Mike Chioda has opened up on why he believes Shawn Michaels was booked to lose the WWE Championship match against John Cena at WrestleMania 23. Chioda implied the company was making far too much money from The Leader of the Cenation to take the title away from him at that time.
In a recent interview with Michael Morales Torres of Lucha Libre Online, the former WWE referee explained that he felt booming John Cena merchandise sales could have been one of the reasons Shawn Michaels did not win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 23.
Back in 2007, it was heavily rumored Michaels would be walking out of Detroit as the new WWE Champion, giving him one final run with the company's top championship. However, this did not happen, with Cena retaining his title.
Here's what Mike Chioda had to say on Shawn Michaels losing to John Cena:
"That was a phenomenal match," Chioda said. "To me, John Cena, and Shawn Michaels is phenomenal, don’t get me wrong, but that time John Cena was on top for quite some time and busted his a** for the company and stuff like that. So, was I surprised they didn’t give it back to Shawn? Shawn’s not going to run around for another year or six months with the title, I don’t think he wanted to travel that much anymore at that time, you know?"
"So it had to stay on John Cena, because he was the number one selling merch, they pushed his merch tremendously. The company was making money. You’ve got to go with… who’s the guy that’s making you money from merch, and stuff like that, down the line. You know what I’m saying? It’s a decision that comes from the top, from Cesar, Vince." Chioda explained.
Mike Chioda on Shawn Michaels' Sweet Chin Music
During the match in question, Shawn Michaels hit Mike Chioda with Sweet Chin Music. Speaking to Michael Morales Torres, the referee said it was the "sweetest" kick he ever took from Michaels.
"I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the finish, but it was a hell of a match." Chioda said. "Shawn lays the sweetest of Chin Music’s (on me). I didn’t even feel it that night. That’s how perfect he is. Shawn Michaels is one of the best icons, will be an icon, one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever worked with."
Mike Chioda worked with WWE for over 30 years before his release in 2020.