Credit: Larry Csonka
Here are notes from today’s TNA Slammiversary conference call with TNA World Champion Bully Ray.
The call started at 1:30 PM ET.
They hype the new Impact start time of 9PM ET tomorrow night.
Bully is asked about being the guy in a singles role for the company, and he says he takes the pressure and turns it into his performances. He has been in high profile matches before, but now has to take into account that it is all on him to deliver a performance. There are no breaks like when he was in a tag team. He puts over Sting and says it is the biggest match of his singles career, and also one of the biggest of his overall career. He is proud to main event Slammiversary.
He is asked about how satisfied he is in his role and is asked if the Shield is a copycat. He doesn’t think they are a copycat, and feels that both companies deliver very different products. He feels TNA delivers something for everyone, and doesn’t worry about WWE, because they do what they do. He is proud of what he has accomplished, he worked hard and is happy with the Aces and 8s angle.
He is asked about being a world champion and says that it was actually never a goal of his. When he got into wrestling, he was always a huge tag team wrestling fan first. His earliest memories are of tag team wrestling. He wanted to be a tag team guy and be as successful as he could be. He wanted to go down with the Road Warriors, the Midnight Express and so on. He and Devon may not be the best of all time, but he will say that they are the most successful tag team that ever lived. He and Devon have done what no other team have done. But now, they saw the time to go into singles careers and to try and see if they could succeed as singles.
When asked about evolving into a singles performer and world champion, he says that when he went into singles, his goal was to see how close he could get to the original version of him without doing what he did at times in ECW. He wanted to be in your face and edgy. He will put his character against anyone as far as being hated goes. He didn’t have a goal to be champion at first, but when he saw the reactions after matches with guys like AJ and other great workers, he says it helped the character grow. But in ways it is not a character, it is him with the volume turned up.
As far as freedom on the mic, TNA gives him a lot of freedom and he enjoys that. They allow performers to be who they think they should be and that is why they have such great talent. People emotionally invest in them. To be able to say what he wants and how he wants allows him to succeed.
On reinventing himself physically, he says he had to do it to make the character fresh and new. He had the in ring skill, but had to make the visual change. He always wanted to be in the shape he is in, and feels he is a good athlete, but the cosmetic change had to be made. He thinks that the reinvention got people to take notice during his run; he feels great and looks great.
He enjoys being able to do interviews like this and speaking for TNA, because it moves the company forward. He thinks Slammiversary will be a great show, and that the roster will deliver. This locker room is the best cross section of wrestlers in the world.
When asked about TNA touring the UK, and his baby face run during the last tour, he says that it was his idea to do all of the Hogan mannerisms. The people responded, and he only does stuff in the ring to get some kind of reaction. He learned this from Vince McMahon, do not do what you think is entertaining, do what the fans will react too. As far as the Team 3D Academy, they run an old school academy. Old school rules, new school tools. They teach the foundation of respect of the business, and then they teach then the new school way to make it in wrestling today. He adds that some schools are operated by guys that have no right to run a school, so they do things the right way to give these guys the best foundation possible.
On being the guy in TNA, it is cool and never thought about it all that much. He busted ass and knew it could happen. But this is a company and not one guy can carry the company in this day and age, they have to work together, and once again puts over the talent of the locker room. If wrestling was a buffet, by the way Tommy Dreamer is fat, they offer the best buffet out there.
On TNA guys that are the future, Magnus and Rock Star Spud. Magnus is the total package and is a future world champion. Spud has the it factor, and has a ton to offer.
On comparing Heyman, Vince and Dixie; he has learned more from wrestling from Paul and Vince. They are pure and best wrestling minds of all time. Paul Heyman molded him, and he got to work side by side with him, and puts over Heyman’s mic skills. Going from Paul to Vince is like going from Vader to the emperor, as he learned even more from him. Vince taught him so much, and then Dixie has been a great boss because she runs it on a personal level. She taught him things that he couldn’t learn from the others due to her different approach. He has nothing bad to say about any of them.
