WWE Hall Of Famer Bully Ray was recently interviewed by Wrestling Inc. to talk about several professional wrestling topics. Ray discussed the lack of true heels in professional wrestling today, social media’s impact on being a heel, and heels crossing lines such as being racist. Here are the highlights:
Lack of true heels in professional wrestling today: “A good heel elicits no emotions of joy from a wrestling crowd. A real heel is despised. A real heel is hated. A real heel does nothing that brings any happiness to anybody at any given time. And I really, truly believe that, and it’s a very old-school mentality when it comes to the heel that I am.
“In wrestling today, you have a lot of bad guys; there’s some bad guys, there’s some bad girls, but there’s no real heels. I talk about real heels, and I think even a better definition of what I do is I believe I’m the last of the ‘old-school’ heels. New-school heels are good from time to time, but they tend to be a little bit more entertaining, and I don’t think that my heels should ever be entertaining first.
“If being entertaining is a by-product of what you’re doing, you can’t control that, because some people just root for the bad guys, and you can’t help that. I try to do my best to make sure that everybody hates me, and in-turn, if everybody hates me, that means they love the good guy that I’m in there with. That’s my job, and a lot of people don’t stick to their job nowadays.”
Social media’s impact on being a heel: “I don’t think it’s harder to be a heel at all, I just think you have to be a little bit smarter. Obviously, you can’t say a lot of the things that you could say 20 years ago, you can’t push a lot of the same buttons that you could push 20 years ago, so you have to find new buttons to push in a way that is I guess entertaining and offensive, but not over-the-top offensive.
“So I think modern-day heels just have to be smarter. I go out there and I try to offend, I try to get that hatred because that’s what wrestling lacks these days. I hear a lot of people out there, a lot of bad guys that get complimented on their ‘heel work.’ Well that means that they’re just playing the bad guy on any given day. I can be the bad guy for a year, for two years, I could’ve been the bad guy my entire career.
“I embrace it, I think too many other people shun it. Especially with social media today, too many wrestlers are chasing the hug on Twitter and on their Instagram they want so many people to like them. They think that if they get ‘likes’ and retweets it means how over they are.
“The only thing that constitutes how over you are is the amount of zero’s in your bank account. That determines whether or not you’re over, because if you’re over, you’re a draw and you’re making money.”
Heels crossing lines like being racist: “Being a racist, I don’t think has ever been a smart way to go. I mean, people have pushed those buttons in the past, I’ve probably pushed those buttons once or twice myself. But no, racial heat is not good. But then I’ll ask you this: how come DX doing an impersonation of the Nation of Domination was acceptable, but if you ever tried to do that today, you’d be fired?…
“What I mean is, some people may have said it was acceptable, but it aired on TV, nobody got reprimanded, there was no apology made, there was no backlash from it… I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying that type of stuff was done before and the backlash wasn’t nearly as severe as it would’ve been today. Now I don’t think a racial way is the right way to go, that’s a button that I don’t think I would push.”