Mike Chioda is All Elite! The former WWE head referee appeared on AEW Dynamite today to officiate the TNT Championship Match between Cody Rhodes and Scorpio Sky. Chioda was one of many talent and staff laid off by WWE at the start of the pandemic. Chioda's release was particularly eyebrow-raising because he'd been with the company for 31 years.
AEW always tries to make the TNT Championship matches feel special. The title is defended on Dynamite every week, like a television title. Bringing in Mike Chioda to ref was a pleasant surprise. Here are the bullet points from the match from our Dynamite report that will be published tomorrow morning.
- They play up both men's records during the introductions, which helps give it a big match feel.
- Mike Chioda is the ref. Mike Chioda is All Elite!
- Everyone but Arn Anderson from Cody's posse goes backstage before the match starts.
- Cody seems to be taking this match more seriously than his last few.
- Sky is, of course, also taking it seriously.
- #NightmareSky is the secret hashtag during the picture-in-picture commercial break.
- JR says Scorpio Sky could be the first African American TV Champion in AEW History. Tony says he's already the first African-American tag team champion in AEW history. Of course, AEW is only about a year old.
- Sky works on the torso of Cody after throwing him ribs-first into the ring post.
- At one point, Sky hits a slingshot cutter on the stage.
- Sky kicks out of a Crossroads, shocking Cody.
- Sky does not kick out of a second Crossroads.
It's unclear whether this is a one-off appearance for Chioda, or if he'll sign a longer-term deal. AEW hasn't announced anything yet. In any case, it's always good to see people who were laid off at the worst possible time find work, and AEW can use more experienced refs considering how flagrantly many of the wrestlers ignore the rules.