Mike Chioda is as recognizable to WWE fans as any wrestler, having been with the company since 1989 and refereeing some of the biggest matches in history. He revealed as a guest on Talk Is Jericho that he had signed a new contract in March 2020 after recovering from a torn rotator cuff and torn bicep in October 2019 and was gearing up for a return. So given that he was surprised that WWE chose to release him as part of the mass budget cuts in April.
At the age of 54, it appeared his 31-year career had sadly petered out. However, last night he debuted for AEW on Dynamite refereeing the TNT Championship match between Cody Rhodes and challenger Scorpio Sky. Then later in the show, during a backstage interview, he was joined by Chris Jericho, who told him that he wanted him to referee his upcoming match against Orange Cassidy. He reminded Chioda that he had saved his job 18 years ago and told Chioda to “make sure you do the right thing,” implying he wanted him to help him win. During the match, Jericho wanted to hit Cassidy with his steel bat, but Chioda refused to look away and snathed the bat away from Jericho, which you can watch below. Jericho would go on to lose the match.
AEW hasn’t yet confirmed if this was a one night deal, or if Chioda has signed a contract with the promotion. Sometimes AEW will bring someone in on a short term deal to see if they are a good fit like they did with Matt Cardona.