come out and argue and then do what they eventually did, which was restart the match with just them two to go into the finish.

Oh, okay. Wow.

So while that was going on, they couldn't find them, because apparently they left early. Okay. Hey, bro. So that caused Vince to come out. And when we saw Vince coming out, that wasn't Mr. McMahon angry. That was, "Oh my goodness. Vince is pissed. Boy." And then of course, the infamous sliding in the ring and blowing out both quads.

That's right.

And we went from there, and then that was the audible being called. Okay, they're going to restart the match and Dave's going to eliminate John, however they do it.

How much fun was it to be in that, though?

It was fun. And then when Vince came into the ring and went to stand up and fell back, that was like, "Oh, what's going on here?" And he's just sitting there and he's like, "Come here," in that Vince voice. "Yes, sir?" You know what I mean? And I always bug Chad to this day, because he was the closest one to Vince when Vince went to stand up, and when Vince started going down, he backed up.

Wow.

To this day, I still bug him, "You're the one who let Vince fall and blow out both his quads."

Wow. That's fantastic. I loved that ride. That was a lot of fun.

Grand Slam Promo Battle

So back to Grand Slam here real fast though, what did you think about the decision to have Wheeler Yuta go heads-up on a microphone with MJF? How did you think that came across?

That was like night and day for me. If you're going to have someone come out and challenge MJF on a microphone, there's very few people, if at all, that could hang with him, let's put it that way. He's that good on the mic ... And you don't want that, especially when you're trying to ... Yes, we knew he was in his hometown and MJF was going to get cheered anyways. But at the same time, he's a master at getting them to turn, as well. And you could have got them to turn, but he was just over-matched in this situation. I don't know. That segment did not appeal to me.

Are you a fan of how they've welcomed MJF back into the fold since All Out, given him the Money in the Bank-style casino chip? How do you feel about his booking at the moment?

I don't mind his booking. I'm okay with it. The casino, that chip, I don't know if it is exactly the same rules as Money in the Bank where he can cash in midway through a match or anything like that. Or does it have to be like, "Hey, I'm cashing it in on this particular day?"

No, the way Tony talked about it in interviews leading up to Grand Slam, it sounded very Money in the Bank-esque, where he was like, "Because of this chip, we can have a title match anytime Max wants." It sounds like he's really leaning into Money in the Bank.

Yeah. Because I think he used the term, "I will sanction it." And I'm like, does that mean you have to go do it, present yourself and say, "Hey, I want to cash in on this there?" Or can you do the, "Hey, I'm running down and cashing in right now," cashing the chip in?

That's the thing, isn't it? It's a little vague. Right?

Yes.

They've done this poker chip gimmick in the past and it always feels a little vague. It's like they don't want to say, "We're stealing the Money in the Bank gimmick," but they want to steal the Money in the Bank gimmick. You know what I mean?

No, but that's been the professional wrestling business for over a century now. You borrow from the other guys and you call it something different. I just wish they weren't as vague when it comes to enforcing rules, the officials. And there I go again. Anyways.

Saraya Turns The Page

Well, another big moment last night, the one that has maybe gotten more traction than anything else. Saraya, the former Paige, has returned to professional wrestling. I was personally caught off guard. I thought that she would maybe wind up back in WWE. I don't know how you felt about her return or the fact she signed with AEW.

I'm curious to find out, because my understanding is that she was not cleared in WWE to participate in ring, because of her situation, I guess, with her neck and all that sort of stuff. Does this mean, signing with AEW, they are going to allow her to participate in matches? We don't know. Is she going to be authority figurehead? Is she going to be a mouthpiece for a faction? Who knows? It all depends on where this leads to. But the crowd, again, ate it up. They loved it. When she came out, got a huge, huge reaction. So they're looking forward to seeing her. I'm just curious to see how she gets utilized, going forward.

And what about the main event here? Moxley. How'd you feel about the decision to put the title back onto Moxley after everything everybody has gone through as of late?

