After yet another controversial finish during an episode of Monday Night Raw, the WWE is following in the footsteps of the NFL and adding instant replay.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon says this is a way to keep fans from losing faith in the integrity of professional wrestling. “Our referees are some of the best in the business,” McMahon said. “But in today’s modern game even the best officials need help. Like when they get rendered unconscious by a steel chair to the head, it’s hard to expect them to stay on top of how long someone’s been pinned.”
The impetus behind this decision was a match on last week’s Monday Night Raw where “The Viper” took on the “The Nexus.” A replay showed Viper had Nexus pinned for well over the required three seconds, but the referee was distracted by a sexy woman in a bikini and ended up only counting to two.
Viper later lost in a disqualification for hitting Nexus with a bucket of nails.
Some wrestling experts are worried about slowing down the pace of the matches with replay.
“Human error is part of the sport,” Jerry “The King” Lawler said. “If we have to stop every time there’s a dispute over whether or not someone was grabbing the ropes for leverage during a submission hold, or whether or not someone descended from the rafters and shot someone with a flare gun… we’ll never finish a match.”
Instant replay in the WWE will start on a limited basis. Only pins, count-outs, manager interference and the use of ladders will be up for review. Fouls such as throwing sand in someone’s eye, taking the pad off the turnbuckle and wrapping barbed wire around a bat will not be reviewable.
Each wrestler will have two challenges. If the wrestler is unconscious and their manager has fled or changed sides, the challenge can be made by a replay official in the booth.