Bully Ray Conference Call Notes

May 29, 2013 - by Michael Riba

Don’t forget that Impact Wrestling moves back to an 9/8c start time tomorrow. The card for tomorrow’s Impact and this Sunday’s Slammiversary are gone over at the very beginning.

Mike Johnson: “How does being in the top position in the company change the pressure of going into the main event at Slammiversary?”

Bully Ray: “Being in a high-profile singles match, I am able to channel the energy into the performance because it’s all on me. I’m up against one of the greatest performers of all time in Sting, and it’s one of the biggest matches of my career to this point.”

Mike Leno: “Is this the most satisfying time in TNA for you, with Aces and Eights and the WWE’s copycat of the Shield?”

Ray: “I don’t know if The Shield is a copycat. They have their brand, we have ours. I honestly believe TNA is the best promotion in the world, because we offer some of everything for everyone. I am proud of everything we have accomplished with Aces and Eights. I made everybody open their eyes, just as I have for twenty years.”

Ryan Ryder: “‘Bully Ray, World Champion.’ Was that something you ever expected to hear? Was it your goal to transition from tag team wrestler to singles wrestler?”

Ray: “I heard it early on as World Tag Team Champion. It wasn’t my goal to transition into a singles wrestler. I wanted to be a part of a legendary tag team that everyone would remember forever, and I believed that me and Devon accomplished that. I will never say me and Devon are the best tag team of all-time, but we are the most successful. Me and Devon conquered the tag team division and decided at that time to transition into the singles world.”

Scott Fishman: “What do you account for your success in the singles ranks? Has there been a moment where you go backstage and they say, “Wow, I can’t believe you said that.”?

Ray: “My goal was to see how close I could get to the original version of me without actually doing the things I did in ECW. I’ll put Bully Ray up against anybody when it comes to who’s the most hated. I just wanted to see how far I could go and see how many people I could piss off. My goal wasn’t to become the World Champion, but the character has really grown. But, it’s not a character. I just turned the volume up on who I really am.”
“That’s the good thing about TNA, the freedom do express our characters when we’re out there.”

Shawn R.: “What was your inspiration to really get yourself into shape a few years ago? I want to commend you for what you said during the interview in Boston yesterday. What’s it like for you to go out there and represent TNA as the World Champion?”

Ray: “I knew there would need to be a drastic change, and quickly. I always knew my in-ring ability was always there, but I knew when Devon and I split up it was time for me to get into physical shape. I think it got people to sit up and notice how serious I was in making this singles transition work.”
“He can be a Jeff Hardy fan, that’s cool. You can be a fan of whoever you want, but don’t ever call me average. He tried to get at me on the air, but I just shot him down. I love representing TNA. I know Slammiversary will be a great show. I will go out there in deliver, and every guy in the locker room will go out and deliver. We’re the best roster of professional wrestlers anywhere.”

Adam D.: “During the recent UK tour, you were the top babyface and did lots of Hogan mannerisms. Who’s idea was that? Can you tell us more about your wrestling academy?”

Ray: “It was my idea. Vince McMahon always told me to do what they would think is entertaining, not what I thought was entertaining, and I enjoyed doing it. We are a very old school training facility in Kissimmee, Florida. We try to train them in the old school way, to respect the veterans and to teach them the ropes. We don’t want guys who never got over training our guys.”

A. Lavine: “What’s it like being the guy in TNA? Who do you think has the biggest future in TNA?”

Ray: “Being the guy if Impact Wreslting is cool, but I’ve never sat back and thought about being the guy. I knew if I busted my ass that it would happen. It’s great to be the World Champion, but this is a company made up all all kinds of wrestlers, and no one guy can carry it. We give the best buffet in pro wrestling; a little of this and a little of that.”
“Magnus and Rockstar Spud stand out to me. Magnus has a great physique, is great in the ring, and can talk very well. Rockstar Spud has the it factor every time he hits the ring.”

Josh M.: “Who do you compare Paul Heyman, Vince McMahon, and Dixie Carter? What’s your opinion on the state of tag team wrestling in WWE and TNA?”

Ray: “I’ve learned more about the professional wrestling business from Paul and Vince, because they are pure wrestling minds. Imagine being a young guy coming up and being molded by Paul Heyman. Going from Paul Heyman to Vince McMahon was going to a greater scale. Vince taught me so many lessons. Dixie runs a wrestling company from a more personal point of view. I’ve learned things from her that I would never learn from Paul or Vince. I don’t have anything negative to say about any of them.”
“There is no state of the tag team division anywhere. Unfortunately, tag team wrestling is almost extinct. As great as Daniels and Frankie are, you can’t build a tag team wrestling around that because there aren’t enough teams. Until they put the focus on trying to rebuilt It (the division), it won’t happen. Devon and I got to work with some great teams in both WWE and TNA.”

