IMPACT WRESTLING on Pop Tuesdays at 9/8c starting January 5, 2016

Bracing For Impact: Bullying Ray


By James Guttman

For World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray, life has always been about confrontation.  The true nature of a bully is to push and push until the object of his ire fades away in fear.  From the moment he set foot in TNA, Bully Ray has never taken a back-step from anyone and it's usually given him success.

But what goes around comes around and every once in a while, things catch up to a bully.  Not everyone runs for the hills at the thought of battle.  Even those that seem to have shied away from the fight return to fight some more.  That's what AJ Styles did.  After months of brooding over TNA's lack of faith in his loyalty, Styles returned to not only join the Main Event Mafia, but score the decisive pinfall in last week's loser-of-the-fall-leaves-TNA tag match.  He didn't just send a member of Aces and Eights packing.  He sent the Bully's closest ally packing.  Devon is gone and even the champion's biggest supporters have to concede that it's been a major blow.

This Thursday, Ray's concern continues.  After unveiling Brooke Tessmacher as the "Brooke" he's been romancing behind-the-scenes, Bully relished in his trickery.  He managed to makes fans and wrestlers apprehensive over his implied relationship with another "Brooke".  He sullied her reputation and made those watching question her loyalty.  It was a big laugh for the Champion.  Har-dee-har-har.

But the last laugh might be TNA's as Brooke's father, the Immortal Hulk Hogan returns on Thursday's Impact. Knowing the heated rivalry that has been brewing between Hulk and Bully, one can only imagine what Hogan has to say.  After endless torment, has Hulk finally had enough?  If so, it only spells trouble. Hogan's career has been paved with the beaten bodies of legends who have pushed him to the edge.  Sure there's no one more dangerous than our World Heavyweight Champion.  But a father who's watched his daughter's emotions and good name toyed with can be downright explosive.

Seems like a lot to handle our Aces and Eights President, huh?  A TNA Icon and a wrestling legend both with axes to grind would leave any superstar overwhelmed.  Hopefully not Bully, though.  Because he also has a little thing called the “Bound For Glory Series” to worry about.  You know, the big competition with several superstars who could all conceivably take him down on the right night.

Every week, the BFG Series competitors are put into dangerous contests against one another all for the hope of just getting to challenge the World Champion.  Can you imagine what that does to a wrestler's mental state? The title match becomes more than a match.  It becomes the epic culmination of months of battle.  It means so much more than any of us, possibly even Bully Ray, can imagine.

Think about it.  This Thursday, we have Jeff Hardy vs. Magnus, AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries vs. Christopher Daniels, and Hernandez vs. Kazarian.  During every one of those matches, each man will be consumed with the idea of scoring points all so he can face our World Heavyweight Champion.  The intensity with which they focus on Ray overtakes them.  They think about him when they're in the ring.  They imagine his face during sparring sessions.  They scream his name when putting up that final rep they didn't think they could lift at the gym.  He's their motivation every single week and the object of all their hard work.

What's truly crazy is that we're not even bringing up the beef he invited upon himself by orchestrating Tito Ortiz's turn on Rampage Jackson two weeks ago.  Or Chris Sabin's rage over being screwed out of the World Heavyweight Title.  Or…well, you get the idea.  To say that Ray has a lot on his plate would be a drastic understatement.  He doesn't even have a plate anymore.  It broke from all the things he's piled on it.  

They say what goes around comes around.  I hope Bully Ray enjoyed his time bullying the stars of Impact Wrestling.  Because it looks like things are starting to come around.