All Elite Wrestling fans were treated to a special inclusion in the Owen Hart Cup Finals at AEW Double or Nothing this past weekend when legendary wrestling referee Mike Chioda was present to officiate the final. The last time we saw Chioda on television was in 2020 when he officiated Cody Rhodes vs. Scorpio Sky for the TNT Championship.

Adam Cole went on to defeat Samoa Joe in the finals, becoming the first-ever male competitor to win the Owen Hart Cup. Before his appearance at Double or Nothing, Chioda revealed when he was contacted by AEW for the Owen Hart Finals match on the latest episode of the “Monday Mailbag with Mike Chioda” podcast on

“I was on a cruise with my wife,” the former WWE referee said. “Second day on the cruise, I get a call from [AEW producer] Dean Malenko. And Dean’s like ‘Hey, where you at? What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m on a f*cking cruise!'”

When Malenko told Chioda AEW wanted to bring him as a special guest referee for the Owen Hart Foundation Tournament, however, Chioda loved the idea, having known Hart for years in the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). AEW had hoped to have Chioda come in as soon as possible so he could be involved in matches throughout the tournament, but since Chioda and his wife had five days left on the cruise, he was only able to officiate the Men’s Tournament final between Adam Cole and Samoa Joe, which took place this past weekend on AEW Double or Nothing.

Of course, that didn’t mean Chioda got to sit back and enjoy his vacation as previously planned. Anyone who’s ever been on a cruise knows that the food and drinks are usually delicious, but also not the best options for someone about to appear on television.

“First time I’m on a cruise in four or five years with my wife, and I’ve got to start f*cking dieting,” Chioda joked. “I’m sitting down there at the bar too at this time … I come up there, I meet my wife, and I didn’t even tell her yet … she sees me coming in with this egg white omelet, some fruit, real healthy cottage cheese, and she’s like ‘What are you doing? You’re not trying the waffles? You’re not getting the pancakes over there?’ I’m like, ‘AEW called and they want me to do a show in two weeks.’

“It was cool, they popped real huge [on the phone] they were happy I was able to do it, I wanted to do it. It’s an honor getting called back to do something like that for Owen Hart. Worked with him many, many years. Owen and Bret were always great guys to me man, good people. God bless Owen.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit “Monday Mailbag with Mike Chioda” with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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