A Referees Tale | The Jarkaster Journey

Greetings! I am Referee D.J Jarka and thank you for checking out my first blog post on ProWrestlingPost.com. In this entry, I will explain my expectations for this blog as well as give some background information about myself. This is a referees tale.

I started off as a pro wrestling referee in September 2007. I was reffing my first match for New Era Pro Wrestling (NEPW) in Painesville, Ohio after completing my training at the Buffalo Pro Wrestling Gym the prior summer. From there, I reffed for various promotions mostly across New York state. My home promotion is Empire State Wrestling (ESW), which runs primarily in the Buffalo, N.Y. area. I also work for Southern Tier Wrestling (STW) which is based in the Jamestown-Fredonia area of Western New York.

Over the years, I reffed a variety of different people, venues and matches. I shared the ring with future World Wrestling Entertainment stars, old-time legends of the squared circle, to even some of my best friends from high school. I worked shows in small bars and halls in front of a handful of people, to events held before crowds of 1,000 fans. Cage matches, strap matches, street fights are among the many specialty matches I reffed.

But being a referee is not the only part of my journey. I serve as ESW’s publicist (or as wrestler/wrestling journalist/podcaster Brandon Thurston would put it “Minister of Propaganda”). In which I publish ESW’s press releases and work on spreading its message through the local and national wrestling media. I also work on ESW’s social media team and produce its podcast “Inside the Empire”.

A Referees Tale

I may not possess as many experiences as others in this business, but I do hold several unique ones in which I hope to share with you in this blog. My desire to write about wrestling is preceded by my passion for writing in general. When I was in college at the University at Buffalo, I started my own blog with a live journal account and then became a writer and editor at the student newspaper, The Spectrum. Eventually, I graduated with a B.A. in History and Journalism Certificate.

Originally, I concentrated on sports writing and dabbled a little into a pro wrestling, but my goal was to become a football writer. Over time, I reported on financial news for an online outlet and also wrote sports, music and news articles for some locally based organizations before experiencing the tough realities of trying to make a living as a news reporter in the 21st century and moved out of the industry.

But now that I am years removed from journalism, for the first time in my life I can make reffing/pro wrestling the primary focus of my writing. My goal is to update the world on my journey on a minimum monthly basis. I want to provide my personal perspective on not just being a referee on the independent wrestling scene. But also my experiences running a podcast, trying to publicize a promotion, and everything in between. There may come a time where I may talk about events. Or discuss events I will be a part of in the future. Readers can expect show review I was included on, or maybe even profile-specific people in general that I encounter in my referee life.

In and Out of The Ring

I will probably bring up parts of my life outside of wrestling in future posts. So here are some details about me beyond the ring. I am happily married to my roller derby playing wife. And I am the father to one-year-old and live in a house filled with pets. I am a lifelong resident of Western New York and a Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Bulls, and Toronto Blue Jays fan. My job with a health insurance organization pays the bills, while I also enjoy catching the occasional concert. I am pro-AP Style, avoid contractions, dislike passive writing and deplore the Oxford comma. You could also consider me a connoisseur of pizza and burritos, which flagrantly goes against my personal health goals. But none of us can be perfect, right? This was a referees tale.

With that all being said, you can check out my Facebook page, follow me, D.J Jarka on Twitter @Jarkaster and listen to me on “Inside the Empire”. Feel free to contact me as I am always open to constructive feedback and hope you enjoy my future posts!