Throughout professional wrestling’s history, few tag teams have made a bigger impact on the industry than Team 3-D, formerly known as the Dudley Boyz. Brother Ray and Brother Devon made their mark in ECW, winning the ECW Tag Team Championship eight times before moving to WWE, where they were also champions many times over.
Earlier this year, Team 3-D signed with Total Nonstop Action, where they have stamped their own inimitable brand on the company, taking on the likes of America’s Most Wanted and Team Canada.
NZPWI Columnist Kirsty Quested had the privilege of speaking with Brother Devon about WWE, ECW, Eddie Guerrero, the future of Team 3-D and TNA and much much more.
Kirsty Quested: From ECW to WWE to TNA, Team 3-D have been one of the most formidable tag teams in professional wrestling’s history. It is my absolute pleasure to welcome my guest today, Team 3-D’s very own Brother Devon.
Devon, how are you?
Devon: Good, good.
How are things going in TNA now that you’ve been there for a couple of months? Does it feel like home?
It definitely feels like home, it feels like being back in ECW. TNA is basically exactly what Team 3-D – the Dudleyz – were looking for… in terms of wrestling. You know, no more doing promos in the back, y’know, kind of like TV interviews. Don’t get me wrong, I mean I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy my stay in WWE, ‘cause I did very much so, but as the new regime came in, it just seemed like the whole product changed, and it took a lot of the wrestling away from the boys, and it’s more talking, and that’s just not us. So, very happy, and very pleased to be a part of TNA, which goes back to the basics, and that’s just wrestling.
You’ve had some great matches already with America’s Most Wanted and Team Canada, who else are you looking forward to working with in TNA?
Oh man, well you know, we’ve only just begun with AMW. I believe there’s so much more for us to do with that, also Team Canada, we only had one match with them and that turned out to be good, and I’m looking for many more. You have 3-Count’s another one, you know, even though the fans like them and they like us, it’s still going to be a pleasure to go toe-to-toe with those guys. The Naturals, the same thing, even though they’re the fan favourites, it’d be great to go against those guys as well, I mean it’s almost like when the Hardyz, the Hardy Boys, and the Dudleyz would go at it, both fan favourites, but yet we gave good matches, and people still remember those matches because of how good they were, TLC matches, you know, all of that stuff, so it was pretty good. I’m looking forward to getting in the ring with those guys again, and having a long run just like we did with Edge and Christian and the Hardyz.
Are you looking forward to introducing your speciality of tables matches at Turning Point for AMW?
Oh, we’re going to be looking forward to introducing a lot of things, not to mention, not only just tables, but flaming tables as well…
… oh wow…
… there’s a lot of stuff that Team 3-D, the Dudleyz, have not been able to do yet, in TNA, because we had just gotten there, but we have a whole arsenal that we’re just ready to unleash on America’s Most Wanted, so if they thought they had a little taste of the Dudleyz in the past couple of months, they’ve been sadly mistaken, there’s just so much more that we have to offer, you know, in WWE we were chained. We were held back. And when I mean held back, we didn’t, we weren’t really let loose, the way we couldn’t be let loose, and you know, you’ve gotta understand that because of a different ball game, it’s not like ECW with sponsors and things like that, so we had to be held back, in a sense. Now that TNA has given us full rein to be the Dudleyz, to be Team 3-D, and to be that ECW-style type of tag team, now we’re able to unleash a whole new fury on those who are against us in the ring.
What do you think the chances are of TNA taking iMPACT! on the road in the future?
Oh I think it’s definitely a good thing, I think it’s definitely going to happen, it’s only a matter of time. Spike TV is so behind TNA. And so behind them making it. And giving us the opportunity to go out there and to do what we do, that it’s almost hard for us to lose. When we did the rating for the Thursday night special, that we had out here, for the two hour show, we did a point nine. Which was the same as we did on our regular Saturday night show. But the thing is, we only had less than a month to advertise it. Where, if we would of had more time, we most likely probably would have broken that 1 point mark. And if that was the case, forget about it.
