BY JIM VARSALLONE
When discussing the best pro wrestling referees all-time, Tommy Young,
of course, comes to mind along with*** Woehrle and Nick Patrick.
Less not forget Earl Hebner.
Hebner, 59, a former WWE senior referee who currently works for
growing TNA, spent a few hours on the indie circuit a few months ago
in South Florida, working for Coastal Championship Wrestling.
What an experience for the young, aspiring hopefuls (referees and
wrestlers), having a Hebner maintaining order in their ring.
Hebner said: ``This is great. This is something I never really get to
do because of being in other places, but now that I'm not with WWE,
and I'm with TNA, I get more opportunities to come to independent
shows and have fun. I'm more relaxed now. Once WWE went public, it was
run like a prison camp.
``TNA, I love them. It's so comfortable there. It's so pleasant.
There's no stress. I'm home more than I ever was, and I'm with my
family. Coming out and doing shows for Bruno [Sassi] in CCW, I like
seeing these guys. I know most of them. It's a lot of fun. It turns
the clock back for me, and I enjoy it.''
Sassi, who competed in TNA and the indie circuit in Florida and
abroad, is the promoter for CCW. He also works behind the scenes for
? Hebner's future in TNA.
``Right now it's just refereeing, but I think it's going to get around
to doing other things. I like training the young refs, make good refs,
because there's not many of them around. When I went to TNA, I told
them I didn't want to take anybody's job. I was there to help them. I
want to help that company so much because they're growing good, and I
just want Vince McMahon to know there's other promoters in this
wrestling business besides himself.''
``If you want to do it, you have to work hard for it. Some will make
it. Some won't. Some of them will always be good independent
wrestlers. Even if they don't make the big leagues, it's not a life or
death situation. It's what they want, and they love what they want.
Same with me. I love coming out, enjoy working different shows,
different people, and I do meet a few new people.
``Of course, I've been around for years and just about all the old
guys know me, and a lot of the young guys know who I am. They respect
me, and I respect them.''
? Like Father, Like Son
``I'm not bragging, but my son [Brian] is one of the best [referees]
today. He's young, and whether he comes to TNA or WWE, he will be back
with one of them sooner or later. It's his choice, his pick.
``I would never go back to WWE, but if that's what he wants. The
reason I wouldn't go back to WWE is because I wouldn't be happy there.
Even though it is more money than TNA pays me, TNA makes me happier.
It's not a money factor for me now. It's being happy doing what you're
doing and enjoying it.''
? Hebner officiated most main events for WWE, also WWF, from
1988-2005. Along with twin brother, Dave, he played a prominent role
in the inaugural NBC's The Main Event card in 1988, where Andre the
Giant controversially defeated Hulk Hogan for the WWF title. He was
the official during the infamous Montreal Screwjob during the main
event of 1997's Survivor Series.
Hebner officiated matches for Jim Crockett Promotions during most of
the 1980s. He was the referee during the famous I Quit match at
Starrcade 1985 between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. He also worked
the final match of the Bunkhouse Stampede Tournament in January 1988,
before joining WWE.
? CCW's Summer Showdown is 8 p.m. Saturday, June 14 at the C***
Springs Gymnasium. See Dustin Rhodes, Team 3D, Phi Delta Slam,
Kahagas, Pablo Marquez, Abudadein, Hack Meyers and more. CCW also has
a wrestling school, partnering with WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Superfly
Snuka. Go to CoastalChampionshipWrestling.com.
? TNA's pay-per-view Slammiversary is 8 p.m. Sunday, June 8. Visit