Todd Sinclair is widely considered one of the best referees in the world today and it’s no surprise that he is Ring of Honor’s ‘Senior Official’. It was announced recently that Sinclair had signed a new contract with the promotion so we will be seeing him take charge of the most important matches in ROH for some time yet. We were lucky enough to have a chat with Todd about his career in ROH and some of his favourite moments, here it is:
ROH World – You are rightly regarded as one of, if not the best referee in the business. How proud does that make you?
Todd Sinclair: Thanks a lot. Hearing that makes me extremely proud. When I’m in the ring, I give it absolutely everything I have. I’m so appreciative when someone lets me know that they enjoy my refereeing.
How does ROH rate alongside other promotions you’ve worked for?
In my opinion, Ring of Honor is the best wrestling company in the world, without question. I feel so strongly about this that in 2007, I decided to work exclusively for ROH. While I have enjoyed my time in other companies, they just don’t compare to the wrestling talent that is in ROH. The wrestling that happens in an ROH ring is exactly the type of wrestling that I enjoy, and the only wrestling that I want to be a part of.
What is your all time favorite match that you have refereed?
This is a really tough question for me, because I’ve been lucky enough to referee so many great matches. The matches that have taken place in ROH are consistently great, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. But I do have a few matches that stand out to me:
– Samoa Joe vs. Kenta Kobashi – the atmosphere that night was insane.
– Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA – Bryan was continuing to defend the ROH World Title with a badly hurt shoulder. I knew how much pain he was in for this match, but Bryan battled through like a true champion. Go back and watch the insane punishment he takes on his shoulder, as KENTA continued to kick away at it.
– Colt Cabana vs. Delirious – this match was in England. Delirious’ mask got twisted around, so he couldn’t see – and he started to wrestle me instead of Cabana. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a wrestling ring.
– Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards – from Toronto. An amazingly great match.
– El Generico vs. Kevin Steen – a total war to end their feud, and a real highlight for me to be a part of.
Are there any wrestlers you particularly enjoy/dread refereeing?
There are too many wrestlers to list as enjoying my time in the ring with them. But there is one match that I refereed early in my career where I was in complete fear – it was a match with New Jack. He was cool outside the ring, but when the match began, New Jack brought about 40 wine bottles to the ring – and he proceeded to smash them all over the place. There was glass everywhere. I had never been in a situation like that before, and I was terrified at either getting cut or a random piece of glass getting in my eye. It was a very scary time.
If you could pick one guy to referee that you haven’t yet, who would you choose and why?
It’s more of a “dream match” scenario, but I would love to have refereed a match for Ricky Steamboat. As far as wrestling goes, there isn’t anyone that has ever been better in the ring. And personally, from my experience with him, he was such a class act to be around. He was so unselfish and helpful during his time in ROH, and it would have been a true honor for me to referee one of his matches.
What are the most important things to do as a referee during a match?
I think the most important thing is to only be noticed when needed. The match is between the wrestlers, and they are the ones in the spotlight. When there is a pin or a submission, the referee “appears”. When there is cheating going on, the referee “appears”. Otherwise, the referee should hide in the background.
You don’t have the greatest of relationships with the ROH fans, why do you think this is?
It is my job to enforce the rules in the ring, and that role just doesn’t endear myself to the fans. The majority of people don’t like authority. When it comes to a wrestling match, the authority in the ring is the referee.
Look at any sport: hockey, baseball, football – when things are going good for the home team, fans have no opinion on the referee. They don’t even know he exists. But when a questionable call goes against the home team, the fans want the ref’s head. Wrestling is no different. At times, I have made decisions that haven’t gone the way that the fans would prefer, so they take it out on me. It comes with the job.
Kevin Steen told us that you’re the thing he most misses about ROH, do you have a good relationship with most of the guys on the roster?
Yeah, I think so. When you’re on the road, you spend a lot of time together – in the car, at the hotel, at the building, at the airport. And we all have at least one thing in common – our love for pro wrestling. You become really good friends with these folks, like a 2nd family.
What is your favorite moment in ROH history?
My favorites are the “firsts” – the first pay-per-view, the first show in Japan, the first TV taping for HDNet. Everyone works so hard in ROH to build the company, and to me these are important moments because they validate all the hard work that we all have put in. I look forward to more “firsts” in ROH.
Finally, do you have any words for the Ring of Honor fans?
Thanks a ton for all the support, whether you’ve been a fan of ROH for the past 9 years, the past 9 minutes, or any time period in between. And please continue to support ROH by coming to a live event, buying a DVD, ordering an iPPV – visit ROHWrestling.com
We’d like to thank Todd once again for agreeing to the interview. You can keep up to date with Todd by following him on Twitter @sinclairtodd