Since the last time I spoke with Bully Ray, big things have happened. He was in the 2015 Royal Rumble and couldn’t be happier about it. I sat down with him at the legendary ECW Arena in Philadelphia before House of Hardcore 8 to talk about his first appearance in the WWE in a decade and what it truly meant to him. We also discussed NXT, wrestling schools, Mötley Crüe, his hopeful music career, Samoa Joe and more.
Alex Obert: What was the feeling like of returning at the Royal Rumble?
Bully Ray: Well the Royal Rumble is a lot of fun. As far as the reaction was concerned, it was awesome. To be able to come back to Philadelphia ten years after I had left the WWE to that type of reception, you really can’t put any words to it. I kind of knew in the back of my head that I was gonna get a warm reception from the Philly crowd. Some people might of been shocked just how big the reaction was. It was overwhelmingly positive. If that was my last time that you ever saw me in a WWE ring again, not that I’m saying that I want it to be, but if that was the last time that you ever saw me, that’s a hell of a way to go out!
Alex Obert: I do wish that they used Bombshell for your entrance though!
Bully Ray: I wasn’t sure what they were gonna play. I was hoping they’d play Bombshell, but they didn’t. They played the original music. But it’s kind of cool that they didn’t play Bombshell because if you ever have a Dudley reunion back in WWE, I’m sure hearing Bombshell for the first time would be cool.
Alex Obert: What did you think of being in the ring with two of the most unique guys on the roster, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt?
Bully Ray: I’m a big fan of those guys. I’m a big fan of most guys in the WWE, they’re all extremely passionate about what they do. You can tell that they whenever they go out there, they always strive to be the best and steal the show and do the absolute best that they can. The Wyatt Family is kind of reminiscent of the old Dudley clan back in the day. Big fan of Bray. Big fan of Luke and Erick Rowan. They’re doing a great job. It was fun to be in there with The Miz. It was fun to be in there with R-Truth doing the What’s Up and the 3D. It was all good, lots of fun.
Alex Obert: Did you meet anyone backstage that night that grew up watching you?
Bully Ray: I was kept under wraps until about 9:30 that night. Nobody knew that I was around and that I was a surprise. Once I did get to the backstage area, it was really cool because all the younger guys were totally cool. They were coming up and introducing themselves and saying how cool it was to see me. And then getting to see all my old buddies from around there, hugging me and saying, “Hey man, welcome back!” The one question everybody kept asking me is when am I coming back, it was a one-shot deal for right then and there. We’ll see what goes on in the future.
Alex Obert: Your wrestling school is in Florida. NXT is in Florida. They already brought back Rhyno and Brian Kendrick. Would you be open to something like that?
Bully Ray: I am open to anything that is fun and that would be good business. Me and D-Von have accomplished so much as a tag team and I’ve accomplished more than I thought I ever would as a singles guy. If you listen to the fans, they would love to see the Dudley Boyz back in the WWE and help bring that tag team division back to the heights that it once was. Our school is going on almost ten years now and we’ve been very proud of the students that we turn out. We are very proud of the way we train our students. On a whole, I’m really happy with the way everything has unfolded so far.
Alex Obert: On that note, one of your students has been making an impact in NXT. And that student is Leva Bates, best known in NXT as Blue Pants.
Bully Ray: She’s been around for a long, long time. Just like I teach all of my students, you never know when something is gonna happen. It can happen overnight or it can happen twenty years down the road. It’s all a question about how long you want to stick around and how much time you want to put into it. Leva has been plugging away and now she’s getting a little taste of success, she’s getting over in NXT. That’s great. Proud to have her as a graduate of Team 3D Academy. I’m very happy for her success right now.
Alex Obert: Since you run a successful wrestling school, I wanted to get your thoughts on this. If someone doesn’t have the budget to travel to a school like yours or Lance Storm’s or Booker T’s and they want to stay local, what are some red flags about wrestling schools that aspiring trainees should avoid?
