Dudley Boyz No More: D-Von Explains Why He & Bubba Have Split
The Dudley Boyz are arguably the greatest and most decorated tag team in the history of Pro Wrestling. Over the course of their 20-year run together, D-Von and Bubba Ray conquered every major stage they performed on, becoming the only team to win a record 23 World Tag Team Championships across numerous promotions around the world. But those days are indeed over now and done for good according to D-Von, who during a podcast interview declared that he and Bubba no longer "do business".
Appearing on The Cut Pro Wrestling Podcast, D-Von Dudley (real name Devon Hughes) explained the details of the iconic Dudley Boyz's split and why even though there isn't personal animosity between them as people, they no longer work with one another and won't be in the future. H/T to Wrestlinginc.com
"Just for the record, I never wanted to stop wrestling. I never wanted to be a producer backstage for WWE.I enjoy it now but it took me some years to actually embrace it and like it. Bubba decided during that 2016 run that the Dudley Boys were not being treated fair in terms of the position we were in. And I get it to a certain degree but you have to understand, the Attitude Era was gone. And I even said that to him – 'It's gone, it's not coming back.'"
"I'm not coming back to WWE to relive the Attitude Era. In my opinion and my opinion only, in terms of between the both of us, I didn't feel that way, like he felt. Like they were messing up the legacy that we chose. A title doesn't mean anything at this point and stage of the game when you've won 24 already. So to have another title that says you're the tag team champion at that point didn't really mean anything. What meant to me coming back to WWE was helping the young talent out, being able to pass that torch and go back to a place that I felt, back in 2005, that we didn't leave the right way. There was still some stuff left on the table that I felt we had to come back to WWE in order for me to finish out my career the way I wanted to."
So while it seems the Dudley Boyz were at odds about what they were and where they could still go at that point in their careers, things really hit a point of no return when they were offered new contracts by WWE in 2016.
"There was a contract given to us after the second run [from 2015-16] and Bubba didn't want to sign it. He wanted to do the Bully Ray character and Vince [McMahon] said no. He didn't want that, he wanted the Dudleys. He didn't want us to break up. Regardless to what we did in 2002 when we broke up, it still lay fresh in their minds that we were better as a tag team. It's his sandbox, you have to play in his sandbox or go home."
"I knew coming back we weren't going to be the top of the food chain. Although the respect we got from the locker room was tremendous, at the same token, I knew my role in coming back was to help the younger talent and help them get over. And in order for that to happen, we got to lay down and we got to do things we probably don't want to do. But again, that's Vince's philosophy and Vince's sandbox and you got to play by his rules."
And while D-Von signed without hesitation, Bubba did not, effectively leading to the end of the Dudley Boyz.
"It wasn't like the WWE did a bad thing by us. Let me put it to you this way – they gave us a contract that was great, and at 44 and 45 years of age, I even told Bubba, 'We need to take the money and just go. We're not gonna get another opportunity like this again. We just need to sign this contract and do another year. If you don't do another year after it, don't do it. I'll go on my own.' But I couldn't make him sign it."
D-Von continued, explaining how they don't hate each other, but there won't be a Dudley Boyz reunion anytime soon.
"I wish him nothing but the best. We do not do business anymore. There's no hard feelings and I don't have any animosity towards him. It's just he's doing his thing and I'm doing my thing. Bubba and I are not at odds with each other. We don't hate one another. We just went different ways like most tag teams do. This is not a Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels thing where we hate each other. We don't. We just had a difference of opinions at that time and we went our separate ways. Even the wrestling school, he has the wrestling school in Connecticut, I have the one in Winter Park over here. So we both individually own our wrestling schools but we just do things separate now. That's all."
So now the Dudley Boyz are no more, but both D-Von and Bubba Ray continue to work in and around the industry. While Bubba wrestled solo for a bit more in Ring of Honor and now co-hosts the very popular Busted Open radio show with Dave LaGreca on SiriusXM, D-Von signed on with WWE as a Producer.
Could the Dudley Boyz reunite for some one-off appearances down the road? Sure, it is wrestling after all. But at the moment, the Dudley Boyz appear to have put their last opponent through a table.
Check out D-Von Dudley's entire interview below: