Things were changed up on AEW Unrestricted recently with referee Aubrey Edwards featured on the podcast. Tony Schiavone asking Edwards about her life in the video game industry and as a ballet dancer. Edwards also talked about how she got into the wrestling business as a referee and her time working in WWE.
"So Jessika Carr, who's now on Smackdown, she was their first full-time female referee, she started reffing around the same time I did," Edwards said. "She had been wrestling 10 years prior, but we had gotten in contact with a mutual friend of ours, Brutal Bob. We kind of touched based every now and then, see how we're all doing. She's watch my tape give me some feedback and whatnot. There's not a lot of women in this business so we kind of have to all support each other.
"It was right around June when she hit me up, they're kind of looking for another lady ref for the Mae Young Classic, and she asked if I would be interested in coming in for a tryout. I'm like yeah, of course, please. So I did the tryout. It was in the Performance Center. I went out for a week. It was when NXT was still taped in advance. It was during an NXT taping week so I actually had a dark match. It was like three minutes bell-to-bell because that's just what it is, and they apparently liked me enough that they had me do the Mae Young Classic which was another week at the Performance Center. That was early August, and then September, they had me back. We did a NXT live loop that weekend, so I did three cities in Florida on top of an in-Performance Center show getting all this information and knowledge.
"It's awesome. I'm a freaking baby, and I'm learning all of this stuff that people would just kill for. I ended up doing the Evolution PPV. I was on the outside doing the battle royal. So I'm like a year and half in and I'm doing a show with 12,000 people in New York. Sure it's a battle royal and it's eight minutes, and I'm barely on screen, but it's the experience of it."
Edwards talked about how she wasn't signed by WWE despite working multiple shows. However, she said that she gained a lot of valuable experience from her time working those various shows.
"[I was] doing pretty much everything at that point and not getting signed," Edwards noted. "That was weird. Every company runs its own way, and I can't fault someone for not hiring someone specifically. Maybe it's just wrong time. Maybe I said something that offended somebody. I don't know. Who knows right?
"I know that I got a lot of really great information out of it. I got really amazing experiences out of it. Yeah, it kind of sucks because I'm putting all of this time into it. I'm taking time off work, and I just want someone to love me, hold me and tell me everything's going to be OK. I'm like I don't what I'm supposed to do. I guess I'm gonna be on the indies forever. OK guys, bye."
Edwards gives credit to Frankie Kazarian for putting her name out there for AEW after the two worked a match together at a show in Canada. After the announcement of AEW, Executive Vice Presidents The Young Bucks made surprise appearances at many independent shows recruiting talent for AEW. One of those stops included Defy Wrestling, and Edwards was working that show when The Bucks showed up, and she talked about her discussion with head of Talent Relations Christoper Daniels.
"So early 2019, when AEW had been announced, The Bucks started doing this thing where they show up at random independent shows. So I was working at the Defy show that they showed up at, and that was the same show SCU was on, all of them: Scorpio, Frankie and C.D. It was a three v. three with them and a bunch of local guys, and I twisted the arm of the other ref like, 'I need this match. You don't understand how much I need this match.' Thanks Benjamin Roberts. He definitely did me a solid," Edwards said. "They show up. C.D. pulls me aside, he's like, 'hey we're talking about you for Double or Nothing. So depending on how things go, we may be discussing things with you afterwards.' I'm like, 'OK, cool.' At this point there's no mention that the Bucks are going to be there at all because they were quiet and on the down low.
"So I ref the match. It goes well. I'm in the back, and I wait behind the curtain, wait for all of the guys to come through, shake their hands, give them water, ask if everyone's OK and all that. C.D.'s the last one through, and he's like, 'OK, so we like you for Double or Nothing.' He started throwing out numbers and all this stuff, and I'm like, 'I still have the main event to do tonight,' which was a title match. I'm like oh god. I can't tell anybody right now because I got to get to these guys and call a match."
Chris Jericho has said on his podcast that he wanted Edwards to be the ref for his title match against Adam Page at All Out. Edwards called the two months she worked with AEW from Double or Nothing to All Out the most "stressful two months" of her life."
"So that's essentially what happened. I only came on for one show. Double or Nothing went well, and in the back, while the show is happening, Cody tells me that I'm going to ref his match against Darby at Fyter Fest. I'm like I don't know if he knows that I don't have a contract for Fyter Fest, so this is going to be an awkward email. Then they brought me on for all of the next three shows. They told me at the after party of Fyter Fest that I was going to be doing the Jericho-Page match at All Out. That was a stressful two months of my life."
Edwards announced her full-time signing with AEW shortly after All Out. She said that the signing came after being laid off from her video game job but noted that the lay-off was known ahead of time.
"So I got the full-time offer right after Fight For the Fallen," Edwards. "I signed it immediately. Starting full-time, like getting the paycheck, was September 1st, so it was the day after All Out, which was great because I had just gotten laid off my video game job about a month prior."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.