A Shoot Incident In RevPro Led To A Wrestler’s Release And The End Of A Referee’s Career

At Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Summer Sizzler event on August 30, British Tag Team Champions Sha Samuels and Josh Bodom faced Aussie Open for the right to challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at NJPW’s Royal Quest the following night. Aussie Open won, but not quite in the way the teams had planned, which triggered a shoot attack that has now ended the career of a referee and at least severely damaged that of a wrestler.

According to those involved, Aussie Open were always supposed to win the match, but about five minutes later. However, referee Aaren Wilde counted to three when one of the RevPro tag champs didn’t kick out of a pin earlier than the planned ending. Samuels responded by bodyslamming Wilde, something that had not been planned beforehand or discussed with the referee, and claiming he had been screwed, a la Bret Hart in Montreal. What couldn’t be seen on RevPro’s footage of the match, though, was that the post-match attack continued outside the ring, where Josh Bodom attacked the referee in a way that looked much more like someone being beaten up in real life than a bodyslam.

It took about a week and a series of tweets from Wilde for the serious fallout from this match to begin. Wilde tweeted that “Last weekend at RevPro I was attacked after the Royal Quest tag match. This was not part of the show, it was not planned. I was grabbed and slammed to the mat by Sha and then something happened on the outside. I honesty don’t know what, that part was a blur.” He said that “As a result, I have sustained a much-more-serious-than-originally-thought neck and shoulder injury that means I am no longer able to referee,” and clarified that the intended winners of the match still won and that this was the first botched ending in his career as a pro wrestling referee. He also requested donations via PayPal since the injury left him unable to referee for football/soccer, his main source of income.

Wilde’s statements were quickly met with criticism and skepticism from some members of the wrestling business, including David Starr through the We The Independent (indie wrestler collective/t-shirt brand) account. He responded to claims that his injury occurred because he was poorly trained by stating that “Never once in 3+ years of refereeing have I been injured in a ref bump. As it was always agreed prior with all parties as pro wrestling is a performance where the referee is not in physical involvement. Sizzler was not an agreed physical involvement. I hope this clarifies.”

At this point, RevPro promoter Andy Quildan gave his input with the tweets above in which he misspelled Wilde’s name twice. He said he had first heard about the incident via Wilde’s tweets (Quildan was at Summer Sizzler and got involved, McMahon-style, in the main event) and ultimately sided with the wrestlers, saying “Footage from our live edit only shows the slam. Having reviewed it, I can say with confidence that there was no intent to cause any injury. Regardless I’m sure everyone will draw their own conclusions but I can assure that I will make sure this matter is dealt with swiftly.”