Bully Ray and Flip Gordon engaged in something that is uncommon in this day and age of pro wrestling. The two had a long, drawn-out feud that lasted eight months and culminated in an "I Quit" match at Final Battle.
This was certainly not Ray's first "I Quit" match and he joined our WINCLY podcast where he told Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman if there were any differences between this match and the "I Quit" matches he had in other promotions.
"No, it would be the same thing," Ray said. "The only difference would have been in ECW I would not have had any handcuffs and I mean that figuratively, not literally."
Bully Ray then added that he would have had restrictions in WWE that he wouldn't have anywhere else.
"You can't have a good 'I Quit' match or Last Man Standing match with restrictions," Ray stated. "Obviously, in the WWE the guys that they put in those scenarios, their characters are so over that they can carry the match based on character. They don't necessarily have to do some of the things that you could do in ROH, ECW or TNA."
The feud between Bully Ray and Gordon turned personal at times, but Ray says he can look past their differences and see the talent in the man standing opposite him.
"Before I had gotten to ROH, I had no idea who he was," Ray said of Gordon. "I saw talent despite the fact that I may not like the way he came up in the wrestling business. That doesn't mean that I can't spot talent when I see it and I knew that he was the perfect guy for Bully Ray and Bully Ray was the perfect guy for him."
Bully Ray then went into further detail about why he and Gordon were a perfect fit for each other.
"White-meat babyface that everybody already liked," Ray said of Gordon contrasting with his character. "When Flip Gordon goes to the ring and he has those matches where he's flipping and diving and super-kicking, everybody loves all the moves that he does, right?
Ray then said that while people were cheering for Gordon's moves, they weren't necessarily cheering for Gordon until he entered the picture.
"Was anybody emotionally invested in Flip Gordon before I came along," asked Bully Ray. "You can take Flip out of the equation and put another guy with his talent in place and they're still going to respond to his moves. But after eight months of storytelling, people are now emotionally invested in Flip Gordon…
"People now love him for putting his body on the line. People love that he got caned and came back from it. People love that he got kicked in the balls and came back from it. Now we're emotionally invested in our good guy. Flip can now go out and stand in the middle of the ring and not do anything and people will react to him."
During the build-up to their Final Battle match, Bully Ray touched on a taboo subject by criticizing Gordon's military service. That was certainly by design on Ray's part and he explained why.
"I told him that he was in the Army because he wasn't tough enough to be a Marine," stated Ray. "Are you offended by that, Nick? If you're offended by it, then did you want to see Flip kick my ass?... Job well done."
Before the "I Quit" match between Ray and Gordon got started, Ray kicked things off by attacking Christopher Daniels who had just finished his farewell match for ROH. Ray explained what he was trying to accomplish by doing that.
"Let's just say that going into the match, there was even one person in the arena who wanted to see me win," said Ray. "After I came out and nut-shotted Daniels, do you think anybody in that arena wanted to see me win?
"When Flip came out on that balcony, was that entire arena chanting for Flip and behind him? From the moment our match starts to the moment it ends, the emotion that runs through that entire match is designed to steal the show and be unfollowable."
Throughout the match, Ray and Gordon teased using a flaming table multiple times. However, there was no payoff as it was never used. But Ray says that was all part of the match's psychology and he explained why the flaming table was not used.
"That's because people are afraid," revealed Ray. "People are afraid to go down that route and not pay it off. We did pay it off, just not in the way you thought we would pay it off."
Bully Ray then says if your going to go through the effort of bringing out the table and lighting it on fire but not using it, then you better come up with something better that makes people forget about the flaming table.
"The table didn't get lit on fire, why? Because The Sandman came out," said Ray. "Once you saw The Sandman, did anybody care about the flaming table? I dare anybody in wrestling to attempt that kind of psychology in 2018."
With the help of a kendo stick from The Sandman, Gordon laid waste to Bully Ray and won the match. However, even though Ray gave up, he never said the words "I Quit" which has many thinking there is more to this feud.
"I guess you gotta keep watching," Ray coyly responded when asked if the feud with Gordon is over.
Gordon lashing Bully Ray with the kendo stick was very similar to when Ray did the same to Gordon on ROH TV. That seemingly justified Ray's kendo stick attack on Gordon as many felt that it was too excessive and violent.
"The story came full circle," Ray said of Gordon getting revenge at Final Battle. "The punishment that I inflicted on Flip, he got me back ten-fold and also won the match."
Some are drawing parallels between this feud and the one that went on in WWE between Charlotte and Ronda Rousey. Charlotte landed multiple kendo stick shots on Rousey, however, Ray says that there is a double standard between their feud and his with Gordon.
"I'm just curious," Ray said to Nick Hausman. "Did you call Charlotte and tell her she was too violent with the kendo stick a couple of weeks ago with Ronda? Were you offended?"
"Was I offended? No, I was on the hook," responded Nick.
"Oh, so you were on the hook with that but you weren't on the hook when I caned Flip in the ECW Arena," asked Bully Ray. "You can't be offended by one but not be offended by the other. You can't say one was gross physicality. It's a kendo stick. It's a legitimate weapon. She was bruised, black and blued and blood came to the surface of her skin. It's the same thing whether she had three welts and Flip had nine – it's the same thing. We can't pick and choose what we're offended by."
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. This week's WINCLY 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.