Sports Illustrated writer Justin Barrasso recently spoke with former NXT star Bull Dempsey for a ‘Five Questions’ article for SI Extra Mustard’s This Week In Wrestling.
Dempsey, know going by Bull James on the independent scene, talks about working with Dusty Rhodes in NXT, his “Bull Fit” character being more comedy based, how he found out about his release and much more. You can read a few excerpts below:
Bull James on working with Dusty Rhodes:
Dusty was very influential to me, pretty much from my start at NXTand the Performance Center. Dusty always told me that I reminded him of himself, which was the highest compliment I ever could have received from him. I would sit with Dusty at least once a week to pitch an idea, and within five minutes we’d be talking about Starrcade or he’d be telling me an old story from Japan, or he’d be teaching how to book.
He was such an amazing person, and I am very privileged to have had the time I spent with him. If you spent time around him, you knew how truly special he was. There will never be another. It’s funny—there is the prototypical WWE star that everyone talks about, and if you were one of those, Dusty did his job and helped you. But if you were a little bit off the mold or a little bit of an odd ball—if you were a misfit toy, then you were what Dusty wanted to play with.
His Bull Fit character:
I actually have a great appreciation for old school comedy, especially Jackie Gleason. Robbie Brookside and I used to find a corner before some of those NXT live events and watch Laurel and Hardy for a good half hour. Working with William Regal was some of my most memorable on TV. If there is something funny to be done, he is all about it. I actually think they didn’t even scratch the surface on what we could have done together, but we put on some funny skits together.
I’ve had people tell me that I was never supposed to make it. I never fit the mold, and I wasn’t what they were looking for—but not only did I get signed, I survived two-and-a-half years. I got the greatest education in the wrestling business, basically like getting a scholarship to Harvard.
How his WWE NXT release went down:
They released me. I left on good terms; I have no ill will towards them. It’s very easy to be all shortsighted and say, ‘Screw them!’ but I can’t. They paid me and gave me a scholarship to the greatest building full of knowledge that I could have asked for. They took care of me. If it comes down to a budget thing and that’s the decision that is made, then it’s cool. I can look at myself in the mirror every day and know what I brought to the table as far as my work ethic, willingness to help the newer talent, and being an all-around professional. Now I bring that to the table for any company in the world.
My intensity was unmatched with anyone that I was in a tryout with or on the independents with. I know my promo skills are strong, and I know I’m good at what I do. NXT is a chapter that’s closed, it’s in the rearview mirror, and it’s time to move forward. Now, with the tools they’ve armed me with, I can go toe-to-toe with anyone in this industry in the world.
What are his future plans?
Obviously I would have liked to wrestled Finn [Balor], Sami Zayn, or Apollo Crews, just to show different sides of what I can, and show that I can bring that big match atmosphere to somebody. But now, no matter where I go, I can wrestle anyone and I can wrestle any style. I’ve submerged myself in this industry since I first started at 17 years old, and I know that, wherever I go in the future, I will be an asset.
If you’re good to the wrestling industry, it will be good to you. The wrestling industry has been very good to me since I started at 17, and I feel that it is an obligation to pass that knowledge along. We’re in a hot period in the wrestling industry, and it’s just getting started. Houses are up and everybody’s doing good business. I can tell by how crazy my phone has been ringing in the past week that it’s a great time to be a free agent in wrestling. I’ll be signing at the Big Event in Queens on March 5, and I will also be signing at Wrestle Pro in Rahway, New Jersey, that night. No matches announced just yet, but there will be. Anywhere this is a ring, I’ll wrestle.
Note: James notes in the interview that he will be at WrestlePro in Rahway, New Jersey. We reported earlier that James will face Kevin Matthews at the inaugural WrestlePro event on March 5th.