WWE referee Rod Zapata fined over planned, but still botched WM main event finish
Much has been said over the past few days about the abrupt finish of the WrestleMania main event when Becky Lynch pinned Ronda Rousey even though Rousey’s shoulders were not on the mat for the first count. Many wondered if the finish was botched and the referee simply made a mistake.
Ronda sure looked surprised after the three count but Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp is reporting that the pin was planned to happen off the crucifix counter…but the referee messed up for starting the count before Ronda’s shoulders hit the mat.
The referee in question, Rod Zapata, was given a fine for somewhat botching the ending and was “pulled aside” by Vince McMahon following the conclusion of the event. Sapp added that Zapata was told that he should have waited until Ronda’s shoulders were touching the mat before starting the pinfall.
The finish was rehearsed ahead of time according to Sapp so everyone was aware that the ending was coming when Becky countered Ronda’s Piper Pit move.
WWE referees play an integral part in the match and are the only means of communicating instructions to wrestlers from backstage during a match through their ear piece. Referees are instructed to count to three if someone doesn’t kick out in time not to make it look awkward although there have been many instances when referees stop their count after someone doesn’t kick out in time.