Good morning, Scott –
I was watching "Best of Clash of the Champions" on Netflix, and I wanted to ask your opinion on something.
Was there ever another referee who tried to make himself a focal point of the match more than NWA/WCW senior official Tommy Young? Maybe not in a "get yourself over" type of way – but man, you sure do notice him when he's in the ring.
Whenever one wrestler was outside the ring, and the other would stand on top of the turnbuckles to play to the crowd, Young would be there, either leaning out between the ropes to the outside or actually standing on the ropes, berating the wrestler to get down off the turnbuckles. Or if there was a pinning situation, Young would go FLYING over them to get in position to make the count.
Maybe the most obvious example is during the Ivan Koloff/Ricky Morton Russian Chain Match – and Morton has touched all three turnbuckles and is straining to reach the fourth – and Young stands there with his arm in the air, pointing at Morton with his other arm. Then he points at the turnbuckle…then Morton…then the turnbuckle…then Morton. This goes on for a LONG time.
So – was this just an example of Young wanting to be noticed? To get over? Was this encouraged by the NWA/WCW? I don't recall seeing other referees do this during other matches. My opinion is that referees should be largely unnoticed during a match – not trying to make themselves the center of attention. What are your thoughts on Young (if you have any)?
Young was the best referee ever. He was an entertaining character who used to integrate himself into the storylines of the match, and people believed that he was in charge of the match when he was refereeing. Plus his involvement lent whatever he was doing a certain importance. Plus he had some of the coolest referee spots ever, like diving of the ring to make the count for Brian Pillman when he was close to the ropes. The HHH-Hebner shoving match spot is a direct tribute to the Flair-Young spot, although when Young laid down the law with Flair, you BOUGHT it. Young also invented the "Kick the heel's hands away from the ropes when they're reaching" spot. He's just awesome, and I'm sad that taking all those bumps destroyed his back.