Induction: Mongo McMichael, referee – As easy as… pause… 1… pause… 2… pause…

22 Submitted by on Thu, 07 April 2016, 20:00

TNA, 2008


Bound For Glory is TNA’s biggest show of the year, so you might expect them to emulate WWE’s biggest show, Wrestlemania. For example, when WWE knows a ‘Mania match is going to suck, they typically stick Steve Austin in as a special referee to spice things up.


In the case of Bound For Glory 2008, the scheduled Monster’s Ball match featuring Beer Money, Team 3D, LAX, and Matt Morgan & Abyss didn’t look like it needed any extra help being an entertaining match. That was good news for TNA, who didn’t have Debra Marshall’s second husband at their disposal.

But they did have Debra Marshall’s first husband. That would be this guy:


And Dixie Carter would be damned if she passed up the opportunity for even the most minor of celebrity rubs.

Surely, TNA figured, it couldn’t hurt to stick a local sports hero into the match. They might even draw one or two more fans in Chicago to the show. I mean, given that this was a no-DQ, no-countout affair, all McMichael had to do was count to three and collect his check.


So how did Mongo still manage to screw it all up?

It wasn’t the way he confiscated James Storm’s bag of thumb tacks in what was advertised as an anything-goes weapons match. mongo04 
mongo05 It wasn’t the way he faced off at the line of scrimmage with James Storm and his beer helmet.
It wasn’t the way he spanked Jacqueline’s onion-like derriere for interfering. mongo9
mongo07 It wasn’t even the way he let Team 3D attempt to re-christen themselves “Team Hep-C” by licking bloody cheese graters – WWE were the ones with the no-blood policy, not TNA.
No, what made Mongo one of the worst referees in wrestling history was his, shall we say, leisurely approach to counting pinfalls. mongo5
mongo09 Steve McMichael was to officiating what Art Donovan was to announcing, pulling viewers right out of the action with his embarrassing ineptitude.
That’s not to say that the actual commentary on this match was leaps and bounds better than that of King of the Ring 1994: Don West provided such questionable commentary as, “Cheese grater right in the nuts!”, which should have offended culinary purists as much as it offended wrestling purists. mongo08 

This fan forgot the “!?” at the end.

But at least viewers could mute bad commentary; neither they nor the wrestlers themselves could ignore a case of officiating like Mongo’s.
With what Mike Tenay and Don West euphemistically called a “deliberate cadence,” McMichael effectively killed the excitement and flow of the action any time one wrestler tried to pin another… mongo6
mongo97 …and seriously irked LAX along the way. 
In fact, this match provided enough reaction gifs to power Buzzfeed for an entire week. mongo7
mongo1 At times, Mongo appeared to weigh his options: “Gee, I could bend down right now and start the count, or I could wait a few seconds and see if this whole pinning situation just blows over.”
Mongo didn’t have officiating “duties” so much as he took officiating suggestions. mongo96
mongo4 “Oh, you’re trying to get a quick pin on Bobby Roode? Just let me kick this helmet out of the ring, then I’ll see what I can do.”
At one point, Jackie was late getting to the ring for a run-in (which TNA edited out as best they could), then tripped, and still managed to break up the pinfall before Mongo counted to three.  mongo8
mongo2 And as if it weren’t frustrating enough for the guy trying to make the pin, the guy getting pinned had to figure out how to kick out “just before three” with the referee stuck in a space-time distortion.
There was at least one time when Mongo came in handy, though. For a four-way tag team hardcore match, the ending was actually very old-school. I mean, you can’t get much more old-school than kindergarten, memories of which came to mind in the final spot of the match as Hernandez struggled to open his juice box – I mean, bag of thumbtacks. mongo tacks
 mongo11 Frustrated, he handed it to referee McMichael, who proceeded to not only open the bag of tacks but pour them out onto a table for little Shawn. And yes, this was the same bag of tacks that Mongo refused to let James Storm use earlier in the match. 
Team 3D then hit their eponymous finisher on Hernandez, but in the ensuing confusion, Bobby Roode snuck in for the 1-2-3. mongo12 
mongo10 That was the plan, anyway. In practice, Mongo took an eternity to make the three count, while Brother Ray had to lie a foot away like a shmuck so he could “just miss” the chance to break up the pinfall. 

And that was all for Mongo’s TNA career.

Just think how bad a job you have to do to never get invited back by TNA. Sure, the company had done business with inactive football stars before, but they usually got at least a tag team title reign out of it.


In the end, Mongo somehow proved to be nowhere near as good a referee as he was a wrestler… or an announcer… or even a Horseman.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
22 Responses to "Induction: Mongo McMichael, referee – As easy as… pause… 1… pause… 2… pause…"
  1. The Doctor of Style says:

    TNA should’ve asked “Guardian Angel” Ray Traylor for his opinion.

    “Dat referee right there wasn’t even supposed to be in the riiiiiing!”

    • Sir Anthony says:

      My all time favorite Bossman/Guardian Angel quote!!! Wish someone would use it on tv in tribute sometime.

  2. Preparation Triple H says:








  3. PlasticDiverGuy says:

    This match was apropos, and that don’t mean I’m counting 3 with farm implements baby!

  4. Jackwagon says:

    So a guy from WCW counts almost as slowly as Nick Patrick. That seems apropos, and that don’t mean you’re diggin’ around in the dirt with farm implements, baby.

  5. The Million Dollar Man says:

    This induction was WAY better than I thought it would be.

    Mongo opening the bag and pouring the thumbtacks out was great.

  6. #OPC says:

    Look at this induction here!

  7. George from Dudleyville says:

    Props for the Blazing Saddles reference. Lol

  8. Sean Bateman says:

    At least Mongo was a way better referee than Slick Johnson

  9. Hulk6785 says:

    “In the end, Mongo somehow proved to be nowhere near as good a referee as he was a wrestler… or an announcer… or even a Horseman.”

    And, he sucked at all 3 of those.

  10. Gold Standard says:

    They got the wrong guy to be the special referee between Hogan and Sting in their bout at Starcade. And to think….they had Mongo on the roster and didn’t realize the talent he had to make a slow count so Sting could kick out….just saying.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Has there ever been a worse referee?

  12. Sad News Shawn says:

    That first gif of Mongo ‘counting’ the pin is incredible because the guy crawls right in front of the camera and they don’t cut away, so you think you’re going to miss the whole count, but when they switch back to hard cam to see it, HE HASN’T EVEN STARTED COUNTING YET

  13. IamtheGreat31 says:

    Is that Mongo or did TNA slap a Bears jersey on Fred Flintstone and figure no one would notice?

  14. Geoff says:

    Anything is possible

  15. Sean Bateman says:

    I see Art’s Mongo referee induction and call Percy Pringle III (aka Paul Bearer) wrestling a tag team match with STEVE AUSTIN as his tag team partner in USWA from 1989!

  16. Ewa Beach Boy says:

    Y’ll need to cut Mongo some slack. He obviously went to the Bronco Lewvich(sp?) school of pin counting.

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