The referee is the authority in the ring. He represents law and order. When a man puts on that black and white striped shirt, you’re supposed to respect and obey him, like a cop putting on a uniform and badge, or a judge putting on his black robes. In any sport, you may not agree with some of the calls, but that doesn’t give you the right to put your hands on the ref, to attack or strike the man just for doing his job. It is taboo — and therefore shocking and outrageous — when a wrestler beats down the ref, asserting himself as the Alpha Male instead of the official. This is very disrespectful of the official and the laws and rules he represents! We would have anarchy if every athlete simply took out his anger out on the official whenever he didn’t like a call.
In most sports, the athlete would face serious consequences, possibly even a lawsuit, if he assaulted the referee. However, in the nearly lawless, violent world of pro wrestling, the wrestlers often get away with it, brutalizing the refs at will and never being made to pay for the violation. It must be scary to work as a ref — similar to working as a lion-tamer — getting in the ring with two or more raging beasts, lacking the size and strength of the fighters yet expected to control and restrain them without inciting their anger so much that they attack.
We’ve all felt the annoyance and humiliation of being bossed around — scolded by the teacher, pulled over by a cop, buried in work by the supervisor, etc. An attack on the ref represents flashing a big middle finger right in the face of authority, which is so satisfying and empowering. So when the bad guy asserts his dominance and beats down the official, a part of us is excited because we all wish we could do the same thing.
When CM Punk didn’t agree with a call made by referee Scott Armstrong, he asked for a match against him. Sure, Armstrong was once a wrestler, but he isn’t in fighting shape like Punk. Their “match” turned into a humiliating beating that left you feeling sorry for the official, who later was fired from his job. Punk, however, seemed to get a sick thrill out of the beat-down he was dishing out. Clearly being “Straight Edge” as Punk calls himself does not include respect for authority!