Interview With NWA Serior Referee Rudy Charles
1. Where you a wrestling fan growing up?
For the most part. I started really watching wrestling when I was in middle school. That was the 1992 Royal Rumble when Ric Flair won the title.
2. Did you participate in any sports in school?
Yes. Football and soccer.
3. Why did you decide to become a referee?
I started refereeing soccer in the eighth grade, and always loved reffing and wrestling. So while at one of the local matches my senior year in high school, I was watching the referee and what he did. I half-joked to my friend Sheila that I should try reffing that, too. She told me I should give it a shot, and with some more encouragement, I did.
4. Who trained you?
Mark Vance initially. He was a ref for USWA toward the end of the company and promoted in the Evansville area for several years. Also, Tracy Smothers helped a lot, too. I try and have the attitude that I'm always learning more, and to learn something new everytime I ref.
5. How long do you have to go to school to be a professional wrestling referee?
It depends. It depends on how quickly you catch on, how often you train, etc.
6. Did you have support from our friends and family?
For the most part. My mom was a little worried I might get hurt (gotta love moms), but everybody saw how much I enjoyed doing it and was supportive.
7. Where did you go to school for you training?
Wasn't an official school, I guess, but Vance was running a promotion and I worked for him that summer (cutting grass) and was able to learn from talking to him at work and observing his matches and other ways.
8. How long have you been a referee for professional wrestling?
July of 1996 was my first match, so over eight years now.
9. Have you ever refereed for any other sports?
Yes. I am a licensed official in the state of Indiana for Football, Soccer, Wrestling, and Basketball.
10. How did you feel when you got appointed senior referee for NWA?
I was very happy. A little surprised and nervous, perhaps, but I was given a great opportunity and I knew that I needed to step up to the plate.
11. Other than calling the matches you’re the referee for is there any other duty you have since you are senior referee?
I work a lot with the other referees. We'll go over mechanics, such as positioning, enforcement, etc. We all work closely with NWA rep Bill Behrens when assigning the referees for each match. We also help backstage when we can doing odds and ends.
12. You’re a fan favorite on the NWA-TNA shows are you surprised by that?
A little. I've always enjoyed it when fans like me, but as a referee, I do have to make calls that the fans don't like.
13.Is there any type of match you really like to referee?
I really enjoy tag team matches, even though there is so much craziness going on around me. I always enjoy matches that go longer. Those matches are a good test of my endurance as an official, both physically and mentally. I refereed the 94 minute match between Chris Hero and CM Punk a while back, and that was very intense.
14. Have you ever sustained any injuries while you've been refereeing a match?
A couple, but nothing major. I got my arm cut open one time by accident, and that required fifteen stitches, but that (knock on wood) is the only time I've ever had to go to the hospital. I tend to get knocked around a lot as a referee, though.
15. Do you have any advice for anyone that wanted to be come a referee?
Find a good school/trainer. Work hard at it. Referee other sports, as well. If it's a dream of yours, stay at it. I reffed for six years or so before I got my big break. If you set yourself up for success, you'd be suprised at what being in the right place at the right time can do for you.