Bully Ray: Well it’s very interesting that you bring up that a lot of up and coming wrestlers don’t necessarily have the money to travel these days to go to that quality wrestling school because one of the things that I am putting into the works is that we’re going to be taking the Team 3D Academy on tour. If you can’t come to our Academy, we’re going to take the Academy to you. That’s one of the things that we’re really excited about. If you don’t have the money to go to a quality wrestling school, all I can tell you is this, be very careful of where you do go. You want to learn from somebody that can teach you this business the right way. If the person teaching you was never over or never made a great living in this business, I don’t think they can ever really teach you how to make a great living in this business. They might be able to teach you how to do moves, but moves don’t make you a millionaire in this industry.
Alex Obert: I talked about this recently with Ken Anderson and would love to get your opinion. What are the dos and don’ts when approaching a wrestler in public?
Bully Ray: If you see a wrestler in public and you want to go say hello to them, just be polite! Just go up to that person and say, “Hi, my name is so and so. Nice to meet you.” If you walk up to a wrestler and you go to shake his hand and you’re very polite, they will be polite to you. Don’t approach a wrestler when he’s putting a fork in his mouth or when he’s with his wife and his kids in an intimate moment. Have common courtesy. Have respect. Every wrestler loves it when you come up to them and thank them for what they have done and show appreciation for all their hard work. Most of the time, wrestlers are jerks to a fan because the fan is probably a jerk first. And that’s the reality of it.
Alex Obert: CM Punk has stated that fans have pulled out his earbud to get his attention.
Bully Ray: I believe it. I’ve had many fans be rude and disrespectful towards me and then they get the full wrath. Then they get the Bubba that everybody hears about. I’m a really nice guy. I’m really fuckin’ laid back and easygoing. I think it’s cool as hell when fans come up to me and say thank you or they just want to introduce himself. I am so cool with that. It’s the couple of fans out there that ruin it for everybody else.
Alex Obert: One of my fondest memories of your career in TNA after Team 3D’s run was the tag match with Rockstar Spud. It was quite entertaining!
Bully Ray: We had a blast! That was in England and I believe that aired on the One Night Only pay per view. It was me and Spud versus Anderson and Austin Aries, a great match. I love entertaining like that. Spud has always been one of my favorite up and coming wrestlers. I remember from the first time I saw him, I said he had it. I think he’s got a bright future. We played really well off of each other and that entire match was a blast to be involved in. I can tell you everybody in attendance had a great time and everybody who watched it on TV had a great time.
Alex Obert: Another smaller wrestler that you’ve tagged with, do you still keep in touch with Spike?
Bully Ray: Absolutely! Spike’s doing great, he’s retired. Family and kids. He’s doing his own thing and he’s doing really well. I do have ideas for one day doing something cool with a Dudley reunion with me, D-Von and Spike. And maybe Sign Guy. You haven’t seen the last of him, but he’s pretty much retired.
Alex Obert: What are your thoughts on Rey Mysterio leaving the WWE?
Bully Ray: Whenever people leave a company or go to a company, everyone will ask what my thoughts are. It goes on every day. People come and go from companies every day, whether it’s wrestling or a bank or a big business or McDonald’s, people come and go all the time. When one person stays in a company for too long, they can sometimes get stagnant or stale. So it’s good because with Rey leaving WWE now, maybe he’ll go do some stuff that will light a fire under his ass even more. And now that opens up a spot for a younger guy in WWE to step up and become the next Rey Mysterio. It’s always good for the business when people come and go and rosters constantly get mixed up.
Alex Obert: The big rumor lately is that Samoa Joe is on his way to the WWE.
Bully Ray: That’s awesome for Joe. Great! I would love to see Joe be ultra successful in the wrestling business. WWE is the top of the food chain. When you get into pro wrestling, everybody always wants to wrestle for the WWE. Joe went to Ring of Honor, helped build Ring of Honor and he paid his dues there. He went to TNA and helped build TNA, paid his dues. Now he’s gonna have an opportunity with the WWE and I hope he knocks it out of the park. He’s worked very hard and he deserves it.
