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Chris Sabin wins TNA Wrestling Title, Bully Ray Proves Why He is the Best

Is there a better wrestling heel in the business today other than Bully Ray? Judging by the current run of the former TNA World Heavyweight Champion, it is hard to argue with the choice as he has taken the bar and set it just a bit higher than it has been in a while.

By definition, the “heel’ is often portrayed as behaving in an immoral manner, breaking rules or otherwise taking advantage of their opponents outside the bounds of the rules of the match.

While there are some who are tweeners (Wade Barrett, CM Punk, Samoa Joe) the heel is also responsible for being the antagonist, the one who determines the rise and fall of the crowds in the arenas.

Today, the lines are skewed and even the most “likeable” of characters are booed out of the arenas (John Cena).

As a youngster, I was always drawn to the heel role in the business. Whether it was Ric Flair (my all time favorite), Dory and Terry Funk, Arn Anderson or even Rick Rude – they could all use the crowd to their advantage and prove their greatness.

And then, there is Bully Ray.

From the moment he became a solo act (the former tag team partner of Devon in Team 3D) Bully Ray has moved up the ladder, finally joining Aces and Eights and capturing the World Title.
Thursday night, his luck ran out as he lost to Chris Sabin for the title he so coveted.

The reason why Bully Ray’s character works is a combination of size, power, a great voice on the mic, a believeable dislike by fans and the ability to tell a story in the ring. He is a little bit of Ole Anderson, One Man Gang and mix of the Road Warriors without Paul Ellering.

The title switch by TNA is just a blip in Bully Ray’s radar. While having Sabin, a lightweight at 210 pounds, hold the title briefly will add to Bully Ray’s legacy (unless Austin Aries challenges Sabin for the title), where a multiple world champion makes him look more invinceable.

It would have been better if Bobby Roode had won and lost the title on a few ocasions instead of holding it once over a longer period of time.
What also adds to Bully Ray’s “perfect” mix is the story being told. Want to improve your stock in the business, challenge the authority of an immortal like Hulk Hogan.

While having Hogan’s daughter Brooke still involved in the angle is ludacris, but there is a means to an end (maybe she eventually turns on daddy and Hogan and Ray fight over control of the company). At some point, although I hate the idea, we will see the two in the ring together (for said ownership of the country).

I have not been a fan of the Aces and Eights angle because of its slow play, its drab players (Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco) and until now, no real faction to oppose them (I’ll talk about the brilliance of the Main Event Mafia in another column).

The one thing that has surprised me, is the fact we have not seen Bully Ray and Devon in tag team action more often. Now that he sans title, can the two men focus on the current tag team champions, Gunner and Jame Storm.

It’s simple to say that as long as Bully Ray remains the lead heel in TNA, he will be the best in the business. But TNA needs to keep rolling with its product. While Bully Ray really is a gold mine, other bit parts (Aces and Eights, Hogan, MEM) need to help him remain on that lofty perch.

David is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be read here. Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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