Bully Ray’s reinvention and transformation has shot him to the top of TNA Impact Wrestling as the current world champion.
This outspoken president of the Aces & Eights looks to further solidify his meteoric rise in his title defense against Sting 8 p.m. ET Sunday, June 2 at the Slammiversary pay-per-view in Boston.
The New York native built a tag team dynasty over the recent decades in pro wrestling with his brother from another mother Devon. Recently he has made the successful transition in the singles ranks.
Ray told media during a conference call leading up to his marquee match that he channels all the pressure he feels into the performance.
“I have been in the tag team world in extremely high profile matches all over the world,” Ray said. “So being in a high-profile singles match, you kind of understand the pressure and are able to channel the pressure into the performance. The only difference now is it’s all on me. It’s all on my soldiers from a total performance point-of-view. In a tag team match if something goes wrong or you need a break or breather you can always look to your partner to tag out. I’m up against, obviously, one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time in Sting.
“This is probably the biggest match of my singles career, and I think one of the biggest matches in my career to this point. Looking forward to it a lot and proud of the fact that I’m main eventing TNA’s second largest pay-per-view of the year.”
Ask the dedicated veteran a few years ago if he would be in this position today, and he would probably say no. Ray was always focused almost purely on tag team wrestling. Growing up he recalled being a tag team wrestling fan first.
“That is my earliest memories of pro wrestling,” Ray said. “I always loved tag team wrestling. I always thought a wrestling match could be so much more exciting with four guys as opposed to two. Before I got into the business I knew I wanted to be a part of a tag team. I wanted to have a successful, legendary tag team that people were going to talk about forever in the likes of the Road Warriors, the Rock ‘n’ Express and the Midnight Express and Arn [Anderson] and Tully [Blanchard] and the Freebirds and the Funks.
“[To be up there] with all of those legendary tag teams, that was my goal. I believe me and Devon accomplished that goal. I will never say that me and Devon are the greatest tag team in the business that ever lived or the best tag team that ever lived…However, I can tell you that we are the most successful tag team that ever lived. When you sit back and analyze tag team wrestling history and the best or greatest of all-time, you are going to have to mention me and Devon. The Dudley Boys slash Team 3D has done what no other tag team has been able to accomplish…”
Even though the passionate world champion competes on his own, it doesn’t mean he rides alone. He leads the group known as Aces & Eights, a faction that has run roughshod over TNA since its inception last year. The gang has been compared to a trio dominating WWE these days. For Ray, the two are unique in their own ways.
“I’m not quite sure the Shield is a copycat of the Aces & Eights,” Ray said. “They have their product, and we have ours. I’m proud of our product because when I sit back and look at the landscape of professional wrestling I can honestly say TNA offers the best brand of sports entertainment slash pro wrestling. There is a lot of bit of everything for everybody in this promotion. I really don’t even worry what they’re doing. They offer a different brand of entertainment as opposed to ours, which is a little edgier…”