July 10, 2005
The Dudley Boys
While most people rarely think of one without the other, the Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray and D'Von) wrestled for several years before they embarked on the road to tag team glory that they now find themselves embarked on. In 1991, Mark Lomonica (later Buh Buh and even later Bubba Ray Dudley) began his career after being trained for a year by Sonny Blaze and Johnny Rodz. After wrestling in the independents under such monikers as Mongo Vyle and the Terminator, he arrived in ECW in 1995 as the bodyguard for Bill Alfonso. The stint, which included getting chokeslammed by 911, was a tryout for Lomonica and it was enough for ECW head Paul Heyman to offer to keep Lomonica on full-time.
Originally, the stuttering Buh-Buh Dudley (as he pronounced his name) was a little on the comical side, incorporating some unconventional dance moves to his routine. However, the hardcore fans of ECW would have no part of it and Buh-Buh soon turned heel. Approximately six months after his debut, Buh-Buh found himself a partner in his "brother" D'Von.
Devon Hughes' family has aspirations of him becoming a minister. Instead, in 1992, after being trained by Johnny Rodz, he entered the ranks of professional wrestling. Known as A-Train, Hughes picked up several independent titles in 1995 including the NSWA U.S. title and the WWO International Championship, before heading to ECW, debuting at Massacre on Queens Blvd on April 13, 1996.
It wasn't exactly a happy family reunion for the Dudleyz in ECW. D'Von and Buh Buh battled each other several times, with D'Von getting the win at Ultimate Jeopardy '96 and Buh Buh evening the score with a win at November to Remember '96.
However on February 1, 1997, D'Von turned on his then-partner, the Sandman and joined with Buh-Buh. The Dudley Boys had united and were on their path to tag team greatness. But first, a glimpse of things to come, as D'Von appeared in the WWE during the ECW Invasion angle, facing Tommy Dreamer on WWE Raw on February 24, 1997.
But the WWE would have to wait, as the ECW Tag Team Championships awaited the Dudleys. On March 15th, the Dudleys defeated the Eliminators to win their first of eight ECW Tag titles. Before the year was out, Buh Buh and D'Von would have two more title reigns under their belts, including another at the hands of the Eliminators and one coming with a victory over PG-13 to claim titles left vacant by the Gangstas.
While title number four would have to wait until October 1998 to begin, that didn't stop the Dudleys from becoming two of the biggest stars in ECW. Their inflammatory remarks stirred many a crowd and the Dudley family seemed to expand with new members coming out of the woodwork including Big Dick Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley, Dances With Dudley and, of course, Spike Dudley, who Buh Buh Ray and D'Von seemed to take great delight in tormenting.
1998 would not end before the Dudleys claimed their fifth (when D'Von defeated Rob Van Dam in a singles match to end the reign of Van Dam and Sabu) and sixth (with a win over Balls Mahoney and Masato Tanaka) ECW Tag Team title reigns.
As the Dudleyz time in ECW began to come to an end, they found themselves feuding with Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley over the ECW Tag Team titles, with the Dudleys defeating Spike and Mahoney for their final two ECW tag title reigns. That eighth and final championship came even after D'Von and Buh Buh had signed with WWE. Their final title victory came at the first TNN tapings on August 26th, after which the Dudleys threatened to take the belts with them to WWE.
Thankfully for ECW, that very night, the unlikely team of Tommy Dreamer and Raven upset the Dudleys to win the titles. The Dudleys would be heading to WWE without ECW gold.
Debuting as heels in WWE (and Buh Buh regaining his trademark stutter), the Dudleys were in the thick of the WWE Tag Team scene, frequently battling the APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) and the Hardy Boys. Despite losing a tables match to the Hardys at the 2000 Royal Rumble, the Dudleys rebounded to defeat the New Age Outlaws and begin their first WWE Tag Team title reign.
