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IMPACT Wrestling’s ‘Kid Ref’ Talks Concrete Jungle Death Match, His Goals In Wrestling & More

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IMPACT Wrestling’s ‘Kid Ref’ Kris Levin spoke to Last Word On Pro Wrestling about his career as a referee, officiating The Concrete Jungle Death Match at Bound For Glory and more. Below are some highlights:

Kid Ref On The Concrete Jungle Death Match:

I had little time to prepare, as it is typical in this industry to not know what your assignments are until the day of the event. On the other hand, I had over a decade’s worth of preparation–years of officiating deathmatches, primarily in Game Changer Wrestling, alongside three tours of Mexico with Desastre Total Ultraviolento, made officiating this genre somewhat of a forte for me.

I had officiated no-canvas deathmatches previously but never had I encountered technical difficulties to the level we were experiencing with the movement of the boards under our feet. In that instant, I was forced to not only referee the match but do my damnedest to literally hold the ring together and provide as safe a space as possible (given the circumstances) for the performers to ply their craft, all with the added pressure of being live on pay-per-view. With that said, the Concrete Jungle Deathmatch was without question the most challenging bout of my career.

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Kid Ref On The Process Of Becoming A Ref:

Some of my earliest memories are of watching professional wrestling with my dad and older brother in the mid-nineties. Playing with WWF Hasbros and Jakks, my favorites were Andre the Giant and the Undertaker, whose name I always mixed up with the Terminator. I rediscovered professional wrestling circa 2002, as my two best friends from elementary school were enamoured with it. At first, I was reintroduced via N64 and PlayStation games, which gradually led to me watching the product with them. Before long, I became obsessed with it. Event results, biographies, books, magazines, toys, shoot interviews, you name it and I absorbed it.

A few years later, as a know-it-all teenager, I viewed all things independent as inherently superior to what was being distributed in the mainstream. I subsisted on a steady diet of Ring of Honor DVDs and ECW VHS tapes. In October of 2007, my mother saw a flyer for a local promotion called Force One Pro Wrestling that was running twenty minutes from my home. I was ecstatic. On October 27th, 2007, I attended my first live independent event.

Riding off of a high from what I experienced, I went home and scoured their Myspace page and WordPress website, eager to soak up anything and everything Force One. Eventually, I discovered a post calling for ring crew and street team members. By November I started helping out at their hole-in-the-wall training center in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey. I showed up early and stayed late. I would often be pulled into the ring and taught a thing or two. Before long, the students required a referee to officiate their practice matches. Tommy Force and Jaden in particular really took me under their wing during this time. On June 21st, 2008, at the age of fifteen, I officiated my first live match.

Kid Ref On His Goals In Wrestling:

My biggest goal within the industry is to, in some way, leave it a better place than when I first started. My greatest passion in life is storytelling. So long as I can positively contribute to that end and be a small piece of the bigger whole, be it in the ring or backstage, I live my dreams and achieve my goals nightly.