Earlier this week, I posted a new TJR Power Rankings. In those rankings, I listed TNA Heavyweight Champion - Bully Ray - as the fifth best wrestler in the world. Here’s my reasoning:
I love the Bully Ray character. Bully Ray could have been like countless other ex WCW, WWE, and ECW stars in TNA. He could have recycled the same character that made him famous, pulled off the same matches night in and night out, and lazily sat back as his paycheck came in. Instead, Bully Ray improved his character as well as his physical appearance. As great as he was in the WWE, I truly believe Bully Ray is doing the best work of his career. He’s been one of the best heels in all professional wrestling over the last two years. It’s refreshing then that TNA rewarded Bully Ray for all of his efforts by giving him their ultimate prize - the World Heavyweight Championship. Sure, his reveal as the leader of Aces and Eights was predictable, and yes, we all wish his storyline didn’t involve Hulk and Brooke Hogan. Still, he deserves to be at the top of TNA.
Right after I posted my article, a number of pro-wrestling news sources, including the PWtorch, reported that a video of Bully Ray insulting a fan with homophobic slurs had surfaced. In the video, Ray is shown leaving the ring after an all-out brawl between TNA loyalists and Aces and Eights members. Once he reaches the crowd, he goes off on a fan. If you watched Impact a week ago, you’ll likely recognize the fan, as he’s hard to miss among the crowd. That’s because he looks like wrestler... he has that size. I’m in no way suggesting this will lead to an angle, just pointing out that the fan in question stuck out like a sore thumb throughout the show.
In his tirade, Bully Ray used the words “f----t”, “f-g”, and “q---r”. The fact that I chose not to write those words out should tell you how I feel about their use. Even in the wild, wacky world of professional wrestling, I feel they are inappropriate, and should almost never be used. The only time they could be conceivably used, is if a homophobic character were introduced, and even then it would be incredibly tasteless.
Since this story broke, both Bully Ray and TNA President Dixie Carter have taken to Twitter to apologize for the situation. Here are their tweets:
Made an inappropriate comment to a fan in Chicago.If anyone was offended by this...I do apologize.No harm was meant.— Bully Ray (@REALBully5150) March 18, 2013
Heard @realbully5150 made inappropriate comments to a fan in Chicago. This will not be tolerated. Sincere apologies on behalf of TNA.— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) March 18, 2013
To her credit, Dixie Carter sounds sincere. Bully Ray doesn’t. Unlike others, I’ll cut them both some slack for working with a 140 character limit on Twitter. Perhaps Bully Ray has more to say on his poor choice of words.
After both apologies were posted, fans have fallen into two camps, those who are disappointed in Bully Ray, and would like to see him understand why his slurs are being taken so seriously, and those who say “he’s a heel, get over it.” To those fans, I ask: where does the line get drawn?
I don’t consider myself overly politically correct, but I find the use of homophobic words to be abhorrent. They’re ugly words that can truly hurt others. If you don’t agree with me, and don’t understand how certain words can hold such power, it’s likely because you haven’t had to deal with the pain of those words. That doesn’t mean others don’t experience pain from those same words. I’m right handed. That doesn’t mean everyone else in the world is the same. Homophobic slurs have been used to demean and dehumanize, they have no place in sports entertainment.
I just don’t understand what Bully Ray was thinking when he made his comments. He caught flack from similar words a few years back, you would think he’d learned his lesson. Typically, in similar situations, fans tend to give wrestlers the benefit of the doubt. When CM Punk called a fan in Australia a “h--o”, he immediately owned up to the comments, and gave a heartfelt apology. Bully Ray seems to simply dismiss the criticisms rather than learn from them.
Listen, I get it. Bully Ray was going for easy heat. And he made similar slurs while in ECW, and achieved epic levels of crowd heat. But this isn’t fifteen years ago (we’ve come a long way in a short time), and TNA isn’t a bingo-hall promotion begging to be controversial. At least I hope they’re not. Even if Bully Ray was completely in character, and the comments he made would never enter the daily vocabulary of Mark LaMonaco, I still demand that he be better than this. Or else he deserves the backlash he has received.
Former WWE Superstar and master of the, uh, "Master-lock," Chris Masters began his new career as a real life superhero on Tuesday night when he saved his mother from a house fire in her Los Angeles home. According to Masters, an uncle reached him by phone and informed him that a "neighbor went crazy," barricaded himself in Masters' mother's home, and threatened to light the place on fire if anyone entered. Once the police were called, the neighbor made good on his promise and set the home on fire.
This of course was the exact moment Chris Masters went into beast mode. The "Masterpiece" proceeded to rip a small tree out of the ground, destroy a window with it, and pull his mother to safety.
You read that right, he ripped a fracking (shout out to Admiral Adama!) tree out of the ground to save his mother from dying in a house fire. Now, we here at Thursday Headlines are no strangers to tree ripping as we have a personal grudge against the rain forest 15 years in the making (thanks to a very informative episode of South Park), and we can safely say even smaller trees have deeper roots than those of the Hart family in the wrestling business.
Needless to say, Chris Masters is one strong S.O.B., and while we weren't there, we can pretty safely assume that the next sound this "crazy neighbor" made sounded suspiciously like poop hitting britches.
Seriously though, way to be a hero Mr. Masters. It's time the man got yet another shot in the WWE.
That's all from us this week, due to the somewhat long posts. Join us next week, and I'll promise we'll work in a Marty Jannetty reference. Because why else would you read a Thursday Headlines?
Written By Thomas and Aaron Briggs
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