Breaking News: Bully Ray Signs New Contract with TNA Wrestling
Bully Ray (real name Mark LoMonaco) has signed a new contract with TNA Wrestling, according to a report from PWInsider. The signing marks the first time since April of 1996 that Ray and Devon (Devon Hughes) are not under contract to the same promotion.
Bully Ray, often introduced as hailing from “Hell’s Kitchen, New York” is a 21-year veteran of the pro wrestling business. He has had legendary runs in ECW, WWE and TNA. Over the course of his career, he and Devon, most frequently as The Dudley Boys, held tag team championships representing nine different companies. They are the only team to hold the ECW, WWE, WCW, NWA, IWGP and TNA World Tag Team Championships.
Due to the status of the listed companies, no one else will ever accomplish this feat.
As The Dudley Boyz in the WWF/WWE, the team had legendary feuds with The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) and Edge and Christian. They also had singles runs after the May 2002 brand extension caused the team to split. Ray became an eight-time Hardcore champion and also challenged Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship on television.
The team was soon reunited and stayed together through the end of their WWE careers in 2005. Upon leaving the WWE, the team was no longer able to use the “Dudley” name, as their employer acquired the rights to the name from ECW.
Called Bubba Ray Dudley (or Buh Buh Ray Dudley) during most of his career, he became Brother Ray Deadly on the indies and simply Brother Ray when entering TNA in October 2005. With Brother Devon, they were called Team 3D.
Cast as faces upon entering TNA, they initially feuded with Jeff Jarrett and America’s Most Wanted. Over the next five years, they feuded with The LAX, The Motor City Machine Guns, Christian Cage and Rhino, Matt Morgan and Abyss, The Main Event Mafia, The British Invasion, Beer Money, The Nasty Body and one last run against The Motor City Machine Guns before announcing a “retirement.”
Ray turned against Devon at their retirement, was re-branded as Bully Ray and went on a murderous run as a heel, putting himself into the position to be a believable challenger for the company’s World Championship. Ray finished the 2011 Bound For Glory Series tied for first but lost to Bobby Roode in the tiebreaker. He has made it to the final four of the 2012 installment and will face James Storm in the semifinal round at Sunday’s No Surrender pay-per-view.
Devon and Ray opened the Team 3D Academy in 2007 and continue to operate the facility today. Past trainees have included Rob Terry (aka Robbie T), Jesse Neal and Leva Bates.
Rumors of both Devon and Ray’s departure from the company surfaced a few months ago, as their contracts were about to expire. It was widely reported that Ray was handing the negotiations. Devon acknowledged his departure on Twitter, going as far as to post a picture of himself in a WWE RAW t-shirt. It’s unconfirmed as to whether or not Ray spent any time working without a contract during the negotiations.
Despite not being under contract to the same company, the duo is still expected to operate their wrestling school in Kissimmee, Fla.
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