Wrestler of the Day – July 11: Bubba Ray Dudley

Someone get me a table. Today is Bubba Ray Dudley.

Bubba got his start in 1991. We’ll pick things up with him as a newcomer to ECW at November to Remember 1995.

Broad Street Bully vs. Don E. Allen

Bubba Ray Dudley is guest ring announcer for no apparent reason. The Dudleys hadn’t united yet so this is when it’s still the goofy stable. Bubba is in overalls and a top hat with a white jacket. D-Von would come in soon and get rid of Chubby, Dances With and Dudley (all with the last name Dudley) to make himself and Bubba the killers that they’re known as. They’re faces here though or at least Bubba is.

Bubba has a really bad stutter so him managing to get the title of the show out is considered remarkable. Actually scratch that as he’s gotten rid of the stutter….and there it is again before he can infringe on copyrighted material such as “let’s get ready to rumble.” Hearing Joey have sympathy Bubba is just weird. Big Dick gets mad at him so Bubba says screw this and beats up Allen. HUGE powerbomb puts him down so the Bully tries to jump Bubba. Bubba hammers him down and powerbombs him also, then pins him for no apparent reason. By the way the regular ring announcer is Joel Gertner.

We’ll jump ahead a bit to Cyberslam 1997 when Bubba is in his famous team.

Dudley Boys vs. Gangstas

Oh no. Not the song again. It’s New Jack and a guy named Mustafa if you’re curious. Yep the song plays the entire match as that worthless pest New Jack is out here. He plays that freaking guitar and then breaks it over Bubba’s back. VCR to Axl’s head as he’s out here too. I’m only half paying attention here because this is going to go on for at least 10 minutes and my blood pressure is already high.

Basically all you have here is weak weapon shots, a lot of blood and punches. Bubba brings in a table and THE MUSIC STOPS!!!! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!! Oh I think I just came a little. Bubba splashes New Jack through the table in the corner and now this is even more boring than it was before if that’s possible. D-Von pounds on Jack with something while Bubba tries to do wrestling stuff to Mustafa.

Things slow WAY down and this is weaker than I thought possible. It’s technically a match since there’s a referee down there but this has about as much to do with wrestling as a spaghetti recipe does. We go out into the crowd again due to having nothing better to do to fill in time. New Jack puts D-Von on a table in the crowd and does a running balcony dive that made a ton of ECW highlight reels.

Why did it make it you ask? Well there are a few reasons. First and foremost, New Jack didn’t dive far enough and he headbutted D-Von. Second, the table didn’t really break. Third, it’s New Jack so it’s not like a wrestling move can be put on there. Joey says that this started as a tag match. Right Joey, keep telling yourself that while I’m made prime minister of Zimbabwe.

New Jack and D-Von are in the ring now as I guess they’re legal. They’re over 18 so I’ll go with that. Axl pops back up again and hits Jack with a chair and puts D-Von on top for two. Well why have it end I guess? It’s more fun than a barrel of rabid monkeys isn’t it? New Jack goes up for his top rope chair shot but jumps into a Cutter in a spot that says “I was diving only to set up that finishing move” to end it. Another nearly 15 minute “match” here.

Rating: N/A. I hate this kind of stuff and I always have. This isn’t wrestling. This isn’t entertaining. It’s people hitting each other then dropping an elbow and saying they’re wrestlers. When it’s done once in awhile and with story building throughout it and with people actually doing wrestling in between it’s entertaining, such as a TLC match. Have you ever seen a New Jack match that wasn’t just weapon shots? That’s because it doesn’t exist. He’s not a wrestler and the Dudleys are better than this. This is why I don’t like ECW by the way: WAY too much of this nonsense.

Here’s another singles match from Terry Funk’s Wrestlefest in November 1997.

Balls Mahoney vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

MAJOR miscommunication in there somewhere as this is originally announced Sandman vs. Balls. Bubba runs out instead during Sandman’s entrance and is introduced as Mahoney. Whatever. Sandman’s entrance of course takes forever. Joey takes shots at the announcer and he’s exactly right.

Sandman takes some cane shots from Bubba and here’s Balls. Injury I’m guessing. The announcer is told point blank that this is no contest. Naturally he says no disqualification. This guy is AWFUL. Bubba tries to leave and Balls calls out Bubba and that’s how the match starts. Bubba says no way and Balls threatens the referee to start the match or get a chair shot.

Naturally this is No DQ. So I think the miscommunication earlier is just that the announcer sucks. Bubba dancing is funny stuff. We’re on the floor now with Bubba in control. There’s not much to say here as it’s pretty bad. Bret and Foley are going to have to save this thing.

Bubba takes a beer to the face. Sandman slips Balls a chair. I’ve heard of tripping balls but slipping balls? Sandman looks WASTED. I mean he is gone. Balls ducks a chair and hits two bad cane shots and then one good one for a pin that looked like two. Sandman takes him out instead.

Rating: F+. Just a total mess here and the announcing threw everyone off beyond belief. This was bad anyway as no one wanted to see just Bubba. The Dudleys at this time were a unit and just like today when you took one apart they fell apart completely. This was by far the best of the night.

Off to the pay per view years now as the Dudleys were in the main event of Heat Wave 1998.

Dudley Boys vs. Spike Dudley/Tommy Dreamer/Sandman

The match is billed as a street fight, which usually applies to most ECW matches. The Dudleys take their sweet time getting to the ring. They now have Jeff Jones in their camp as well. This is Bubba Ray/D-Von/Big Dick if that wasn’t clear. Bubba challenges anyone in the WWF or WCW to a fight before moving on to challenge fans. Joel gets the mic and describes himself as hotter than a heat wave and harder than Chinese algebra.

Jones is announced as a referee with hair and is carrying a doll made to look up like Beaulah. Sign Guy has a knee injury but is introduced as the Innovator of Silence (as opposed to Dreamer being the Innovator of Violence). The Dudleys are the Intergalactic Six Man Champions. The entrances are funny but take nearly fifteen minutes. Their opponents all come out carrying ladders which are set up on the ramp. Sandman’s entrance is shorter at only about four minutes.

There will be tags, at least to start, with D-Von trading slaps with Dreamer. A few pinfalls attempts get two each but the fans get distracted by something in the crowd. Bubba comes in and the fans want Spike, who gets the tag and is promptly thrown all over the place. He’s able to get out of a gorilla press and nails Bubba with some forearms followed by right hands in the corner. Bubba responds with a running layout powerbomb to crush Spike.

A hard lariat drops Spike so Dreamer tries to start a Spike chant. Bubba misses a splash and Spike counters a powerbomb with a hurricanrana. The tag brings in Big Dick and he gets to face Sandman so the brawl can get started. They quickly get to the floor and everything breaks down. All six pair off and they fight into the crowd with Spike hammering away on D-Von and Dreamer sending Big Dick into the barricade.

