Re-living RAW: Chad Patton watches his own ‘ass-whoopin'
STAMFORD, Conn. — Soft-spoken Chad Patton just wants to be a WWE referee. He doesn't want to wrestle. He doesn't crave the spotlight. In fact, he'd just like to be a respected official whose orders are obeyed by WWE Superstars from bell-to-bell. But on the Aug. 8 edition of RAW, he was forced into a very different role: center of the ring before thousands of fans in Mellon Arena … opposite Chris Jericho … in a match. It was payback from General Manager Eric Bischoff for getting involved in last week's RAW main event, and payback's a bitch.
When WWE.com found out that Patton hadn't yet viewed the footage from RAW, he was invited to Headquarters to watch the tape and comment on those events, his condition and his future in WWE:
WWE.com: How are you feeling now?
Chad Patton: I'm a little banged up. My chest was so red (from Jericho's chops) after the match that I took snapshots with my cell phone and messaged them to my girlfriend. You know, this was such a mismatch that I'm lucky he didn't break my neck. I just want to do my job. It was a scary moment — it would be for anyone — and I'm lucky I'm still in one piece.
WWE.com: What was it like to be in the spotlight and have all those TV cameras and eyes trained on you?
CP: Well, the pressure was definitely on. Refereeing is one thing; you get used to it and you get comfortable. But when you're actually supposed to go in there and wrestle somebody — just basically get an ass-whoppin' — it's a very different thing. It was scary, though — not knowing what's going to happen.
WWE.com: What were you feeling when you heard Mr. Bischoff call you out on live television?
CP: I felt butterflies, especially when the music started playing, then everybody's eyes are on you. So, I'm coming down there, and everybody's watching me get in the ring, and I don't know what to expect. When you are told to get in the ring, you know that's probably not a good situation, but you don't know how bad it is until he tells you. And it was bad.
WWE.com: Was Monday night the first time you've ever been in a submission hold, rather than being the one checking for a submission from a Superstar?
CP: Yes it was. And (the Walls of Jericho) is a very effective hold, I might add.
WWE.com: Now that you've wrestled a RAW match, have you thought at all about following in the footsteps of someone like (former referee-turned-wrestler) Danny Davis and making a career of it?
CP: I'll tell you what, the longevity of a referee is a lot better than that of a wrestler. Once you get hurt as a wrestler, it's an uphill battle back. I want to say it's safer to be a referee, but after Monday night, I'm not so sure anymore. You know, it was sure different being out there and having the spotlight on me. That part was certainly exciting; the slapping and the beating weren't so great.
WWE.com: Have you gotten more phone calls and more attention than usual since RAW aired?
CP: Yeah. Family and friends. I got a call from my mom and grandmother right away. They're not really familiar with sports-entertainment and simply saw me being humiliated and taking a beating, so I just had to calm them down and let them know that I was okay. I explained to them that I love being in WWE — that this is still what I want to do — and that I'll be fine. My brother, sister, dad also called to make sure I was okay and to check in with me.
WWE.com: What does it feel like to reflect back on what transpired? Does it taint being a WWE referee for you at all or change how you'll approach your job?
CP: Well, you're supposed to show your authority in the ring and do your job, but I feel like I did my job, and I feel like I'm being punished for doing my job (on RAW Aug. 1) by Eric Bischoff. It kind of makes you nervous to actually do your job right. I thought I was doing my job right, but this is the outcome.
WWE.com: Let's start the tape. Just take us through it like you were doing a DVD commentary.
CP (watching a tape of RAW): I was definitely nervous when (Bischoff) first called my name. You can tell by the look on my face that something's up.
It kind of shocked me when he slapped me. I was a little pissed off when he did that. I guess he called me "Tad" on live television. I didn't realize that. Insult to injury.
WWE.com: RAW just went to commercial. What were you thinking during the break?
CP: During the break I was very nervous because at this point I didn't know how bad he was going to hurt me. I started sweating. That was the longest commercial break of my WWE career. It was nerve-wracking waiting — seemingly forever — then I heard the bell.
WWE.com: How does it feel to watch this now for the first time?
CP: It's cool to know that I'll go down in the WWE record books as having been on the RAW card and wrestled an official match before thousands of people, but I'll be more than happy to have that be my one-and-only time.
WWE.com: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Jonathan Coachman are talking about you right now. Is that surreal?
CP: At least J.R. was defending me a little bit. It didn't sound like Coach was, though. It's kind of crazy to listen and realize that I'm the subject of the commentary. I never thought that would happen.
WWE.com: You're now on the receiving end of the Wall of Jericho.
The Walls hurt, obviously. I don't think I need to tell you that. I don't think I need to tell you that I hope I'm never in that position again. Many people bigger and stronger than me have tapped to the Walls. But Bischoff's slaps to the head also hurt. He smacked me so many times that I had a knot on the back of my head.
WWE.com: How will you mentally approach refereeing your next match?
CP: When something like this happens, where do you go from there? It'll certainly be nerve-wracking the next time I go out to do a match. I can just never know if Bischoff will take exception to the job I'm trying to do out there. Let's just say I'll have mixed emotions.