Bully Ray Talks Madison Square Garden, Locker Room Morale, ROH and NJPW Relationship

Bully Ray Dudley recently spoke with Sporting News to hype this Saturday’s Ring of Honor G1 Supercard show from Madison Square Garden. Dudley reflects on his memories working at MSG, and hopes that the ROH locker room, high on morale, is prepared for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

It’s fun to sit back and watch these guys but I still don’t think that they realize what they really have coming at them. You’ll never understand what it’s like to perform in Madison Square Garden. You can’t fathom it until you perform in Madison Square Garden. You have to go through that curtain and you have to experience that rush on your own for the first time.

So right now, it’s just all talk in the locker. “Oh, it’s really cool. We’re going to be in Madison Square Garden. Isn’t it going to be great?” Until you step foot in there, until you go through that curtain, until you hear that music play and you stand on that stage and you take it all in, that’s when it hits you. And a lot of these guys are in for a good, rude awakening.

They’re going to get hit with that rush of emotion when they see that crowd and when they see that building. That rush of emotion can almost make you black out. You gotta be really conscious of it because it can take over you and it could screw up your performance. So, you have to go out there calm, cool, collected, take it in, smell the roses but you never really know what it’s like until you do it.

 

I’m fortunate enough that I wrestled there at the Royal Rumble 2000, I wrestled at WrestleMania in Madison Square Garden. I’ve wrestled in main events at Madison Square Garden. I’ve been on the marquee and wrestled The Rock at Madison Square Garden. We’ve done a lot in that building. I think I’ll have a handle on it because I understand what it’s like and I know that feeling that will come over me once I go through the curtain.

The most special thing for me now because I’ve accomplished so much in my career and in that building, the thing I’m most proud of is that I’m not going into Madison Square Garden as Bubba Ray Dudley. I’m going in as Bully Ray. I’m going into The Garden as something I created and I nurtured and I was able to take to world’s championship status and I was able to bring to Ring of Honor and try to help make a difference. One of the last things on my bucket list really was to bring one of my creations to Madison Square Garden and knock on wood, as long as I make it there that day, that’s hopefully what I’ll be doing and stealing the show.

Dudley would later be asked about the working relationship between ROH and NJPW.

I think the two companies have worked famously together. Both companies benefit. Both offices have a great rapport and a great, respectful relationship. I think the wrestlers respect one another and each other’s abilities to perform. I think Ring of Honor and New Japan just need to stay the course. For Ring of Honor, I think they are going to be in a unique position that they’ve never been in before. For 17 years, Ring of Honor has existed in its own safe place in the wrestling world. Ring of Honor didn’t screw with anybody and nobody screwed with Ring of Honor. Ring of Honor never had any direct competition.

Ring of Honor, after The Garden, is going to be put under a microscope because if you go in front of 16-17,000 people, when you go to your regular live events in smaller venues, you need to make sure those smaller venues are sold out, standing room only and a line out the door to see your product. People are going to look at that. They’re going to compare the amount of people that were at Madison Square Garden to the normal business that Ring of Honor does. Like I said, they will be under a microscope.

I believe the second task that Ring of Honor has is with the creation of AEW that, for the first time, Ring of Honor will have direct competition for their fanbase because AEW fans are Ring of Honor fans. I think the thing that Ring of Honor needs to work on is identity. We’ve always known who they are for 17 years. Some of the best wrestlers, some of the best athletes, some of the most exciting wrestlers and matches we’ve seen but now they have to take the next step as they’re carving out their identity.

If WWE is the greatest in sports entertainment and Ring of Honor is the best entertaining sport, now AEW are the cool kids in town. I think Ring of Honor needs to become very unpredictable. I think Ring of Honor needs to take chances that they’re not used to taking. Maybe look for some talent that they wouldn’t normally go after. Bully Ray and Ring of Honor, it was like oil and water at first but I’m proud to say that the relationship has worked very well. That’s what I’d like to see Ring of Honor do personally.

Check out the full interview here. 

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