One thing I realized after publishing my list of Top 50 Wrestling Books earlier this month (and the subsequent 35-book supplement) was that there are still SO many books out there that I've read and haven't reviewed yet on this website!
Among them was The Three Count: My Life In Stripes As A WWE Referee, the autobiography of Jimmy Korderas, a Toronto-area wrestling fan who went on to work for WWF/E for more than 20 years and quite literally saw it all. In the book's foreword, WWE Hall of Famer Edge describes Korderas as wrestling's Forrest Gump because of all the experiences he witnessed, and damned if that description isn't apt.
As a longtime Toronto-area wrestling fan myself, I loved the numerous references to the fabled Maple Leaf Gardens - which has a history of wrestling dating back to the 1930's - and fixtures in the promotion such as former WWF President Jack Tunney and former wrestler-turned-WWF pitchman Billy Red Lyons. Little touches like these and other descriptions of the city make the experience more "personal" for a fan like me.
After attending some of the local shows, Korderas was put to work by the front office, setting up the ring, transporting wrestlers around and even sharing a car with Tunney and Lyons. From there, he was hired as a local referee for Canadian live events and television tapings and eventually became one of the company's most respected officials.
The Three Count is about far more than the act of refereeing itself. Along the way, Korderas saw Vince McMahon's vision grow into an international powerhouse and while he worked roughly a dozen WrestleManias. He was also a part of everything from the Royal Rumble where Vince McMahon tore both his quads to WWE's Iraq tours, and from voicing the dubbed promos of Kaientai to helping The Radicalz jump ship from WCW in 2000.
The Three Count
My Life In Stripes As A WWE Referee
Synopsis: The story of how a lifelong wrestling fan became one of WWE's most tenured and important referees.
We were only stopped about a mile from the hotel when I had a brainstorm. I looked this cop in the eyes and said, "Would you like me to ask the Macho Man and Miss Elizabeth if they would give your son an autograph?"
His eyes lit up and he said, "I'll follow you to the hotel. If you can get me the autographs, I will let you off on all the tickets." That's all I needed to hear. I told him to follow me to the hotel and I would see what I can do.
On the way there, I thought, What if Randy doesn't want to help me out? What if he's in a crappy mood and won't sign? Still, I had to try it or risk losing my job.
Korderas relays stories of some of the legendary wrestlers he worked with over the years, including Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Randy Savage, Triple H, JBL, Michael Hayes, Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson and Bobby Heenan, as well as the numerous celebrities that joined in the action, including Mike Tyson, Drew Carey, Michael Clarke Duncan and Robert Goulet.
Having said that, some of his best anecdotes are about wrestlers who are no longer with us. His memories of being ribbed by Owen Hart make you feel like you're in the locker room with them. He talks about his good friend Eddie Guerrero and his heart of gold and it's hard to not feel bad for Jimmy on the loss of his fallen friend. And when Korderas talks about how Chris Benoit, the memories are more than a little surprising giving his untimely demise.
Jimmy Korderas and the infamous Canadian Bulldog (whose face has been cleverly disguised to protect his identity) chat at a recent wrestling event in Toronto.
But perhaps what I like best about The Three Count is its extremely positive tone throughout. Unlike many other wrestling biographies out there, wrestlers and front office staff aren't really badmouthed by Korderas. Perhaps it's his jovial nature or his ability to be impartial as the third man in the ring, but it's a really refreshing change of pace from most of the wrestling books on the market. Heck, even after an incident by disgraced WWF official Terry Garvin (one that isn't fully explained but cost Korderas years of full-time work with the promotion) is casually brushed aside - not many people would have the inner strength to work past that, especially in the forum of an autobiography.
Overall Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! This is a fun and well-written read from one of the top "background" players in the business. The fact that after his wrestling career, Korderas found work on television and radio as an analyst shows you how highly the industry thinks of him and how he has some great stories to share with the world.