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Bully Ray as Bubba Ray Dudley

Pro Wrestling

Bully Ray was ‘this close’ to bringing the character to WWE

WWE’s anti-bullying initiative made Vince hesitant to the character, but it almost made it to TV with another name.

Bully Ray was interviewed on today’s edition of Chris Van Vilet’s YouTube show, where he talked about a variety of topics, including women he’d like to have intergender matches with and comparisons between AEW and ECW.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!

But he told one story that is particularly interesting for WWE fans: his final talks with Vince McMahon and how close he was to bringing the Bully Ray character he had been doing in Impact and Ring of Honor to WWE.

“That close. [I was] 48 hours away,” Ray said. “I had three meetings with Vince. Sit downs, one on one, not just Vince giving me the obligatory five minutes. These are real talks.”

Bully Ray said he gave Vince something of an ultimatum, telling him he was done portraying the Dudley Boyz character he had been since his return to WWE in 2015. “I said, Vince, I’m not doing the Dudley thing anymore. I’m done with this. Your version of the Dudleys doesn’t work for me anymore. After a year, it was getting a little — I didn’t like the way the Dudleys were being stepped on.”

However, Bully had one last idea to pitch to Vince before he left the company. “So I went to him and said, I’m done with this Dudley stuff. If we’re gonna continue to do the Dudley stuff, I’m gonna split, but I do have something I’d like to pitch to you,” he explained to Chris. “And he looked at me and he goes, ‘I know all about Bully Ray.’ And for the first time in a long time, I got stopped in my tracks. You don’t expect Vince to acknowledge something that happened in another company. And that kinda told me that whatever I did over there got back to him, which is kinda cool.”

While Vince didn’t make it sound like the character had much of a chance in WWE initially, they continued discussions, where Bully found out that Vince had a problem with the word “Bully” specifically. “He couldn’t get around the word ‘Bully’ because of the Be a Star program. So I told him, we do Bully Ray for a year. When we get to the end of the Bully Ray story or run, that one babyface, that uber babyface makes Bully understand the error of his ways and why you shouldn’t be a bully. And now Bully Ray can go do all the Be a Star talks…it becomes an in-ring and out of ring concept.”

Vince was apparently receptive to that idea, as Bully Ray recalls. “And he goes, ‘my god, I love it! It’s great, but in that year it’ll take to get to that, I’ll get killed in the media. How can you have an anti-bullying program, but call somebody Bully Ray?'”

So eventually, a new name was discussed. “The backup name was going to be ‘The Intimidator’ Bubba Ray,” Bully recalled.

Unfortunately, ‘The Intimidator’ never saw the light of day on WWE television, and Bully Ray returned to the independent circuit in 2016 (he would be inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 alongside his ‘brother’, D-Von Dudley). As for why, Bully simply told Chris, “The day I decide to talk about that other part of the story, I’ll talk about it with you.”

This was just one part of a long, interesting interview, and I recommend watching the whole thing.

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