Bubba crotches Dreamer on the barricade as Sandman brings a ladder into the ring. A bloody Spike climbs the ladder and dives on all three Dudleys. D-Von is thrown back inside and crushed under a swanton from Sandman. Bubba’s middle rope backsplash onto the ladder onto Dreamer has Tommy rolling around in agony. Spike comes back with an Acid Drop for two as the fans don’t seem to care all that much. Everyone but Dreamer is bleeding now.

The Dudleys all get tied into Trees of Woe and Dreamer puts Sign Guy’s bad leg in a Figure Four. Jeff Jones makes the save and piledrives the doll, earning him a piledriver from Dreamer. Gertner gets tied in a Tree of Woe as well and all four get chairs put in front of the face. Referee John Finnegan helps the good guys as they all hit dropkicks to drive the chairs into a Dudley’s face. Big Dick is up and chokebombs Dreamer before throwing Spike over the top and through a table. Sandman takes Big Dick down but Bubba lays him out. Bubba misses a splash to Dreamer and gets DDTed on the ladder for the pin.

Rating: D. This was the usual ECW brawl but the wrestling at the beginning brought it down. The problem with guys like Sandman and Big Dick is that they’re only good at brawling, making it almost painful to watch them try to do a technical sequence. The other issue is no one believes this isn’t going to break down into a brawl, so why waste time on the wrestling stuff, especially when it’s supposed to be a street fight?

Here’s a six man grudge match from Cyberslam 1999.

Dudley Boys/Mustapha Saed vs. Balls Mahoney/Axl Rotten/New Jack

There’s no New Jack at this point so it’s a handicap match to start. We stall a lot before the match starts as the fans want the Great Saske to replace New Jack. It would certainly be an upgrade. Actually this is a concept called Ultimate Jeopardy (not that ECW bothered to tell us this or anything) so it’s ECW’s WarGames, meaning Balls vs. D-Von starts us off.

Joey really likes using that cabbage in a coleslaw line. D-Von goes into the cage a few times and a superkick puts him down. All Mahoney so far as he goes up top and hits a splash. The countdown begins and here’s Bubba. You can win by pin or submission but not until everyone is in the ring. Balls hammers away and hits a low blow to keep Bubba in the corner but a bleeding D-Von gets some shots in.

Balls manages to fight them both off for awhile at least. Bubba manages to grabs a Rock Bottom (called a Urana-che by Joey) and the beating begins. The not yet a Bully messes up and hits D-Von with something metal as Axl comes in to tie this up. D-Von is covered in blood. Lots of metal in play now and Axl carves up D-Von’s head with a pair of scissors. Well isn’t that gruesome?

Mustapha comes in now and it’s 3-2. He’s New Jack’s old partner so that would be your explanation for why he’s in here. The heels are dominating here as we’re waiting on New Jack or someone to make the save. D-Von’s blood is everywhere. Bubba manages to hit his backsplash onto Balls. Mustapha uses barbed wire on Axl. There’s the final count down (duh nuh nuh duh duh) and New Jack is here all along. Apparently it was a mind game to mess with the Dudleys. That makes sense so I’ll let it go.

New Jack’s music of course plays through the rest of the match. It’s big comeback time as the Dudleys take a huge beating as does Saed. Bubba and Axl have been bleeding for awhile. Joey says everyone is busted so that covers the rest of them. Scratch that as New jack isn’t bleeding which makes more sense. Rotten busts out thumbtacks but D-Von avoids the suplex and puts Axl into them.

Everything slows down as it is known to do in matches such as this one. New Jack takes a guitar shot to the head but Balls goes one up on that as he blows a fireball into the face of Joey. Not that it matters though as he turns around and walks into a Dudley Death Drop (more commonly known as 3D) for the pin. The music cutting off really quickly made me chuckle for some reason.

Rating: C+. This was supposed to be about violence and keeping them trapped in a small place so I can’t complain much here. These matches are supposed to be extreme and that’s what this came out to be. No stips or anything here as this was just a big fight and to my own surprise, I kind of liked it.

And the main event of Hardcore Heaven 1999.

ECW World Title: Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Taz

Bubba says D-Von was going to come out here and take the World Title but they recently took the pleasure of beating up Chris Chetti. During that time, D-Von broke his hand on Chetti’s skull, so Bubba is getting the shot instead. Taz comes out and sends Bubba to the floor before making this falls count anywhere. A Sign Guy distraction lets Bubba get in a cheap shot to take over. They head to the ramp where Taz takes him down with a drop toehold followed by a metal FTW sign to the head.

Bubba is thrown onto the timekeeper’s table before they fight into the crowd. Almost all Taz so far. The lighting is so bad that you can barely see anything. Bubba sends him face first into some audio equipment and the World Champion is busted. Now they head into the lobby without much happening. It’s back to the ring where Bubba hammers away but gets caught in a head and arms superplex. D-Von comes out for a reverse DDT to give Bubba two.

The beating continues as Bubba rubs Taz’s blood over his own face. Taz comes back with a hard clothesline but walks into a side slam for two. Bubba sets up two tables in adjacent corners but Taz is just annoyed. He hammers away but both guys stop to throw the referee through a table. A sitout powerbomb gets two for Bubba via a new referee. D-Von comes back in for the reverse 3D and another two count. Taz comes back with a DDT to D-Von and a t-bone Tazplex puts Ray through a table. A very bloody Taz puts on the Tazmission retains the title.

Rating: D. Another total mess and Bubba never felt like a threat to the title. Splitting them up didn’t work at all at this point as they just didn’t have it without each other. Bubba was the better option of the two but he wasn’t really for this spot. Taz really needs some top level opponents to face and Bubba Ray Dudley isn’t it.

They had to go to the WWF eventually. Here they are on Raw, December 27, 1999.

Godfather/D’Lo Brown vs. Dudley Boys vs. Acolytes vs. Edge/Christian

The Dudleys have only been around since late August so they’re new and on fire at this point. JR still has to say which is which. Joey Abs is guest referee and Pete Gas says that the Posse is good friends with the Acolytes. D-Von and Christian start things off. This is one fall to a finish. Brown replaces Christian and Bubba does the same with D-Von. Sky High out of nowhere gets two. Back to D-Von who gets Farrooq. The Posse jumps Bradshaw and the Dudleys hit a reverse 3D on Farrooq for a fast count pin. Too short to rate but it was pretty bad. The Canadians were never in the match.

