Referees tend to be the unsung heroes of a wrestling match. While your favorite wrestlers are going at it in the ring, these referees are a part of it as well from start to finish. Just as many professions, referees also have a male majority. There aren’t a lot of female referees out there, at least on mainstream promotions. Aubrey Edwards is one that intends on being at the forefront of women in this role.
She sat down recently with Gerry Strauss for Diva Dirt and The Curtain Call to discuss several topics. Topics discussed were her beginnings in this profession, how she hopes to represent inclusion, and how she was brought into AEW.
She starts by explaining that initially, she had no interest in being involved in the wrestling industry at all. Although a wrestling fan herself, she had no real thought of ever being involved in it.
“I actually had no interest in being a part of the wrestling business at all, initially. I was a fan of wrestling and I was totally content at being a fan. Whether it be indie stuff or larger promotions. My background is primarily in classic ballet.”
From this, Edwards explains how performing was something she loved. After dancing was removed from her life she was approached to be a referee. Unsure at first she decided to give it a try. She self-proclaimed herself as being “really truly terrible” at first because she was initially just thrown in the ring. They felt that she did a good job without having the background of it, so she would stick with it and received training.
She compared her dancing background to the role of a referee.
“If your familiar with classical ballet piece at all, the Nutcracker is probably the best example lets say you got something like the snowflake scene. You have all of these dancers in the background, like 20 or so, who are there and they are doing their thing. You have this one dancer in the front who is on the poster that everyone really came to see. My whole entire career is physically training to be one of those 20 dancers in the background to make the person in the front look good. You kind of understand what a referee does. I’m there standing in the background to make the guys on the poster look good. I am there to help them tell their story. I am there to help officiate these competitions.”
Edwards contributes to her opportunities as being in the right place at the right time. She discusses how referring for a match that involved Frankie Kazarian was what led her to be hired by AEW. After discussing how she got hired into AEW, she mentions the impact that she is finding out that her being a woman in her field is helping others.
“I’ve definitely felt a lot of attention. The online response especially after Double or Nothing and Fyter Fest was just insane and seeing how many people are following me and having a conversation about women’s representation in wrestling. The big one that really kind of dawned on me how important this is, is after Double or Nothing I started to get countless messages from parents saying that I have a young daughter and I am introducing her to wrestling and we watched the show. I love the fact that I get to show her something that has a really strong female authority figure that people essentially have to listen to. And that is really super empowering.”
She also takes the time to answer a few readers questions. These questions include whether she feels referees should be involved in wrestling storylines and her thoughts on prior Divas filling in as special guest referees.
You can listen to the interview in its entirety by clicking the play button below.
Check back in with Diva Dirt in the future for more interviews from Gerry Strauss on The Curtain Call.
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