DISCUSSION: Should the referee count to three regardless if the one taking the pin didn't kick out?

With what happened in the world title match with Damien Priest not kicking out, I was listening to Busted Open today and hearing Jimmy Korderas and Brian Hebner breakdown the missed 3 count, them coming from that old school mentality, they believe the 3 count must be done no matter what, no ifs ands or buts. But they do have sympathy for Rod Zapata considering there is so much backstory in the middle and end of it.

Do you think the referee should treat it like a shoot and count to three regardless if the one taking the pin forgot to kick out in your opinion?

If that ref counts three and kyboshes a major storyline angle between a couple main eventers, he’s absolutely gonna have heat backstage. He did the right thing. It’s up to the performers not to put him in that situation and, if it happens, it’s up to the writers to ret-con the botch into a storyline on television.


Professional Wrestling is fake and everyone knows it. It’s performance art. You hold up the count. The other performer must help make the moment work out in the end.

These old guys can keep their old ways, you hold up the count a.) because there could be something wrong with the performer, b.) that’s not how the story goes, and c.) everyone watching knows it’s fake and is in on it. You might have to audible because shit happens, but you are telling a story with a finish - tell the story or use an audible to get to the same ends.

Ref did the right thing for modern pro wrestling.


In a vacuum then yes, the ref should count if nobody kicks out. Don’t bury yourself.

But the ref knows that it’s not the finish. They are preparing mentally and mechanically to do a dramatic near fall, not a three count. And trusting the wrestlers to hold up their end of the deal.

Also, while I think every booker says they wouldn’t blame the referee, imagine a referee flipping the World Title and causing a stipulation (Priest gets kicked out of Judgment Day), and messing up the Drew/Punk angle when they had the power to stop it?


If it’s a choice between one uncomfortable second to give the performers time to correct a mistake versus a week of haphazard booking to retcon what could have been fixed by just waiting a second I say just give the guys a second.

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He absolutely did the right thing. Maybe if its a TV match between two wrestlers on a similar level its one thing, but if its a world title match that is a completely different animal. Ref did the right thing IMO.

Exactly. You can always even play it into storyline. We’ve all watch baseball games where umpires blow calls, its happens in real sports, just roll with it.

Maybe it’s time to stop giving value to the opinions of guys like Jimmy Korderas in 2024. Really most of Busted Open guests and their attempts to fill airtime with outdated opinions.

So the people who actually worked in the industry and know the ins and outs of being a referee/agent for decades dont have any merit? I’m sorry but thats foolish.

It’s interesting to hear from them and understand that in a different era the rules would have been different.

But I also think that after being in the business for decades they should know that the refs role has changed a lot over that time and the priority in 2024 is for them to ensure the safety of the performer and that the story continues. Making sure pro-wrestling looks real is the refs third or fourth priority today.

Its a good discussion because it happens so infrequently. Of the hundreds of matches every year we all watch I can only think of a handful where the performer (or ref) screwed up and put a finish in jeopardy by accident.


I’m sorry, it’s foolish to listen to people who clearly operated at a different time and believe the industry is something different than it currently is.

You don’t need to have years inside the wrestling industry to have a valid take, dude. Does my 30 years of studying this art form not count for shit? Does my clearly advanced education compared to these two - which plays a role in how I see things and has an entirely different understanding and evaluation of storytelling and factors into my concern for a performer’s health based on years of studying neurocognitive function and seeing the real-world effects of CTE - really get trumped by “gotta keep kayfabe” like it’s the 70s and Dory Funk is the Worlds Champion? I don’t think so. I also don’t have time for the “you gotta be on the inside” arguments to have any value in the wrestling industry. Overly insular and inwardly focused thinking isn’t a good thing in most avenues and industries. Outside voices and perspectives have merit and no one suggested the thoughts of the old generation don’t have merit.

These guys are acting like you have an audience believing this art form is legit - thus, the “call it like a shoot, brother,” argument. But that argument is bunk and can get fucked: this shit is fake and every single person watching knows it. The game is different now, with different rules, so any “shoot” arguments fall flat in argumentative logic, especially considering the evidence available.

Also, this entire conversation is based on the evidence you’ve presented. (Edit: which is just your recap and nothing else).

The business is different from when these guys counted to three and they have antiquated and demonstrably bunk takes. I mean, Jimmy Korderas had bunk outdated takes back on The Score’s Aftermath show.

I get the busted open guys would disagree and I don’t care: I’m smarter than they are and I can talk circles around them. I give zero fucks for the opinions of washed-up, carny losers leeching off wrestling fans’ nostalgia and thirst for wrestling content. No time for it, especially when they’re wrong.

Edit: you wanted our opinions, thus discuss, right? There are our opinions: we get the referee’s perspective, but in modern pro wrestling, the correct move is to hold the count, especially considering everything involved.

People have already brought this up but get a referee to explain to the entire creative machine why it was the right call to “call it like a shoot” and undue months of work by a lot of people in creating this story over hours and months of the product that your fans are invested in. You don’t put yourself in that spot, so you don’t count three. It’s simple.

The territories are dead, wrestling isn’t real and we all know it, and major pro wrestling is making 21st-century, big-money content. Don’t ever call it like a shoot anymore - this ain’t the UFC, it’s fake.

You control everything including how the match ends, don’t fuck it up with “call it like a shoot” when it’s not. That’s dumb and works against everything you are doing.


I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. IMO you need to value the opinions of people who have worked in the industry for a long time and show them respect and listen to what they have to say, but at the same time not take what they say as gospel and use that information in terms of moving things forward.

It’s no different in sports, a guy like Bill Belichick may have been one of the best back in his day, however he hasnt done it well in a while because his ways became outdated. He’d be a great person to have as an adviser, not a great person to have as a Head Coach.


I never meant that the opinions of those on the outside doesn’t mean anything. I value all of your opinions. I would like to listen to all points of view regarding what happened and what took place, not to dismiss anyone. Me personally, I would rather have the ref do the 3 count, I know that would F up other storytelling and would cause creative to go haywire. I don’t blame Zapata at all. And Damien got hurt, so I feel so much sympathy for him

This is the same ref who counted three when he shouldn’t have during the main event at WM 35 (and got fined) so I don’t blame him one bit.


I didn’t dismiss them. I understand their perspective. I get yours.

But it’s wrong given everything discussed and for what the professional wrestling industry is at present.

The performer’s health is always paramount. Full stop.

Other than that, don’t count to three, audible - which different audibles should be planned and discussed ahead of time in the event something happens. You are building the match, you know the points of the match where things have a higher probability of going wrong (higher impact or risk moves going into pinfalls being one of them). So, you should put a couple audibles in the performers toolbelt to get to the same story in the end, regardless how you do it or what comes up. But never call it like a shoot, unless there is a serious issue, then you just stop the match and fix it later because the performer’s health is, again, paramount.

I stand by what I said and believe it to be objectively true: never count three unless that’s the plan. It’s fake and you control everything, including responses/audibles if something does go wrong, including a performer injury. So have a few contingency plans in the event something does go wrong.

That’s right, he was fined thereafter. Just remembered that.

90 percent of Twitter discourse is “ref should be fired, Priest should be fired, someone in production should be fired.”

Please tell these :clown_face: don’t manage people in their daily lives.


You agree with the refs, you are instantly smarter than those who disagree, don’t diminsh yourself out of a position of authority, power, and correctness. lol.

Clearly. I can defend my position but expose myself as an idiot who doesn’t get it, And I did that excellently! Although, I did suggest having audibles as well but I mean, just call it like it a shoot and clean up the mess after doesn’t align with that idea. I guess that ol keep it simple stupid mantra rules the day in all avenues.

That doesn’t make my opinion right. I clearly don’t know shit about wrestling, but talk like I do, and, more importantly, none of us are on the inside, so why are we even talking about this. None of us are referees or work for WWE, so……considering these guys did….I should shut up And go back to work.

I’ve clearly made a mistake, because modern fans “believe” thery’re watching something legit, which renders my argument bunk and void. I have a different take altogether but I’m clearly wrong!

But I can take solace in the fact that while I am a certified moron, I don’t have takes that people should be fired. I’m not that stupid.

I’m sorry, I’m okay with being stupid and wrong on this. I’ll always believe that when you have complete control over something, you exert and maintain that control to the best or your abilities to the end and you never intentionally put yourself into a bad situation. Calling it like a shoot takes away that control and puts things in a bad situation. But if the fans believe its legit in any form, call it like a shoot. I get that.

I was wrong.

It’s a tough situation. For the longest time, I would be of the idea of calling it like a shoot. If someone is injured and doesn’t kick out, then you’re making it worse

I remember on the Art of Wrestling years ago, Juice Robinson was on and said he got his job in WWE/FCW after getting concussed during a tryout. Everyone was standing over him to check on him and out of no where he says, pin me.

If you’re hurt, stay down. Things can be fixed. If Preist fucked up, it’s tough. It’s not a situation where Ted Dibiase barely kicked out and said the ref fucked on him. That’s a 6 man tag on Smackdown. This had the issue of Preist being forced to leave Judgement Day and Rollins not having heat with Punk for the interference. All that goes out the window. Generally, I’m in the camp of you always count three, but the situation at Money in the Bank was a helluvan argument.

I guess it’s less stressful now as Vince would have fired the referee and Damien Preist would be on job duty for the rest of the year, but when you want to plan long term, you can’t do that, nor shouldn’t.

So for example, that match between Swerve and Roderick Strong. If swerve suffers a concussion a minute in and forgets to kick out of the first pin attempt of the match, you would have the ref count three and end swerves title reign?