While Matt and Jeff Hardy dominated headlines this weekend following their Ring of Honor surprise but Bully Ray made his own impact on Saturday night.
Ray, a former Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Champion and tag team legend, showed up at Ring of Honor's Manhattan Mayhem VI on Saturday night. After ROH Champion Adam Cole successfully retained the title against Bobby Fish, Ray slid into the ring and put the champion through a table as the rest of the Bullet Club scattered.
The hometown crowd erupted as the fellow New Yorker then cut a promo about why he was standing in an ROH ring. He said he wasn't interested in being a veteran "stealing money from a wrestling company" or "try to take...any of the wrestlers' spots."
This #ROH #ManhattanMayhemVI show has been nuts! @bullyray5150 joins ROH!! pic.twitter.com/3439yVgBKU"If I came to Ring of Honor, it's because I genuinely want to," Ray said. "I want to be able -- when I retire -- I want to be able to say I fought for Ring of Honor."
— Rich Laconi (@Rich_Laconi) March 5, 2017
Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported on Friday that Ray nearly signed a "big money" deal to return to Impact Wrestling in a main event spot. However, both sides failed to reach a deal in time, which is why former WWE Champion Alberto El Patron (Del Rio) was brought instead, capturing the company's main title against Bobby Lashley.
Ray did seemingly address those rumors, saying that he had offers from other wrestling companies before appearing for ROH on Saturday. While it wasn't a confirmation or a denial of Impact's interest, the live crowd started a "F**k TNA!" chant, just like they did earlier in the night when The Hardy's announced they signed with ROH.
Still the talk of the wrestling biz. Now thats how you make a DELIGHTFUL impact. pic.twitter.com/zOeMIPdclYPer Cageside Seats, the ECW legend responded to the chant by saying, "and that's the reason I didn't take their offer."
— Bubba Ray Dudley (@bullyray5150) March 5, 2017
After returning to WWE on RAW the day after SummerSlam in 2015, the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) enjoyed a nostalgic run before falling down the WWE's tag team pecking order. They never captured WWE tag team gold during WWE comeback, and they left the company the night after SummerSlam one year later.
Shortly after their departure, Ray's longtime partner D-Von took on a producer/agent role with WWE, working with the talent behind the scenes.
Day 3 as a producer, and all is still going good. Thank you the #WWEUniverse for all of your well wishes.... #smackdowncleveland pic.twitter.com/hYGGDHUP7XRay has competed for several independent promotions since leaving WWE, but before yesterday's appearance had not committed to signing with any one company. Ray was asked about potentially reprising his TNA role as Bully Ray, the character which brought him the most success as a singles wrestler, in WWE.
— D-von Dudley (@TestifyDVon) September 27, 2016
"I don't really think that far ahead when it comes to that. We've been back in the WWE for six or seven months. I never got into wrestling to be a singles wrestler," Ray told The Daily Star. "I always wanted to be part of a team and a very successful team. Bully Ray was something that I did because I just wanted to give it a try and it worked really, really well. If the opportunity ever presented itself in the WWE to have someone like Bully Ray on the roster I would definitely listen to what they had to say."
WWE never extended the offer of a singles run to Ray -- even though it was rumored on a few occasions -- and ROH will possibly be the 45-year-old's final run before he bows out from in-ring competition.
[Featured Image by Impact Wrestling]