Bully Ray strikes major gold
Bully Ray, formerly known as Bubba Ray Dudley of the highly successful Dudley Boyz tag team, struck major gold for the first time as a singles wrestler when he completed a heel turn and defeated Jeff Hardy for the TNA world heavyweight championship at the Lockdown pay per view this past Sunday night in San Antonio in front of the largest crowd in company history.
Ray had been playing the babyface role, a victim of beatdowns by Aces and 8s on several occasions. He "fell" for Brooke Hogan in one of those questionable older man takes advantage of naïve young lady storylines that had the Hulkster appropriately suspicious for a while until Ray seemingly proved the sincerity of his intentions.
They went through the classic wrestling marriage angle in center ring, but after the swerve of Aces and 8s (including former partner Devon), this time interfering on behalf of Bully Ray, it was Ray ranting and raving at Hulk and Brooke while holding aloft the gold belt symbolic of supremacy at the end of the show. In a scene reminiscent of the classic NWO angle of WCW days, the ring was pelted with soft drinks and garbage as Ray raged on about how he had used the Hogans to get what he wanted.
Wes Brisco upset Kurt Angle earlier in the show when a ref bump allowed Angle's complete escape from the cage (after getting Brisco to tap out) to be ignored. Angle was actually out on the ramp celebrating when D'Lo Brown of Aces and 8s threw Angle back in, pulled Brisco out and the revived ref awarded the win to Brisco. Only in wrestling, they never would have let that one go up in the War Room in Toronto.
Sting's TNA squad managed a victory over the Aces and 8s crew in the Lethal Lockdown event. It was essentially a cluster of weapons and assorted thug tactics throughout. Velvet Sky retained the Knockouts belt by defeating Gail Kim with a little help from ref Taryn Terrell. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries retained the tag straps over Bad Influence and Guerrero and Hernandez in a very good match that lends itself to continuing this feud.
Last Monday's Raw saw WWE pay tribute to Paul Bearer with the traditional opening In Memoriam and various highlight clips interspersed throughout the show. C.M. Punk did come out and offer condolences to Undertaker for his loss, but he said the condolences were for the loss he would be suffering at WrestleMania. He said Bearer would know his record to be 20-0, but after WM it would be 20-1.
Dolph Ziggler bested Daniel Bryan in a very good television bout. The Shield triple teamed and powerbombed Big Show. Brock Lesnar came out and destroyed the aged New Age Outlaws. Heyman did his usual fine job on the microphone and said Lesnar would accept a match with HHH at WM as long as they could name the stipulations-after Hunter signs the contract agreeing to the match.
Mark Henry beat Kofi Kingston after the world's strongest slam. After Ryback squashed Heath Slater, Henry came down and stared at Ryback. Drew McIntyre stepped up to take a shell shock from Ryback and then Henry hit him with the world's strongest slam and stared at Ryback. Not a good night to be Drew McIntyre.
An incensed Kane, carrying the urn to ringside, took on Punk in the evening's main event. When Undertaker's bong hit, a distracted Punk looked to the ramp and turned around into a chokeslam by Kane, who then pinned Punk. Afterward, UT came out to the stage and gestured toward Kane in the ring and they paid homage to the graphic of Bearer put up on the screen.
Suddenly, Punk started hitting Kane repeatedly with the urn and continued until the Dead Man headed to the ring to make the save as the show came to an end with Punk scurrying away in true cowardly heel form.
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week
with The Insider)