The Dudleys would lose the titles to Edge and Christian in a three-way ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000 (also involving the Hardy Boys) and would spend much of 2000 losing to subpar teams like Test and Albert and X-Pac and the Road Dogg. They would also become known for their penchant for putting women (including Trish Stratus and Mae Young) through tables.
2001 would start off better for the Dudleys as they defeated Edge and Christian for the WWE Tag belts at the Royal Rumble only to lose the titles to the Hardys on March 5th. Two weeks later, however, with the help of a debuting Spike Dudley, Buh Buh and D'Von would regain the titles from Edge and Christian on the same night that the Canadian brothers had defeated the Hardy Boys for the belts.
The three-way war for WWE Tag Team gold would continue into Wrestlemania X-7 with Edge and Christian once again coming out on top, this time in a TLC match. After a short feud with X-Factor, the Dudleys would once again hold the gold, defeating Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho on Smackdown in mid-June.
The Dudleys would reteam with many of their ECW running-mates with the formation of the ECW/WCW Alliance and the beginning of the Invasion angle. With the help of Kronik, the Dudleys would regain the WWE Tag Team titles on September 17, 2001. A month later, even though The Rock and Chris Jericho would dethrone them as WWE Tag Champs, the Dudleys would defeat the Hardy Boys for the WCW Tag titles. On October 25th, they would become the first team to ever hold the ECW, WCW and WWE Tag Team titles. A month later, another victory over the Hardy Boys would unify the WCW and WWE Tag titles.
Also in October, the Dudleys would take on Stacy Keibler as their manager/valet. While Keibler would remain by the Dudleys side for several months, that relationship would come to an end after Keibler's interference during a WWE Tag Team title match against Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo lead to a disqualification, costing them their shot at the titles. Ever the gentlemen, the Dudleys put Stacey through a table.
A week later, the initial draft lottery split up the Dudleys. D'Von went to Smackdown and, teaming with Deacon Batista, became Reverend D'Von, Vince McMahon's spiritual adviser. Meanwhile, Bubba (as he was now known) defeated Raven for the Hardcore Championship on April 2, 2002. A chance meeting with brother D'Von at Judgment Day would seem Bubba put through a table at the hands of the Reverend and Deacon. Back on Raw, after a feud with Triple H, Bubba mended his fence with Spike and began teaming with him.
Bubba and D'Von would also mend fences with each other, as D'Von interfered on Bubba's behalf at the 2002 Survivor Series. Later the reunited Dudleys would feud with Christian and Chris Jericho, coming close to regaining the WWE Tag Team titles but for the interference of Chief Morley (Val Venis).
Although temporarily suspended by Eric Bischoff, the Dudleys were reinstated by Vince McMahon and given a shot at the Tag Team titles at the 2003 Royal Rumble, which they made the most of, defeating William Regal and Lance Storm to win the titles.
A day later, Storm and Regal regained the titles, with help from Chief Morley. Ironically, the Dudleys would help Morley and Storm defeat Rob Van Dam and Kane on the March 17, 2003 episode of Raw. The Dudleys then joined the Bischoff administration. Kane and Rob Van Dam would battle the Dudleys for revenge, but soon Bubba and D'Von were back in the fans' favour, taking on 3 Minute Warning and Evolution.
As the summer of 2003 began to come to an end, the Dudleys found themselves feuding with La Resistance (Rene Dupre and Sylvain Grenier). Although La Resistance would gain an early advantage by adding Rob Conway to their ranks, the Dudleys would get the last laugh by defeating all three members of La Resistance in a handicap tables match at Unforgiven to regain the WWE Tag Team titles.
The Dudleys would remain part of the Raw tag scene until the end of March 2004 when they would be traded to Smackdown as part of Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff's plan to get Triple H back on Raw. Within a month, the Dudleys would reunite with former ECW head-turned-Smackdown GM Paul Heyman, turning on fellow ECW alumnis Rob Van Dam.
