Minutes to Bell Time

Graphic Endings – The Referee’s Vantage Point

The Dropkick Journal Presents Graphic Endings

Graphic Endings is a Minutes to Bell Time project. This is Chapter 8 of Graphic Endings – The Referee’s Vantage Point. New chapters come out each Tuesday. Follow the Minutes to Bell Time Instagram to get an announcement each Tuesday.  

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Graphic Endings Chapter 8: The Referee’s Vantage Point

The Frog Splash Fallout

In my head, I was preparing to call for the bell, but Bell Time’s right arm shot up. Instead of motioning for the bell, I raised two fingers in the air and shouted “Two, Only Two, Only a Two Count!”

The crowd went silent and I could hear our commentary team shouting in complete shock. Bell Time kicked out of Minute’s Frog Splash. That should have been three, but I made the right call. His arm clearly came up.

As I stumbled to my feet, I looked down at Minute. He’s exhausted and just hit Bell Time with his best move. He’s laying on the mat staring up at the ceiling. I can see him contemplating what he should do next. Since Bell Time hasn’t moved, I decided to start my count. They have until 10 to get up.

One . . .

I can see Bell Time smiling. Gross.

Two . . .

Now they’re talking . . . at least . . . I can see that Bell Time is talking. What the hell could he be saying.

Three . . .

Minute gets to his knees, and I break my count. He stumbles over to the far side of the ring and puts his arms over the top ropes.

Bell Time’s Stare

To my surprise, Bell Time quickly gets to his feet. I see him thinking as he scans the ring to make eye contact with Minute. He does and then looks at me. Bell Time’s gaze gave me goosebumps. With his face full of rage, his eyes pierced my hard exterior, and I feel no shame knowing that I am literally cowering in the corner.

He says, “Get ready. It’s over.”

I swallow and Bell Time returns his stare to Minute who again looks completely spent.

I shake myself free from the panic that Bell Time established in me moments before, and I’m surprised to find that the crowd remains silent. It’s late in my career, and I’ve refereed maybe 6,000 matches. Never have I heard such a sustained silence. A mother was consoling a small boy in her lap, a grandfather with a trucker hat and a flannel shirt stood with his mouth open in the front row, and some guy in a suit was cleaning his glasses. We’re in uncharted waters. Nobody in the building knew what to expect next.

Bell Time made his way to the center of the ring, held his arms out, and let out a battle cry. In that moment the crowd came alive. The chorus of boos was deafening. The mother held her hands over the boys ears while she shouted something obscene, the grandfatherly type put his fist in the air shouting something equally obscene, and the suit . . . he threw his beer at the ring.


I knew the crowd was distracting me. I felt the ropes shake and then I heard a couple of steps. When my eyes returned to the center of the ring, Minute was charging directly at Bell Time. I thought, “Oh no. What’s he doing? He’s going to get killed.” To my surprise, this caught the big man by complete surprise. He wasn’t prepared to go back on defense.

At the last moment, Bell Time took a swing at Minute. I got myself in position as Minute hooked Bell Time’s right arm and swung up and hooked his left arm with his legs.

Minute took Bell Time down with a crucifix bomb, and he had Bell Time’s shoulders pressed to the mat. I counted:


My hand crashed to the mat with Bell Time’s shoulder still firmly pinned.


Not uncommon for a two count in this situation, but Bell Time will kick out before I hit. . .


He didn’t kick out. . .

Next Week

The crowning of a new champion.

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