Bully Ray nearly became a reality in WWE.
During the Dudley Boyz’s last run in WWE in the mid-2010s, Bully Ray, then known as Bubba Ray Dudley, was starting to get tired of this current incarnation of the Dudleys and wanted to go in another direction. In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Bully Ray admitted that there were meetings in place with Vince McMahon to try and make the Bully Ray character a reality in WWE.
“I had three meetings with Vince and not just Vince giving me the obligatory five minutes. These were real talks. I remember sitting in front of him and telling him, ‘I’m not doing the Dudley thing again. I’m done. Your version of the Dudleys doesn’t work for me anymore. You told us what you wanted on day one. You paid us very handsomely. We did what you wanted us to do. Bubba we wanted you to work with the New Day, with the Usos, with the Wyatts, we want you to work with any team that we ask you to make them look good.’ But after a year, I didn’t like how the Dudleys were kind of being stepped on. Vince owns the right to do whatever he wants with the Dudleys. I wasn’t into it anymore. I was done with the Dudleys. If we’re going to keep doing the Dudleys, I’d like to split, but I did have something I would like to pitch to Vince. He looked at me and said, ‘I know all about Bully Ray,’” Ray said.
McMahon’s acknowledging the Bully Ray character, which was previously seen in TNA, surprised Ray to say the least. Ray wanted to bring that character to WWE, but McMahon was concerned over the idea of someone named Bully in a wrestling company that has an anti-bullying campaign. Ray suggested a storyline where he would understand the error of his ways as a way to tie into the Be A Star program. Although McMahon loved the idea, he was also concerned about getting killed by the media until the storyline got to that point.
“For the first time in a long time, I got stopped in my tracks because you don’t expect Vince to acknowledge something that happened in another company. That kind of told me that whatever I did back then got back to him and that’s a good thing. So we had the Bully discussions, he couldn’t get around the word Bully because of the Be A Star program. I told Vince, ‘Here is how we’re going to work around it. Let’s do the Bully Ray thing for a year and at the end of the Bully Ray thing, story or run, that one babyface makes Bully understand the error of his ways and why you shouldn’t be a bully and now Bully Ray can do all the Be A Star stuff with the younger kids, saying I mended my ways. It was an in-the-ring and out-of-the-ring concept.’ He goes, ‘My god, I love it! It’s great. But in that year, I’m going to get killed by the media because how can you have an anti-bullying program but call somebody Bully Ray? Now they can have characters that act like bullies, but calling someone Bully something. That was 50 percent of it. The other 50 percent of it, I’ll save for another day. The back-up name was the Intimidator Bubba. He loved it [but it never happened],” Ray said.
On a related note, Ray said Dixie Carter was also opposed to the name when that character was being pitched for TNA for the same reasons McMahon didn’t want it. Bruce Prichard did come to bat for Ray and the character became a reality.
“Dixie tried to get rid of the Bully name for the same reasons Vince didn’t want it. They also had an anti-bullying program and she was so against the name Bully being in any main event type of role. I was super pissed. Bruce Prichard, to his credit, went to Dixie and said, ‘Nope. This has got to stick because it’s gonna work,’” Ray said.
The full interview with Chris Van Vliet can be seen in the video at the top of the page. If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Fightful for the transcription.