Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Doing it the Bully Ray Way - By Dan Fitch
"In TNA I can be a heel... WWE is my home" - Bully Ray, 9th September, 2012
Bully Ray has a dilemma. On one hand he can stay where he is, the company he has worked at for the last seven years, a company in which he has honed his skills to become one of the unlikely success stories of the last 18 months in pro wrestling. On the other hand has supposedly has the option to jump back to the WWE, the biggest wrestling company in the world. Its a quandary in which Bully can not just muse alone, he has taken the unusual step of discussing it to the world using the medium of twitter. A recent influx of 'tweets' posing which would be the best place for him was quickly removed, whether that was Bullys decision or if his current or future employers had a say in the matter, either way the former Bubba rise from over weight tag team wrestler - with an act as stale as a month old loaf of bread - has seen his stock rise immeasurably by trimming down, ditching his partner, and ramping up to what he calls the "ultimate heel". This seemingly hasn't gone unnoticed by his former bosses at Titan Towers, who, if its to be believed have made a play to get multiple former tag team champions The Dudley Boyz back in the fold. But which should he choose? Here I ponder the pros and cons of each:
* STAYING PUT
Despite an array of ex WWE personnel in the mix, there are very few of which who have broken through in TNA to create their own identity the way Bully has. The likes of Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Jeff Hardy et al have all come on board in a blaze of glory only to become 'just another guy' within weeks. Ray started in this mold, going through the motions as part of Team 3D for years, until an on screen split with partner Devon saw Bully thrust into singles action. Jeff Hardy's much publicised demons gave Bully a break as part of premiere TNA group Immortal, allowing Ray a chance to rub shoulders with the companies elite. He hasn't looked back since.
Strong feuds with Abyss/Joseph Park, and Mr Anderson showed the improvements made to his game, with Ray given a strong focus in this years Bound for Glory series, narrowingly losing out to Hardy in the final. With very legitimate over heels in the company, Ray has been a breath of fresh air.
While his career in the ring goes from strength to strength, behind the scenes he is possibly even more important. Ray acts as a road agents, plotting matches and gifting younger wrestlers with his years of experience. He also runs the Team 3D training school, which helps provide TNA with talent for its Gut Check series. Overall, Bully has his hands full in TNA.
* GOING BACK
A move back to the WWE would largely depend on his role in the company. As Bubba Ray Dudley in the Dudley Boyz Bully has achieved everything there is to offer in the WWE tag division - a quick hit of nostalgia of a return of the Dudleyz would be just that, quick. Due to years of neglect there is very little to offer the team in terms of genuine competition, and to be honest, Bully has far surpassed feuding with the likes of R Truth and Titus O'Neil.
A return to the WWE in singles action is I'm sure Bullys preferred choice, but with memories of his previous singles run in the company in mind it would be a worry that instead of the intense character we see each week on Impact we would see the return of the comic Dusty Rhodes rip off.
Of course, a return would likely see a big pay day, and larger exposure than he currently has, the fear being that a watered down version would wipe away the last couple of years' of hard work.
There are pros and cons to both arguments, evident in his unusual steps of sharing his thoughts on the subject via social media. However, I feel that Bully should take the risk and make the jump back to the WWE. Raw moving to 3 hours means more opportunities for talent than ever before, especially with a glaring lack of heels who can be considered upper card wrestlers. If however the option to return is the reformation of the Dudleyz then he best staying where he is. From in ring, to being in better shape, to work on his character Bully Ray has done so much to rejuvenate his career, the last thing he needs is that nostalgia pop.
Follow me on twitter: @fitchdan