Heel heat. It’s what every antagonistic “bad guy” character must get from the crowd to have success. Whether or not the fans care will ultimately determine how much success one has. While many performers will admit it’s easier to make someone hate you than it is to make them like you, the bottom-line for anyone that comes through the curtain is they must get over. If they’re over, they’ll draw. If they draw, everyone gets paid.
TNA Champion Bully Ray is one of the most over characters in TNA Wrestling. He was over before he turned and had fans throwing punches after his work last Thursday. Let’s also not forget the trash throwing at Lockdown (despite the legitimacy being called into question).
However, there was an incident last Thursday that shifted the conversation. Not the incident where a fan was ejected for hurling a punch at Bully Ray but it was an incident that saw Bully Ray hurling blows of his own. They weren’t physical but they were hurtful.
For those that missed our report on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the incident occurred as Bully Ray was on his way out of the Sears Centre last Thursday night. Angrily approaching a fan in-character, Bully Ray launched into his tirade.
“Sit down, faggot! Yeah… You’re not going to do a damn thing. You got punked in your own frickin’ town. I’m punkin you out in front of… I’m going to say your daughter. You got punked! You invented fags, you fag. You should’ve did something already, you should’ve did something already, but you ain’t doing nothing’. I’m punking you in front of your hometown. You frickin’ queer. You shave your frickin’ chest.”
You can see it go down at the 6:18 mark of the video embedded below:
Now, before we go any further I want to make my opinion crystal clear. I am an inclusiveness. I despise homophobia, racism, sexism and any other type of xenophobic behavior. The fact that we have to have politicians debate whether or not two people have the right to be married sickens me. We were all created equal and have the right to be treated as such. I long for the day where these primitive and embarrassing issues are no longer in existence.
Back on topic, I was asked in Wednesday’s Ask WNW if I believe the TNA Championship will be taken off Bully Ray due to his rant. While I do not think that’s going to happen, I don’t want to seem nonchalant about it either. What Bully Ray did was not right and his comments were inappropriate. But it’s also worth noting that Bully Ray was in-character. He was walking up to fans and insulting them in kayfabe. In other words, his comments were part of the show to highlight his character… a character that is literally a “Bully.”
Ray’s rant was not televised but he had a rant just days earlier at TNA Lockdown that was. Grabbing the microphone after winning the TNA Championship, Bully Ray looked over at his former (now current?) tag team partner, Devon, and hurled some instructions in regards to his storyline “wife” Brooke Hogan.
“Devon, let that stupid bitch cry.”
You can see the rant at the 3:20 mark of the video embedded below:
As mentioned, the above rant was televised and closed the pay-per-view. No apologies were issued and Memes flooded social media of Ray’s infamous instructions to Devon. Referring to Brooke Hogan as a “stupid bitch” not only demeans a group but an entire gender of people that have also faced hundreds of years of unfair discrimination.
What I’m wondering is how far is too far? Should an antagonistic character, literally called Bully, be allowed to use this type of language? Or should this type of language be banned across the board?
And why does Bully get a pass for the televised comments at Lockdown yet hammered for the non-televised comments at Impact? Were the people that were deeply hurt and offended over the remarks at Impact equally fair in their criticism for the segment at Lockdown?
I think we can all agree that the use of a racial slur would prompt an outpouring of outrage and protest. It’s banned and not accepted across the board. So should Bully’s remark against women and remark against homosexuals be banned as well? Why one and not the other?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.