There’s a video circulating around of a recent WWE house show in Greenville, SC, where a fan rushes the ring to attack Chris Jericho. You can see it here (Chris Jericho Fan Incident –better mute the audio if you value your hearing), with another angle after the fact here (Fan Tries to Attack Chris Jericho).
Some of you may be surprised that the first one to take action and wrestle the fan to the mat was not Jericho, or a backstage worker, or security. It was referee Charles Robinson. This didn’t surprise me at all.
Just a random search of “fan attacks wrestler” pulled up a YouTube video of a match between Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam, where a fan runs in the ring. Who’s the first one to bring him down? Yep, the referee.
Pro wrestling referees usually go through the same type of training as the wrestlers. They learn to take bumps, take punches, and kicks. They may be smaller in size than the workers in the ring, but they can be just as tough.
Several times on the local scene I’ve seen a fan rush into the ring during a match. The first one to take the guy down was the ref. Usually put him in a front facelock (like in the Jericho video) and drove him down to the mat on his stomach and held him there until “security” showed up (a.k.a. the guys who were told to put shirts on that said “security”). They would toss the guy out of the building while his girlfriend chewed him out.
It’s surprising it doesn’t happen more often on a local level, since there are no barricades and not much if any real security. I guess maybe the local fans at the smaller shows “get it” and know they’re being entertained so they shouldn’t get too worked up about it.
I put up a post over a year ago (I’m With the Show) that touched a little bit on how important a referee is to a wrestling match. I guess one thing I left out is how they could save your butt if a liquored-up redneck tries to blindside you when you’ve got your back turned.