The Dudleys would continue to do Heyman's bidding, kidnapping Paul Bearer and trying to coerce the Undertaker into joining forces with Heyman. In the midst of their feud with the Undertaker, the Dudleys would capture the Smackdown Tag titles from Charlie Haas and Rico. At the Great American Bash, the Undertaker defeated the Dudleys in a "Live Free or Die" handicap match.
On July 8, 2004, the Dudleys last Tag Team title reign (to date) in WWE came to an end at the hands of Paul London and Billy Kidman. Soon, the Dudleys had turned their attention toward their brother, Spike. Instead of harassing him, as they had done in the past, D'Von and Bubba came to his aid. At first Spike wanted no part of their help but soon embraced his brother's aid. However, Spike soon became not only their tag team partner in six-man matches, but also the boss of this reunited Dudley contingent.
By the late fall of 2004, Bubba and D'Von Dudley had disappeared from TV, taking some much needed and deserved time off to recover from various nagging injuries. Save for a couple of matches in OVW, the Dudleys would not wrestle again until ECW's One Night Stand (appearing on Raw the week prior to promote the event). The Dudleys defeated Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman in match that included the Dudleys putting Dreamer through a flaming table, lit by Spike Dudley.
Less than a month later, however, it was announced that WWE would not be renewing the contracts of either D'Von or Bubba Dudley when they expire in the fall of 2005. And while the Dudley era may have ended in WWE (Spike was also among the 17 wrestlers cut from the company), it was the beginning of another in NWA-TNA. Team 3-D as they were now to be called (due to the WWE's legal notices warning Bubba and D'Von not to use the Dudley name)showed up on the first episode of TNA Impact on Spike TV.
Team 3-D has clashed with America's Most Wanted, with AMW leaving Team 3-D laying after several attacks and even a mock funeral. However, when the former Dudleys got back up, their first target was AMW.
Team 3-D headed to Japan in late November/early December, and took part in the Real World Tag League Tournament, defeating Keiji Muto and Akebono in the finals.
Returning to TNA, Team 3-D then defeated America's Most Wanted in a tables match at Turning Point.
Granted a tag team title shot at Final Resolution, Team 3-D was denied the NWA Tag Team titles when Team Canada interfered. Putting aside their World title aspirations for the moment when the fans voted for Team 3-D to take on Team Canada, Brother Ray and Brother D'Von clashed with Eric Young and Bobby Roode at Against All Odds. AMW attacked Team 3-D after the match, trying to get an advantage for the upcoming Team 3-D/AMW NWA World Tag Team title match.
Team 3-D would receive help from Brother Runt (formerly Spike Dudley) as they clashed with Team Canada, and also teamed with Ron Killings and Rhino as they battled Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and AMW.
Before Team 3-D could make an extended run at the NWA Tag Team titles, they began feuding with the James Gang over which was the greatest tag team of all time. Then, in the summer of 2006, they announced they were taking some time off to regroup.
On Impact, Shane Douglas called out Team 3-D and his Naturals would attack them. Although The Naturals managed a victory over Team 3-D on Impact in a tables match, Team 3-D would get their revenge a month later in a very one-sided match to end the feud.
Team 3-D then began a four month long storyline against Tag Team Champions LAX. LAX managed to get the upper hand at Final Resolution, Against All Odds, and Destination-X before Team 3-D finally beat them in an Electrified Steel Cage at Lockdown to win the NWA World Tag Team titles.
They’d hold onto the titles for three months, losing the belts to Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle in a Match of Champions at Victory Road. Before their loss, Team 3-D engaged in a brief feud with Rick and Scott Steiner that prematurely ended because of a serious throat injury Scott sustained on a TNA house show in Puerto Rico.
Team 3-D would soon challenge the entire X-Division, paying particular attention to Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin (The Motor City Machineguns), and “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. Although losing to Shelley and Sabin at Genesis, Team 3-D, with the help of their recruit Johnny Devine, would beat the Machineguns and Lethal in a tables match at Turning Point.
Lots of Dudley Boys merch!