AEW referee Rick Knox has faced some criticism in the past for his abilities in the ring, but his performance at AEW Grand Slam 2023 may be the last straw for his AEW career.
It is well known that Knox was hired by AEW due to being friends with The Young Bucks. He refereed them exclusively in PWG during their time in the promotion, often getting involved in matches and giving them space to perform some incredible tag team moves.
He was even filmed being given his AEW contract in the ring by the Young Bucks, who made one of their final appearances on the indies. to offer him the contract to sign for their new company in 2019.
Rick Knox Missed A Concussion Suffered By Jon Moxley
There are few wrestlers as tough as Jon Moxley, but even he doesn’t want his brain scrambled during his matches (we assume, you never know with Moxley).
At AEW Grand Slam 2023, Rick Knox refereed the AEW International Championship match between Jon Moxley and Rey Fenix. Moxley won the belt from Orange Cassidy at AEW All Out, with Fenix being the fourth man to try and take the title off him.
And he did. Rey Fenix defeated Jon Moxley with a pile driver, but only after Rick Knox botched a three-count on the first Black Fire Driver. Despite Moxley clearly suffering with a concussion when his head bounced off the mat, Knox decided to ignore any medical intuition and let the match continue.
Dumbfounded, Fenix just hit him with another one and pinned him – this time, taking home the AEW International Championship.
For two reasons in the match, Rick Knox needs to be fired. A referee should not botch counting to three – it is the absolute basics in wrestling, although it would not be an issue if it was not part of a culmination of issues.
Adding to that, him missing what was clearly a concussion of Moxley should get him banned from referee in wrestling. We already saw the AEW referee team make a huge mistake when Matt Hardy was concussed against Sammy Guevara (in what was voted the worst AEW match ever), and the culmination of mistakes is now too much to ignore.
AEW should clearly fire Rick Knox. Not only did he put the wrestlers in danger, he failed at his basic responsibility as a referee – both of which are unforgivable.
Jon Moxley was also reportedly furious with Knox after the match, which could contribute to the referee being fired from AEW in the near future.
Moxley was deeply unhappy about the botched finish and Bryan Alvarez reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that Moxley yelled “f*ck you” at Rick Knox following the botch. Upon watching back the episode, Moxley can indeed be seen yelling expletives at Knox after the botch.
Josh Barnett Had Some Scathing Criticism For Rick Knox
Bloodsport owner and Jon Moxley’s friend Josh Barnett took to Twitter and commented on Rick Knox’s poor referee work.
He unleashed some scathing criticism onto the AEW referee, claiming he “completely blew the one job he had”, before adding that “Nobody pays to see the referee”.
I really, really hope Jon is OK. That is number one over anything else here.
However this ref completely blew the one job he had. Even worse is that this sort of thing from modern Pro Wrestling refs isn’t new or that uncommon.
The match is underway. The move has been hit. If the down wrestler is injured/unable to kick out for whatever reason then you count them pinned. Period. End of story. Stopping on the 3 with clearly flat shoulder can’t be gimmicked or b********- you just f******* up the whole point of these men having a match and for us to watch it.
Also add in if a wrestler was injured and unable to kick out you also just made everything doubly worse because the injury cannot be undone and that is already and issue moving forward, but now you’ve MF’d a clean finish, the match they spent all that time crafting, and tainted every bit of rub the winner would have got – which can at least be one small benefit in a bad situation. Hell, might as well use the injury to make the move seen as even MORE powerful and DEADLY and use what cache can come from it.
Nobody pays to see the referee and unless it’s a very specific circumstance – refs should not really be seen or heard other than as a part of the background like the ring itself. The more unnoticed the better so when a ref needs to do something it isn’t seen or picked up on.
And when there is calamity in the ring, if it just come about through the act of wrestling itself then at least take what you can from it to build whatever useful and positive you can from it because the bad has already happened and that can be undone. Best to move forward in the cameras and take care of the rest of it in kayfabe behind the curtain.”
Do you think Rick Knox should be fired by AEW? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.