Here’s a singles match from Raw on June 19, 2000.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Kurt Angle vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Ray is banged up after being sent into a dumpster and off the stage recently so Angle goes after the ribs to start. Bubba comes back with a loud chop in the corner and a suplex of his own. A hard clothesline drops angle as D-Von is shown in the back rather than being at ringside. Bubba gets two off a sitout powerbomb but takes too long going up and gets caught in a belly to belly superplex.

Angle throws him to the floor and into the barricade before nailing a suplex on the ramp. Back in and Kurt misses the moonsault, setting up a Bubba Bomb for two. The fans aren’t buying the near falls for Bubba as they know he doesn’t have a chance. Bubba hits a superplex of his own for two but the Bubba Cutter is countered into the Olympic Slam for the pin.

Rating: D+. This didn’t work all that well but Bubba got to show off his solo skills a bit. Like I said though, the fans didn’t buy Bubba as having a chance and it really showed for most of the match. It didn’t last long either, which is probably the best idea all around. Angle was amazing at this point.

Back to the tag division at No Way Out 2001.

Tag Titles: Undertaker/Kane vs. Edge/Christian vs. Dudley Boyz

This is a tables match but not elimination style. Uh sure. The Brothers go after Edge and Christian in the aisle but stop when the Dudleys come out and corner them. Dudleys are champions here. The Canadians hide and it’s on early. It’s a massive brawl of course. Tazz is still on commentary here. The table HHH went through is still just in pieces on the floor which is funny for some reason as it always is.

The Dudleys are down and the Brothers beat up the Canadians. The champs make the save from a double powerbomb but Bubba slips on a chair and falls down. For the first time we get in the ring and Bubba gets his crotch stepped on. What’s up to Edge makes up for that though. This is just a big mess of course but it’s fun. Taker and Kane stop the getting of tables and Christian hits Unprettier on Bubba in the ring.

Stereo powerslams by the big men and then they both go up. Taker goes airborne which isn’t something you see that often really. We get some near endings but a bunch of saves are made including a low blow to Taker. A pair of chokeslams hit but there aren’t any tables. The Dudleys get chokeslammed too and the Brothers stand very tall.

They set for stereo powerbombs but Rikishi and Haku waddle down to stop it and brawl with the monsters. Have we ever had a generation without an evil Samoan team? For some reason Vince thought these Samoans would be a good choice for a team, even though Haku wasn’t Samoan. The monsters all go up the ramp to tick off the crowd. 3D on Christian ends it.

Rating: C+. Just a fun match here but somehow this was supposed to set up monsters vs. monsters, even though the ethnic monsters were gone very soon. This wasn’t much but it definitely wasn’t bad. The constant double teaming got pretty stupid after awhile but it wasn’t horrible. Passable match for what it was, but with TLC 2 next month, it’s hard to stay underwhelmed.

I think this one speaks for itself. From Raw on Christmas Eve 2001.

Bubba Claus vs. Tajiri Claus

Oh….why not. Tajiri knocks him to the floor and hits an Asai Moonsault. The visuals here are pretty funny and JR says this would be a main event at any arena in the North Pole. I can live with nods to Monsoon. Back in the ring the Bubba Bomb takes Tajiri down and a low blow slows him down even more. The fans of course want tables but they have to settle for a splash/elbow drop from Bubba instead.

Tajiri has lost his hat and Bubba takes his own belt off to whip Tajiri a bit. Bubba misses the middle rope splash as is his custom, which likely had to do with him doing the stereotypical Japanese bow before jumping. The look on Bubba’s face is pretty great. A low dropkick gets two and Tajiri fires off some kicks to take over. He goes up but D-Von crotches him, letting Bubba hit a superplex for no cover. The Dudleys set up What’s Up but Taz runs out and crotches D-Von. The distraction lets Tajiri hit the Mist and the Buzzsaw Kick for the pin.

Rating: C. If you were looking for a serious match here, what is wrong with you? This was a fun match and I’m a Tajiri fan so I was digging this no matter what happened in it. On top of that, Bubba’s facials are are always great. Fun match here which is something this dull show needed badly.

After the Brand Split, Raw was kind of decimated. Bubba became a top solo name on the show and got a World Title match on Raw, September 30, 2002.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Ray puts a table in the corner and spray paints it with HHH. The champ takes him into the corner to start and hammers away but Bubba clotheslines him out to the floor. Back in and Bubba scores with a spear as the fans are dead for this. They fight to the floor with Bubba being sent into the steps, allowing Flair to get in some cheap shots.

Back in again and we hit the sleeper from HHH, which he tried as hard as he could to get over at this point. Bubba grabs a release German suplex and wins a slugout, followed by a Samoan drop. A big side slam gets two on the champion. The Bubba Bomb connects but Flair has the referee. Bubba counters the Pedigree but a Flair distraction lets HHH hit a low blow and the Pedigree to retain.

Rating: D. Even JR didn’t buy what they were doing out there. At the end of the day, it’s Bubba Ray Dudley fighting for the World Title in 2002. The singles experiment completely failed and the Dudleys would reunite in November. There’s a reason Raw in 2002 is remembered so horribly.

Hear ye hear ye! It’s time for a Five Minute White Boy Challenge. From Raw on May 26, 2003.

Rodney Mack vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

The match has a five minute time limit and Bubba starts with chops to Rodney’s chest. The fans want tables but Mack takes him down and puts on a chinlock. Bubba comes back with some amateur stuff to take over before nailing a release German suplex for two. A big side slam gets two but Mack’s friend Christopher Nowitski comes in with his face mask for a shot to the back, giving Mack the pin. Too short to rate but it was character development.

One more WWE match as the Dudleys were totally out of steam. Here they are taking orders from Spike at Summerslam 2004.

Dudleys vs. Paul London/Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman

This was when the Dudley Boyz were under Spike’s (Cruiserweight Champion) leadership and going to war with the Cruiserweight division for lack of regular sized tag teams to feud against. Spike recently beat Rey for the title so this is technically two feuds combined into one since London and Kidman are Smackdown tag champions. Kidman fires off forearms to D-Von to start before taking him down via an armdrag. Off to London with some more forearms and a nice dropkick for two.

Bubba cheats like a true Bully was and the bad guys take over. Spike comes in off the top with a double stomp to the ribs as the fans want tables. Bubba comes in and suplexes London down while calling him a piece of crap and threatening to beat his face in. You can’t go wrong with a loudmouthed New Yorker who can fight. Off to D-Von for a chinlock as Cole is already at two vintages less than four minutes into the match. London ducks a Bubba clothesline to knock D-Von to the floor.

An enziguri puts Bubba down and there’s the hot tag to Mysterio. Rey gets two beat on Spike in an attempt to get revenge for being put through a table. Dropping the Dime gets two on Spike and a top rope rana gets the same. Rey hits a springboard seated senton to Rey and a big facejam to D-Von. Kidman tags himself in and hits a jumping back elbow off the top (love that move) to Spike.