Yeah. I'm again six of one, half a dozen of the other on this one. I think it's the right choice if you're going forward and you're going to create a program between Moxley and MJF. I think those two together have a chemistry that could sell the match. And that's not taking anything away from Bryan Danielson ... because he is so, so good. But can you imagine the back and forth between Moxley and MJF on the mic? You talk about talking people into seats or talking people to sit in front of their televisions or buy a pay-per-view. These two guys can do it.

Things Get Out Of Control

Has there ever been a match you thought was getting so violent you had to intervene, as the referee?

Oh my goodness. Again, trying to think back. There were a few times where you lean in and you say to guys, "Are you guys okay?" The one that comes to mind, of course, is the APA vs. Public Enemy match, where —

Oh, were you the ref for that match? Oh my God.

Yes.

Talk to me about it. I did not know this.

I knew the finish was, they were going to put one of the Public Enemy through the table. So of course, the referee goes down to the ring first, and what I found out later on was, Public Enemy was entering first. They hit their music and just before they made their exit to go down to the ring, they looked over at JBL and Ron and said, "Oh, by the way, we're not doing the finish," and then just proceeded to head out to the ring. And JBL was like, "What?" I was talking to JBL afterwards to find out what was going on. And Ron didn't hear him, and Ron says to John, "What'd he say?" He said, "They're not doing the finish." And Ron said, "Oh, they ain't going to do the finish? We'll see about that."

So here they come down to the ring, here comes APA, and they just started laying into these two guys. And I'm thinking, "Okay, what's going on here? This was not discussed before the match." You know what I mean? So I ring the bell to start the match, and these guys are just getting the you-know-what kicked out of them. And I'm at a loss. Again, I'm trying to think of, "How do I proceed from here? Because this is nothing..." You can tell the difference between, let's say, stiff working punches and just laying it in because you want to hurt somebody. You know what I mean? And I knew these guys.

So after a few minutes of this pummeling, I get a note from Gerald Brisco in my earpiece. "Jimmy, you may want to ring the bell and end this thing anytime soon." So I just throw the match out. I ring the bell, I throw the match out, but that didn't stop them from continuing. Put them through the tables and stuff like that. And then Ron and John, after they're done, they leave the guys laying. They walk to the back, and I go to the back, and Brisco looks at me, and I look at him and he says, "Not your fault. It wasn't what you were expecting."

So now I'm waiting, I'm waiting. Everybody's waiting. There's a crowd gathering now because they're waiting for Public Enemy to come back, to see what happens. So as they come back, they walk by Ron and John, they shake their hands, "Thank you very much for the match." They walk off and they were not seen again.

Wow. Well, yeah.

That was their last day in WWE.

Referees Have Names Too

Obviously, Triple H has taken the reigns over at WWE. A lot of little changes have been made. One of those that fans have noticed is that the referees are started being called by their names again, Jimmy.

Yes.

How do you feel about that?

Again, it's nice to be recognized by having your name mentioned. And they're not doing it like, "Oh, the referee for this match is Charles Robinson. The referee for ... Chad Patton." Whatever the case may be. Shawn Bennett, whoever it is, or Bonsai. I like that in the commentary, it's mentioned, "Oh, good call by referee So-and-So." You know what I mean? It's kind of done in passing as opposed to putting emphasis on it, so at least they get their name mentioned. Because if you watch any combat sport, we know who Herb Dean is and stuff like that. You know what I mean? Whether it's boxing, whoever it is. Mills Lane, whoever it is. You know what I mean? You mention the name. It's nice to know who they are. Again, they're not the focal point of the match, but just a nice little mention in passing is nice.

Yeah, for sure. All right. Well hey, Jimmy, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to chat Grand Slam with me, answer a couple random questions. I'm sure this is far from the last time that we will do this. But anything in particular you want to let everybody know about how they can support you or anything like that?

Well, you can find me on here every once in a while, talking to you. You can find me Monday nights after Raw and Wednesday nights after "Dynamite," chatting the review, so to speak, in the news of the day here on Wrestling Inc. And also, you can catch me daily on all my social media platforms, whether it's Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, where I do my "Reffin' Rants." They're meant to be fun. Yes, a little bit critiquing. But it's all meant because I love this, and I love being a part of this, and I don't want to be a Canadian heat magnet for much longer, let's put it that way.

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