Monday, 10 January 2011
Bubba Ray (Team 3D) talks about his feud with Devon
Below is an interview with Team 3D's Bubba Ray prior to his genesis match with former tag partenr Devon.
LoMonaco -- who is best known under the names "Bubba Ray" and "Brother Ray" -- and partner Devon Hughes are the most celebrated tag team of their generation. But after 24 different world-tag-team-title reigns in four different companies, the duo known as both the Dudley Boyz and Team 3D is no more.
Not only have LoMonaco and Hughes parted ways in TNA Wrestling. They are set to fight each other in the most anticipated match on Sunday's "Genesis" pay-per-view show emanating from Orlando, Fla.
"I definitely thought we needed a change for a long time due to a lack of teams out there for us to work with," LoMonaco said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "It was just time for us to go our separate ways. But I really like it. It's going to give me a chance to do exactly what I want to do and not have to worry about the team. I can just let the legacy of the team rest on our accomplishments and be the rock 'n' roll star/pro wrestler I've always wanted to be."
Although that last line was said tongue-in-cheek, LoMonaco has undergone a makeover in hopes of reinventing himself. He has slimmed down, changed his ring attire and become a full-fledged heel nicknamed "Bully Ray."
"I'm re-motivated now," the 39-year-old LoMonaco admitted. "I've had so many things happen, from concussions to broken bones and stitches in my head. All those things have taken a toll. But it was time to drop a little weight and get into the best possible wrestling condition I can be in. I no longer have anyone to rely on to tag out to. I have to rely on me and only me."
No current tag team in wrestling had stuck together longer than LoMonaco and Hughes. Initially paired in the mid-1990s by Extreme Championship Wrestling co-founder and matchmaker Paul Heyman, the Dudleys would later become World Wrestling Entertainment stars. The two then left for TNA in 2005 and renamed themselves Team 3D because of a copyright issue with the "Dudleys" moniker (WWE gained the rights when purchasing ECW in 2001).
WWE split LoMonaco and Hughes in 2002, but reformed the Dudley Boyz by year's end when both were floundering as singles performers. WWE cast LoMonaco as a baby face, which was a major mistake considering how adroit he is in drawing genuine fan hatred with his interviews and mannerisms. Doing so is especially difficult in TNA because grapplers are forced to perform in the same Orlando venue before a desensitized crowd of regulars for almost every television taping and pay-per-view show.
There also is a history of fans not wanting to see popular tag-team members pitted against each other. Two examples of failed attempts are when WWE tried to feud the Hardy Boys (Matt and Jeff) and the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom (Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis and the late Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand).
But since Team 3D's November split, TNA has done an outstanding job building toward the first Bully Ray-Brother D-Von bout. LoMonaco has brilliantly lambasted Hughes for being a "sidekick" who was dragging him down, then fleeing any time his former partner came looking for revenge.
This feud also is a reminder of how far LoMonaco has come since his first ECW character as the stuttering "Buh Buh" Ray Dudley. LoMonaco had some acting experience while attending high school in the Long Island suburb of Dix Hills, belying his jock status by playing the role of Johnny Casino leading the hand jive in a production of "Grease." But LoMonaco credits Heyman for "breathing real life into my character."
"He never let me compromise myself," LoMonaco said. "He always let me be who I thought Bubba Ray Dudley should be. Even when most people would say I went too far, he would say to go even further.
"I speak with a certain disdain in my voice. I speak hard because I'm from New York. And because I'm not one of those who memorizes lines, I speak a lot more from the heart than a lot of other wrestlers do. That's the way Heyman designed us to be."
LoMonaco and Hughes discussed a WWE return this fall, but decided to re-sign with TNA. One of the influencing factors was the sorry state of WWE's tag-team division, especially compared to a decade ago when the Dudley Boyz were there.
"We made a lot of money, learned a lot of stuff and are very appreciative of everything we got in WWE," LoMonaco said. "But if we go back, what tag teams are we going to work with? They could have thrown together some guys, but it would never have been like with those we worked with, like the Hardys, Edge and Christian, the Acolytes and Too Cool. One thing Devon and I are big on is never taking a step backward."
LoMonaco cited three other reasons for staying in TNA: 1) The freedom given by company management in shaping their storylines and maintaining control of their own international bookings; 2) The ability to more easily operate the Team 3D Academy wrestling school the two run in Kissimmee, Fla.; and 3) The dual role of wrestler and road agent that LoMonaco holds. Behind the scenes, LoMonaco helps assemble match structure and offers tips to enhance TNA's storylines for other wrestlers.
"At the end of the day, our business is about storytelling," LoMonaco said. "Take the No. 1 guy in the business today -- John Cena. How many moves does he have? Five? But you know what all five of those moves are. It's his character that's very well developed and has intriguing storylines. That's why people buy into him emotionally."
LoMonaco can now apply those same lessons firsthand for his Bully Ray persona.
"I equate this (split) to a band playing the same songs night after night," LoMonaco said. "That's totally cool, but eventually you have to write songs for a new album. This is a new chapter. It can make Team 3D fresh if we ever decide to get back together down the road.
"It's also something both me and Devon need to get out of our systems. Actually, I think it's more him wanting to get it out of his system. I never wanted to be a singles wrestler -- ever. But I'm going to embrace it, run with it and do the very best I possibly can."
Matt Morgan vs. Mr. Anderson, Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett and Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne are among other bouts on the "Genesis" pay-per-view show. For more information, visit www.tnawrestling.com.
For more information on the Team 3D Academy, visit www.team3dacademy.com.