On part two of “Ref Week” on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho welcomed former WWE referee Mike Chioda to discuss his 35-year career in WWE.
“Yeah Chris, it took me by complete surprise. I had surgery in October 1st in Alabama, and I had a torn rotator cuff and torn bicep,” Chioda revealed. “So I went through surgery in Alabama. [with] Dr. Dugas, and surgery went great. I’m healed up great, and I was ready for WrestleMania. Actually signed a new contract in the middle of March. My contract was up. Actually got a little bump in pay, and then I get a phone call on tax day, April 15. So yeah, it took me by complete surprise.”
Jericho asked if there was a specific reason for his release. Chioda says there was not one given and believes that he was just chosen due to the amount of money he was making at the time.
“No there was no reason,” Chioda said. “I asked if it came from certain people like Vince and Stephanie, and he said no. It didn’t. It sounded like they pulled me out of a hat and said, OK, we have a company and Mike Chioda’s salary is at the start of the thing. It was, I think, something completely different. I don’t know if it’s heat, but how can you have heat if you’ve been off for six months rehabbing? I haven’t even been on Twitter and Facebook since 2015. So yeah, it took me by complete surprise Chris.”
Jericho referenced Mark Eaton comparing it to Chioda’s situation where a long-time employee was cut out of nowhere for not specific reason. Chioda assured that his career in wrestling is not over as he has plans for a return in the ring and plans to help train referees.
“It’s interesting because you see that kind of happening. I mean the first thing that pops into my head is Mark Eaton when they did the same thing to him,” Jericho recalled. “He’s another guy that had been there for years and just out of nowhere, he’s gone. Like you said, you’re going to cut costs but this going to start with Mike Chioda and Mark Eaton’s contracts. Is that gonna make a difference?
“That’s correct,” Chioda replied. “I kind of figured he put me on the chopping block, head of TR. He got it past somehow. I don’t know where the heat came from. I mean, I haven’t been on the road in six months. My career is definitely not over. I definitely got plenty, plenty left whether it’s inside the ring or outside the ring in training referees and work with talent and so forth.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.