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THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT 4/18/24 - Chris "Shady" Torres

In this edition of the THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT, I wanted to highlight a man who has been dutifully a top-level independent wrestling referee for over a decade now. He has quietly gone about his business and earned infinite respect doing his job, while standing out as a true free spirit in life that is inspirational.

That man is CHRIS “Shady” TORRES.


My first time seeing Shady referee was at Crossroads VII inside the legendary ACE Arena in Union City, NJ on July 9, 2011. He officiated a six-man tag between Stan “the Man” Stylez & the Movement of Jamal Jackson & FNB (accompanied by Anton DeMonico) and S.I.N. of Jack Gallow, Talon, & RT Bucco. Throughout all the calamity in the ring, Chris held a distinct professionalism throughout it all, maintaining order and counting the three when Stylez pinned Gallow.

In short order, Shady quickly became one of ACE’s top referees, officially gaining the “senior official” position in 2012. Gaining knowledge from other ACE officials, including the great Big Jose, ACE management saw him as dependable and unbiased in his role. He truly called it right down the middle.

Over the next decade, Torres found himself in the tri-state area as an official for countless independents, including Warriors of Wrestling, Brii Combination Wrestling, 2KW Pro, and ULW.

Shady’s work as an official is something to behold. He does not try to make himself a part of the action, and only intervenes when he has to. If a performer is doing something illegal, he immediately reprimands and demands to keep it clean. He watches the closed fists on strikes, and keeps his eyes on the professionalism of the athletes.

To this writer, Chris “Shady” Torres is a perfect referee.

Jon Harder, the founder of this website, had this to say about Shady.

“Although Chris’ nickname is ‘Shady’, he is anything but. He comes to work to provide the athletes with the best possible job to win. He conducts himself with a sense of professionalism that many referees should aspire to have. I have known Chris for quite some time, and he is truly one of the good ones.

Personally, Chris might be one of the best people I’ve ever met in wrestling. He is loyal to his friends and family. He also lives his life to the fullest, and squeezes every last drop out of it. And between me and you, Bankie, he took a joke between us about the song “Smooth” and translated it into a great bit with the legendary WCBS-FM.

I think the world of Chris, and I wish that everyone could recognize the quality human being he is. Every independent wrestling promotion should use him as a referee. He is good for your promotion and he’s a quality guy to have around.”

As Jon stated, Chris actually started a fun tradition on his Instagram page called the #SmoothTag. Jon and Chris would send each other Snapchats whenever the 2000 hit “Smooth” by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana was on 101.1 CBS FM and “tag” each other. Over time, Shady continued it onto Instagram, and slowly became friends with radio DJ “Brooklyn’s Own” Joe Causi.

It got to the point that whenever Joe played the song, he would always say, “And now it’s time for a SMOOTH TAG.” The WCBS-FM social media team played along as well, ultimately gaining the attention of the great Scott Shannon.

At the 2019 Holiday episode of “the Big Show” at Blythedale Children’s Hospital’s for the Annual Holiday Spectacular, Shady made an appearance on social media, “disappointed” that he wasn’t able to meet Rob Thomas, who was performing.

In truth, he did. And also in truth, Shady became a radio friend of Scott, who actually had him on-air during one of his last broadcasts.

Harry Harrison, Scott Shannon, and Chris “Shady” Torres. WCBS-FM luminaries.

Chris is also one of the most caring individuals in the world. He loved his mother Peggy very much, devoted to her after her health struggles. Sadly, she passed away in September 2023, but he has dedicated the remainder of his refereeing career to her loving memory. Also, he takes of and has a phenomenal relationship with his grandfather.


I’m happy to have written this THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT for Shady this week. He’s genuinely a positive influence in the world of independent wrestling and I hope everyone gives Chris Torres his props.


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