WWE referee Jessika Carr joined Table Talk #94 to talk about refereeing several matches at WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, where she made history being the first female to do so. According to Carr, the journey to her getting booked on the show started at SummerSlam, where she refereed a singles match between Edge and Seth Rollins.
“So this was something that kind of happened progressively, starting at SummerSlam,” Carr said. “At this point in his career, Edge likes working with people he’s comfortable with in the ring, as far as referees are concerned. And that person, for the longest time, has been Charles Robinson. At SummerSlam, Charles wasn’t booked to be there, he wasn’t planned to be there. So it was kind of a discussion between him and Edge of ‘hey, do you want to give Jessika a chance? I think Jessika would be a good option.’ He was all about it, Edge was, giving me have the opportunity to learn, to be in the ring with someone that has gone through all the things he has in his career. So that was the first step of doing it at SummerSlam. And I stepped up to the plate, got all the kudos for that and it was amazing. The second chapter of that was Madison Square Garden, which was very shocking because Charles was there. I don’t know who’s decision that was or what the story was with that. But to then be at Madison Square Garden and to have Edge vs. Seth was another little tip in the hat. That was awesome.
“So that was another where I stepped up to the plate, and I was literally standing in Gorilla with Edge. And Edge asked Vince ‘can we have her in Saudi Arabia?’ Vince was like ‘hmm…yeah, I think we can make that happen.’ Things had to be put in place, as far them I guess communicating with who they had to communicate with in Saudi. Then it has to go through a few extra steps and layers to make sure everyone is okay with it. And then I guess the week before I started hearing ‘yeah, you have the cage in Saudi. You have the cage in Saudi.’ And it was like ‘okay, alright.’ If anything, what you learn, at least I’ve learned, is you can’t get excited about things until they happen, because so many things come into play as far as things changing and schedules changing and matches changing, especially in the days of COVID. So a lot of things could change. I don’t get excited about things until they happen, so not until the cage was coming down and I was standing in the ring and looking around was I like ‘okay. You can get excited now.'”
Carr felt it was a big deal for her to be part of this show, especially when she got support from the crowd. She also talked about keeping focus as she went from refereeing the Edge-Seth Rollins Hell in a Cell match to officiating the King of the Ring finals later in the card.
“I definitely had that feeling of ‘this is a big deal,'” Carr said. “Even before the match, looking out at the people, they were chanting ‘Lady ref! Lady ref!’, which was cool. I felt support from the people. Even backstage, a gentlemen asked ‘are you going to be in control tonight? Are you going to be in charge?’ I said ‘yeah. Yeah I am.’ He was like ‘oh that’s cool.’ It was something that was different for them too I guess. So it was special, very, very special. And then I do the cell match and they’re like ‘we’ve got another one. We’ve got the King of the Ring finals with Finn Balor and Xavier Woods too.’ I was like ‘okay. When that’s done, next step. What’s next in about an hour?'”
Carr was asked about working the hot conditions of Saudi Arabia, and revealed that much of the arena wasn’t air conditioned. She was still prepared though, joking it was all due to training under D’Von Dudley at the start of her career.
“To be honest, that was something that I wore all day and it was in the 90’s all day,” Carr said. “Believe it or not, we had the appearance of a stadium and what not, but there wasn’t a lot of indoor space that was air conditioned back there. It was a lot of mini rooms I guess, you can call it, that I guess were spread throughout the site. But it’s funny, because people ask me ‘wasn’t it hot?’ I trained at the D’Von Dudley Academy without AC for years, so I was fully prepped for that.”
You can watch the full interview below.