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Package Chris Sharpe stands out in striped shirt

You probably don’t pay all that much attention to who the referee is. Chris Sharpe understands. Because if you’ve noticed him, it’s probably because he’s not doing his job.

“I think if you have two really great wrestlers in a match, but the referee isn’t really that good, then the match will suffer because of it. But if you have two wrestlers who are pretty new, and they may just be learning the ropes, but you have a really good referee, it can really help the match,” said Sharpe, the senior referee in Awesome Wrestling Entertainment, who worked several matches on the AWE Night of Legends pay-per-view, including briefly the main event featuring Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page and The Rock-n-Roll Express.

The pay-per-view was a homecoming of sorts for the Mechanicsville native, who cites another pair of Mechanicsville natives, Dave and Earl Hebner, as childhood influences who helped him decide on a career in professional wrestling.

Coming back to Virginia, for his first pay-per-view, “was one of the coolest, one of the biggest things I’ve done,” said Sharpe. “To be in the ring with DDP, Kevin Nash, people that my family has actually heard of, and they get to come, get to buy a ticket, get to come watch, it was awesome.”

It wasn’t always refereeing that was on Sharpe’s career radar. He trained and worked in-ring as a wrestler before deciding three years ago to focus on becoming a full-time ref.

“If I really want to make it to WWE or TNA, I’m not a very big guy. I just didn’t see it as very realistic that I would make it very easily” as a wrestler, Sharpe said.

That said, his training and work as a wrestler is a big help to Sharpe as a referee.

“Me being able to understand a little bit more than some other referees might about wrestling, I think that helps me a lot. It makes me more valuable to the companies. Hopefully it will make me more valuable and a better commodity,” Sharpe said.

An important part of the job is keeping one’s ego in check. “People aren’t there to see the referee, unless it’s friends and family,” Sharpe said.

“I understand that it’s all about the wrestlers. I just enjoy my role of being able to be in there and be a part of the act and kind of help them help as much as I can with whatever I can do and whatever they need.”

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