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Refereeing took Korderas around the world
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


Referee Jim Korderas holds up the World title before Edge faces The Undertaker at WrestleMania 24 in Los Angeles. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

In more than 20 years of refereeing in WWE and WWF, Jim Korderas set foot on land all over the world.

But it was still a unique experience, when Korderas, a Toronto boy, went to Iqaluit on a Maximum Pro Wrestling Tour in late May -- along with a roster of wrestlers including Colt Cabana, Traci Brooks, Matt Morgan and Tyson Dux.

"I've been to Alaska and Finland, but this is the furthest north I've been," said Korderas, who left WWE in January of 2009. "It was so north ... we were shocked that the satellite dishes up there seemed to point down instead of up."

He said the experience was memorable.

"Everybody is so laid back. There doesn't seem to be a rush to go anywhere," said Korderas. "Some of the wrestlers visited schools and hospitals. The people were very responsive. Not to sound like we are rock stars, but the people treated us like that."

It did take some getting used to -- the fact that it was light nearly around the clock and the pricey food -- $4.59 for a half loaf of bread and $7.99 for two litres of milk.

The troop put on two wrestling shows -- the first directly against a Boston-Tampa Bay NHL playoff game. But there were probably 1,000 or so on hand to boo and cheer.

"I pretty much thought I had retired from wrestling, but every once in a while, I put the shirt back on," said Korderas, who got his start on the ring crew under Jack Tunney in Toronto.

He got to meet and hang with a Who's Who of wrestling at the time -- guys like Captain Lou Albano, Classy Freddie Blassie, Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Harley Race.

"It was incredible fun for a kid who was such a huge wrestling fan," said Korderas.

After some quick pointers from Billy Red Lyons, Korderas debuted as a ref in 1985, officiating a match between Special Delivery Jones and the Red Demon.

"S.D. talked me through the whole match," said Korderas.

Over the years, the art of reffing has evolved.

"There have been subtle changes," said Korderas. "Early on, there was a stereotype of refs -- sometimes it seemed like they were blind and they were portrayed as bumbling. As the business evolved, they took that away, to make the refs look more authoritative.

"It was a mutual thing when I left WWE. I was dealing with some family issues and they were looking to cut their workforce."

Korderas was taking a course in radio and TV broadcasting and branched out into co-hosting Right After Wrestling with Arda Ocal. He also appears on Aftermath.

There were plenty of highlights and a couple of lowlights during his WWE stay.

"A week before my wedding, the Legion of Doom, Animal and Hawk, attacked (Gerry) Brisco and (Pat) Patterson backstage. I was supposed to step in. The original plan was I was going to get thrown into plastic water bottles. But that was changed. So Animal clotheslined me. Instead of going flat onto my back, I spun to my front side and my forehead got cracked."

He said a highlight was officiating the Wrestlemania 24 main event with The Undertaker vs. Edge.

AROUND THE RING

CM Punk cut one of the most brilliant promos we've seen in WWE in a long, long time on Monday night. Question is when does real intersect wrestlespeak? ... Rowdy Roddy Piper says he's beaten cancer again ... A medical examiner says a heart attack caused Macho Man Randy Savage to crash his car and die.

RELATED LINK

  • Jim Korderas bio and story archive

    Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.baines@sunmedia.ca.