Time will tell, as things go on, the product will improve, which you know, it already has, way before we’d gotten there. Now that we’ve gotten there, the product has gotten even better. It’s more exciting. And each and every one of those guys in that locker room give a hundred and ten percent, which is what makes TNA so special right now. They’re giving the people what WWE isn’t. And that’s excitement now. That’s wrestling. That’s impact. Which is what we stand for, totally non-stop action. You know, basically, with that formula, taking that on the road, and doing shows, and things of that nature, it’s so hard for us to lose, in that capacity. It’s only a matter of time before TNA actually explodes. We’ve only, I mean even though TNA’s only been around three or four years, there’s still a lot of people that don’t know what TNA is all about. Or haven’t heard about TNA. And these are the wrestling fans that are not really hardcore wrestling fans. They don’t go on the internet, they don’t really buy the magazines, all they do is turn on the TV, boom they know what time it turns on, boom, it’s there. So these are not the really hardcore wrestling fans that you know, that we’re trying to reach.
As time goes on, on Spike TV and those two hour specials that we’re doing on Spike, we will reach those people. And once they see the division and how good it is, we’ve got a guarantee. Not only will we break that one mark, but we’ll break two, three, four, and maybe even five.
Did you always intend working as a tag team?
No, that I didn’t see. I didn’t see tag team. I mean, I was a huge fan of Hogan, Hulk Hogan…
… and I actually thought that I was going to be the next black Hulk Hogan.
Oh right. Hah…
… hah-hah… so, I definitely saw myself doing some singles, a lot of singles really, never really saw myself doing tag team. It was an opportunity that was given to me back in the ECW days, when they hired me to become a Dudley. And it just took off from there. The formula that me and Bubba were able to produce was unstoppable. There’s no reason to try and fix anything that isn’t broken. We’ve had this formula, we’ve been doing it for ten years now, and it works. Not to say that I’m not interested in doing any tag team, I mean, any singles work, which I definitely will. The Reverend Devon character that I did in WWE didn’t go off the way I wanted it to, and there’s still a little bug in me about that, and still wanting to prove to people that I can do it.
But for now, there’s still a lot more for me and Bubba to basically accomplish. One is the tag team titles in the NWA, and an organisation that we’re with right now in Japan, called All Japan Pro Wrestling, where a lot of great Americans have gone to, and been able to have a great career. And one tag team especially is the Road Warriors. They went out there and just basically conquered All Japan. We’re basically looking to win those tag team titles as well. Not to mention, they have a big annual tournament every year, and we’re looking to accomplish that as well. I don’t think we can not go to Japan, and not be able to conquer it the way the Road Warriors did, and be considered the best tag team ever. We have to do that in order to be taking that next step to be near the Road Warriors. So, I think there’s a lot more for us to do in that capacity. I think once that’s accomplished, and if there’s still time in my body for me to continue, then I will continue and maybe try that singles run.
Given the direction of most modern tag teams, how many promoters have wanted to split up Team 3-D to start singles feuds?
At that time. And I mean, ECW didn’t do it, they always saw us as a tag, and we’ve just gotten to TNA, so we haven’t been able to even be considered splitting up at that point, because there’s still so much for us to do there. Vince was the only one. I think the timing, in which it was done, for us to split, was the wrong time. Because there were still so many people out there that knew that there were a lot more to the Dudleyz than what they had seen. And being that they hadn’t seen it all, and they knew it, even those who had only just started watching the Dudleyz when we had gotten to WWE, and knew nothing about ECW, they knew there was still a lot more to us. And the end of the road wasn’t even nearly at the end for us. So, in that aspect, the fans wanted the Dudleyz. And it was almost a given that you had to put us back together at that point, at Survivor Series 2002, and when we did get back together, at that Madison Square Garden show, that place blew up.
It was probably the loudest pop of the night. And I’m not just saying that because it’s us, but you know, anybody who would go and actually watch the show, and see how that show progressed, we were, it was the loudest pop for us, that night.
You’ve worked in ECW and WWE, you’ve held the titles in both promotions multiple times, what do you think made the Dudleyz one of the most decorated tag teams in history?