The BK Bomb (Sky High) gets two on Spike and everything breaks down. London dives off the top to the floor to take out Bubba as Rey and Kidman hit a Hart Attack on Spike. 619 to Spike sets up the Shooting Star for two but D-Von makes the save. Rey dives at D-Von but only hits barricade before Ray kills London with a clothesline. Kidman tries to fight off both big Dudleys on his own but walks into 3D with Spike getting the pin.

Rating: C. Good choice for an opener here but it might have been better to split this up and give us two title matches instead. Still though, starting things off with a fast paced tag match is always a good idea as it sets the pace for the rest of the show. The good guys’ high spots were more than enough to fire up the crowd and the show is off to a fast start, which is the goal of an opener.

It was off to TNA about a year later. Since Bubba has been around forever, I’m going to have to skip a lot of stuff. Also, I’ve covered a lot of this stuff before with the Dudley Boys. We’ll start at Lockdown 2006 in a six man tag.

Team 3D vs. Team Canada

This is a six man so we have Runt in there also. It’s Roode, Young and A-1 for the Canadians. This is a capture the flag match and the winners get their anthem played. The Dudleys have war paint on. Runt and Eric stand on the top ropes as guards for their flags. That’s a smart idea actually. There aren’t any tags for the other guys which makes this even better.

Team 3D does a little doe-see-doe to take out the Canadians but Young jumps down and takes both of them down. Spike does the same and then the goalies go back to their respective places. Young gets pulled down and Spike goes for the flag but can’t quite get to it. Roode goes for it also but gets caught.

Ray and Roode go to the top rope and they chop it out before Ray hits a Bubba Bomb off the top. D-Von makes a save of his own with a Russian Leg Sweep off the top to A-1. Runt and Young fight on the top with Young going down and taking a double stomp. Roode goes after Spike but Ray makes the save. Not that it matters that much as the spinebuster kills Runt dead. Team 3D double teams Roode down but A-1 comes in again.

That also goes badly for the Canadians as Ray chops him down. It’s almost all Dudleys so far. The referee gets crushed and Roode takes the 3D. Double flapjack puts A-1 down and What’s Up Eric? Ray goes up and gets the flag but there’s no referee to declare him the winner. The music plays prematurely and D’Amore has a steel chair. Spike keeps playing goalie but the Canadians triple team him.

Eric puts the American flag back up and D’Amore has knocked the gatekeeper out. He opens the cage and puts a table inside but Young drives himself through it by mistake. Acid Drop takes A-1 down and it’s another 3D for Roode. With the referee up this time, Runt goes and retrieves the flag for the win.

Rating: C+. This was ok but the overbooking got annoying. The good thing though was that the same team won the match in the end so it wasn’t that big of a deal. The cage played a role in the match again here so the match didn’t seem as pointless as it had been earlier. Decent match and it blew off the feud which is the right idea.

Here’s a dream tag match from Slammiversary 2007.

Tag Titles: Team 3D vs. Rick Steiner/???

And the mystery partner is….Road Warrior Animal. Yeah that’s it. The fans chanting it before he came out kind of hurt the shock a bit. Rick puts on his head gear post bell and it makes a huge difference. Rick vs. D-Von to start us off. I don’t think Scott is in the hospital. I think it’s more like he and Animal cooked him and had him for a late night snack. It would explain those guts on them.

Animal offers to come in and Rick waves him off. Nice partner dude. Oh ok there he is and Ray gets in his face. A piledriver is no sold and we have gimmick infringement from Hawk. I guess since he’s dead it’s ok. Back to Rick and they mistime something, as I think Ray was supposed to hit Rick as he hit the ropes but Rick stopped with zero contact at all. Off to Bubba legally and a neckbreaker gets two.

D-Von misses a middle rope headbutt and there’s the tag to Animal. Something I never get: why can a team that has never teamed together before like Steiner and Animal get a tag title match? There isn’t another team that can challenge the Dudleys? Animal cleans house and it’s back to Rick as everything breaks down. The challengers try to load up the Doomsday Device but Animal gets caught in the double neckbreaker and the 3D ends Rick.

Rating: D. These “dream” matches usually suck because by the time you get teams big enough to have a dream match, they’re old. To be fair though, there was almost no way Animal, who barely wrestled anymore, was going to be able to come out there and have a decent match. Scott may be old and slow but he’s active at least. Bad match, but understandably bad.

Time for some Lethal Lockdown, from 2008.

Team Cage vs. Team Tomko

Christian, Nash, Sting, Rhino, Matt Morgan
Tomko, Bubba, D-Von, AJ Styles, James Storm

Remember that AJ is a comedy heel here so the talent is a bit one sided. Christian and AJ start as the smarks explode. Tomko teases being number one for his team but he sends AJ in instead. Now remember they’re going for five minutes and then after the coin toss whoever wins will have a two minute advantage and after that two minutes the losing team makes it 2-2.

That continues until all ten are in. Ten men are WAY too many but I love me some WarGames so this is fun. The heel team of course wins to continue the tradition. AJ is freaking amazing. He might be better at this point than he is now if you can believe that. AJ is dominating here and we have another heel coming. What is our future ECW Champion going to do???

Christian takes over for a bit but we get back to even as Brother Ray comes out. One of the beauties of this match is that you have seventeen minutes at least of wrestling before you get to the finale of the match. It’s a nice little break from those never ending matches that get rather boring as all goodness. Ray wears a Yankees jersey and remember we’re just outside of Boston (those teams hate each other for you non baseball fans).

And Ray uses a Boston Crab. That’s just amusing. Rhyno ties us up. Didn’t they hate each other for like ever? The clock is ten kinds of screwed up now so it’s anyone’s guess how close they get to the right time. James Storm comes out maybe a minute and twenty seconds later. He’s got Jackie with him. Yeah I don’t care either. He and Roode would hook up soon.

For no explainable reason AJ climbs the cage and he and Christian fight on the top but Christian climbs down on the outside and gets knocked to the floor. Nash ties it up but Christian is still on the floor. He launches an AWESOME high cross body to Bubba and Storm. That was sweet looking. D-Von comes in after maybe a minute.

The clock is completely insane, but I can’t criticize it as the Royal Rumble is never anywhere close. I never remember a team that turns face or heel faster than 3D. I like the booking here as they’re letting the heels dominate when they’re way behind in talent but the booking is realistic. Matt Morgan comes in next and he’s as green as possible. He had been Cornette’s bodyguard forever but never got in the ring until here. We know it’s Tomko and Sting left so that’s no mystery.