Chris Shore: “Do you think you could have this same level of success as a babyface? Is there any concern with Aces and Eights fizzling out?”

Ray: “That’s a very good question and something I’ve thought about. I’m not exactly sure I could get the full emotional support that is needed to be a top-tier babyface again. Being liked sucks; be hated is so much better. If you like me, that’s good. If you respect me, that’s better. If you hate me, that’s the best.”
“I think everything is still a work in progress, and as long as I continue with Aces and Eights, the sky is the limit. Tell me right now, in pro wrestling, who generates the heat that I, or Aces and Eights, do? If you hate us, you will hate us with every breath in your body, and if you like us you will like us to the end.”

Chris P.: “What is the key to the longevity to you and Devon’s careers? Is there a relatonship between your academy and TNA?”

Ray: “One word: passion. We came up the old school way. We paid our dues, we busted our asses, we’ve been all over the world and we still love doing it. That’s what keeps us going. Being able to train some of the future stars in our academy, helping the young guys in TNA, all of that stuff keeps us going. Guys like us who have so much passion, you don’t find a lot of those guys anymore.”
“The academy and TNA have cross-promoted before, but we are not affiliated with anybody. We opened the school to help guys reach their potential, we never promised them a job anywhere. Sam Shaw, who will be wrestling at Slammiversary, is a graduate of the academy.”

Dean O.: “How important is it to keep Sting away from the title picture? Will Aces and Eights be with you at ringside?”

Ray: “It’s extremely important. Sting is always a threat. Sting can still go. He has it 1000%. He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been in there with. Does he deserve to be facing me for the title? Absolutely. We’re going to deliver at Slammiversary and I am going to kick his ass. I want to put him up on my trophy wall. I want to be the guy that ruined his World Title aspirations for the rest of his life.”
“You never walk alone.”

Jamie Kennedy: “Is there one specific piece of advice that you were given at the beginning of your career that still holds true today? How much has going live and taking Impact on the road helped the guys? What do you think of ”
A.J.’s new character?

Ray: “Two words, very simple. GET OVER. I don’t care what you do when you go out there, make the people react. Make them cheer, make them boo, make them laugh, make them cry. Get over, then a company will want to use you. If you can get over, a company will be forced to use you.”
“It has helped everyone so much. It is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to TNA. You can’t stay in a sound studio that you have been in for eight years, you have to move. You need new fans from all over. The fans are getting their money’s worth.”
“I thought he would be a good fit with Aces and Eights, but it didn’t go how I had planned. A.J. is doing his own thing and going on his own. He stabbed Aces and Eights in the back and stabbed Kurt Angle in the back. It will be interesting to see which path A.J. chooses in the weeks to come.”

“What is the match on the Slammiversary card, other than yours, that you’re looking forward to? How much of a chance do you give Von Slinger in Gut Check?”

Ray: From a personal point of view, my brother Devon versus Joe Park. From a wrestling point of view, A.J. Styles vs. Kurt Angle. Sam Shaw vs. Jay Bradley as well because Sam is a graduate of my academy.”
“I don’t know him, so I can’t give him an accurate chance.”

“As someone who came from the Land of Extreme, what are your thoughts on bleeding and blood-born illnesses in pro wrestling?”

Ray: “Guys have been bleeding in wrestling for over 100 years. Do I think there is room for blood in pro wrestling? Yeah, why shouldn’t there be? If you have a safe company and people are properly tested, I don’t see why guys can’t get busted open.”

Donald Wood: “How special is it to work with Devon while being at the top? Would you like to face Hulk Hogan sometime in the future?”

Ray: “It’s kind of cool. What other tag team in history has enjoyed this singles, side-by-side success as we are? Has any other tag team every held the two highest ranking titles in a company as singles wrestlers side-by-side? I’m the World Champion, he’s the TV Champion, we lead the most successful faction in professional wrestling right now.”
“After I get through with Sting, I want Hulk Hogan in the ring. Hulk Hogan vs. Bully Ray will get the wrestling world talking. People will be interested and they’ll want to see what happens.”

David Dunn: “Did you ever watch any Sting matches growing up?”

Ray: “Yeah, one of my favorite matches was Sting and Flair vs. Muta and Funk. Sting was always a top guy and to be able to stand across from him will make for a great main event.”

Josh M.: “Who do think will be the second man in the TNA Hall of Fame? What are your favorite tag team moments?”

Ray: “I have no idea. I really don’t know. Who do you think it should be? (Josh says Jeff Jarrett.) I think that will be a great induction.”
“I really don’t have favorite matches or anything in my career. Everything has been my favorite, but obvously there are moments in my career that stand out more. The first time Devon and I hit our first 3D in ECW, the first time we won the ECW Tag titles, our last night in ECW, all of our ladder matches in WWE, in TNA all the great matches against Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns, winning the All-Japan Cup. All of those things stand out in tag team wrestling.”

That concludes the conference call.

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