The referee looks down at John Cena slumped on the canvas and begins his count during the WWE RAW Superslam event at Acer Arena, Homebush Stadium in Sydney on August 4, 2006. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
WWE HOFer Threw Earl Hebner So Hard He Thought He Was Dead
Although legendary referee Earl Hebner had a solid grasp on how to take a bump and protect his body properly, one occasion was a terrifying moment for the seasoned referee. In May 1996, during WWF’s In Your House 8, The British Bulldog faced Shawn Michaels for the WWF title with Hebner as the referee.
During one spot, Michaels launched Bulldog into the ropes and dropped down to the mat. As Bulldog’s momentum shifted, he jumped over Michaels and directly pummeled referee Hebner, sending him flying through the second rope. In an interview, Hebner revealed that he “thought [he] was dead.”
Hebner said, “I wasn’t prepared for that one because it was never said [beforehand] that he was going to do that,” and although Hebner usually takes a “relaxed” approach to bumps, the unrehearsed spot “was so hard and stiff, that it was unreal.” After the bump, Mike Chioda replaced an indisposed Hebner as the official.