There’s a lot of laying around here but you have to do that in a sense here as there are just too many people in there. AJ and Matt hook up for awhile which is a PPV main event someday if they quit messing around with Morgan. Oh that’s right: we need to have Hogan’s boys in the main event. Christian and Tomko go at it as the two captains which is always interesting.

D-Von is bleeding pretty well. The fans want Sting. Everyone stops to meet Sting but he pulls a 96 WarGames and beats them all up by himself. In a cool spot, Sting throws AJ up like for a back body drop but just kicks him in the balls instead. The roof with the weapons is lowered.

Everybody grabs one as they have them on the roof too. Yeah they’re not even bothering trying to hide that they’re going up there. Oh ok there’s a trap door so it’s more obvious. I kind of like that. Storm and Christian go up there which unclutters the ring a bit as it badly needs.

There’s a big hole in the roof which is kind of a cool visual. Nash and Morgan do a double chokeslam on 3D. AJ grabs a kendo stick and just massacres people with it. We have a table on the roof and AJ heads up there too so there are three up there and seven in the ring. AJ sets up a ladder ON TOP OF THE CAGE. Once he climbs it, he might be higher up than on top of the HIAC. I’m pretty sure he is.

As someone afraid of heights, that’s terrifying to me. Christian climbs up too and Storm shoves the ladder over. Nothing at all is happening in the cage mind you. They couldn’t have gone any further without a potential serious injury. And then Rhyno gores Storm for the pin. What the heck was that???? It’s like they ran out of time all of a sudden and said OH CRAP end it.

Rating: B-. That’s mainly for the bad ending. There was no big dramatic moment or anything and they just had the Gore for the pin. I’m not wild on that at all. The ten people are just WAY too many for one ring. This should have been 3-3 or so and nothing more. Actually 4-4 could work.

There were also far too many dead spots too. This is definitely a good idea but it needs a lot of tweaking with the main thing being an adjustment to the amount of people. I’m probably shortchanging this a bit, but there were too many people and too much laying around doing nothing because of the confined space. The two ring, 8 man matches were always, well at least almost always, awesome because they found that balance. If TNA can do that then these matches go WAY up in value.

TNA decided that they needed two sets of tag titles and brought in the IWGP Tag Team Titles. This set up a double ladder match for two sets of titles at Bound For Glory 2009.

IWGP Tag Titles/TNA Tag Titles: Beer Money vs. British Invasion vs. Team 3D vs. Main Event Mafia

Since this is TNA they can manage to screw up a TLC match. Both tag titles are on the line here and any team can win any of them. The Mafia, Steiner and Booker, are TNA tag champions and the Invasion are the IWGP champions. The thing was that TNA decided that since EVERYONE watches Japanese tag wrestling that there was nothing wrong with having two sets of tag titles because these other belts are SO famous. I really hated this idea, as in far more than most TNA ideas which should tell you a lot.

Thankfully soon after this TNA would WAKE UP and realize no one cared about the IWGP belts because THIS ISN’T JAPAN. Big brawl to start while Beer Money hides in the corner which is smart. We get into the heart of why I hate this immediately as Taz and Tenay talk about how prestigious the IWGP belts are. That’s all well and good but there’s one flaw: your belts are supposed to be the top titles. If they weren’t you wouldn’t call them WORLD tag titles. It was like TNA was saying “yeah we’re a big deal but we pale in comparison to Japan.” I hated it.

Steiner and D-Von go off to fight and it’s a big mess that’s hard to call. I wouldn’t have put two big multi-man climb up to get an object matches on one show but I get what they were thinking here. Ton of weapons go everywhere and of course there isn’t much in the way of flow but there isn’t supposed to be here. DWI for Booker. Steiner busts out the corner Frankensteiner which is nothing like the original one but is an easier way to avoid having to do the harder spot.

Booker might be legit hurt. Steiner does nothing but suplexes, showing his level of awesomeness. Steiner goes up after the TNA belts (at least he didn’t go for the others first) but the ladder is too short and he gets shoved off. Booker has a stretcher brought out for him as Steiner takes What’s Up. Eh with that many steroids in him he probably didn’t feel a thing.

The Brits bring in tables as Booker is wheeled out. Dudleys just END the English dudes with chair shots. And the guitar player from earlier gets a chair shot on Magnus. Williams goes through a table in the ring as we’re in the “everyone but three people lay down while the three guys do spots” and D-Von hits What’s Up on Williams. BIG Table chant. Double chokeslams (from the Dudleys?) put Beer Money down and through tables.

Steiner pops back up and brings in a ladder. And then he falls off a ladder thanks to 3D. The team not the move. The Dudleys go up at the same time like idiots and here’s Rhyno of all people, since you know 8 people in one match aren’t enough, and blasts them with chairs but not before D-Von gets the IWGP Titles down.

Beer Money and the Brits both go up, resulting in a bad looking suplex on Magnus from both guys. Beer Money has an open shot but has to do their taunt first. Storm gets some beer and then a front flip powerbomb to take Magnus out again. Cool looking spot. Roode is about to get the TNA belts but Rob Terry of the British Invasion comes down to throw him through a table and help Magnus get the belt to end it.

Rating: B. Another fun match much like Ultimate X earlier. There were a lot of people here and I think too many teams. That and having two sets of tag titles made this a bit too much of a mess and the lack of a huge spot kind of slowed it down from being great. That being said this was a fun match and did the job it was supposed to do: get the crowd going. It’s not up to the levels of the great TLC matches but it was good. I still wish they didn’t have two multi-man grab the title matches at one show though but what can you do?

Here’s a rare singles match from this period, at Slammiversary 2010.

Brother Ray vs. Jesse Neal

Before the match Ray gets the mic and wants D-Von to come out here. Here he comes and Shannon Moore sprints by him. Is there a reason they didn’t just do the freaking tag match that you know is coming? Ray wants to apologize. The fans want tables. And sure let’s chant YOU’RE A DOUCHEBAG at Ray because any chant is COOL! Can we get Bubba to be the jerk he’s going to wind up being already and stop filling in time like this?

They all shake hands and stuff and of course Bubba blasts him as everyone expected him to. I’m not going to say that was pointless, because it was far below that. Taz says he didn’t expect this, showing how absolutely stupid he is. With Neal getting dominated, he starts throwing headbutts into Ray’s stomach. Is he trying to cut him or something? Yeah the referee shirts are different now. I’m not surprised. Dang those chops sound great.

The freaky looking guy starts his comeback as apparently nothing he had done to him even hurt that I can tell. Bubba Bomb hits and is called that as this is just an ok match. And here’s the surprise: Tommy Dreamer. Yeah in 2010 there’s actual talk of an ECW stable. Bubba and Dreamer have a staredown as Tommy does his thing in the crowd and the spear ends it.

