One of the most under appreciated jobs in pro wrestling is the job of the referee. A great referee can help move a match along and pace it properly. World Championship Wrestling had some of the very best in the business.
Starting with senior official Tommy Young, who in my opinion was one of the very best at his craft. Tommy, officiated some of the biggest matches in NWA/WCW history. In 1989, in a TV taping match between Tommy Rich and Mike Rotunda, Tommy Young was legitimately hurt so severely, he nearly became a quadriplegic.
That injury ended Tommy’s full time refereeing career and kept him away from the ring for years to come.
Charles Robinson is a truly gifted official for both WCW and now for the WWE. As an official for WCW a couple of tragic incidents occurred. First, his wife Amy of two years passed away from cancer. Secondly, in 1999, Charles Robinson turned heel and aligned himself with Ric Flair. He became known as “Lil’ Naitch.” In a match on Nitro, Flair and Robinson faced off against Madusa and Randy Savage. At the end of the match, Savage botched his patented elbow drop on Robinson and nearly killed the smaller Robinson. He suffered several cracked vertebrae and a collapsed lung.
Mark Curtis (Brian Hildebrand) was a small, diminutive referee for WCW, but make no mistake about it…Curtis was one of the toughest men in the WCW locker room. He was nicknamed “The Shooter” and for good reason, he knew how to take down people…as this fan sorely found out…
Mark Curtis was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 and like the true shooter he was, took the disease down for 2 years. In 1999, however, he finally succumbed to cancer and died at the age of 37.
Randy Anderson was another top flight official for WCW during their heyday. As was the case with Mark Curtis, Anderson was diagnosed with cancer and seemingly beat it. WCW even turned Anderson’s unfortunate health crisis into a storyline.
2 years after this segment, Randy’s conditioned worsened and was forced to retire. He died at age 42 in 2002.
One other note, former WCW referee Mickey Jay AKA Mickie Henson was diagnosed with cancer while employed by the WWE. He beat the cancer and is currently retired.