#BullyRayWeek: Essential Viewing

It’s Day Two of #BullyRayWeek, a celebration of all things Dudley and the fifth installment of our patent-pending Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. Yesterday, we started with A Wrestler You Should Probably Know Better, today we give you the finer points of the Mongo Vyle oeuvre with some Essential Viewing. We march through Wednesday with a GIF parade, and then after Hump Day, we’ll fulfill our destiny as Amazon.com on steroids with “Juice Make Sugar Recommends…“. before finishing everything off on Friday with a Difference of Opinion (where JMS HQ erupts in a 3D!-fueled civil war.) 

Can you do an Essential Viewing on someone whose claims to fame are fake stuttering, tag finishers and flaming tables? Sometimes, we try to show you what makes someone who they are, and sometimes we show you the development of a character or the potential they have. But Bully is (and has always been) what he is, and how he got to where he is now because what’s happened off-camera.

He’s reached a point in his career where holding this belt makes sense, where he’s the best available option for a company which is not in the best possible shape and is someone that can be best trusted with the belt because he’s good on the mic, people know who he is and isn’t a drug addict. That’s not to say he’s bad, or undeserving of spending a week on his work.

It’s that Essential Viewing for Bully Ray is one of those “you had to be be there things”. Take, for instance, this promo. If you read yesterday’s piece on him, you know exactly the special feelings that his evisceration of an entire crowd in Dayton (below) gave me the first time.

It’s a quintessential heel promo, in the same way that Quentin Tarantino’s films are quintessential R-rated movies: the perfect mix of sex, violence and vulgarity at just the right level of gratuitousness. But, just like a Quentin Tarantino movie, watching Bully work on actual television, with bleeps of the curses and editing around the violence/anger rendered everything an exercise in relative futility.

It was still fun, but knowing they aren’t going to show the scene with the gimp or let you feel the punctuation on every “motherfucker” that comes out of Samuel L’s mouth just makes you miss the actual version that people cared about.

Since he couldn’t get over doing what he does best — making the crowd hate him by insulting them in the most unseemly and vulgar way possible — he’s had to slowly but surely move himself up the card through sheer force of will. In other words, like so much Daniel Bryan Buh Buh was forced to become popular first and, then move up the card.

Because of this and his less than poster-worthy look, he found himself stuck under the glass ceiling of tag team wrestling, working with his “brother” D’Von in order to get over. And they did. They got over more times than any other team in history, earning roughly two dozen separate title reigns for every single notable organization in the business.

There are any number of great matches with the Dudley Boyz, but what got them over was not the matches the did but the moments they had and, perhaps even more importantly, the 3-D. Even after cutting ties with the E nearly a decade ago, the Boyz signature maneuver found its way onto the list of the top fifty finishers of all time, according to the WWE’s list from 2012.

Building support amongst the fans almost entirely by using that maneuver, and, of course, Bubba’s penchant for putting girls through tables, the Boyz were able to make it to the most important matches of their career: the Tables, Ladders and Chairs series.

Working with two of the most over tag teams in history, the Dudleyz were able to establish themselves as this generation’s Road Warriors. But, of course, just like the Road Warriors, they couldn’t both get over by themselves, and since wrestling is primarily a money making venture, the Dudley Boyz were worth more alive than dead. This forced them back together, even as Bubba made a solid showing as he tried to work his way up to at least the mid-card, even managing to tell off Triple H for kind of being a dick when it came to holding people down.

It is a BRILLIANT promo, and he even predicts that he’ll be champion someday. It’s everything they wanted out of a challenger… if they wanted a challenger. Instead, they were okay with having him put on a enjoyable match with Triple H, proving that while he could wrestle as a singles competitor, he wasn’t quite up to the Game in the ring.

Even the pre-match promo is absolutely fantastic. It’s easier to understate how good Bully is on the mic: he’s so good on the mic it actually makes you think he can do anything.  Which is why, it’s tragic, on some level, that he couldn’t quite ever get to even the mid-card in the WWE. After the “failed” singles experiment — at least on D’Von’s end — The Boyz toiled aimlessly in the WWE until they were let go and stripped of their names (and identities) forcing them to start anew, first on the independent circuit before landing in TNA.

It wasn’t until Jesse Neal’s — Yes, that Jesse Neal — intrusion on the family, that the two “brothers” were finally able to break free and more importantly, Brother Ray, was finally able to become the Bully we all wanted him to be.

He tortured his “nephews” in the process, bringing the level for what should have already been an intense feud to the stratosphere. He’d continue along this path before turning face (again) as he began to challenge the Aces and Eights (and Devon) for much of the last year, before turning heel (yet again) when it was discovered that he was in charge of Aces and Eights.

Now, he has some lady he walks along with a chain, and he’s about to face AJ Styles at Bound for Glory. There isn’t much to say about this point in his career, other than the fact that he’s the second biggest star in a company that sorely needs them, and the only main eventer without a serious drug problem at any point and while that may not seem like much, he’s doing the best he can. And when “World Heavyweight Champion” is the best you can do, you’re doing pretty well.