The WWE might’ve planted the seeds to break up one of pro wrestling’s most storied partnerships on Monday’s Raw. I’m talking, of course, about The Dudley Boyz.
On Raw, Bubba Ray and D-Von, who’ve held tag team gold over 20 times across numerous promotions, lost a match to first-time partners in Neville and Sin Cara. The loss was, in part, due to D-Von inadvertently clotheslining his kayfabe half-brother.
Check out the last minute or so of this video and you’ll see that Bubba was none too pleased with his partner.
That alone might not be enough to indicate a forthcoming breakup. After all, these two have been teaming together for 20 years now. One simple miscommunication alone shouldn’t bust up that strong a bond. But cracks in the armor have been showing ever since the team returned around this time last year.
In fact, Bubba Ray and D-Von have been perpetual losers since returning to the WWE. Not to say that’s a bad thing. Rather than hog the spotlight, the veteran duo has taken losses to and elevated ultra-popular acts like the New Day and Enzo and Cass.
That said, the brand extension has thinned the tag team scenes on both Raw and SmackDown Live. There just isn’t a whole of lot of talent left for Bubba and D-Von to elevate. Which is one major reason why a split might make sense.
Granted, there are drawbacks to splitting the pair also. Long-time viewers might recall that Bubba and D-Von were drafted to separate brands during the original brand split in 2002. They trudged through middling mid-card careers before the WWE owned up to its mistake and reunited the two.
Now that both are in their forties, what logical sense does it make for either to embark on a singles career?
For D-Von, the move to singles competition will be tough. He’s just average both in the ring and on the microphone. That’s not to detract from his legacy. He’s one half of a legendary partnership for a reason. But, it’s fair to wonder how D-Von Dudley would be viewed if he spent his career as a singles wrestler.
Aside from a moderately successful run as TNA’s Television Champion, D-Von’s been mostly a tag team specialist. At 44, the WWE probably doesn’t want to invest the resources necessary to build him up. But what he might be able to do is partner up with someone else to help bolster Raw or SmackDown’s tag team division.
Put simply, this potential split isn’t about D-Von. This would be about the WWE capitalizing on Bubba Ray’s individual talents while it still has the chance.
See, Bubba’s always been viewed as the leader of his tag team. Bubba’s the more vocal of the two. He’s the one who tells D-Von when to get the tables. He’s the one who picks and chooses what fights the two get into. Some might even see it as him being a master manipulator.
Bubba can be a phenomenal and entertaining heel. He proves that in segments such as these. But he proved it on a larger scale when TNA made him a top star and its world champion. TNA deservedly gets a lot of flak, but there’s no denying that the man then known as Bully Ray was one of the highlights of its programming.
That span in Bubba Ray’s career was just a few years ago, but it’s doubtful that WWE sees main event glory in his future. He’s 45 and has seen plenty of wear and tear through the years. Nonetheless, Bubba’s a convincing enough heel and wrestler as it is to be perceived as a threat simply by turning on D-Von and picking up a few singles victories.
A turn won’t vault him into the main event of WrestleMania or anything to that extent. But he could be a credible foil to the top few faces on either Raw or SmackDown. He could also help put over guys like Sami Zayn and Neville on Raw or Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews on SmackDown.
At a time when rosters are thin, and the Dudley Boyz aren’t doing anything regardless, that might be strong enough incentive to justify a split.