Philadelphia, “The City of Brotherly Love,” has a long history of wrestling violence. When Lockdown airs live from the Liacouras Center on the Temple University Campus on Sunday, expect things to get hardcore when Team 3D battle TNA tag team champions Beer Money in a Philly Street Fight.
“Me and D-Von are very excited about being in Philly, it is our backyard. We are from New York City but Philly is where we got started in and where Team 3D as the Dudley Boys really became famous back in ECW. It is where D-Von and I united for the first time to start the Dudley Boys. It is where we won our first world tag team titles, started the most riots, I have a lot of great memories of Philly,” Brother Ray told SLAM! Wrestling on the phone from Philadelphia. “It is great to be back here and part of Lockdown in a huge tag team match. I am more excited about the match for what it says about the state of tag team wrestling in TNA than anything else.”
On this past Thursday’s Impact! Team 3D’s friends Brother Runt and Balls Mahoney stopped by to visit, and were ambushed by Beer Money and left laying. This took an already personal feud to a new level, and changed the tag team title match from a regular Six Sides of Steel match to a Philadelphia Street Fight.
“Our match is going to be different because the cage door will be open, we will be the only match where we will be free to roam free throughout the arena floor, or stay in the cage. Team 3D in Philadelphia in a Philly Street Fight? It’s going to get ugly.”
The Lockdown concept, in which every match is a cage match, has received criticism for relying to heavily on the cage. Ray enjoys the challenge of having to be original on the show.
“I love the idea of Lockdown, it is a great idea and very unique. If you have the right storyline for each match it works. I think Mick and Sting and Team Angle vs. Team Jarrett are great storylines going into the cage, and of course Team 3D vs. Beer Money.”
Two things Ray speaks highly of in TNA is the fact that they give feuds time to develop, and offer the chance for tag teams to shine.
“If you go back and watch any of the older storylines from wrestling’s heyday, the longer drawn out feuds were more fun to watch. The way things are going with Beer Money, I think the people are entertained. You are getting to see a very serious side of Beer Money that you may not have seen before, and you are seeing Team 3D continue our quest for as many world tag team titles as we can win,” he said. “I am so proud of the fact that I work in a company that puts emphasis on tag team wrestling, it is alive and well in TNA. The magnitude on this match for tag team wrestling is huge. Never before have the New Japan tag team titles, which we hold, been put on the line up against the TNA World Tag Team Titles. This match is being called ‘World Tag Team Domination.’ Whoever wins this match will truly be able to say they are the greatest tag team on the planet today. If we win we will just be saying what we have been for years. If Beer Money wins they get to say it for the first time. It is really intriguing and interesting.
“Tag team wrestling has been around for 100 years and always been an integral part of wrestling. Why other companies chose not to put a focus on tag team wrestling right now is beyond me,” he continued. “When we were in WWE, I have no bad things to say. Between us, Edge and Christian, Hardys, APA, Too Cool, there were a lot of tag teams and we had a lot of fun and took it all over the world. I don’t understand why that doesn’t exist there today.”
After 13 years together, having won every tag team championship possible (ECW, WWE, WCW, TNA, All Japan, New Japan) Ray sees no end in sight. Between influencing young talent, instructing at their academy in Kissimmee, Florida, and having a good time, there is a lot left to do.
“I don’t think there are any sets of tag titles left for us to win, we’ve won them all. I would love to be able to hold these two world tag team titles at the same time and defend them in the United States and Japan. We have done a good job of bringing credibility to the NJPW belts in the United States, now we want to take those TNA belts over to Japan and give them some worldwide credibility,” he said, adding that giving back to the business is their biggest priority.
“Giving back to the business is huge. When D-Von and I left WWE we got to wrestle on some indy shows throughout the country. We were absolutely horrified by the level of talent and respect in the young pro wrestlers. It was right then and there that we decided we had to open up a school and take it upon ourselves to put quality young talent back in the system. Our number one priority is respect for the business and fellow wrestlers. Two years ago we opened up the Team 3D academy. We are proud to say it is going very well, in two years we have signed four pieces of talent to either TNA or WWE developmental contracts. We take a very old school approach to our training. You learn respect for the business and how to do things the right way. You don’t come into our school and learn how to do a moonsault or hit someone with a chair on the first day. You learn how to be a complete professional wrestler. Me and D-Von have always said we will keep doing this until we stop having fun, and when that happens we will call it quits. We really enjoy working for TNA, are having a great time, and are very happy that we can lend our status to the tag team division and help make it grow.”
Jason Clevett woke up at 7 a.m. to do this interview, and somehow managed to remain coherent. The possibility of angering Brother Ray is better than coffee to wake you up.