BY STEVEN J. FERRARI
Growing up in Queens, Mark LoMonaco always knew what he wanted to do with his life.
“I knew I wanted to be a pro wrestler, even as a little kid,” he said.
After 20 years in the business, LoMonaco, better known by his ring name of Bully Ray, has performed all over the world and has been in the ring with some of the most famous wrestlers in the business.
Next month, Bully Ray will come back to the area with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling for an event at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury on Dec. 28, as part of the Impact Wrestling World Tour. The two-time former TNA champion said he was looking forward to the show.
“We’ve been to Westbury a couple of times now and it’s always been a really great event,” Ray said. “The holidays are a really great time for pro wrestling in the northeast.”
Ray established himself as a tag team wrestler, holding championships in promotions in both the U.S. and Japan. About three years ago, Ray became a singles competitor. The success he has had once he went out on his own – including holding the TNA championship twice in the last year – surprised him.
“The singles run has been really cool. I never expected to do it,” he said. “I always wanted to be a tag team wrestler.”
Over the last two years, Ray has performed with some of the most well-known wrestling stars, including former WWF champion Hulk Hogan. Despite being a focal point of the TNA promotion for most of the last couple of years, Ray said he does what he can to have fun with the role.
“I’ve been a pro wrestler and entertainer for so long, there isn’t much that stresses me out,” he said. “It’s all been a great ride.”
Having performed in front of small audiences in independent promotions like the defunct ECW to sold-out stadiums with the industry-leading WWE, Ray said he has always focused on the positive and found ways to enjoy working for every promotion.
“I try not to dwell on any of the negatives,” he said.
The former St. John’s University student said that after all he has accomplished, his goals have evolved into trying to have a great match with whoever gets in the ring with him. Having faced the majority of the TNA roster, Ray said there was one name he would like to have a long-term program with: Kurt Angle.
Ray said he has been in the promotion with the 1996 Olympic gold medalist for several years, but has never worked an extended program with him, which is something he wants the opportunity to do.
“I look forward to just being in there with everybody and bringing that guy to the next level,” Ray said. “But working with Kurt would be pretty cool.”
Tickets for the show at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury are on sale now and are available online at ticketmaster.com.
Reach Steven J. Ferrari at (718) 357-7400, email@example.com or @stevenferrari.