MWR Spotlight: Luke Roberts (Part 2 of 3)
Posted by Admin on May 15, 2008
Luke Roberts (Part 2 of 3)
By Brian “Flair” Kelley
You have also been an accomplish referee, do you remember the first match that you were a part of in that role?
I honestly don’t remember the first match that I refereed, but I do remember the first show that I refereed on. It was about four years ago. Basically, Butch Fletcher had a referee no-show a Mid-America Extreme show in Cahokia, Illinois. The referee he had for the evening had only refereed one show prior to that one, so he was nervous that he could not handle the job. I knew that I had a pair of black dress pants and my wrestling boots in my bag, so I told him that I would be willing to referee if he wanted me to. He accepted and the rest is history.
A referee can make or break a match. What kind of advice would you give someone that aspired to try to make it in the business?
My advice is simple.
- Watch what the referees on television do on a regular basis.
- Don’t speak to anyone unless you are spoken to.
- Don’t think that, just because you are a referee, you deserve to get involved in the match. Referees are not wrestlers for a reason.
- Make it a point to associate with the more experienced referees and watch what they do in the ring.
- Referee on as many shows as you can. Experience is vital for a referee.
What are some of the common mistakes that a referee makes during a match?
The biggest mistakes referees make all relate to not paying attention to the match. I have seen referees make two counts instead of three counts, not disqualifying a wrestler for doing something that is obviously illegal, seeing a wrestler interfere in a match, or counting three when a wrestler’s shoulders are not even on the mat. In addition, referees sometimes think that they are the biggest part of the match and should be treated as such. In my opinion, if a referee gets out of line, big things can and will happen.
How much more difficult is it to be a part of a tag team match than a one on one contest?
In my opinion, tag team wrestling was actually easier than singles wrestling. In most cases, tag team wrestling gives the wrestlers an opportunity to draw on the emotions of the wrestling fan. It really allows the wrestlers to showcase the experience and teamwork that they have as professional wrestlers.
Throughout the years, what match would be your highlight as a referee?
As a referee, I would say that my biggest match was Nick Tyson vs. Alex Shelley in the LWA. The match was outstanding. I was completely focused on the match. Everything was in alignment in the universe that night. Another match that would rank up close to that match was a cage match between “Cowboy” Bob Orton and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine for CJTPAAW.
Just being respected enough by the promotion to referee a match between these two WWE Hall of Fame wrestlers was enough for me. They gave the fans a match that was worthy of their money. I felt honored a couple of years later to spend almost two hours with Greg Valentine, fellow wrestlers “The Punisher”, Rage, Dexter Poindexter, Rick Ruby, and referee Scott Murphy. Scott Murphy thought that Valentine would not remember me at all from that match. Not only did he remember the match, but he complimented me on the job I did that night. That match was definitely one to remember.
In this age of gimmick matches and special stipulations, is there one certain type that you dislike more than any other?
As a referee, I am up for almost any kind of match. Nothing really phases me. I am not really a big fan of the ultra hardcore matches. Those kind of matches really draw people away from professional wrestling. I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to attempt to grossly disfigure themselves for any amount of money.
One aspect of wrestling that is easily is forgotten is the chemistry between the heel manager, his guy and the referee. What manager do you feel was the easiest to work with?
I feel that the manager that was the easiest to work with was Harvard Cornell III. He knows exactly when to draw my attention away from his wrestler or wrestlers. He always gives 100% in the ring and believes that his wrestlers are the best thing ever in professional wrestling
Any stories where you were disgusted with a manager who just did not get it?
There is one manager, who I will not name, that consistently disgusted me. He always made it a point to get involved as many times as possible in the match. I actually asked a couple of friends of mine at the time to count the number of times that this manager interfered or got involved in the match. I believe that they counted over 20 times during the match where the manager got involved. When I got back to the locker room, I voiced my opinion to anyone who would listen. Needless to say, I have not been assigned one of his wrestler’s matches again.
Have you ever been in a situation where you or the wrestlers have forgotten the finish?
f I had to count how many times wrestlers forgot things in their matches, I would never finish. Just kidding. I can only think of a handful of times where that has happened.
What wrestler would you say was the easiest to referee?
I can’t really limit this to just one wrestler. I would say that Dingo, Pierre Abernathy, Donovan Ruddick, Steven Kennedy, K.C. Karrington, Gary the Barn Owl, Evan Gelistico, Jordan Lacey, Justin “the Iceman” Wade, Sean Vincent, “Volatile” Curtis Wylde, and Shorty Biggs are wrestlers who make my job as a referee very easy.
In what ways can a wrestler help, and on the flip side hurt, the performance of the referee?
A wrestler can help a referee during a match by their interactions with the referee. A wrestler can make a referee look like the symbol of authority in a match. A wrestler can also make a referee look like a complete moron. In the ring, the match tends to be that much better if the referee has a history with the wrestlers involved.
During the Wrestlemania classic featuring Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, there was a reported 22 false finishes. Do you feel as if there are too many false finishes in some matches today?
Honestly, I think that there are not enough false finishes in professional wrestling today. False finishes, as you call them, are what makes wrestling fans enjoy matches. It is what keeps the fans wanting to come back and see what it will take to finally defeat a particular wrestler, tag team, or champion. When anyone thinks that a match is going to end and it doesn’t, it shows the wrestling fan that a match can end at any time. It keeps the level of unpredictability of professional wrestling intact.
On a lighter note, when women wrestle against each other, often the ref is used in a comedic role. Is this something that you enjoy or do you find it hard to do?
When promoted and positioned correctly, comedy matches are fun for me. I tend to be very straight laced in the ring, but at times I can’t help myself in matches. Every time I refereed a match for Gary the Barn Owl in LWA, I would almost lose it whenever he would make me flap my arms like he does. In the days of the Arch Town Criminals, Shorty Biggs would make me chuckle when I would try to count to five. I really enjoy comedy matches. They make me remember why I love professional wrestling so much.
Editors Note: The final installment of this interesting and insightful edition of MWR Spotlight will be published in the next few days. I want to thank Luke Roberts for being kind enough to give us a little of his time, and encourage those who would like to be spotlighted, profiled, or interviewed by Missouri Wrestling Revival to contact me.