Dave Hebner, who served as a WWE referee and backstage official for over 30 years, has passed away at the age of 73. His death was reported on Friday on his son Brian's podcast.
Hebner has been suffering from multiple medical issues, including Parkinson's Disease, for years. According to his family, his health had been on the decline for quite some time.
Hebner began his career on the East Coast in the late 70's before making his move to the World Wrestling Federation. It was very timely, as his emergence in the company also coincided with the promotion's rise to international prominence. As time passed, he worked his way up the company's ladder and became one of its top officials.
Dave Hebner's claim to fame with WWE came in 1988, on The Main Event on NBC.
Broadcasted in prime time on network television, the live presentation drew a 15.2 Nielsen rating and 33 million viewers. It still holds the record for American televised wrestling, even almost 35 years later.
The big moment of the night certainly lived up to the size of the audience. The main focus of the night would be a WrestleMania III rematch between challenger Andre the Giant taking on champion Hulk Hogan for the WWF World title.
What happened at the climax of this clash would eventually shape the course of WWE forever. As Andre went for a pinfall, 'Dave' made an extremely fast three-count. The Eighth Wonder of the World stole a victory and the title.
Hogan protested, while Andre the Giant handed over the gold to a waiting 'Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase. Then suddenly out of nowhere, a SECOND Dave Hebner emerged from the back as Hogan and the audience looked on in stunned fashion.
The 'fake referee' turned out to be Dave's twin brother Earl. Thus, the rouse, and one of the greatest angles of all time. In later years, injuries would catch up with Dave Hebner, and he would work backstage as a road agent. He stayed with WWE until 2005. He would appear for TNA Wrestling later, but he was essentially retired by that point.
Sportskeeda sends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Dave Hebner in their time of mourning.
We asked Stone Cold Steve Austin if he acknowledges Roman Reigns. Find out his answer here.