WWE official Charles Robinson had the honor to be the referee during the AJ Styles vs. John Cena WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Not only because the match was a shoo-in match of the year candidate, but he administered the three count to officially put Cena in the history books as tying Ric Flair’s record of 16 world heavyweight title reigns.
WWE recently caught up with Robinson to collect his thoughts on Cena’s monumental victory and his contribution to it.
After the match, Cena and Robinson hugged, as well as exchanged words. Robinson shared what was said during the exchange.
“We were just talking about how cool it was that I’ve reffed for Ric Flair so many times and now I’m refereeing his 16th title and tying [it] up with Ric. He thought that was pretty freaking cool.”
Known in WCW as “Little Naitch,” Robinson’s similar physical qualities throughout his career as a referee are recognized to be akin to Ric Flair. This comparison even became a part of a storyline, as Robinson became a rogue referee, similar to Danny Davis in the WWE. Robinson has always idolized Flair, so being involved in an angle with him was a dream come true.
When he debuted in the WWE after the WCW purchase as a member of The Alliance, Robinson continued his heelish tactics as a referee, aligning with fellow nWo referee Nick Patrick. After this angle dissolved, Robinson remained a referee, and become neutral in his officiating.
Robinson also told WWE that being the referee of the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble was one of the top moments he ever experienced, stating, “It was just an honor to be in the ring with [Cena] and hand him the title.”
Showing that the job of a referee is also very difficult, Robinson told WWE that he injured himself during the match.
“I got hurt! I tore my plantar fasciitis like seven minutes into the match. So I’m limping around, trying to do the match — which was incredible — but what I was gonna do? Throw up the big ‘X’ for myself?!”
Along with Cena winning his 16th world championship, Robinson also shared two of his other top moments.
One of them, of course, involved The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. At WrestleMania XIV in Orlando, Florida, Ric Flair was forced to retire as an in-ring WWE competitor after losing a Career Threatening Match against Shawn Michaels.
In what is known as one as one of the greatest send-offs in pro wrestling history, Michaels preceded a superkick with the words “I love you,” and pinned Flair. Robinson had the honors of officiating that match.
His other match involved Shawn Michaels retiring as well. One year after retiring Flair, Michaels competed against the Undertaker in one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. Refereed by Marty Elias, this match was so good that WWE executives wanted to recreate the magic a year later.
At WrestleManiaXVI, the stakes were higher, as Michaels put his career on the line to end Undertaker’s WrestleMania unbeaten streak. Refereed by Robinson, Michaels was unable to defeat The Phenom, and his in-ring career was over following the match.
In his 20 years of officiating, Charles Robinson has been involved in many memorable matches throughout his career. Understandably, John Cena tying the world championship record would be one of any official’s most memorable moment.
Deservedly, Robinson was able to experience this record-tying accomplishment in the ring with Cena. From the looks of it, Robinson still has some years left in him as a referee and is excited about more memorable moments to come.
[Featured Image by WWE]