When asked about tag team wrestling he says there is none, because it is almost extinct. He puts over bad Influence and Aries and Roode, but it doesn’t feel the same as it used too. Bad Influence are great, but without other teams, you cannot build a real division. He wishes he could be more positive, but WWE & TNA have to put on a better effort to make it come back.
On his baby face run, he is asked if he could have a big run as a face like he is now as a heel. He says he is not sure he could get the full emotional investment to be a to tier face again. It could be done, but it would take a lot of time. Being liked sucks, being hated is so much cooler. He loves being hated.
In regards to stables never properly ending, he is asked about the Aces and 8s angle and says that it is a work in progress, and as long as he continues with them and they can generate the hate that they do, the sky is the limit. He asked who creates more real hate than he does, and the reporter cannot think of anyone else. He brings to the table something that isn’t the basic chant response, and that is rare today in wrestling.
When asked about his longevity, he says it all comes down to passion. He and Devon want to be there, the came into the business the right way, they succeeded, they make money and they still love the business. They still wake up and do what they want to do with their lives, and that is what keeps them going. Training the stars of tomorrow, helping the younger guys in TNA, it all makes it worth it. They are the last of a dying breed.
The Team 3D Academy is not associated with any wrestling company. They work to make these guys prepared so that they can go out and have a great chance to succeed. He then puts over Sam Shaw as a former student, and he will wrestle at Slammiversary.
When discussing the match with Sting, he says it is important to win and keep him away from the title. He says Sting can still go, and who ever doubt him needs to stop. The man is tough and the people love him. He deserves his title shot, and they will deliver at Slammiversary. He also wants the notch in his belt, he wants to kill Sting’s title hopes and to be remembered as the guy that did that.
He is asked about the Team 3D Academy, and advice he was given that he passes on. He says this to all of his students, “get over”. That means no matter what you do out in the ring, make sure the people react in some way to you and to invest in you emotionally. He doesn’t care about what moves you do, get over and a company will use you.
When asked about TNA going live on the road, Bully says that there is no doubt about it, it is the best thing the company has done. It has been so positive for the fans and the performers, and has an entirely new energy. This will also help TNA grow, you cannot stay in a sound studio, you need new blood, new fans, and the changes have allowed for that to happen.
When asked about the new AJ Styles, Bully says that AJ is doing his thing and being on his own. Last week he took out Angle and some of the Aces and 8s, so it will be interesting to see what path AJ chooses in the weeks to come.
Bully says that he is looking forward to AJ vs. Kurt at Slammiversary. He wants to see what they can do, because they have always had fantastic matches. He also looks forward to the Sam Shaw match, because he was a 3D student.
When asked about blood in wrestling and the health issues it comes with, Bully says that guys have been bleeding in wrestling for 100 years. In ECW he was in the ring with guys that bled every night, guys that did not lead the cleanest of life styles. There is room for blood in wrestling, and to take it away, it waters down the sport. If you have a safe company and people are tested, he sees no problem with using blood in wrestling.
On being able to share this run with Devon, it is cool. What tag team has been as successful as a team has also enjoyed the side-by-side success that they have. He’s not blowing his own horn, but it is a fact in what they have accomplished. They reinvented themselves, and that is why they are relevant.
When asked about a possible title match with Hulk Hogan, Bully says he wants Hogan in the ring. He wants to look across at him and know that his fate will be the same as Sting’s. And for one reason or another, people will talk about that match, and at the end of the day there will be interest in what happens.
He puts over Sting and Flair vs. Funk and Muta in the Thunderdome Cage as a favorite Sting match. He thinks that wrestling Sting is cool, and Sting was always a guy he followed. Sting was always a top guy, and to stand across from him now, and the match has everything it needs to be a great main event.
When asked who will be the next TNA Hall of Fame member, Bully has no idea. Bully asks who the reporter think sit should be, and he says Jeff Jarrett. Bully says that is a great pick, and agrees.
The call ended at 2:24 PM ET.