The departure of The Dudley Boyz on Monday night (and the subsequent morning) did not come as a surprise to many. The only time Bubba Ray and D-Von were seen is when there was either a random battle royal for a No. 1 contendership, or in a 10-mag tag team match consisting of all the tag teams on the roster. This is hardly a position for a team as esteemed as The Dudley Boyz to be in.
Even though he was a cancerous, smug tapeworm, the New York Yankees still put Alex Rodriguez on the field this year.
However, this is a drastic difference between the latest versions of A-Rod and the Dudley Boyz: The Dudleyz can still be meaningful contributors to the company cause. According to the Internet Wrestling Database, they have been used frequenty at house shows while working with the current young batch of tag team talent the WWE has to offer. However, not allowing them to be seen by the television viewers at home, the ones that needed to see them, the WWE missed a golden opportunity to launch other tag teams that could have used the assistance.
Since ravaging their bodies against the likes of The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian years ago, Bubba Ray and D-Von have not wrestled the type of matches that shorten careers; they are well-preserved, and the matches they had during their latest stay in the WWE proved that. Since their return, the Dudleyz have been instrumental in allowing The New Day and Enzo & Cass to continue their rise to the top; nobody can question that. However, it is all the other months spent doing nothing that the WWE should find regretful.
The New Day and Enzo & Cass were already on their way to prominence without the assistance of The Dudley Boyz; it is just a nice notch on their belt to say that they defeated the most decorated tag team in the history of professional wrestling. These rising teams have the opportunity to have wars with other developing teams like The Ascension, Breezango, The Vaudevillains and The Hype Bros – teams that could actually use the rub that comes with defeating The Dudley Boyz whilst attempting to fight for relevance on a tag team division on Smackdown dominated by American Alpha and The Usos. None of these teams had a logical reason to even come close to defeating the Usos or Alpha, and a victorious back-and-forth program with The Dudley Boyz would have given them the legitimacy they needed.
Instead of being drafted to Smackdown, where they could have helped the aforementioned teams, as well as be a launching pad for Amercian Alpha, they were strangely drafted to Monday Night Raw, a show dominated (up to this point) not only by singles feuds involving main event and upper midcard wrestlers, but only consisting of three tag teams worthy of contending for the WWE Tag Team Championship in New Day, Gallows and Anderson and Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. This may be evidence that WWE never saw The Dudley Boyz as being an asset to their roster, an asinine choice should that be the case.
Admittedly, using Bubba Ray and D-Von does not seem to correlate with the general theme of the New Era; they are a team that laid the groundwork for the current tag team renaissance en route to becoming 23-time world tag team championships in multiple organizations. During the Monday Night Wars, WWE watched as World Championship Wrestling over-relied on stars of prior decades to carry their program as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, and others made their names during the Attitude Era. Giving past stars the attention the younger ones needed proved to be WCW’s cement shoes.
The Dudley Boyz should have been utilized within the context of the New Era, but never as a headlining act. Instead, they could have been role players in legitimizing the current crop of new tag teams. That ship has sailed.
Allowing The Dudley Boyz slip through the cracks will most likely prove to be a spoke on the wheel of the New Era, which has brought about arguably the best consistent in-ring action the industry has ever seen.
Nobody would have ever expected Bubba Ray and D-Von perform at the level of their ECW or TLC days, but they should have been expected to elevate others to elevate brooding tag teams hoping to contend with the three tag teams currently dominating in the WWE. I’m sure their house show matches have been lovely, but nobody sees that. What we could have seen was other contending tag teams rise in the ranks due to working with the most decorated tag team in the history of professional wrestling. This run will never remembered when we look back on the careers of The Dudley Boyz, but it could have been; it could have been notable for laying a foundation for another generation of tag teams. Instead, it will be as if the last Dudley run never happened.