D-Von Dudley recently took part in a Q & A with fans over at Pro Wrestling Junkies and reflected on the lead up to the first TLC match. D-Von revealed that all participants were scared to death and had no idea they were about to make such an impact on the wrestling business.
“We didn’t know we were going to make history,” D-Von said. “We were scared to death, to be honest with you. Just to be at WrestleMania was surreal enough, but now you have to add in tables, ladders and chairs. When we did the match, we had no idea the impact it was going to have on the wrestling fans and business. When we did it, WrestleMania 16 in Anaheim, we never thought in a million years that we would be able to duplicate that. And then it was four or five months later at SummerSlam — that was actually called a TLC match, and we stole the show.”
“Then the next year at WrestleMania 17 in Houston, which was the most watched WrestleMania of all time and the highest grossing in terms of money of all time, we stole the show again,” D-Von recalled. “Not only that, but it was an honor to be able to do that with Edge, Christian and The Hardy Boyz because we stole the show with The Rock, Triple H, and Stone Cold Steve Austin on the card. The list goes on and on, but it was a big deal for us.”
The Dudleys were eventually split up when D-Von was drafted to SmackDown. He would go on to debut the Reverend D-Von character, and he took the time to discuss how much he loved that character while revealing it was someone in Vince McMahon’s inner circle that ultimately shut it down. He also revealed that he was initially very angry about being reunited with Bubba Ray because he had wanted a singles run for so long, and felt that he was really hitting his stride.
“I loved the character, but at first I was skeptical because Vince wanted to do a Catholic version,” D-Von said. “I talked him about it and tried to explain that African American churches – the priests wear ties. They don’t really wear the collar unless they’re really high up there. He convinced me because he’s Vince McMahon, so we ran with it. I enjoyed it to the fullest; I really did.
“People always ask me what happened because it was going so well,” D-Von added. “Again, certain powers that be that were in Vince’s inner circle didn’t believe in the character and didn’t like it. I always thought that it was very hard to persuade Vince McMahon to go a different direction when he wanted to go the other direction. So, whoever was there at the time had convinced him that it wasn’t good or whatever. But I will say this: everyone that Rev. D-Von faced at that time, including John Cena, Batista, Rikishi, Randy Orton and of course, Triple H – Rev. D-Von beat them all. I loved it.
“I was very angry when I got the call, and it had nothing to do with Bubba, but I was angry when I got the call to get back together with him,” D-Von continued. “I wanted that singles run. I had just started finding my groove, and just as I did, the rug got pulled from underneath me. It is what it is.”
D-Von later discussed The Dudley’s return to WWE in 2015 and revealed that they were worried about being able to keep up with the young guys like The New Day and The Usos. He said him and Bubba both had a feeling they would be called back months prior to actually receiving the call, so they were ready to go when that call came in.
“I knew Xavier in TNA when he was Consequences Creed, but he later told me that I was his idol,” D-Von said. “He said he got into the business because of me. We have always gotten along really well. Then I met Big E and Kofi, and we all got along so good and they were great about letting a couple of old guys hang with them. We were wondering going in if we’d be able to hang with them and if we still had it. Apparently, the Dudleys still had it.
“At the Barclays Center, we got that big Road Warrior pop, but we did a hell of a thing that night,” D-Von recalled. “Between them and The Usos, we had a great run — even the Wyatt family. It was a great run and it felt good to be back in WWE after being away for 10 years. It was really cool to be able to hang with that newer generation. A lot of guys going back years and years, when the old guys try to come back, things just don’t look as crisp and the fans can tell they’re past their time. So, we felt pretty good about how our run went, and we had been training for about 6 months prior to our return because we kind of had a feeling that we’d be getting a call.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Pro Wrestling Junkies with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.