Julian Connelly looks at latest WWE and Wrestling releases in his regular review column: The Turnbuckle.
A look back at the incredible career of the Dudley Boyz, the most decorated tag team in the history of sports-entertainment. Includes over 20 matches and never-before-heard stories from Bubba Ray and D-Von, charting their formation in ECW, their rise to fame during the Attitude Era, then epic return to WWE in 2015. For the first time ever, you’ll get to know the Superstars behind the taped-up glasses and see how the Dudley Boyz turned the tables on tag team wrestling.
The WWE is experiencing something of a resurgence in its tag team divisions at the moment, and while teams like The Usos, Los Matadores and the fabulous The New Day are very impressive and entertaining, there was a time in the WWE just over a decade ago, that the tag team division was something truly phenomenal and a large part of this was due to the Dudley Boyz.
Initially part of the larger Dudley Brothers stable at ECW, Bubba-Ray and D-Von Dudley soon broke away to become their own two man wrecking machine and in the process laid the foundations for the tag team that is still a dominating force in the WWE today.
Straight Outta Dudleyville is a celebration of the first twenty years of this epic partnership and as is their way these days, WWE has once again assembled a fascinating, informative and entertaining documentary to accompany it. Given their bullish and violent behaviour in the ring, both Bubba and D-Von couldn’t be more different to their characters in real life. Both soft and well spoken, they talk about their two decade partnerships and real life friendship with warmth, affection and humour.
Beginning with their early days and upbringing in New York, Straight Outta Dudleyville draws on a plethora of family members and wrestlers (ibcluding Mick Foley, Edge, Christian, and Tommy Dreamer) to bring the two men to life outside the ring. A good portion of the first part of the documentary focuses on their time in ECW where they pushed the envelope in terms of goading and baiting audiences to give them heat, ironically becoming a tag team both beloved and reviled by the crowd, who Bubba would often get physical with, playing their heel role to the max.
It’s when the Dudleys were brought into the WWE, however, that they proceeded to change the way tag team wrestling was carried out forever. The combination of The Hardy Boyz (Jeff and Matt Hardy), Edge & Christian, and the Dudleys created a six man ideas factory that introduced tables, ladders and chairs to their matches and regularly put their bodies on the line as they competed with each other to perform ever more dangerous and impressive bumps for their audience. As Bubba admits in the documentary, the Dudleys were far from the first to use tables in their matches, as virtually every match in the ECW incorporated some form of weapon or prop, but they were the first to truly make them a part of their act, and even now audiences love shouting “D-von, get the tables!”
The seventy-five minute documentary is loosely book-ended by footage of, and interviews with, the Dudleys are they sit in their bus backstage at Raw on 24th August 2015 waiting to make their surprise return to a WWE ring for the first time in a decade, and the pop from the crowd when their music hits is as big as that for any of the current top names on the roster.
One thing the WWE has learned with its documentaries over the last few years is how to bring out the human side of their Superstars. Despite having been a heel faction for the vast majority of their twenty year existence, audiences have taken the Dudleys to their hearts and watching the two men interact with each other backstage and at their wrestling school it’s hard not to like and feel warmth for the two men who describe themselves as being as close as actual brothers.
The documentary on Straight Outta Dudleyville is worth the price of the set alone, but there’s also a great selection of two dozen of their matches from both ECW and WWE including the awesome, jaw-dropping TLC (Tables, Ladders, Chairs) match from WrestleMania X-7 between the Dudleys, The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian which stole the show that night and might just be the greatest tag team match in the history of wrestling. There are also additional segments cut from the documentary that are well worth a look and the Blu-ray adds their return on Raw plus another four matches.
Straight Outta Dudleyville is a great package celebrating the most decorated tag team in wrestling history and is well worth picking up.
On DVD & Blu-Ray from Monday 11th April 2016.
Author: Julian Connelly