D-Von Dudley has revealed that he and his Hall of Fame tag team partner Bubba Ray no longer do business together.
During their time together the Dudley Boyz became one of the most iconic and most decorated tag teams of all time. Across a career spanning two decades the pair won tag team gold in ECW, WWE, IMPACT and New Japan.
However, the two men haven’t teamed together since 2016, shortly after leaving WWE after a short one year run with the company. During this period the Dudleys challenged for the Tag Team Championships but were ultimately unsuccessful.
At this point D-Von Dudley bowed out of active competition while Bubba Ray continued elsewhere with his Bully Ray persona. After hanging up his boots, D-Von stayed with WWE as a producer.
Appearing on The Cut Pro Wrestling Podcast, the tag team legend revealed that he never planned on stopping wrestling, but has since come to enjoy his current role.
“Just for the record, I never wanted to stop wrestling. I never wanted to be a producer backstage for WWE,”
“I enjoy it now but it took me some years to actually embrace it and like it. Bubba decided during that 2016 run that the Dudley Boys were not being treated fair in terms of the position we were in. And I get it to a certain degree but you have to understand, the Attitude Era was gone. And I even said that to him – ‘It’s gone, it’s not coming back.’”
D-Von continued, explaining that going back to WWE in 2015 meant that the team were there to help younger talent, and pass the torch to the next generation.
“I’m not coming back to WWE to relive the Attitude Era. In my opinion and my opinion only, in terms of between the both of us, I didn’t feel that way, like he felt,” D-Von said. “Like they were messing up the legacy that we chose. A title doesn’t mean anything at this point and stage of the game when you’ve won 24 already. So to have another title that says you’re the tag team champion at that point didn’t really mean anything. What meant to me coming back to WWE was helping the young talent out, being able to pass that torch and go back to a place that I felt, back in 2005, that we didn’t leave the right way. There was still some stuff left on the table that I felt we had to come back to WWE in order for me to finish out my career the way I wanted to.”
As the team’s second run with the company came to an end, D-Vin revealed that they were offered another contract. He immediately put pen to paper but Bubba Ray was hesitant, as he wanted to use his Bully Ray character in WWE, but Vince McMahon turned him down.
“There was a contract given to us after the second run [from 2015-16] and Bubba didn’t want to sign it. He wanted to do the Bully Ray character and Vince said no,” D-Von said. “He didn’t want that, he wanted the Dudley’s. He didn’t want us to break up. Regardless to what we did in 2002 when we broke up, it still lay fresh in their minds that we were better as a tag team. It’s his sandbox, you have to play in his sandbox or go home.
“I knew coming back we weren’t going to be the top of the food chain. Although the respect we got from the locker room was tremendous, at the same token, I knew my role in coming back was to help the younger talent and help them get over. And in order for that to happen, we got to lay down and we got to do things we probably don’t want to do. But again, that’s Vince’s philosophy and Vince’s sandbox and you got to play by his rules.”
D-Von described the contract as “great,” but he couldn’t convince Bubba Ray to sign it. As a result the two men went their separate ways.
“Well, Bubba didn’t want to play fair. And I know Bubba will have his own opinion about what happened, but again, that’s the majority of it. They gave us both the contract. I signed it. He didn’t want to sign it and it left a bad taste in their mouth,” D-Von said. “And by the time he was ready to sign it, some time had already went by. Let me give you a timeline: when Shane McMahon came back in Detroit, that was when I signed the deal. That was in March. So the deal actually came to us in February of that year. Now they’ve been trying to get us to sign it and Bubba wouldn’t sign it.
“Now all of a sudden we go forward and I’ve signed it and he hasn’t because there’s still things he felt he had to take care of on his side. By the time he got through that, the company was like, ‘Nah, we don’t want it anymore. We’re not dealing with the headaches.’ And they decided not to do it.
“It wasn’t like the WWE did a bad thing by us. Let me put it to you this way – they gave us a contract that was great, and at 44 and 45 years of age, I even told Bubba, ‘We need to take the money and just go. We’re not gonna get another opportunity like this again. We just need to sign this contract and do another year. If you don’t do another year after it, don’t do it. I’ll go on my own.’ But I couldn’t make him sign it.”
The former Tag Team Champion said that while there isn’t any bad blood between the two men, they are now doing their own thing.
“I wish him nothing but the best. We do not do business anymore. There’s no hard feelings and I don’t have any animosity towards him. It’s just he’s doing his thing and I’m doing my thing,” D-Von said. “Bubba and I are not at odds with each other. We don’t hate one another. We just went different ways like most tag teams do. This is not a Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels thing where we hate each other. We don’t. We just had a difference of opinions at that time and we went our separate ways. Even the wrestling school, he has the wrestling school in Connecticut, I have the one in Winter Park over here. So we both individually own our wrestling schools but we just do things separate now. That’s all.”
After contract talks broke down, D-Von Dudley revealed that he hoped to keep wrestling. However, he was told that without Bubba Ray by his side he wouldn’t be appearing in the ring, instead he was offered the chance to become a producer.
“I never wanted to stop. I even went to them and said, ‘Hey, listen. I’m not ready to become a producer, there’s still a lot left in me,’ and they said, ‘Well you know the old man, you know how he is. He wanted the Dudley’s and Bubba didn’t play fair, so we’re gonna give you this opportunity to stay with the company,’” D-Von said. “So I looked at it, and it was Triple H, and I said, ‘Do I have a choice?’ and he said, ‘No, not really.’ At that point I was going through a divorce and I would have loved to have gone back to Japan to finish my career, but going through a divorce at the time and having to travel 17 or 18 hours on a plane to Japan every week was not what I wanted to do. So I had to weigh my options and say, okay, here we go. I guess I’ll stay here and become a producer.”
The Dudley Boyz were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 by long-time rivals Edge and Christian. D-Von continues to work as a producer for the company while Bubba Ray hosts Busted Open Radio on Sirius XM.
The man also known as Bully Ray recently courted controversy with comments made on the show, where he described “smacking” a former WWE Superstar who complained he was too stiff in the ring.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.