10-Falls with"One of the people that I consider a friend in this business is probably one of hardest working independent referees in the Midwest. David has refereed for many of the top indy organizations around Indiana. If you can't find him in a wrestling ring, you may be able to see him on stage in a play in Indianapolis, as David has found himself in various roles in some of the top plays in Indianapolis the past several years."--Randy Klemme
Referee David Lee
Referee David Lee
1) How long have you been in the business and where did you receive your wrestling training?
DL: I have been in the business for about 10 years now. There was split time involved.
I first got introduced to the business by the Great Wiz or in later years "The Hangman". Wiz and my brother worked together and he introduced me to Bruiser and all of the gang in the late 70's and early 80's. I tried to start training back them but I ran in to some brick walls. One of those being as I was fresh out of the Navy and newly wed, I was broke and could not afford training and my wife was not real keen on the idea at the time. So I hung around, helped with clean-up, tore down rings, swept and bought Dave McLain beer for a couple of years. When I finally had enough money for training, Dick closed up shop and moved to Florida. I still am not sure my wife would have let me .I ran with Spike and PAWA for a couple of shows helping set-up, security etc, but I finally gave up on the dream. That was until 1998 or so, when my wife said okay go ahead and do it. That is when the Bouncer brought me in and let me start reffing in CCW, from there I worked with Don Basher and honed my "Skills". It has been one show after another since then with lots of help from Shawn Cook and Guy, Marty Fogleman, Steve, Bo, Itch, and many more.
2) What organizations have you worked for and which ones are you currently associated with?
DL: I have worked with most every fed in the Central Indiana and several in Michigan. I could list them all but we all know who they are. My "home" feds are WCWO & IPW, but I certainly enjoy working with all of the others around here.
3) Who are some of the bigger names you have refereed for?
DL: This his really become a big list but I have worked with The Road Warriors, Demolition, Hacksaw, Mick Foley, Greg Valentine, Jimmy Hart, Bobby Colt, Kamala, Public Enemy, Brutus the Barber, Tony Atlas, CM Punk, Chris Sabin, Rikishi, Nikolai Volkoff, Spike Huber, The Baron, and many more.
4) Which match over your career was your favorite that you ref'd and why?
DL: I really do not have one favorite but I really enjoy the young talent and it has been fun watching them all mature. Working CM Punk in IPW and seeing him go on. Working with Chad and seeing him in the big shows. Working Diehard Dustins matches in the early years and arguing politics with him and seeing him mature in to great local worker, and I predict not so local in the near future, means more to me than working any big time matches. I guess it really does not answer the question but that is my thought in that direction.
5) What is the toughest thing about being a professional wrestling referee?
DL: Getting Old, It is harder to get out of the way and to get in to the correct position, but I can still do it and would like to continue as long as possible.
6) Any good road stories that you can pass along (keep it clean LOL)?
DL: Not really, As I am older than most anyone else in the biz around here, I do not have the stamina to hang with the youngsters and get in trouble. I generally travel alone.
7) Are there things that you would like to achieve during refereeing career? Short term and long term goals?
DL: I have never been much of a goals kind of guy. I live for the day. I would like to go overseas some time. I missed out on an opportunity to work in Japan last year and I hope that comes back around sometime. I just want to keep improving and sure I would love to work a really big show sometime, who wouldn't.
8) Have you received any important advice from other more famous names in the pro wrestling business and what was that?
DL: Not really, as I am older I think a lot of the guys feel weird about giving me advice. Hey I am a ref I am never wrong and I need no correcting LOL
Oh yeah, One time Grunge told me I needed to lose weight so that I looked like a ref and not a worker. He is right about that one LOL....I sure do miss that silly Son of Gun
9) What is the BEST thing and the WORST thing about being a professional wrestling referee, maybe something that you didn't realize would be that way when you started?
DL: I never realized how much fun it is to be in that ring working with people that really are trying to do something special. I love working the locals more than I do a big Fed. It seems the workers that really care give a 110% in their efforts. They do this eventhough most of them know they will never make any real money and will probably never advance beyond the locals. I certainly appreciate their dedication.
The worst thing has to be the Politics. It seems like so many promoters are more concerned with how to bother another promoter than they are with trying to improve their product. Also the lack of respect between promotions is something that really bothers me. As a ref I usually can stay above the politics, because I will never sell any tickets for a show, but what I have seen really bugs me. I hate to be cliche' but can't we all just get along?
10) If you had to tell someone what it's like being a professional wrestling referee, what are the three most important things you would tell them?
DL: - The first thing I would tell them is to get some good training. My motto is you quit learning when you die. You will never know it all and you can always learn more. So keep listening, observing and learning.
- Secondly you are there to officiate not be a part of the Show, Do your job and stay out of the way
- Love what you are doing or do not do it. Being a ref you get paid less, booed more, and sometimes beat up. If you are not prepared to do this, dont start.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in my mid-life crisis career. I truly have enjoyed working with all of you over the past 7-8 years and I am looking forward to many more.
Until Next Time
It's Me It's Me
It's Referee David Lee