It has finally happened. It looked likely at the Royal Rumble, where we were all left scratching our heads wondering who was going to be getting the tables. It then appeared as though the dream would remain just that earlier in the summer, as the Bully seemed to return to TNA to make an impact. Then, finally, this Monday on Raw, The Dudley Boyz made their return to the WWE after ten years away from the big time.
As you can see, they made one hell of an impact. They put Xavier Woods through a table on Raw, then defeated The Ascension and put Viktor through a table on Smackdown. The great thing is that this was by no means a one off. It has been rumoured that Bubba Ray and Devon have both signed multi-year full time contracts with WWE – meaning that they will appear on PPVs, Raw and Smackdown, and also live events.
The Dudleys are going to be a massive lift to a tag-team division that badly needed something fresh. Whenever you has Los Matadores challenging for the titles, you know it’s struggling. But with the Dudleys’ return, as well as the Usos hopefully being back in the near future, I think we can look forward to some exciting action in the near future. There is certainly a lot of potential there, as I would expect some combination from the Wyatt Family to be back in the mix too. Dare I even think it, with so many teams in the mix, and the table masters of Dudleyville a big part of it, can we dream of more TLC matches to rival 15 years ago?
They will be far and away the most popular side in the company, which I definitely think will benefit everybody. The Prime-Time players can get decent reactions in front of the right crowd, but that was nothing compared to the sustained popularity of The Usos throughout most of last year, which in turn will be nothing compared to ovations The Dudley Boyz will undoubtedly receive every single night they are in the building. This is very important for WWE, because where you have someone with the ability to get the fans behind them en masse like The Dudleys, there is in turn an opportunity for someone to get the crowd united against them.
Because of this, The Dudley Boyz coming back to WWE could be the best thing that could have happened to The New Day.
Let me just start this off by saying I’m a huge fan of The New Day, to the point they are right up there with my favourite acts in WWE today. They have fully embraced their heel personas after failing miserably to get over as faces, but honestly the gimmick was always better suited to being heels. I would have believed it was always the plan for them to be heels if the trio hadn’t said that Vince was devastated that it didn’t work as faces.
It’s the classic catch-22 for WWE. This is a group people hated as good guys, so would boo them when they weren’t “supposed to”. But they have become a group people love as bad guys, and you could hear the cheers growing for them every week, more and more people were clapping along and actually believing that New… Day Rocks. It’s actually a recurring issue within WWE that is indicative of a wider booking problem, and it’s something that I’ve heard Dave Meltzer and Jim Ross (among others) talk about. There aren’t really any true heels out there anymore. Nobody who is so good at being bad that they get booed on a regular basis for it, while remaining credible in the process.
The most obvious example I can think of in recent times was Bray Wyatt. He was someone who was different, who was creepy, who was essentially this generation’s Mankind. But what he did with his promos, entrances and moves in the ring, hell, it was cool. His crab in the middle of the ring is terrifying, but it’s also badass. People realised this and started cheering for him. Theoretically, those lights you see from the crowd during his entrance aren’t good things. And we saw it, right after he was getting his loudest reactions, right after he had the most people backing him that he’s ever had, he lost a lot of momentum as a heel.
The New Day were in danger of the same thing happening to them, I absolutely believe that. This is why I believe it will massively help The New Day going up against The Dudley Boyz. There is no way that people are going to cheer and chant for The New Day in favour of the bonafide legends that are Bubba Ray and D-Von, especially if they are going to be putting people through tables on a weekly basis. The Dudleys are at that rare level where even if WWE tried to turn them heel they would still get cheered out of pure respect. The WWE Universe are so happy to have one of – if not absolutely – the greatest tag teams in the history of the business back on their screens every week, and will continue to let the Dudleys know that.
It’s always a breath of fresh air when a new team is introduced to the mix, and it’s an incredible bonus when it’s someone with the ability and the legacy of The Dudley Boyz. They are coming back to a roster full of fresh matchups for them, which I’m sure is just as exciting for them as it is for us. They will be able to help everyone they work with, and will undoubtedly add to their already Hall of Fame worthy career in this run. Bubba Ray and D-Von are already ten-time tag-team champions in WWE, and I think we should expect to see them add to that at some point in the near future.