Despite being pre-determined, WWE likes to treat its brand of sports entertainment under a strict set of rules. One of those rules, as enforced by their officials, is to call each match as though it were a shoot. That means only counting a pinfall if a competitor’s shoulders are to the canvas.
This past Sunday, during the main event of WrestleMania 35, a three-count took place. However, the woman taking the loss, Ronda Rousey, didn’t have her shoulders pinned for a full count of three. This has led to some controversy over the finish of the match itself.
Turns out that this incident hasn’t been ignored by WWE’s top brass.
According to Fightful, the referee who made the count, Rod Zapata, has been fined an undisclosed amount by the company for counting the pinfall. This win allowed Becky Lynch to claim both the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships.
Zapata allegedly had some heat backstage due to the finish after the event. This was said to have been minor, at best. The next night on RAW, however, Zapata was taken aside by Vince McMahon himself. A discussion was had, and the referee would end up being fined.
He was apparently informed that, although the pinfall was meant to happen via the crucifix as witnessed on Sunday, he should have waited for the shoulders to be firmly against the mat. If the performers struggled on the way to that final position, then he, as an official, can’t be held accountable for that.
Setting An Example
This isn’t the first time that a fine has been issued to a referee.
Dan Engler was the recipient of a fine due to an incident during the recent Chad Gable and Bobby Roode vs Ricochet and Aleister Black matchup from Monday Night RAW.
Although speculated to have been a small mistake, Vince McMahon wanted to set an example for the rest of his officials going forward.