Rating: D+. I wanted to rip this apart, but it’s really not all that bad. Dreamer at least has a connection to Team 3D so that fits well enough I suppose. It could have been worse if they had made it go longer, but this was good enough for five minutes I guess. It’s not bad for what it was though I guess.

Then the Dudleys finally split up and started a feud with D-Von’s kids involved for some reason. Here they are in a street fight at Against All Odds 2011.

Bully Ray vs. D-Von

This is a street fight and D-Von’s kids will NOT be involved. I’ll believe that when I don’t see it I guess. Bubba hides before D-Von comes out so he can jump him. Ray has the chain but D-Von turns around and the fight is on. All D-Von to start but Bubba gets some punches in. D-Von hits him in the head with a beverage to break the momentum though and we continue the brawl.

We get the kendo stick as it’s all D-Von now. Ray tries to beg and slaps D-Von. This isn’t interesting in the slightest mind you but it’s not horrible. With D-Von completely in control his kids come out. He tells them to go and gets drilled by a chair. Bubba spits on them and sets up for the Pillmanizing of the neck again. The kids get in the ring to stop it as Bubba threatens them with the chain.

D-Von makes the save and beats up Ray. He goes to backdrop the fat white guy and Bubba shouts OH CRAP! The kids beat up Bubba a bit and help D-Von out with What’s Up. DAD! GET THE TABLES! I kid you not, that just actually happened. Here’s the table but Bubba gets a low blow in. And now we enter the bondage segment of the show with D-Von being handcuffed to the corner.

Bubba enters his bullying mode while the kids come in to try to help. One of them gets taken down while the other fights back. Bubba kicks him in the face and pins him to win the match. Oh sweet goodness are you kidding me? I had to close my eyes for a second there due to how stupid that was. Why is it stupid? They weren’t in the match but it counts anyway. Well sure why not.

Rating: D. This was your standard brawl with a bad ending. This feud isn’t interesting, it doesn’t elevate anyone and the ending was stupid as all goodness. Naturally this is leading to a tables match and it’s all about the anti-bullying movement that is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER! I’m so over this bullying kick the country is on and I can’t stand it in wrestling. All heels are bullies but only Bubba is an official one.

Bubba keeps yelling post match and threatens to hit the kids with a chair. Is there no like, SECURITY or something? Ah good at least D-Von yelled for them. Yep there’s a powerbomb through the table and bad acting from D-Von. Naturally the fans chant for another one. Hey, IT’S A GUY TO GET D-VON OUT! Good thing he wasn’t here EARLIER! They do a stretcher ride to fill in more time. Somehow the post match stuff was the best part of the show by far. In a funny bit the kid that got kicked in the head is completely forgotten about until D-Von throws him over his shoulder like a bag of manure.

Bubba then became a Bully and joined Immortal. He fought AJ Styles in a last man standing match at Slammiversary 2011.

Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles

Last man standing here. AJ is listed as being from Gainesville, Florida instead of Georgia. Christy looks good, but dude, go wear low cut shirts and that’s about it. Staredown to start and then AJ hammers away. Ray runs him over so that gets us nowhere. This is going to take awhile to get anywhere, much like any last man standing match. Ray pounds away and we go to the floor for awhile.

Bully sets up the steps but chops away instead. He drops AJ onto the steps but pulls him up at about 4. Ray puts the steps on AJ and then stands on him, which should get a ten. Naturally Ray lets him up because he’s not that intelligent at times. That and a few more shots get a four. Back into the ring for some more hard chops as this has almost been all Ray.

AJ says bring it and holds his chest out. More chopping follows and Styles says keep em coming. Ray of course stands around and lets AJ get up because again, he’s not that smart. Instead he punches him in the jaw this time which works a bit better. AJ gets back up and his chest is all kinds of messed up. Styles hammers away and gets Ray down with the Pele. Springboard forearm gets six.

Ray goes up so AJ hits a Pele up there. AJ goes up there for a rana but gets caught in a sitout powerbomb. That looks awesome coming off the top and it gets like five here. They both stumble to the floor and Ray has a chain. That hits post though and Ray’s hand is hurt. AJ gets the chain and a jumping punch with it sends Ray under the ring to blade. Ooo and it’s a good one too.

Back in the ring and AJ gets his springboard 450 for a count of about 8. AJ picks Ray up and throws him to the floor and down goes a cameraman. Pescado puts Ray down again and it’s Styles Clash time. That of course doesn’t work so we go back up the ramp. Ray wants the powerbomb again but AJ hits a pair of Peles and a punt to send Ray to the floor.

AJ is like screw it and dives off the stage to Ray and it looks like his head slammed into Ray’s shoulder. That only gets 9. Styles loads up a table and puts it in front of the stage. Chair to the back puts Ray on it and it’s huge spot time. He sets for a running dive but realizes it’s too far. Instead he climbs up the truss and hits one of the biggest dives you’ll EVER see to kill Ray. I was legit scared there. And then Ray kicks him through the stage wall and wins the freaking thing. HORRIBLE ending as AJ was built up perfectly and then oh wait let’s make sure Ray wins because AJ freaking Styles isn’t a big enough star right?

Rating: B. Great match and the ending ruined it. AJ hits one of the biggest spots in company history and then BULLY FREAKING RAY beats him with a kick to the back? Are you freaking kidding me? Zero reason at all for Ray to win this and the shot he wins it with was freaking weak. AJ’s dive is worth seeing and is up there with the Swanton Jeff Hardy did to Orton on Raw like three years ago for scary dives. Hate the ending though. Absolutely hate it.

Another street fight, this time against Mr. Anderson at Bound For Glory 2011.

Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson

Anderson charges the ring and we start fast. Remember that this is a falls count anywhere match. Anderson tries to control early but Ray kicks his head off and puts Anderson down. Is there a reason why Anderson wears his shirt in his matches anymore? Ray chops him haRD in the corner (not good enough for all caps but decent) as Anderson’s hair is uh….weird. Anderson goes to the floor and takes a sign which has to be loaded. Yep there’s a metal sign in there and Ray goes down in a heap. Dead end sign and it goes over Ray’s head again.

They fight on the floor and a fan throws a beer on Ray. Anderson gets two on the floor and they go up the ramp. Anderson is infinately more entertaining when you let him stop wrestling. Ray reverses a suplex on the stage for two. Ray grabs the mic and talks about New York but Anderson beats him down and says this is Philadelphia. They head into the back and Ray hits a piledriver onto the concrete for two. Anderson gets choked with a red chair.

Back into the arena and they’re near the Spanish announce area. That has to be a copyrighted brawling area. Anderson takes part of the railing away and slides it into the ring but Ray beats him down and sets up a table. There’s another set up on the floor as well. Ray gets backdropped onto the railing and it’s bent.

Anderson goes up and misses the swanton onto the railing, allowing Ray to hit the Bubba Bomb (why is it not the Bully Bomb?) for two. I thought that was the ending. Anderson gets in a trashcan shot and loads Ray up onto the table on the floor. He goes up and channels his inner Jeff Hardy. There’s the huge Swanton BUT THE TABLE DIDN’T BREAK! FREAKING OW MAN!!! A Mic Check onto the table finally ends this at 14:28.

Rating: C+. This is one of those matches that was fun to watch. It wasn’t technically good or anything but if you’re expecting it to be you’re totally missing the point. This was a fun weapons match, although I kind of question having two of them on the same show like they did with Lynn and Van Dam. Decent match here and rather entertaining.

Bully would advance to the final four in the 2012 Bound For Glory Series. Here are his matches at No Surrender 2012. I’ll include his promo between matches which should have won Promo of the Year.

Bound For Glory Series: Bully Ray vs. James Storm

Ray stalls to start and heads to the floor to beat up a sign. After two minutes of stalling, Ray slaps Storm in the chest and gets slapped in the face for his efforts. Storm goes after him and Ray heads to the floor again, tripping a bit on his way down. We’re four minutes into this so far and they’ve barely touched each other. Back in and Ray takes it to the corner but Storm has had enough and pounds the Bully repeatedly in the head.

Storm pounds away some more but the Last Call misses and Ray hits him in the leg to take over. Ray throws on a bearhug which is quickly broken but a big boot takes Storm’s head off for two. Ray gets in Hebner’s face but is shoved away in the signature Earl bit. Instead, Bully splashes Storm in the corner and pounds him down some more from the middle rope. Storm crotches him and a powerbomb gets two.

They slug it out from their knees and Ray misses a charge in the corner. A top rope cross body gets two for Storm as does a sidewalk slam for Ray. Storm charges into the referee and walks into the Bubba Bomb for two from a new referee. Ray misses the middle rope backsplash (duh) and Storm fires a forearm, taking out referee #2. Last Call hits but there’s no referee. Bobby Roode comes out with a beer bottle to Storm’s head and Ray gets the pin to advance at 14:08.

Rating: C+. This was a different kind of a match and not everyone is going to like it. This was based on entertainment rather than wrestling with Ray hiding every chance he could get. The problem with matches like this one is there’s limited action and a lot of standing around. It’s entertaining but not necessarily good if that makes sense.

Ray talks about Jeff Hardy being injured tonight, but he would have beaten Jeff anyway. Love him or hate him, you have to respect him. You have to respect what Bully has done in the last year and a half. He has reinvented himself in the last year and a half and gone from being the most decorated tag team wrestler of all time to now being a match away from Bound For Glory. Jeff is on the tracks and Bully is the locomotive. Everyone else in TNA may be bound for glory, but he is destined for greatness.

Bound For Glory Series Finals: Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy

Hardy’s music hits and Hogan comes out instead. Hogan implies Ray is behind Aces and 8’s but Ray denies it. Ray says if Hardy can’t go, what option is there other than for Ray to win by forefit? Hogan says that the ball is in the GM’s court and asks for four more days for this match to happen on Impact, drawing more booing than in his entire time in Immortal. Ray isn’t cool with that but here’s Hardy anyway so it doesn’t matter. Predictable, but that’s fine in this case as it is in a lot of cases but that’s an argument for another time.

Hardy has one arm so he’s wrestling very tentatively. He tries as well as he can to drive Ray into the corner but Jeff gets knocked to the floor where he holds the arm even more. As he comes back in, Ray pounds away on the bad arm and Jeff bails to the floor again. Ray slams Hardy down and puts on an armbar as Hardy is reeling. Jeff can barely defend himself here. Ray misses a splash and Jeff hits the mule kick. Twisting Stunner sets up the Swanton but it only gets two. That might be Jeff’s one chance.

Ray hits Jeff in the shoulder and the Bubba Bomb gets two. Whisper in the Wind out of nowhere gets two and both guys are down. Another Whisper attempt misses and the Bubba Cutter….only gets two. Another Twisting Stunner hits but the Swanton misses. The second Bubba Cutter only gets two again and the crowd isn’t popping for these kickouts now. Twisting Stunner #3 and #4 hit back to back but he gets crotched going up. Scratch that as he knocks Ray off and hits the Swanton for the pin and the BFG main event spot at 12:42.

Rating: B-. The last five minutes of this were pretty absurd with the repeating finishers and the fans didn’t get into it for the most part. I also hate the ending as Ray has done some of the best stuff of his life tonight but Jeff gets the win anyway. I’m not wild on this and the match wasn’t all that good. Anyway, Hardy vs. Aries will be pretty awesome, but I was hoping Ray won here as he’s earned it this past year.

Since TNA was so screwed up, Bully somehow won a tournament he wasn’t entered in and got a title shot at Lockdown 2013.

TNA World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray

In the cage of course with Hardy defending. Tenay says Ray has a 50+ pound weigh advantage about a minute after Ray is announced at 275 to Hardy’s 227. Feeling out process to start with Ray running Hardy over with a hard shoulder. A quick slam gets two for Ray and the champion bails to the corner. Hardy fights back with the Whisper in the Wind for two but can’t escape as Ray rams Hardy’s leg into the cage.

Ray starts a slow and methodical offense by working over the champion’s ribs and back. A big backdrop gets two for Ray but Jeff gets in a shot to earn himself a breather. The Twist and the Bubba Bomb are both countered but the second attempt at the Twist of Fate connects. Cue Wes Brisco and Garrett Bischoff into the cage but Jeff and Bully run them over. Bully lets himself be a springboard for Poetry in Motion before throwing both bikers out.

They slug it out in the middle of the ring with Jeff actually taking over. A flying forearm takes Bully down and there’s a low dropkick for two. Hardy tries to climb out but Ray makes the save and they slug it out on the top rope. Hardy kicks Ray in the head but falls to the mat, allowing Ray to fall off the top onto Jeff for a VERY close two. The Twist staggers Bully but as Jeff goes up, Ray hits a HUGE sitout powerbomb out of the corner to put both guys down.

Ray covers for two and the fans are split. Cue the Hogans to watch the main event from ringside to cheer on Bully. Ray gets to his feet very slowly but here are Aces and 8’s. Ray stands up and has a chain as the bikers come in. To the shock of not many people, Ray is thrown a hammer by D-Von and clubs down Jeff to win the title, revealing himself as the leader at 17:20.

