The professional wrestling official is one of the duties on-screen that usually doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Sure, during wrestling’s earliest days, the referee wouldn’t do much more than stand in a corner and wait for a three-count. However, just as the industry has evolved, so too has the responsibilities and the roles of the official.
Nowadays we have ref's taking bumps, bleeding and often times, taking just as much abuse as the combatants. Needless to say, the referee is the sport’s unsung hero, so to speak.
These guys are ultimately responsible for controlling the overall pace of the contest and essentially keeping everything in line, so that you and I, the fans, get the quality storytelling that we expect during a match.
The position of an official has grown in popularity over the years. While some referees typically go unnoticed in their average, everyday life, there are a select number of officials who are very recognisable. During the WCW/nWo era, Nick Patrick became popular for his involvement with the nWo, as well as his biased officiating style.
Others, such as Charles Robinson have grown in popularity as well, Robinson due to his "Little Naitch" run. There have been several who have gained notoriety outside of the ring, one in particular, is Tim White.
I’ve mentioned before that if professional wrestling had a referee Mount Rushmore, Tim White would undoubtedly be one of the faces that would be engraved. White got his start back in the 1980’s as a part-time WWF official, while also serving as Andre The Giant’s personal assistant.
Eventually, White would become a full-time official and as his career progressed, Tim was involved in several storylines, most notably the Lunchtime Suicide Series. During this series, Tim would be paired with Josh Matthews and while Matthews would be interviewing Tim, he would make over a dozen “attempts of suicide.”
While the angle was controversial by some, it was compelling, nonetheless and became a weekly part of television programming. White also featured his bar, "The Friendly Tap," in several skits over the years as well. The bar was featured in the Lunchtime Suicide Series on multiple occasions and was also a venue for various APA segments as well.
As you can see, Tim White is one of the most successful and recognisable officials in WWE history. Recently, Tim agreed to grant me a little time and answer a few questions for our Sportskeeda readers. Here are some of the questions I had for Tim.
SK: Since leaving WWE, what's life been like? Do you still attend any sort of reunions or things of that nature?
Tim: "Well, I never actually left WWE. I am currently a talent agent for the company, for meet-and-greet events, such as Wizard World and other events like that.”
Regarding your role with Andre, how did that come about? Was it an assignment from WWE corporate, or was it something you and Andre worked out? What was that experience like?
"It was something that Andre and I worked out and it was great working for him, being able to drive him to places and hang out with him. It was great.”
You were one of the few officials who actually got involved with on-air storylines. For example, the Lunchtime Suicide Series. Did you enjoy the added responsibility, or would you have preferred to stick to normal referee duties?
"You know, I enjoyed doing those type of segments. It was something new and when it comes to you in the WWE, you better take it and that's what I did with the suicide angle.”
What exactly caused the back-to-back shoulder injuries?
"The shoulder injuries started back at the 2002 Judgment Day pay-per-view, during the Jericho vs. Triple H hell in a cell match. I got knocked onto the cage and injured it as a result. I also injured it again at the 2004 Wrestlemania. It was re-injured during the 3-count.”
You recently mentioned the idea of referees being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. If you were in charge of selecting the first 4 or 5 officials to be inducted, who would they be?
"I would put Joey Marella, Mike Child and myself.”
Regarding today’s era, who are some of the superstars you like?
Tim: "Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles, just to name a few.”
A lot of fans often recall the memories made in your old bar, The Friendly Tap. Are you still involved with that bar? Also, how did that place become involved in the various segments?
"No, I sold The Friendly Tap to some good people. It came into play with the storylines when they needed a place to film and I said hey, why not film at my bar and it just went from there.”
You've had a long, versatile career with the WWE. From being Andre’s assistant, to being an official, working angles, producing and so on. When you look back, do you have any regrets at the career path you chose and name someone you miss the most from your time with the company?
"I have no regrets at all. I've done a lot in my career. As you said, The Lunchtime Suicide angle and being an assistant for Andre. I don't think I could've asked for a better job. I really do miss Andre. We had so many good times together."
Tim White is widely regarded and respected as one of the industries all-time great officials. But, what many fans should know, is that he's equally as great of a person and he loves the wrestling business.
He has accomplished a lot throughout his career and still remains with the company, serving as an agent today.
If you were to meet him, I'm sure that in a matter of moments, you'd agree that he's a great man and the professional wrestling industry is better today, because of his contributions.
We are honoured Tim took the time to give us this exclusive interview. Thanks, Tim!
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