Perhaps that’s an understatement. After nearly two decades as part of the must successful tag team of all time – The Dudley Boys – Bully Ray has reinvented himself as a solo superstar.
After earning his stripes in the hardcore rings of Extreme Championship Wrestling and thriving in World Wrestling Entertainment for years, he’s found a home with TNA Wrestling, whose flagship program, “Impact Wrestling”, airs on Thursday night on Spike TV at 9 p.m. EST.
TNA heads to NYC’s Manhattan Center on June 25-27 and August 5-7 for a series of special TV tapings, and Bully Ray (who currently finds himself in a heated public battle with the company’s head honcho, Dixie Carter) is preparing to get “extreme”-ly intense when he comes home.
Queens Ledger/Brooklyn Star: Younger fans may not even realize that the Manhattan Center was the original home of WWE’s Monday Night Raw RAW, which was the first national TV show to offer live pro wrestling in prime time. That was the world’s first televised taste of those crazy New York fans and the wild atmosphere they create in an intimate environment. For fans who have only been to Madison Square Garden or other big arenas, what's the atmosphere expected to be like? How is that going to be different for these fans when compared to attending a TV taping in a 15,000-seat arena?
Bully Ray: What the fans can expect is a typical New York City wrestling crowd, which is among the greatest wrestling crowds in the world. They're the most vocal, they're the most passionate. They know what they want. They want to cheer for their heroes, and they want to boo the people they hate. I'm thinking it's going to be an incredible atmosphere for TNA.
Being a New Yorker and establishing my career in New York, and being born, bred, raised, the whole nine yards, for me it's an incredible homecoming. I can't wait to come home to New York City. I can't wait to perform in front of all those fans. I'm looking forward to it for the other wrestlers too, some of the wrestlers who have never been able to perform in front of a New York City crowd. This can be a real pivotal point for TNA to get some real, real solid TV shows with an incredibly passionate crowd behind them, and they will help take TNA to the next level. It's going to be everything that you expect from a New York City crowd.
QL/BS: One of pro wrestling’s most game-changing broadcasts was the night that the company where you first made your name, Extreme Championship Wrestling, invaded Monday Night Raw. What are your memories of being a part of that, and how crazy was it to actually experience that from the inside and be a part of it?
BR: The memories of that day are pretty distinct. The ECW locker room was the tightest-knit locker room in all of professional wrestling, and you'll never see another locker room like ECW. ECW truly was a revolution, and we truly believed it was us versus them, and that we were going to war every night. We were going to change the landscape of professional wrestling, which we did.
I remember ECW had ordered Japanese-style sweatsuits, and we all showed up in our matching red-and-black sweatsuits. We looked like a team. We looked like a united locker room. A lot of the WWE guys were kind of looking at us like, “wow, these guys are different. What's up with these guys?” But by the end of the night, I believe we had earned everybody's respect, and it came off really well. To be able to say that I was a part of that night is just a great memory. It's a great notch to have in my professional career and belt, and I can always say that I was on Monday Night RAW when it was at the Manhattan Center. Not a lot of people can say that.
QL/BS: If fans or readers have been watching Impact Wrestling on a regular basis, they know that probably the biggest, most personal issue right now has been the issues between yourself and TNA President Dixie Carter. You two have had on-screen confrontations at her house, in TNA offices, and at various TV tapings throughout the country, but never in your “home court.” What do you expect to see when Dixie Carter and Bully Ray cross paths at the Manhattan Center?
BR: Well, let me turn the question around on you, Gerry. As a journalist, what do you expect to see if Bully Ray and Dixie Carter cross paths in New York City?
QL/BS: I am going to say that, with all the riots and all the chaos that your career has caused or been a part of, I think it may pale in comparison to what might happen at the Manhattan Center.
BR: Well, all I can tell you is this, for fans of TNA who watch every week, thank you very much. For fans that come to our shows, thank you very much. For the casual fans in the northeast who may have never been to a TNA show or are on the fence, I'm guaranteeing you, I'm promising you, you are not going to want to miss these three days in New York City. I know what this locker room is capable of, I know what the creative team is capable of, and I know that the guys are salivating to go out there and prove themselves. I know what I'm capable of in New York City. I know what I've done in that town already, whether I've blown the roof off the Elks Lodge, or whether I've blown the roof off of Madison Square Garden, because I've done both. It's going to be sick in that Manhattan Center, I guarantee it.
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