Everything You Need To Know About Refereeing In Wrestling

Everything You Need To Know About Refereeing In Wrestling

Have you ever wondered what goes into being the person in the striped shirt barking out counts and enforcing the rules? Wrestling referees, while seemingly on the sidelines, play a crucial role in the choreography and flow of a match. This article dives deep into the world of wrestling referees, from the essential rules they uphold to the behind-the-scenes communication that keeps the action moving. Whether you’re an aspiring ref or a curious fan, this guide will equip you with everything you need to know about refereeing in wrestling.

Understanding the Role of a Referee

The referee in wrestling plays a vital role beyond simply counting pins. They act as the central authority figure within the ring, ensuring a fair and safe environment for the wrestlers while guiding the match towards its intended conclusion.

One of the most crucial duties of a wrestling referee is enforcing the rules. They have a deep understanding of the specific regulations set by the wrestling federation. They are responsible for calling out illegal holds, disqualifying maneuvers, or stalling tactics the wrestlers employ. This ensures that the match is conducted with fairness and sportsmanship.

But the referee’s role extends beyond rule enforcement. They are also tasked with safeguarding the well-being of the wrestlers throughout the match. They watch the action, ready to call for a stoppage if a wrestler appears injured or is at risk of being seriously hurt. This quick decision-making can prevent severe injuries and ensure the safety of the competitors.

Furthermore, referees play a critical role in determining the match winner. They are responsible for judging takedowns, near falls, and other scoring maneuvers. They contribute directly to the competition’s outcome by awarding points accurately and consistently.

Another critical responsibility of a wrestling referee is maintaining order within the ring. They need to be assertive figures who can address any unsportsmanlike conduct from the wrestlers or coaches. This might involve issuing warnings, disqualifying wrestlers for excessive rule-breaking, or de-escalating a heated situation.

Finally, communication is a crucial skill for any wrestling referee. They must communicate their calls and decisions to the wrestlers and collaborate effectively with other officials, such as timekeepers and judges. This ensures a smooth flow of the match and avoids confusion or controversy.

Referees are the backbone of sporting integrity. They are guardians of fair play and are prohibited from betting on the games they officiate to safeguard against conflicts of interest and potential corruption. This crucial rule ensures impartiality and protects the very essence of wrestling. By upholding these regulations, sports organizations guarantee fans, players, and everyone involved a level playing field, fostering trust and keeping the thrill of competition pure. If you are in New Zealand, this shouldn’t stop you from trying out a $5 deposit Casino in NZ, you’re not a referee after all, not yet anyway. 

How to Become a Referee

Have you ever imagined yourself in the striped shirt, barking out counts and enforcing the rules in the heart of the wrestling ring? Wrestling referees, while seemingly on the sidelines, play a crucial role in the choreography and flow of a match. But how does one embark on this unique career path? Here’s a roadmap to guide your journey from aspiring official to ringside authority.

Building a Strong Foundation

Before stepping foot in the ring, a thorough understanding of the rules is paramount. Familiarize yourself with the specific regulations of your desired wrestling federation. This includes pin falls, disqualification offenses, point systems, and other nuances governing fair play.

While experience within wrestling itself is a valuable asset, honing your officiating skills in other sports can be highly beneficial. Officiating sports like boxing or MMA can equip you with the critical decision-making and control needed to navigate high-pressure situations. Consider volunteering at local sporting events or high school matches to gain practical experience.

Formal Training for Enhanced Expertise

Many wrestling schools offer dedicated referee programs. These programs delve deeper into the technical aspects of officiating, teaching you proper ring positioning and the art of collaborating with wrestlers to create a visually compelling match.

Organizations like the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) provide online courses designed for wrestling referees. These comprehensive courses equip you with in-depth knowledge of wrestling rules and their application in real-time scenarios.

Gaining Experience and Building Connections

Look for opportunities to referee at independent wrestling promotions or amateur events. These smaller-scale events offer a valuable low-pressure environment where you can gain practical experience and refine your skills.

Wrestling schools and officiating courses often provide excellent platforms to connect with established referees and promoters within the industry. Build relationships, express your passion for the sport, and showcase your dedication to climb the officiating ladder.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Maintain Physical Fitness: Referees constantly move around the ring, keeping pace with the action and maintaining control of the situation. Regular exercise and good physical condition will ensure you can easily navigate the fast-paced environment.
  • Sharpen Your Communication Skills: Clear and concise communication is essential for a wrestling referee. Effectively conveying calls, maintaining order, and collaborating with wrestlers and other officials is vital to a smooth-running match.
  • Fuel Your Passion and Persistence: Becoming a professional wrestling referee requires dedication and unwavering enthusiasm. Maintain your passion for the sport, actively seek opportunities to showcase your skills, and never give up on your dream of becoming a respected ringside authority.


How much do wrestling referees get paid?

Salaries for wrestling referees vary greatly depending on the promotion, experience level, and the type of events they officiate. Entry-level referees at independent promotions might earn a few hundred dollars per event, while experienced referees in major promotions can earn significantly more.

How do referees collaborate with other officials during a match?

Referees work alongside other officials, such as timekeepers and judges. They communicate vital events, such as pinfalls or disqualifications, to ensure everyone is on the same page and the match is scored accurately.

Can wrestling referees become involved in other aspects of the industry?

Some experienced wrestling referees transition into roles like trainers, producers, or agents within the wrestling industry, leveraging their knowledge and experience in different capacities.


This comprehensive guide has taught you everything you need to know about the fascinating world of wrestling referees. From understanding their crucial role in ensuring fair and safe matches to the steps involved in becoming a referee yourself, this article has shed light on the dedication and expertise required to wear the striped shirt.

Whether you’re a die-hard wrestling fan or someone intrigued by the intricacies of officiating, this post has hopefully sparked a deeper appreciation for the unseen heroes who keep the action flowing and the wrestlers protected. So next time you watch a wrestling match, remember the silent authority figure in the ring—the wrestling referee—who plays a vital role in bringing drama and athleticism to life.

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