The legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross said it best himself, “40 years in the wrestling business and I’ve never seen anything like this”!
Jim Ross was of course referring to the screwjob ending of the main event of the Hell in a Cell pay-per view, where ‘referee’ Brad Maddox shockingly screwed the beast named Ryback out of the WWE Championship by low-blowing the formerly unbeaten superstar and to top the audacious act, he made an uber-fast three count to ensure that the WWE Championship stayed on the shoulder of pantomime villain CM Punk. While it’s not something that’s never occurred before (older fans will remember Charles Robinson to be Ric Flair’s ‘personal referee’ in WCW), it certainly adds another dimension to the rivalry between Punk and Ryback.
The concept of a crooked referee is always an intriguing one. It can be considered to be one of the ultimate forms of cheating. What makes you more dastardly than manipulating the match official itself? Crooked referees are never overused by the WWE, and are brought out in the right situations, situations such as the present one. The WWE clearly has immense faith in making Punk the biggest heel of his generation, and it is a perfect way to increase the noise of boos directed against the man who used to get the loudest pop every single night not so long ago, something that Mick Foley alluded to.
The official under the scanner, Brad Maddox, drew the ire of the champion and Paul Heyman not too long ago when he refereed a main event of Raw in September and cost Punk and Alberto Del Rio their tag team match against John Cena and Sheamus, when he failed to notice Punk’s foot on the ropes while counting the pin for Cena. Verbally berated by Punk and Heyman, Maddox disappeared under the scanner for the next month or so, only to re-emerge in prominence at Hell in a Cell.
This past Monday on Raw, the ‘Best In The World’ claimed that he knew nothing about Maddox’s intentions and proceeded to blast his refereeing skills, while making snide remarks at former GM AJ Lee. While anybody with an ounce on intelligence would be wise to not pay heed to Punk’s words, the question begins to form – why would Maddox favour Punk, especially after being previously ridiculed? It has drawn interest, and caused some general shock among WWE fans, and personally I love the fact that Punk may have a personal referee.
Unknown to many, Maddox is actually a wrestler, having wrestled for the WWE development territory FCW for the last two years. The young referee (superstar) held a couple of titles in FCW, before being promoted to the main roster as a referee. It seems pretty certain that Maddox will wrestle a match soon enough, probably against Ryback (may god have mercy on his soul), and it is a long shot, but the WWE could actually be invested in the idea of making Maddox a true superstar.
This could just be a way to introduce a new superstar, masquerading around as a referee, and allowing him to gain instant heat by being a ‘Paul Heyman’ guy. From what I’ve seen on YouTube and read on various reliable sources, Maddox seems to have the charisma, temperament , and personality to be a WWE superstar, and isn’t afraid of making himself look like a moron to entertain the audience. Maddox doesn’t look like a traditional WWE superstar (ala muscle freak like Ryback), he is in the mold of guys like Jericho, Punk and Daniel Bryan, superstars who are smaller, but possess excellent abilities.
Or it could just be a last-minute fix by the creative team, and they won’t go anywhere with the angle. That is unlikely to happen as it’s become a huge angle, and it severely insult the intelligence level of the teetering fanbase. While I do understand that may earlier prediction of Maddox being a huge superstar may come to naught, it make way for entertaining television and creates an air of suspense. Maddox’s absence from Monday Night Raw was also an excellent move on the part of the WWE, as it just creates more suspense from the audience who want the biased official to explain his controversial actions.
Ryback proceeded to manhandle and demolish Maddox after the Hell in a Cell match, and Maddox could’ve been absent due to injuries suffered at the hands of the best (Punk was heavily bandaged). As the rivalry between Punk and Ryback continues, with the added presence of the legendary Mick Foley, we can expect to see more from Maddox on the road to the main event of Survivor Series, Team Punk vs Team Foley.