Ring Of Honor superstar and WWE Hall of Famer Bully Ray was recently a guest on our WINCLY podcast. During the interview, Bully spoke to Wrestling Inc. managing editor Nick Hausman about his rivalry with Flip Gordon.
Bully said he approached his feud with Gordon with a story in mind because he wanted to return to a time when storytelling was paramount in wrestling. He said he learned from former ECW president Paul Heyman about how to properly get a story over, so he went back to his roots.
"Absolutely, I had it all well-planned out. You have to remember, the company that I came up in, Paul was a master storyteller. I learned from super geniuses… As young guys in ECW, we were taught the right way to tell stories, and close to 30 years later I'm still telling those same stories," Bully said. "And the reason why it works is that nobody is doing it, nobody in WWE is telling these stories, nobody anywhere is telling these stories. So I knew what I wanted the beginning, the middle and the end to be, and look at all the people that benefited from it."
Bully's rivalry with Gordon lasted eight months, culminating in an "I Quit" match at ROH: Final Battle. Bully said he always intended for the storyline to be long and drawn out, but he knew it would be a risk because that's not how things are done nowadays.
"When I first saw everything unfold in my mind, I knew it would be very long. None of the stories that I tell are short stories, which could be a bit of a negative or a drawback to my artform in 2018 because people have such short attention spans," he said. "What most people don't realize is that the story with me and Flip was eight months of storytelling; you tell me the last time you saw a story in pro wrestling go on for eight months."
Bully was also asked about the rumored All Elite Wrestling promotion that looks like will be started by Elite members Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks. After the success of their All In event, it is believed that they will strike out on their own when their Ring Of Honor contracts expiring at the start of the new year. Bully compared All In to ECW's inaugural pay-per-view event Barely Legal in the sense that they all bet on themselves and did whatever they had to do to put on a great event. He pointed out that Rhodes and The Bucks always had ROH to fall back on if All In was unsuccessful, which wasn't the case for ECW superstars.
"If you're gonna go and do it, you better go guns ablazin', you can't half-ass it. Those guys are smart guys. When you look at a show like All In, I know so many people were mesmerized by it and it was a phenomenal event, but was All In really any different than Barely Legal? Barely Legal is the original All In because that was the entire company, ownership and wrestlers, truly going all in on their style and their beliefs, and that show changed the wrestling business," he said. "So I understand Cody and The Bucks, when they went all in on that show, they did have Ring Of Honor to fall back on. ECW had no safety net, we had no safety net, those guys did. Still, that doesn't take away from any success they had from that All In show, because it was a great event, and probably in the top-three most talked about things of 2018, I would say… So if they're gonna do it, they gotta go for the jugular and do it right because I don't think you're gonna get a second opportunity here."
In any case, Bully said he wishes the best for them. He wished Matt and Nick Jackson well in particular, because he remembers how they were at the start of their careers and he respects what they've built themselves into now.
"I really want to see it work for Nick and Matt," he said. "I don't care where Nick and Matt find success, I just want them to find success because I saw those two guys start off like scared little kids in TNA, and to see what they've turned into and how they've kept their heads on straight, it's good to see."
Catch Bully Ray on Busted Open Radio, weekdays at Noon ET on SiriusXM Fight Nation channel 93. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc Audio on iTunes, or listen to the embedded player below, to hear Bully's full interview with Wrestling Inc. Including his praise of the recent WWE Women's TLC Match, AEW and more. The episode also includes an interview with ROH TV Champion Jeff Cobb discussing his ROH ambitions going into 2019 as well as his Final Battle bout against Hangman Page.