Veteran WWE referee Mike Chioda recently appeared as a guest on “INSIGHT With Chris Van Vliet” for an in-depth interview, during which he reflected at length on working the WWE Super Showdown 2019 premium live event, which included the infamous botch in The Undertaker vs. Bill Goldberg match.
“The travel was brutal,” Chioda said. “I mean, it was brutal. We get to Saudi Arabia. I remember we got in the night before. Everybody was on a totally different time zone, sometimes jet-lag kicks in, like the day later, when these long trips occur and stuff.”
Chioda continued, elaborating on the difficult travel process associated with a trip to Saudi Arabia for the WWE premium live event.
“I remember, you know, we just didn’t go [home], we came off a TV and we did this and we had to go to Saudi might have come off some live events, probably that weekend into TV then in Saudi,” he said. “So we got to Saudi Arabia. I remember people weren’t really getting to sleep. You didn’t get in there at 9 10 o’clock. Okay, I’m getting ready to go right to sleep, just slept a lot on a plane. Time zones are different. I remember was about 125 degrees. I remember we went out to the malls didn’t open till nine o’clock at night. A lot of stuff, it was just not even colder. But it was maybe about 100 degrees at night. So it was just [when] the sun went down. That’s when people went to work, construction, and stuff like that their hottest time of the year. So I remember we you know, a lot of us didn’t get good sleep.”
He then delved into the build-up to the show later that evening, which featured The Undertaker vs. Bill Goldberg in one of the featured matches.
“We get to the arena,” he said. “We’re there all day. Taker, I believe we went on at like midnight. I remember going through the locker rooms it’s like 9 10 o’clock, you know, the show was going on for a while. Everybody was sleeping in the locker rooms passed out because of the jetlag. Everybody was tired, man. So I know we were exhausted. Totally going into midnight. I was, Taker, I’m sure of it. But Taker and some people were always saying, Goldberg came out of dressing room. He was hitting his head on it on the thing, but I was in the ring at the time. I didn’t see [it], they showed a little gash when he came out.”
He added, “But Goldberg was fine to me because when he came in the ring, he called the whole match back to me, when he got in the ring, because Taker had this phenomenal entrance. It was an awesome entrance. Of course, it takes like 10 minutes. That’s one of the best entrances in wrestling my opinion. He called me and he goes, ‘Hey, let me call this back to you.’ I’m like, okay, cool, and he just gave it was one of the best spots, two spots and it was cool. I wanted to hear it too. So I made sure I had everything straight. Nothing changed before the match. So everything was good until he hit that turnbuckle and in the post. Then it just went on down from there.”
Regarding the infamous botch in the match, which could have had disasterous consequences for “The Dead Man,” Chioda added, “That was scary, real scary, man. If you watch that match back again when Taker at the finish on the end of that match, he’s just sitting up looking around pissed, like just kind of looked upset [and] frustrated because I know Taker got jammed up a little bit too. It [was] almost like he went out of character right there. It wasn’t in his normal Undertaker character. He just had a lot on his mind. He was just looking around. I’m just sitting on the outside of the ring going, ‘Oh, shit, man he’s pissed.’ Thank God, everything worked out, everything we got through that night. I remember trying to talk to Gorilla going, ‘What do I do? Do I stop it? He’s getting worse. He’s getting worse.’ Billy’s like, ‘Standby, Chioda. I’m like, ‘Guys, let me know. He’s just he’s getting worse.’ Because he didn’t come off the rope. He was on that rope one time he wouldn’t come off. When he first asked me it’s like, ‘I’m okay. I’m okay.’ But then he just started getting worse as the concussion really kicked in.”
He continued, “I didn’t hear anything from Gorilla at that point. I’m thinking, ‘Holy shit.’ I know, they paid us a lot of money to be here. I know. They paid the talent I think a lot of money. I think Goldberg got a couple million. This one got this. I got my 200 You know, you know, but it was like, you know, they paid us a lot of money. I gotta finish this, like the old-school way. He did finish it, barely. That man’s leader of the ring, man, he’s The Godfather of [the] business. So anybody to be in there with? It would be Taker, that’s for sure.”
Check out the complete interview via the YouTube player embedded below.