JBL And Bully Ray Talk Issues With Heels In Today’s Pro Wrestling

Current co-host of Busted Open and wrestling legend Bubba Dudley joined fellow wrestling icons Gerald Brisco and JBL for an episode of Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw.

Throughout the interview, the wrestling legends discuss a wide variety of topics, from tag team wrestling, working as a producer and road agent, funny backstage stories, and many more.

During the interview, they discussed tag team wrestlers breaking away from their teams to achieve singles success. It's something they all know about as all three men themselves each won a multitude of tag team titles, as well as Heavyweight titles.

Bully says he believes JBL sometimes gets lost in the shuffle amongst the notable wrestlers on the list. He notes Shawn Michaels is the name most commonly brought up, but insists that JBL deserves recognition.

"You did something incredible!" exclaims Bubba. "You and [Ron Simmons] were so synonymous with yourselves, and it's almost like you made people forget about the APA. I don't think I ever made people forget about the Dudleys. I think what you were able to do was on such a next level. It's attributed to you embracing that heat, and we know Vince – he lived vicariously through you!"

JBL laughs and says that Ted DiBiase said the same thing about Vince loving to write for his Million Dollar Man character. JBL notes that he knew what Vince was doing and welcomed it.

"I knew when I'd go in there to Vince [that] he was basically writing for himself," smiles JBL. "'If I could be a heel and I could do this for 300 nights a year, this is what I'd do'."

Bully notes that JBL succeeded because he was smart enough to embrace the heat and reactions from the fans. He goes on to say that many wrestlers today are not as keen on embracing heat because they are afraid of it, with one notable exception.

"The one kid that sticks out to me right now is MJF in AEW," shares Bubba. "I think he's doing a fantastic job."

JBL adds on to that, saying that many wrestlers are not interested in being a heel on social media. They want to do the traditional crowd work at events, but fail to transition that to digital media. He says wrestlers have no interest in fans harassing them in public.

"They want to play a heel on television and talk about being a heel," observes JBL. "They don't want to walk through the airport and be called names. Or have people put up their phones and say, 'You know, you're really an asshole, you're a bad person'."

Brisco interjects and agrees with both Bubba and JBL. He then goes on to say that if you are not willing to embrace the heat and negative reactions that come with being a heel, then you will only ever be a mediocre heel.

"If you don't want to be a heel and you don't embrace that attitude of being a heel, then you're not going to be a successful heel," Brisco says adamantly. "You're just going to be one of those middle of the road guys that just exist on the middle of the card."

Later in the interview, JBL notes that all three men are amongst some of the first biracial tag teams to stick together over a long period of time. JBL and Bubba Dudley both famously tagged with Ron Simmons and D-Von Dudley, respectively. Meanwhile, Gerald Brisco also won tag team titles with both Rocky Johnson and Thunderbolt Patterson.

It was more common in the time period of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s to have stereotypical tag teams featuring only one race. JBL notes that despite the historic implications, none of the teams made a big deal about it. Bubba agrees, saying that their races were never of importance in any tag team.

"It was never a big deal," reflects Bubba. "Ron was [JBL's] partner, D-Von was my partner, and that's all it ever was. We were two men on the same journey, two professionals on the same journey with the exact same goals in mind. To make a sh*tload of money and be the best at what we do, and have a blast doing it."

JBL then goes on to recall a time where WWE wanted to make a special about the APA being one of the first big biracial WWE tag teams, but Ron Simmons refused to take part in it.

"WWE tried to do something one time about [us being] one of the first biracial tag teams in WWE that made it and stayed together for quite some time," recalls JBL. "And Ron wouldn't allow it. And I was so glad he wouldn't. [Ron] said 'This isn't about race. This is about two friends. You make it about race then it becomes about race'. [Ron] says, 'It's much more important as an example that there's nothing made about it because there's nothing to it'."

During the interview, the three legends also recalled quite a few funny backstage stories. Later in the interview, Bubba tells a story about an elimination triple threat tag team match at a live event between the APA, the Dudley Boyz, and Edge & Christian.

"Michael Hayes was the agent on the house show, which was very odd," tells Bubba. "Michael really wasn't on the road with us very often. Normally it was Jack Lanza. In the three-way, we had to eliminate the APA first, and the Dudleys were going to eliminate the APA.

"And Michael said, 'Hey Ron, how about the Dudleys give you the 3-D on the floor?'

"And Ron looked at him and went, 'F*ck you, Michael'."

All three men laugh hysterically, then JBL chimes in to finish the story.

"Yeah," smiles JBL. "Then Michael goes, 'Okay, maybe we'll take it on John' [laughs]."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.