The Ballad of Bully Ray

Nick Paglino

Bully RayPoor Bully Ray. Whether overrated as a tag-team act or coming on strong as one of fake wrestling’s few legit heels in the last two years, he KNOWS THE BUSINESS. He’s smart. He’s experienced. He knows what’s right and wrong.

Unfortunately, what’s necessary for his career isn’t right for his character.

Poor Bully Ray has been sucked into THE HOGAN VORTEX.

Can you imagine Bully Ray’s hard-guy character being sucked into an ON-SCREEN WEDDING? To a girl with whom he makes AN ABSURD COUPLE? Even if he jilts Brooke, sticks it to Hogan and joins Aces & Eights, it’s STUPID. Hogan is a non-wrestler, Aces & Eights are a third-rate gang, and no one cares about Brooke.

Bully Ray won’t wrestle Hogan; Hulk will pick a wrestler and fight via proxy. Hogan is feuding at the top of the card without wrestling. IT’S NUTS.

“Oh, there he goes, bashing Hogan again!” DAMN RIGHT. Does anyone think this is right for Impact? Right for Bully Ray? Right for business? If so, justify all of this, or any of this. I’m all ears.

The only other option is to have Bully Ray “marry” Brooke, then have Brooke and Bully Ray feud with Hogan. At that point, Bully’s balls will be in Brooke’s purse. She's the butch, he's the bitch.

It’s a shame for Bully Ray. You know he knows better. But within the context of Impact's power structure, with Hogan holding so much stroke, you go along to get along. NO CHOICE. This is so bad it’s embarrassing, but it’s AT THE TOP OF THE CARD. If the “YOU SOLD OUT!” chant ever truly applied, it’s now, with Bully Ray.

At 41, Bully Ray was having a nice late-career renaissance. Not that late, either. The Bully Ray persona was a badass heel that retreated at all the right times. Tremendous character, and Mark LoMonaco played it beautifully.

Now that’s all shot. Bully Ray is playing footsie with a failed pop singer/reality TV reject with a face like her dad’s that’s a beneficiary of nepotism and everybody knows it. He’ll likely join a gang of third-rate WWE outcasts that JUST AREN’T OVER. Bully Ray won’t boost Aces & Eights up. They will DRAG HIM DOWN.

One thing that’s good, though largely inconsequential: Since Bully Ray won’t actually wrestle Hogan, he might not do the job. But with trading wins seemingly required booking these days, winning and losing has never mattered less.

I wonder about Impact’s long-term future. Scaling down to four live PPVs is good for booking, if they have the creativity to take advantage of it. You can do proper builds quarterly. Yet going to four live PPVs from a planned 10 isn’t a cut, it’s an amputation. Why now? And if the rumored roster cuts occur, more questions will be asked about Impact's financial viability.

For those wondering why I bash Hogan all the time: If you’re going to write about Impact, you got no choice. HOGAN IS IMPACT.

For the record, I always liked Hulk when we worked together in WCW. Good guy. But Hogan is ABSOLUTELY INCAPABLE of thinking about or doing anything besides what’s best for him. That’s how he’s wired.

As for Bully Ray, there’s always a Dudleyz reunion. Yawn…

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA(105.9) . Check out his web page at Contact Mark by emailing wzmarkmadden@hotmail. com. FOLLOW MARK ON TWITTER: @MarkMaddenX

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