Bully Ray, known as Bubba Ray Dudley in WWE, recently spoke with ESPN.com about his career and more. The Dudley Boyz decided to leave WWE exactly one year after they made their return, which was the day after the SummerSlam event in 2015. They had a run as top contenders in the tag team division. Options opened up for the tag team to work for other promotions when they left WWE in 2016, but D-Von decided to hang up his boots and walk away from in-ring competition to become an agent for WWE. While WWE was not interesting in using the Bully Ray character on television, other promotions were interested, and it did not take long before Ray started getting phone calls from Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor.
“Ring of Honor reached out to me I think the day after I left WWE,” Bully Ray said. “They were actually interested in bringing in both me and D-Von into Ring of Honor, which would’ve been insane. D-Von had made a life decision where he wanted to devote a little more time to his family and physically in the ring wanted to slow it down just a little bit. I still have gas in the tank. I think Ring of Honor was the perfect place for me to continue as Bully Ray.”
What drives wrestling promotions are stars, and that includes Ring of Honor, which has developed some talent that later went onto WWE. Just look at the WWE roster in recent years. You could argue that ROH was the development of WWE before the company created NXT. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens are just some of the names that made their name is known in ROH then joined WWE to become even bigger stars. Ray wants to be a veteran who helps cultivate that talent in ROH, which is similar to what Terry Funk did for ECW.
“ECW needed something in 1995 to help them get more notoriety, and Terry Funk was that guy,” Bully Ray said. “He was that veteran wrestler who was able to help with the credibility of the product and that’s what I hope I could do with Ring of Honor. No matter what they have me doing — if they want me wrestling in six mans with the Briscoes, if they want me working with the world heavyweight champion or they want me working the opening match — it doesn’t matter to me. As long as I can lend the name credibility of Bully Ray, or Bubba Ray, or the Dudley Boyz, or Team 3D, whatever it is to help get that company more exposure.”
Although ECW shut their doors over 15 years ago, ROH is different from that of WWE or even Impact Wrestling. ROH is on Sinclar TV stations, but the promotion does not have a national TV deal. They do not book their events in NBA arenas, which WWE does. Instead, they book events in field houses, gymnasiums, and small buildings, which usually seats 1,0000 compared to WWE’s 10,000 – 20,000. ROH has a different feeling compared to WWE when you are in the arena or watching on television. Ray believes ROH has picked up where ECW left off.
“Ring of Honor picked up where ECW left off,” Bully Ray said. “When ECW was gone, there was a huge void left to be filled, and Ring of Honor did it. They’ve been around for 15 years, and they have gotten better, and better, and better. They are a perfect example of how slow and steady wins the race.”
Ray also talked about not accepting Impact Wrestling’s offer to return to the promotion, being a possible agent in WWE, and more. You can read the entire interview here.