It’s fair to say that I got rather hot in my Under Siege review last week about the show’s closing angle and the return of Bully Ray.
My frustrations weren’t born out of some anti-Bully Ray agenda per se, although admittedly, I’m not the guy’s biggest fan. Instead, it was the fact that Impact got all they possibly could out of him in his six-month run from October to April, and all bringing him back now was doing was putting Scott D’Amore over and preventing Steve Maclin from building his own organic heat.
In the week since that show, nothing has changed, and as this column will hopefully show, I’m probably now even more annoyed with the booking of him than I was then.
During the past week, Impact started announcing matches for their Against All Odds live show on June 9 in Columbus, Ohio. As much as it’d make more sense in canon to wait until after the TV had aired on Thursday night, I appreciate that with a two-week build, they needed to announce stuff to get ticket sales moving.
The announcement that stood out most was the 8-4-1 match, a play on something Warrior Wrestling has done before, where a tag-team match leads into a four-way that leads into a top contender.
The match itself wasn’t the intriguing thing, as Impact seems to do multi-man variations all the time to crown top contenders. Instead, it was the fact that Bully Ray was announced as one of the participants.
From a kayfabe perspective, all I could ask myself was, why? The promotion ended their last show with Bully Ray attacking his boss and putting him through a flaming table. Now, with no real explanation or addressing of that spot, that same person who assaulted his boss is being rewarded with a place in a title contendership match, putting him potentially two matches away from main eventing one of their biggest shows of the year.
Wrestling is dumb and silly; we all know that, but the minimum I ask for with storytelling and match bookings is logic and continuity.
It’s a fairly low bar, and if you’ve got a logical reason, or the commentators at least try to provide one, for something happening, I can normally accept it.
To that end, I thought that when Impact announced that Bully Ray would be opening up their TV on Thursday night, there’d be an explanation for him not being kayfabe suspended and instead being in this top contender’s match. I wasn’t sure whether that was him goading someone and begging for a spot or whatever, but I wanted and expected something.
Instead, we got ZILCH.
No explanation, no reasoning for him being there. He just said he was in, said he was going to win, and said that the promotion would never be able to get rid of him. He also managed to take all the heat away from Steve Maclin in that segment too, which was a great look for your new World Champion.
I’m not saying I’d have all the answers if I had the pencil, but surely the play, if this is all building to Bully Ray vs Scott D’Amore at Slammiversary, would have been to use this episode of TV to have Santino Marella, the other on-air authority figure, suspend Ray for his actions. You could then have Ray appear at the next tapings, leading to D’Amore returning and challenging him to a match in front of the President’s home fans in Windsor, presumably with the stipulation of Ray’s contract being on the line.
That makes more sense in my head, certainly a lot more than the story of a man violently assaulting his boss, potentially leaving him with serious injuries, and then being rewarded with a chance at title contendership without any punishment. Surely, in kayfabe, if he can get away with it, surely everybody should be that much of a heel because they’d all get on better?
No one can now, but I wish Impact could make it all make sense.