Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

The Dudleys Are Duds

The Dudleys are the greatest tag team in history of professional wrestling, in my opinion. There is certainly an argument to be made in their favor.

The Dudleys are the greatest tag team in history of professional wrestling, at least in my opinion. There is certainly an argument to be made in favour of that statement. They have an unheard number of championship reigns to their name, they have fought and defeated nearly every great tag team of the past two generations and are among the elite few teams who could be considered a headlining act. If Bubba Ray and D-Von aren’t considered the absolute best of all time, then they need to be considered at least among the very best.

After a sabbatical in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, the Dudleys made their triumphant return to World Wrestling Entertainment the night after Summer Slam, eliciting a huge reaction from the Brooklyn crowd and destroying the current WWE Tag Team Champions the New Day. They sent a clear message that the Dudleys were back in WWE and it wouldn’t be long before they were once again terrorizing the locker room and putting the rest of the tag team division on notice.

Sadly, most fans are still waiting for those Dudleys to show up. Instead of the brash, aggressive, and take no prisoners tag team of legend, what we currently have on Monday and Thursday nights are a pair of old men who can’t keep up with today’s younger, faster, better competitors. Sure, we still get the same moves, mannerisms, and catch phrases we have grown to know and love, but it feels like all the stuff that made Bubba Ray and D-Von great has been watered down. It’s like watching a pair of neutered pit bulls. Sure they look menacing, but you know they really aren’t that dangerous anymore.

Since returning to action, the Dudleys have failed in every attempt to dethrone the trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods. Their first opportunity at Night Of Champions ended in in a disqualification victory for the bastard brothers of Dudleyville, in what was an obvious attempt by the New Day to save their titles. Cowardly, but successful. It was déjà vu all over again when a rematch was scheduled for the WWE Network Live at Madison Square Garden event. Fool the Dudleys once, shame on you. Fool them twice, shame on the Dudleys. Finally, at Hell In A Cell, even with the distraction of Xavier Woods removed from the equation, the Dudleys were out smarted once again and this time pinned by the champions.

What happened to this once great team? Why is it they can’t get the job done against what is largely a comedic tandem? These are the kind of guys Bubba Ray and D-Von would have chewed up and spit out a few years ago. Did they time away from the McMahon Empire really have that big of an impact? There is a good possibility. While the majority of the Dudley’s time spent in TNA was dominating teams like America’s Most Wanted, The Motor City Machineguns, L.A.X, and Beer Money as Team 3D, the last few years they had been split apart, with D-Von inching closer to retirement and Bully Ray becoming one of the best villains in the business. They haven’t teamed together regularly in years, and no matter how great you one were, it can take time to get back into the groove of things.

It’s also possible that the Dudleys just aren’t trying anymore. Until he returned with Bubba Ray by his side, D-Von had retired from the business. Maybe he only came back to help out his partner in crime get one last run. Of course, I’m not heaping all the blame on D-Von alone. Could Bubba not be giving his all because what he really wants is to be a bully again? Without D-Von, Bubba Ray Dudley became a World Champion. Who’s to say the only way WWE would take him back was if D-Von was along for the ride too? Maybe the Dudleys don’t look like their hearts are in it, because their hearts aren’t in it.

If that isn’t the answer then the truth might just be a little bit hard for both the Dudleys and their fans to swallow. They underestimated this goofy trio and actually ended up biting off more than they could chew. As a fan of Bubba Ray and D-Von I can tell you that I fully expected the former tag team champions to plow through their clapping competition and work with all the young bucks in WWE until one team stepped up and proved their worth by dethroning the champs. Not only has that not happened, but the Dudleys have ended up looking embarrassing next to this new generation of teams. Perhaps the simplest answer is the truest one: The Dudleys just can’t hack it anymore.

So is Bubba Ray and D-Von want to stop their ship from sinking, what needs to be done? The first thing is start winning some matches. While wrestling is entertainment, you can only lose so much before the fans see you as losers. The Dudleys aren’t getting the same reactions as when they first returned and that may be because the fans are starting to lose their faith. They also might want to move down the ladder. Maybe starting at the top of the card wasn’t such a good idea. Working with some lower level teams like the Ascension would give Bubba Ray and D-Von the time they need to acclimate themselves back into the WWE culture, while learning how to be partners again. Who knows, it might even spark their love of tag team wrestling once more.

The Dudleys have always cited the Road Warriors as their biggest influence in the business. Ironically enough, Bubba Ray and D-Von find themselves in a similar situation as their heroes. In 1997, Hawk and Animal were struggling to find their place in the World Wrestling Federation’s Attitude Era. They just couldn’t seem to recapture their glory days. Finally, on October 2, 1997 they had one final match with champions the Godwinns in which the Legion of Doom claimed they would prove that they were either kings of the hill, or over the hill. They won that match. The Dudleys find themselves teetering on that hilltop themselves. If they hope to have one last run as champions instead of a legacy of an overstayed welcome, then the Dudleys need to stop worrying about getting tables, and focus on getting victories.



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