Legendary pro wrestling referee Dave Hebner died on June 17 at the age of 73. Hebner, whose twin brother Earl was also a referee, began refereeing in the 1970s and was hired by the WWF (now WWE) in the early 1980s. He refereed for some of WWF’s most famous matches including WrestleMania III’s Randy Savage versus Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage. He also refereed for Randy Savage versus Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V.
Dave Hebner had to retire from in-ring action due to knee replacement surgery. He did, however, work as a WWE road agent behind the scenes until his release in July 2005.
WWE issued the following statement regarding Dave Hebner’s passing:
WWE is saddened to learn that long-time referee David Hebner has passed away.
Throughout a storied career, Hebner found himself at the center of some of WWE’s most iconic moments. Hebner officiated the classic showdown between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat at WrestleMania III, and the clash between Savage and Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V.
Hebner and his brother Earl helped author one of the most memorable moments in WWE history when Andre The Giant and Hogan met on WWE Main Event for the WWE Title in 1988. With Dave locked in a closet, Earl and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase laid a trap for The Hulkster. As Dave joined Earl in the ring, he had the befuddled Hogan seeing double in disbelief.
Following the conclusion of his impressive officiating career, Hebner would work for WWE in a backstage capacity until 2005.
WWE extends its condolences to Hebner’s family, friends and fans.