Instant replays are nothing new when it comes to real sports, although they have never actually been used in the WWE. This is because it’s scripted entertainment and it also allows for “heel” characters to cheat.
The “instant replay” was used for what appeared to be the very first time at WWE Extreme Rules. It was during the “I Quit” match between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. Del Rio’s manager Ricardo Rodriguez looked like he wanted to throw in the towel, but Del Rio ordered him not to. After a brief distraction, Swagger’s manager Zeb Coulter threw Rodriguez’s towel in the ring instead and referee Mike Chioda awarded the victory to Swagger.
The match appeared to have finished, but another referee came in and told Chioda he made an incorrect call. Usually the referee’s decision is final and it’s rare to see matches restart in the crazy world of professional wrestling. Chioda then ordered to see an instantly replay to see if Coulter really did throw in the towel. Upon seeing the replay, the match was restarted and Del Rio got the victory.
It will be interesting to see if WWE continues to use the “instant replay’ feature in all of its matches. If they do that, though, this might diminish “heel” characters in the long run. Heels are always cheating to get a victory and that is why wrestling is fun to watch in the first place. It will be boring if everyone wrestles fair and square from now on.