Basically being on the same page. Basically wanted to accomplish and to conquer the same goals. You have many great tag teams that have come through this business, but none have, with the exception of the Road Warriors, none have been on the same page. I mean… you got the Hart Foundation, don’t get me wrong, great tag team, but too different. You always saw Bret as being the star, you know, not taking anything from Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, but you always saw him as being the star. The British Bulldogs really couldn’t get it together. You know? They were a fabulous tag team, fabulous, but basically, I guess they didn’t get along, so to speak…
… I don’t know, that’s the story that I hear. The Powers of Pain, the Warlord and the Barbarian, same thing, Demolition… I mean the list goes on and on. The only tag team to ever able to be as successful, even from mid-80’s to the present, was the Road Warriors. And they, because of the fact that they were on the same page. They thought alike, they think alike, they wrestled alike, they had so many things that was alike. And with that in mind, it just basically shot them up to stardom, and I think that’s the same thing that has to do with us, we’re on that same page as well. The thing that makes the Dudleyz different is that we can basically do anything in that ring. If you want us to brawl, we can brawl. If you want us to be technicians, in a sense, we can be a little bit technicians. You want us to just wrestle, we can wrestle. You know, we can adapt to any style, and I think if you can do that as a tag team, that’s what makes you great.
How did it feel being part of the ECW One Night Stand earlier this year, did that bring back some memories?
Oh, it brought back a lot of memories. I don’t think – hah hah – I don’t think anybody who was a part of that show could actually say that they didn’t feel anything. That they didn’t feel what, you know, I felt in there, in terms of going back to the old ECW days, and getting in front of that hardcore crowd. I mean, I’m sorry, fans are fans, but there was no fans like the ECW fans. They were bloodthirsty, they were hungry, they basically, they determined your career. They basically let you know if you were going to make it or not. If you can make it in front of the ECW fans, you can make it anywhere. And it was so great to be in front of them again. You know, it was so great to see a lot of the guys – Balls Mahoney, Justin Credible… uh who else, Mikey Whipwreck, the list goes on and on. ECW was such a special time for the Dudleyz, and just that whole company. Francine. The Sandman, you know as drunk as he was…
… you know, Nova. I mean, it was just, it was so good, it was such a great feeling, it would never be duplicated. In my opinion, I think ECW, the way it should have went out, was One Night Stand. In my opinion, I know the fans might not like this when I say this, but I think ECW is over with. I think we should just go out on that note, because it was such a high note. And I think that if you tried to do another one like that, you won’t get the same feeling. The people were so hungry. And they missed ECW so much, that when One Night Stand came about it was just like wow, it was like that rush, that drug rush. I hate to use this terminology but it’s almost like a drug user. When he takes that first hit, it’s like it’s no feeling that he’s ever felt before. But then when you take another hit, it’s still the same feeling but it’s not as big as the first one. Well this is like ECW. You know? That One Night Stand was such a big hit, that to try to do it again, yeah it may be good, but it’s never going to be like One Night Stand. You know, One Night Stand was it. That’s the way we should have went out.
There’s a quote on the ECW DVD in which you say that you felt you went too far almost every night. Do you regret anything you said or did during that time with ECW?
Yeah there was a lot of nights where we kind of went too far, almost too far. But do I regret it, no.
Because it would not have made ECW ECW, if we didn’t push the envelope. We had to push the envelope. We were truly rebels. We were an independent company that was trying to become the largest, the third largest company in wrestling, in the wrestling business at that time. So we had to. We had to go as far as we could possibly go, and sometimes, we might of went too far. But that’s what put ECW on the map.
ECW was put on the map because people took chances. And in this business, you have to take chances. And sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed. Thank God ECW succeeded when they did.
You know, you would not have seen guys like Rob Van Dam, you would not have seen the Dudleyz, you would not have seen Tazz, Shane Douglas, you know, all these guys that were huge superstars in ECW, that the WWE, and WCW passed up.
Yeah, for sure.
They didn’t look at them as being stars. But then all of a sudden, Paul Heyman, the genius that he is, the sick mind that he is…
… you know, he was able to produce and create these characters that were real to life, and basically boom, made us into superstars, which now all of a sudden, WCW, and WWE wanted.
Speaking of the WWE, did it surprise you that they went after the Dudleyz name and prevented you using it anywhere else?
