WWE: 5 Wrestling Angles That NFL Replacement Referees Have Not Yet Tried
The reaction is still being felt about the replacement officials in the NFL, who just cannot seem to catch a break. By now, the entire country is aware of the final play in the Packers/Seahawks game from Monday night, which has seemingly been the worst of the worst from the countless blown calls in just three weeks of the regular season.
The Hail Mary pass that was caught, but was believed to be an interception, despite being ruled the winning touchdown, has taken on a life of its own more than 24 hours after it happened in front of the whole world to see.
The play has been nicknamed a few interesting names, such as "Fail Mary" and "The Inaccurate Reception." However, with my pro wrestling background, only one name popped into my head, which is what I continue to refer to it as. This was the "Seattle Screwjob."
Wrestling fans know that this is a reference to the Montreal Screwjob, which saw Bret Hart have the match end earlier than he expected due to backstage politics forcing him to lose unexpectedly in his final match with the company.
The match took place in Montreal, which had a home-field feel for Hart, a popular Canadian wrestler. The plan was put into place and included referee Earl Hebner, who wanted the bell to ring as Hart was trying to counter a move and was not giving up.
The pieces kind of fit together perfectly. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can sure play a good Vince McMahon in this scenario. You just wish that Mike McCarthy, the Bret Hart here, could have seen Goodell there to spit in his face and bring more similarity between screwjobs.
WWE references came almost immediately and even had McMahon trend worldwide on Twitter, which was not due to his TV show, RAW, going off the air shortly after 11 p.m.
As long as WWE is going to get looped into this NFL issue, we may as well have some fun with it. If they enjoyed doing the screwjob so much, here are five more ideas for the NFL to consider as their time with the replacement refs continues.
WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes
This match ending is named after the legendary Dusty Rhodes, who loved this angle and was often involved in matches that ended this way in NWA and WCW.
The ending is pretty simple. The original referee is taken out of the match in some fashion and replaced with another official. That second referee then declares a winner, only to have the original referee assigned to the match reverse the decision.
In most Dusty finishes, it is something from the "bad guys" that knocks that referee out and the second referee oversees a match won by the "good guys."
The original referee would then come in and get rid of that decision to disqualify the bad guys. In wrestling, this would eradicate a title change and turn it into just a simple victory, which would make crowds furious.
Even though the act of referees stepping over one another seems commonplace with these refs, just imagine performing the NFL version of the Dusty finish when the regular referees are close to returning.
Imagine a game where the replacement referees do the first half of a game, but Ed Hochuli and Co. return to the field after halftime to a huge ovation. Within the final two minutes of the game, the replacement refs return to take back their spots on the field, leading to pandemonium and even more hatred for the replacement guys.
Even seeing the result from The Main Event in 1988 (start watching right before the 6:00 mark and just let it roll) would be interesting to see. These guys look pretty average, so finding lookalikes would seem easy.
What did you expect? I'm putting scripted wrestling angles to actual football games.
Big Show and Mark Henry in a no-contest last year after the ring collapsed. (Photo courtesy of tribalwrestling.com)
There are ties in the NFL, but they are very rarely seen. In pro wrestling, draws are seen as well. However, a way to lengthen a feud in wrestling includes a match without a clear winner at the end, known as a no-contest.
Essentially, two men fight and the referee is unable to restore order, leading to the match being thrown out and nobody being a winner. It often has a brawl that gets the crowd amped up and makes a referee look incompetent. That sure seems out of the realm of an NFL game nowadays, right?
Sarcasm aside, let's dive into a scenario for this to possibly play out. Two of the more physical teams in the NFL that absolutely despise one another are the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They have a Sunday Night Football game on prime time during Week 11 and on the night of Nov. 18. Ironically, that is the same night as WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view.
Fans can go to their local watering hole to watch Ray Lewis and Mike Wallace throw fisticuffs and have a fight like the end of a Detroit Pistons basketball game. If it is anything like last September's matchup, tensions will be high and referees will be falling down on the field.
Bars with the wrestling pay-per-view will be showing one heck of uncontrollable fight... as well as showing a wrestling pay-per-view.
Special Guest Referee
Shawn Michaels was a special referee at SummerSlam in 1997.
We already have average people doing the job of referees, so why not steal a page out of pro wrestling and bring in special guest referees? The NFL can swap out that side judge that threw a hat that Kevin Ogletree slipped on and replace him with a former NFL player.
The league could even bring guys from the Thursday night games in as referees for Sunday and Monday games. If the issue is about players and coaches being intimidated by referees, just imagine the site when it is the players themselves who are the referees.
If we really get lucky and this idea takes off, Roger Goodell could be a head referee during the playoffs and ultimately decide who is the champion of the league he runs.
Most fans despise him at this point. The least that he can do with himself right now is commit to the role and handpick his own championship team. That's what Vince McMahon would do.
Restarting a Match
Starting a match over can get confusing. (Photo courtesy of wrestlingvalley.org)
Let's stick with Goodell being involved in the finish of games for a minute. In wrestling, a match can be completed with something purposely being missed by a referee that impacts the winner of that contest.
That's when an authority figure appears, notifies the referee of the injustice and orders the match to restart. This often results in the man who lost the initial decision to win the official ending of the match.
Goodell could have the power to pop in on the Jumbotron of any NFL stadium with orders to alter things about a game. Just imagine the immediate reaction with overwhelming boos from the crowd at the image of him, likely stroking a cat for that evil dictator look.
He could sit on a throne of leather from footballs and old-school helmets, which would look pretty cool and be pretty impressive to see. If Gary Bettman can seem so evil and his league isn't even operating, Goodell can do the easy thing and pop into games at his leisure to dictate an outcome.
Here come the reinforcements. (Photo courtesy of extremein.com)
This is my favorite idea and one that I would love nothing more than to see this upcoming week. A run-in is when a wrestler will literally run to the ring and interfere in a match, often to attack a rival and cost them a victory in the process.
For the NFL's version, it can be a lot more interesting. If you thought people were talking about the end of Monday's game, wait for this possibility.
The Seahawks are in St. Louis to take on the Rams this Sunday and the game is fierce throughout. Leading his team on another fourth-quarter comeback, Russell Wilson throws a pass deep to a receiver, until it is caught by a defender.
This isn't just any defender, but Packers safety M.D. Jennings, who runs onto the field and snatches the ball out of the air.
Any normal fan would know that this is much like a fan running onto the field. The play is blown dead and the down is replayed. These are the replacement referees we are talking about, though.
These are the group of guys who added a dozen yards to a penalty in overtime of the Lions/Titans game. Would they even know what the rules are? Many fans are beginning to wonder if they ever knew the rules.