Alex Obert: In the ring, you are known for an intense, hard-hitting style and you’ve worked with some of the most intense wrestlers in the business. Who would you say are a few of the wrestlers that deliver the hardest chops?
Bully Ray: There is no doubt that when it came to chopping, the two people that stand out are Ric Flair and Meng. The Ric Flair that we see today and know and love today is different from the three hundred pound powerlifter that used to be. Ric used to be a lot bigger and a lot thicker. He has huge, thick hands. I’ll never forget the first time I got chopped by Ric. I could not believe the thunder that he had in his chop, it was the chop of a three hundred pound powerlifter. And then Meng chopped me so hard that I thought my heart was gonna come out of my back. That’s just the toughest man in the world, period, end of sentence, have a nice day.
Alex Obert: We talked a bit about Mötley Crüe last time and you recently mentioned that you will be at their final show on New Year’s Eve. Which would you say is your favorite album of theirs?
Bully Ray: Favorite Mötley Crüe album is Too Fast for Love. It’s their first one, it’s so raw and edgy. A true Mötley Crüe fan knows that Mötley Crüe, at its core, is a punk band. And if you listen to Too Fast for Love, you hear all of the punk influences of Mötley. It’s definitely their best album. Now musically, Mötley’s best album is the one they did with Corabi. As a musician and another guitarist, I believe Corabi helped tap into a side of Mötley that they never knew existed. When you look at it from a musician’s point of view and the way certain songs were arranged, thing sounded a lot different than they ever had. Musically, the album with Corabi really stands up. But it took me about ten years to realize that. I totally appreciate it now. When that album came out, I was in the record store as soon as they opened at 9 AM. I couldn’t rip open that CD quick enough. I put it in the CD player and when Power to the Music started playing, I was like, “What the fuck is this? This is not my Mötley Crüe!” But as I matured and listened to the album over and over again, I just realized how superior it really was.
Alex Obert: You happened to appear on an album over a decade ago, that being WWE Originals. What was that like for you?
Bully Ray: That was a lot of fun. Me and D-Von did the track called We’ve Had Enough, kind of a rap rock track. A Kid Rock kind of thing. A lot of people say that it was the best track on the CD. We got to write the lyrics ourselves and we got to work with Jim Johnston, it was real fun experience.
Alex Obert: I recall you mentioning in a backstage promo for TNA that you want to look into a music career.
Bully Ray: I’m a frustrated rockstar. I want to be a rockstar in the worst way. I just want to put on a leather jacket, learn three chords and go out and rock like the Ramones. That’s all it takes. I’m not that great of a wrestler, I don’t have to be that great of a rockstar to make it! (laughs)
Alex Obert: I heard that you rocked out with Fozzy.
Bully Ray: Yup. It was funny because I sang with Fozzy one night when they were first getting started. Jericho calls me on stage and he asks if I wanted to sing Live Wire with them. I was like, “Oh, absolutely! This is gonna be great!” I was so amped up from the first line of Live Wire, I picked the microphone up to my mouth and I wound up slamming it into my mouth so hard that I chipped my top tooth. But I still finished the song.
Alex Obert: In closing, if the Rumble was your final appearance in the WWE, what do you have to say to the wrestlers of the company and the fans that all got to witness it?
Bully Ray: If that was my last appearance, all I can say to my fellow wrestlers in the back and the fans in Philly and all around the world that watched…thank you. Thank you for the warm welcome backstage. Thank you for the warm welcome in the arena. Thank you for everything. People always ask me about the Hall of Fame, whether it’s TNA or WWE. “Do you think you’re gonna go into the Hall of Fame?” I tell them, “I get inducted into the Hall of Fame every night I go through that curtain.” When you go through that curtain and you can hear the response of the fans, that’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame every night. As long as they are booing me as loud as they can or cheering me as loud as they can, that’s the only Hall of Fame I will ever need in my career.