My guest today is Jimmy Korderas, former WWE referee. Recently, Jimmy released a memoir detailing his time in the pro wrestling industry. Now, having hung up the stripes, Jimmy can be seen co-hosting Aftermath TV each week alongside Arda Ocal.
When you decided to hang up your stripes, was your decision to leave WWE a difficult one or were you already focused on a future in broadcasting?
At the time, it was not a difficult decision. With my father ill, my family needed me and I needed to be with them. It really wasn’t until several months later that I began missing being with the WWE. However, I concluded that I wanted to be home more & to pursue a career in broadcasting. I took a course & with a little help landed a great gig with Aftermath TV/Radio & also I am doing some hits with the Fight Network in Canada.
Going back to when I first saw you as a featured panelist on Aftermath TV, I was shocked at how naturally you took to it. From my understanding, a crucial job for a referee is to not be as noticeable as the performers during a match. Did you find it difficult transferring to a role where you’re the main focus?
Absolutely not, as a matter of fact, I welcomed the opportunity to final say how I genuinely felt about what we all watch on WWE TV. I find it is harder to not be noticed than it is to be noticed. There is so much more to refereeing than a lot of fans think. The easiest thing for me to do is be myself & what you see on TV is who I really am. My goal now is to continue to improve, get better with every show if I can. When you love what you do it’s really not work & I have been fortunate enough to not have 2 jobs that I love.
When it comes to covering the pro wrestling business from a media standpoint, a common stereotype is that the most hardcore of fans and journalists are difficult to please. However, when it comes to both yourself and Arda Ocal, I find I get a more refreshing take on things. Being a former employee of WWE, do you find it challenging at times to stay as objective as possible?
Not at all. I think Arda would agree with me on the following point. There is a difference between critical analysis & just plain crapping on an entire product. I am very comfortable both praising & criticizing whatever I see. In wrestling, it is impossible to please everyone. Being negative is very easy & many think it’s cool to be that way. We always look for the positives but do not ignore what we think are negatives. Remember, we give our OPINIONS. Some may agree with me some won’t, that’s what is great about the wrestling business, it can spark great debate or angry threats! 😉
There are a lot of pro wrestling memoirs out there, however, to the best of my knowledge, yours could be the only one written by a former career referee. What inspired you to give writing a shot?
When I left the WWE, my wife Audra told me I should write a book with road stories & about my career. I thought to myself that I was not going to write an expose so how many people would be interested? Then I began working with Arda Ocal. I would tell him stories of my time in WWE & he kept notes on his Blackberry. One day he sent me a list of the stories I told him & said that it all should be in a book. It took some convincing but we met with the good folks at ECW Press, they were interested & the rest is history as they say!
Speaking of pro wrestling memoirs, are there any you would consider favorites or any that you would like to see written?
I know I may sound like a bit of a homer but I really enjoyed Chris Jericho’s books, Bret Hart’s book, Edge, Mick Foley, Regal’s, Dutch Mantel’s . There are so many good books out there including Bob Holly’s book which I just read & really liked. As for whose memoirs I would like to see written, The Undertaker’s memoirs would be awesome. If he were ever to pen a book it would definitely be a best seller. Jim Ross & Howard Finkel would have tremendous memoirs as well.
You’ve been involved as a referee in some historic matches including the main event of WrestleMania 24. Have there been any nightmare experiences? Any matches that really tested your patience and professionalism?
None that come to mind. I generally don’t get too frustrated however I do recall Bob Holly purposely making me chase him in a tag team match to the point where I was completely gassed. I had trouble catching my breath. More a rib than a nightmare but it did test my patience.
I generally read and review a lot of fiction and I was wondering if you have any favorite books or authors? Potentially one that stood out to you in 2012?
I really do not read very much in the way of fiction books. As for authors, no real favorites, but being in to horror & thrillers, I do enjoy classic Stephen King books every once in a while. My wife hates scary books & doesn’t even want them in the house. Haha!
I’ve got to ask, were you a fan of WWE ditching the blue shirt and bow tie for the black and white stripes? I for one, miss the old uniform.
As much as I liked the look of the blue shirt & bow tie, the black/white striped shirts were more comfortable. The bow tie had a tendency to be restrictive. My favorite ref shirts were the Smackdown blue because they were unique and it differentiated us from the RAW refs.
What’s next for Jimmy Korderas? Like many, I’m hoping for a return for Aftermath radio.
What’s next for Jimmy Korderas, continuing with Aftermath TV helping to grow the brand on the Score television network. As they say in the wrestling business, never say never so Aftermath Radio may just return in some form or fashion. I want to continue to learn & grow as a broadcaster. Maybe someday I can expand my broadcasting to include other sports. Whatever the future holds, I will do it with a smile like I always do!
Check out Jimmy every week on Aftermath TV along with Arda Ocal.
Pick up Jimmy’s book! Amazon / Chapters
Follow Jimmy on Twitter!
Check out my review of Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee.