Bad Ref

I think Quinn Harper had the idea of making me the ref for his and Eli Black's UCW-Wrestling tag team match against Axel and Michael Hannigan [#302, just released]. On my two visits to Philadelphia to watch live tapings, it's been the habit of the UCW guys to do everything (and more than necessary) to make me feel like part of the team. Needless to say, I didn't really know what I was doing, but still I had fun.

We shot this match in the afternoon of June 15th on the edge of Philadelphia--the garage studio heated to 98 degrees (the a/c had to be shut off during shootings--too noisy). I had two bits of direction: do whatever the heels (Quinn and Eli) tell me to do (i.e. be a "bad ref"), and cop a feel now and then. The heat radiating off Eli's, Quinn's, Axel's, and Michael's slick, sweaty bodies was quite a charge in and of itself, not to mention standing in the middle of the chaos of one of UCW's matches. The guys were very supportive of my attempt at playacting the role of rule-enforcer, even when I wasn't certain what the fuck the rules were.

Strictly speaking, I can't review this match because I'm in it. You know, objectivity and shit like that. It was fun at the time, but watching myself in the video is kinda sick-making, truth be told. I don't enjoy watching myself on film. Fortunately, I'm mostly in the background.

The angle is one of the classics of pro wrestling: heel tag team distracts an incompetent ref while they flagrantly break rules in an all-out double-team assault on one of the good guys (in this case, Hannigan), while the other good guy (in this case, Axel) is helplessly stranded outside the ring, up until the climactic moment when all hell breaks loose, and the rules get thrown out the window, and the dumb ref is left scratching his balls. ("I'd like to thank my agent, the Academy, and Jesus Christ!")

The explosion of energy is either a futile "hope shot" before a total squash or a redemptive moment in which everyone gets what he deserves. It's one of the classic angles of pro wrestling, and the boys have a lot of fun with it.

Images edited on request (17 Feb. 2014)


  1. Joe, your legion of fanboys now has visual accompaniment for what has been, up to now, a literary turn-on. This video is like a palimpsest: after seeing your hot ref work, it will be hard to dig beneath it to find your formerly shy and retiring persona.

  2. Joe! I don't know how I missed this until now, but it is TOO COOL. Personally I understand how you feel about seeing yourself on film. (In fact, if anything bad happens and they talk about me on the news, I have NO idea what they'll use for the photo. I only exist in images on old work ID's and school pictures.)

    I have to ask. The second part of your directions, "cop a feel now and then": Did you? :)

    1. Sean, I don't believe I am required to answer that question. ;)


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