WWE let go of several employees during April as part of their budget-related cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term referee Mike Chioda was part of these releases after more than three decades with the company. Chioda eventually returned to wrestling with his appearance on AEW Dynamite last week.
Chioda officiated two huge matches, a TNT Championship Match between Cody and Scorpio Sky and the main-event between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy. Jericho brought up Chioda’s appearance and how he and Cody made his AEW debut possible.
AEW CEO Tony Khan was skeptical of bringing in a referee, but the duo convinced him otherwise. Jericho also mentioned that Chioda isn’t signed permanently, but should put ink to the paper very soon.
“Cody and I had talked about having Mikey come in… We were thinking, like, maybe we should try to bring him in. I mean, we asked Tony Khan [and he said], ‘But it’s the middle of a pandemic, and bringing in a new referee when we’ve got referees-‘” Jericho explained.
“But I always said that when the time is right, let’s bring him in for a big match.”
Jericho later took a shot at WWE for firing Chioda after his long-term service to the company. Jericho said WWE should be ashamed for letting go of Chioda in the middle of a pandemic, and said where do they expect a man of Chioda to find work in this situation.
“I mean, come on, seriously? 35 years the dude has been at your company and you’re going to fire him? Besides the fact that the dude is a great guy and such a talented performer, and can run the whole backstage, but after 35 years, what’s he supposed to do? Go get a job at freaking 7 Eleven? Like, shame on you WWE.”
Several names were released in April, and Chioda was one of the more surprising names, given the rest of the talents weren’t being used as much on WWE TV.