Rating: B-. That powerbomb alone was worth the whole match. The ending isn’t really all that surprising but at least Aces and 8’s have FINALLY done something of note. Bully Ray as world champion of a major company in 2013 is a huge gamble to say the least, but it appears that we’re heading to Hogan vs. Ray down the line. To call that a gamble is an even shorter stretch but it’s what we appear to be getting.

Ray would lose the title a few months later but get a rematch, again in a cage, at Hardcore Justice 2013.

TNA World Title: Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin

In a cage with Sabin defending and if Ray loses, he never gets another shot at the gold. After the big match intros we’re ready to go. I think it’s pin/submission/escape here but the announcers don’t make it clear. Ray scores a quick slam but Sabin pops right back up. Another slam puts Sabin down even harder but he shoves Ray back. There’s a third hard slam but Sabin comes back with some armdrags and a dropkick to send Ray into the corner. Some forearms in the corner set up a delayed dropkick but Ray sends him onto the top rope. The champion comes off with a cross body for two and dropkicks Ray’s leg out.

Sabin goes up but gets crotched and LAUNCHED into the cage with authority. I’m guessing Bully’s authority but it isn’t really clear. Back from a break with Ray in full control and getting two off a big elbow drop. He shouts at Sabin to hit him in the face and the champion does just that, coming out of the corner with forearms to the face. Ray gets caught in a backslide for two but takes Sabin’s head off to regain control. Bully loads up a huge powerbomb but Sabin slips down into a sleeper, only to have Ray ram him into the cage for the break.

Sabin comes out of the corner with a nice tornado DDT but can’t immediately follow up. They slug it out and the champion gets all fired up by chopping Ray down. He actually hits a Death Valley Driver on the big man but doesn’t cover. Sabin takes Ray’s Aces cut off and whips Ray across the back with it, only to get kicked in the face for two. A Samoan drop gets two on Sabin but Ray gets caught while climbing. Sabin tries a rana out of the corner but drops Ray down on his shoulder, sending Ray across the mat, clutching his shoulder and screaming in pain.

Hail Sabin is countered into a suplex and Ray wants the door open. Sabin tries to slide past Ray but gets pulled back in. Ray misses a charge and sends the referee into the cage, knocking him out cold. Sabin hits a missile dropkick on Ray but there’s no referee to count the pin. Anderson slams the cage door against Sabin’s shoulder but Sabin pops right back up. Anderson: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Cue the Mafia for the save but Ortiz hits Rampage with the hammer, allowing Ray to kill Sabin with the powerbomb for the pin and the title at 18:08.

Rating: C+. Good cage match here but you knew the swerve was coming. Ortiz turning (was that a turn? I don’t think he was ever a face to begin with) isn’t really a surprise and it was pretty obvious that Ray was walking out with the gold. It’s a good cage match but the lack of any drama really didn’t help much.

We’ll wrap it up with perhaps the most entertaining match I’ve ever seen. From Jokers Wild 2014.

Rockstar Spud/Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson/Austin Aries

This has potential. Spud says he’ll be team captain no matter who his partner is and then Bully is announced for a funny moment. Ray and Spud stare each other down. That goes badly for Spud so he gets a chair to stand on. He talks about being chief of staff…..before quickly agreeing that Ray is captain tonight. The fans chant for Aries but switch to WE WANT SPUD. They get what they ask for but the tag hurts Spud’s hand.

Aries easily takes him down so Bully gives him a huge pep talk and starts a SPUD chant. The Rockstar gets in Aries’ face and slaps him, only to be dropped by a left hand. Ray offers another tag but Spud is scared of the pain so it’s another pep talk. This time Aries takes him down with a clothesline and it’s off to Anderson to take over in the corner. All four get in and Spud starts to dance. Ray walks to the corner and facepalms, allowing Aries and Anderson to double team Spud.

Bully realizes he’s doing this on his own and Spud gets knocked down again. Ray yells at him and gets elbowed in the back of the head by Aries, knocking him face first into….uh….a certain place on Spud. This just makes Ray even angrier so he breaks out of a Mic Check and kicks Anderson in the face. Spud does Ray’s pose so Ray pulls him to the corner by the ear and hits a big elbow drop for two on Anderson. Ray to Hebner: “You know what? You count too slow!”

He yells at Hebner in the corner but Earl gets right in Ray’s face to take him into the other corner. Now it’s back to Spud. Taz: “WHY???” Spud drops the same elbow for two and gets in Hebner’s face so Earl slams him down to give Aries a two count. Anderson hits the neckbreaker on the now legal Bully and it’s off to Aries who dropkicks Ray to the floor. A dropkick from the top to the floor and a regular missile dropkick get two for Aries but Ray slams him down and tells Spud to go up top.

Ray: “WHAT’S UP???” Spud: “I’M UP!” The headbutt connects but Ray knocks Spud down when he slaps him in the chest before GET THE TABLES. Spud falls down trying to pull the table out and Ray is disgusted. “GET THE TABLE IN ALREADY!” Anderson comes over and puts his arm around Ray as Spud is still dealing with the table.

Aries is about to go up for What’s Up but Hebner won’t let him. Spud tries a sneak attack on Anderson but is thrown into Ray’s crotch for his efforts. Ray: “YOU SOB!” The fans rightfully think this is awesome and there’s the running corner dropkick from Aries. He loads up the brainbuster but Spud rolls Aries up and pulls the trunks halfway off for the pin. The look of shock on Ray’s face is priceless.

Rating: A+. This was the funniest match I’ve seen in years and maybe even ever. They kept the joke going the entire time and had a WAY more entertaining match than they would have had if they played it straight. This is something WWE needs to learn from. Rather than just having a guy be designated as a comedy guy and having him do strange things while the commentators tell you it’s funny, this was four guys who can be funny BEING FUNNY.

Instead of just doing the same bits over and over again (like Young stripping or the Cobra), they did different stuff that we hadn’t seen before and had a very funny match as a result. Comedy can be done, but let these funny people come up with it themselves rather than having them perform something a writer came up with. If they were good enough actors/performers to do what a writer came up with, they would be in Hollywood making way more money.

This was a blast and a good lesson in how to do comedy wrestling. The tagline One Night Only applies here too: if they did this every week on TV it would stop being anywhere near as funny in like the third week. Do it every now and then instead of the same bits every week and it’ll work far better.

Bubba Ray Dudley is a guy who surprised me when his career turned around and he became a completely different character in TNA.  While that doesn’t overshadow the most successful tag team of all time, it does add a new wrinkle to a very solid career.  He’s never going to headline Wrestlemania, but when you couple a great renaissance in TNA with the ladder matches and tag belts, he’s quite a talent.

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