Bully Ray said he thinks IMPACT is heading in the right direction.
Ray worked for the company from 2005 to 2015. During his time in IMPACT, Ray won tag team titles three times and held the promotion's top championship on two occasions. He became a mainstay in the main event towards the end of his run but left after becoming unhappy with the state of the company.
In an interview with Chris Van Vilet, Ray spoke about the current state of affairs in IMPACT. He said he thinks the promotion is heading in the right direction after a change in management and he is a fan of the roster.
"I've been ultra-critical of TNA because I spent ten years there, and I saw how great the company was," Ray said (h/t to Himanshu D for the quote transcription). "I know how great the company could be. Current management, current ownership is doing a good job. They have definitely taken steps in the right direction, as opposed to who was there before them which I did not agree with and I didn't think was good for the brand at all. That's just my opinion. I think the new regime is definitely taking steps forward.
"I watch the TNA pay-per-views. I try to stay as up to speed on the product as I can. I think that obviously Tessa (Blanchard)'s doing a great job and Sami (Callihan)'s doing a great job. There are a lot of people. I'm a big Su Yung fan. I don't think anybody has immersed themselves into a character as much as she has since The Undertaker immersed himself into a character, and I've loved the stuff they've done with her."
Moose, the self-proclaimed TNA World Champion, told Wrestling Inc. he didn't want to wrestle Blanchard for the IMPACT World Championship and that he views the championship as a "step down title." Ray disagreed, saying he would be more interested in a match with Blanchard than with Moose.
"Bubba vs Moose doesn't interest me. Bubba vs Tessa? That's interesting," Ray said. "It's a match that I would consider but when you say Bubba vs Moose? Okay. Two big guys. Bunch of clotheslines. Bunch of shoulder tackles. Meh. Bubba vs Tessa? Now my ears just perked up. Now you got me listening, because Tessa is a really, really great women's wrestler, right? I think if I were to jump the guardrails and stick her with a powerbomb into the concrete, that would be interesting."
Moose said he wasn't interested in a match with Blanchard because it wouldn't be a challenge for him to physically dominate his much smaller opponent. Ray looks at it differently. He said believability is important, but that he and Blanchard would make her offense on Ray be believable.
"She could probably pull off any move on me that I allowed her to pull off," Ray said. "If I was compromised on the ropes. could she possibly (suplex me)? Maybe, because we have enough rotational room. But is Tessa Blanchard gonna lift 325 pound Bubba off his feet into a standing vertical? Absolutely not.
"If Bubba missed two sentons and Tessa went to the top rope and gave me a missile dropkick, would I bump for her? Absolutely. Because it made sense within the storytelling and the realm of the match. It's not just a real big guy bumping for a much smaller girl for no good reason. Then it becomes gratuitous and then we're just taking the art and throwing it out the door. Now it just becomes acrobatics for the sake of acrobatics."
You can watch the entire Ray interview above.
Himanshu D contributed to this article.