Um… yes it did, it did surprise me, because when we left, I only had one problem, that one problem was with Johnny Ace…
… John Laurinaitis. Never had a problem with Vince, never had a problem with Stephanie, Hunter, or other McMahon family, or anybody else in the organisation, and the feud… no I’m not even going to say it was a feud, but the disagreement that I had with Johnny Ace, it was on a business level. You know, it was on a business level in terms of contract negotiations, and that was it. But as far as the name goes, it totally took me off guard. And for them to try to do that, you know, we knew it was wrong. Now, you know, WWE claims that they have the right to it, we know we have the right to it. Are we fighting them? You’re damn right we are. Because we worked too hard to make that name what it is today. So, you know… and I’m just happy about that.
It’s been a very sad week in the world of wrestling with the passing of Eddie Guerrero. What are some of your best memories of Eddie?
You know, me and Eddie, we weren’t as close as him and Benoit, or him and Rey, but me and Eddie did have a very good relationship. It caught me totally off guard when I got the phone call that he had passed. Me and Eddie talked a lot, man, we embraced a lot, we prayed together a few times… you know I knew his family, he knew mine, he would always ask about my family, my boys, I would always ask about his girls, and it was a very very good relationship between me and Eddie, and a lot of memories, fond memories I have of Eddie are being in the ring with him. And him actually helping me out along the way. You know, especially in one of our singles matches that we had on SmackDown, where, you know – hah, I would tease Eddie, I said “Man, if you would of just made that match into a bit of a non-title match, if you would of made it into a championship match, I’d be the champion before JBL…
… and he would laugh, he would laugh about it, and it was great because that match, he helped me. He helped me out, because when you’re in a tag team for so long, you kinda get a little rusty on the singles, and he kinda guided me and helped me through it. So, there’s a lot of things about Eddie that I can be definitely grateful for, he will be definitely missed, and I guess… it’s still a shock. A lot of times I’m still at a loss for words, even when I’m asked about it. But again, he will be missed.
Yeah…yeah. Do you think that his death might start some of the guys in WWE thinking about how relentless the schedule is over there, and possibly seeing TNA as a better prospect for them and their families?
I think people are already starting to. Way before this happened, I think people are already starting to, I think TNA is definitely going to open the doors for a lot of people. Vince has a monopoly for so long. The great thing about TNA is that we do have the finances to inquire about a lot of the boys from WWE, if need be, if they needed to come over here. And, you know, where they can still earn a great living, and realise that there is life after WWE. I think competition is good for the business, as has been shown, that without competition, that’s when things get stale, and that things aren’t as good, storylines aren’t as good. I think Vince is at his best when his back’s up against the wall, and he’s gotta come out fighting like he did during the WCW days…
… like he did when he bought the company from his dad, and made WrestleMania, you know he’s at his best when his back’s against the wall. But when there’s no competition for Vince, when he’s the only dog out there, it’s almost like Vince doesn’t really put enough effort into his storylines and into his company the way he should. And I think that TNA will make him, if anything, step up to that next level, just for the simple fact that what we’re doing, and how people are adapting to our product.
What does the future hold for Team 3-D?
The future definitely holds more things to accomplish, like I said, the tag team titles, in TNA, the NWA World Tag Team titles, also again, the All-Japan Pro Wrestling Tag Team titles, and tournaments in Japan, basically having feuds with some of the great tag teams in TNA, like AMW, Team Canada, The Naturals, 3-Count, the list goes on and on. I just think it’s endless, the stuff that we can do. And by doing and accomplishing all this, we probably would have taken that next step into surpassing the legendary great team, the Road Warriors. And I think at that point, arguably, there won’t be any arguments, we will be recognised as the best tag team ever. No-one has been able to accomplish, if all of these feats are accomplished, no-one will be able to accomplish those feats that we’ve accomplished. Just for the simple fact that we’ve had the ECW Tag Team titles eight times, WWE Tag Team titles, and WCW, a total of everything, eighteen time World Tag Team Champions.
So… not even the great Road Warriors have been able to accomplish that… in my heart though, and this is me being a mark, and a fan, but even after accomplishing that the Road Warriors will always still be number one in my heart.
Awesome, awesome. Devon, thank you so much for your time today, I really appreciate you joining us.
Oh, no problem, no problem at all. It was my pleasure. Bye.