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Bully Ray brings ‘old school’ style to TNA wrestling event in Lowell

12.27.13 at 10:08 am ET
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TNA Impact Wrestling returns to the Boston area Sunday, showcasing its ‘€œHardcore Justice’€ pay per view live from the Lowell Auditorium at 6 p.m. In the world of professional wrestling, hardcore is synonymous with former TNA champion Bully Ray.

‘€œI bring a different level into that ring,’€ said Bully Ray, who will be battling Mr. Anderson in a stretcher match on Sunday. ‘€œA different level of intensity, a different level of physicality.’€

Bully, otherwise known as Mark LoMonaco, is a proud product of the New York City borough of Queens, and has built a cult following during his 22-year career in the ring. He made his name in Extreme Championship Wrestling, and the 6-foot-3, 263-pound behemoth gritted and grinded his way to major superstardom in the WWE as one half of the Dudley Boyz. LoMonaco has captured 35 different titles, including wearing the TNA World Heavyweight Champion twice, yet refuses to be defined by titles. LoMonaco takes his greatest pride in representing the old guard of pro wrestling.

‘€œI am the last of a dying breed,’€ he said, ‘€œthe last of the old-school pro wrestlers. I have the old-school respect for the industry. I think old school in and out of the ring. A lot of these guys coming out of wrestling school today, they ask when they’€™re going to be on TV. Nobody wants to pay their dues any more. ‘€˜Pay your dues,’€™ there’€™s three words every young wrestler should have emblazoned in their forehead. Pay your dues, get out on the road, go live in your car, go eat bologna and cheese sandwiches, go struggle and make no money. When you finally get some success, you’€™ll appreciate it a whole lot more.’€

Even after attaining a surplus of success throughout his career, LoMonaco’€™s humble approach has yet to change. He is still outworking men 20 years his junior in the ring, and his work inside the squared circle continues to improve despite the yearly increase in age.

‘€œWrestling is such a great industry,’€ said the 42-year-old. ‘€œIt’€™s not what it was back in the day, but I’€™ve got to travel all over the world, do what I love, and make a whole lot of money doing it.’€

Many veteran wrestlers favor the limited work schedule TNA offers. While the WWE requires some of its wrestlers to work nearly 275 days a year, TNA’€™s travel schedule is significantly lighter, which has helped attract superstars such as Sting, Kurt Angle and others over the years such as Rob Van Dam, Kevin Nash and Mick Foley.

‘€œThe reason I stayed in TNA is because, right now, it’€™s the best business decision for me,’€ said LoMonaco. ‘€œIt’€™s a good fit for me. I always make my decisions based on business. At the end of the day, this is the wrestling business. I also like the younger guys that are here in TNA, and I’€™d like to help some of those guys move forward with their futures.’€

With the high costs of attending live events and the time commitment involved in immersing oneself in the product, many wrestling fans only have time to watch the WWE. Despite a roster with some extremely talented wrestlers, TNA has struggled to win over the majority of wrestling fans.

‘€œWhy would you want to watch TNA over a John Cena-Randy Orton match?’€ asked LoMonaco. ‘€œI’€™m really not sure. I find John Cena’€™s matches very entertaining, and I find Randy Orton’€™s matches very entertaining. I also know, if you watch Bobby Roode and AJ Styles, or Samoa Joe and Austin Aries, you’€™re going to be even more entertained by watching those guys.’€

When asked about a potential dream match against any wrestler in the world, LoMonaco did not stutter with his reply.

‘€œBully Ray vs. CM Punk would be the match,’€ he said. ‘€œPaul Heyman has told me directly that me and Punk standing across from one another with a microphone in our hands would be deadly. Given the opportunity to have absolutely no restrictions on what we’€™d say and to just go at it, you’€™d be looking at the two guys who can spit venom better than anybody else out there in the industry. And I know we could back it up in the ring.’€

LoMonaco worked under Heyman in ECW and also learned a great deal about the subtle nuances of wrestling from WWE chairman Vince McMahon.

‘€œPaul Heyman is the evil genius,’€ said LoMonaco. ‘€œThere are very few guys in the industry who can, off the top of their head, be able to cut you with their words, and Paul is the master of it. He and Vince are absolutely similar in the passion they have for the wrestling industry, their creative minds, and they’€™re both perfectionists. That’€™s why they hate each other.

‘€œThat’€™s also why they love each other at the same time. Vince respects Paul so much, and vice versa. Vince respects Paul’€™s passion. Paul took nothing and made it into something. We all know that, if it weren’€™t for ECW, the Attitude Era would have never been born. That’€™s a fact. ECW is what gave birth to the modern day, adult-oriented, Attitude Era pro wrestling.’€

As for this Sunday’€™s TNA, LoMonaco could only make one promise. He will do everything humanly possible to make his match worth the money and the drive to Lowell.

‘€œI always go out there with one thing in mind, and that’€™s to steal the show,’€ said LoMonaco. ‘€œI won’€™t mention any names, but there was one night I was wrestling against somebody and he was not as excited as I was to be out there that night. He didn’€™t have much enthusiasm and he mentioned it before we went to the ring, and I said, ‘€˜Listen, [expletive], I go out there to steal shows. If you don’€™t go out there and try to steal it with me, I will leave you for dead.’€™ I go out there every night to try to do the absolute best I can to entertain the people at the highest level.’€

Read More: Bully Ray, CM Punk, Mark LoMonaco, Vince McMahon