Posted by Chris Surrency
There’s one thing I’ve said over and over again through my time here, I’m a major fan of psychological characters in wrestling. I grew up enjoying the work of the darker, deeper, and in some cases even “tormented” souls of the wrestling industry. The gimmicks that make you think are the absolute best you can come across because they make you pay much closer attention to what they say, and even more, to what they do in the ring. There are many people who fit this category, everyone from Undertaker to Mick Foley, and so many different points in between. One of my all-time favorite workers is Raven; a man about whom Steve Austin said in Vince McMahon missed the boat. While I think it’s nearly impossible, although this is the business of never say never, I actually believe Raven deserves a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame as an ECW Alum and one of the biggest names in the history of that particular company.
With all of his different incarnations, from Johnny Polo to Scotty Flamingo, Scott Levy was a solid hand but it wasn’t until he hit ECW that he finally got a gimmick that worked and a chance to shine. The Raven character was deep, it was dark, tortured, and a bit evil, and all of these things drew me to the character. At the time I was a kid in middle school, I didn’t really fit in well with any one group, which pretty much made me feel like an outsider. This was another reason I grew to love the Raven gimmick, he wasn’t “like everyone else,” he did things his way and didn’t really follow the rules. Another thing that came from my addiction to the Raven character was my obsession with writing, you could actually say this one gimmick is partly responsible for me being a writer here, which may or may not be a good thing. I knew I had the talent to write, it wasn’t until seeing this character that I became hooked on expanding my vocabulary and focusing on poetry and the written word. While I don’t feel I could have ever delivered a promo the way Raven could, I sure as hell would have been able to write one.
Raven never did get to carry the WCW or WWF/WWE title; his character just didn’t seem to translate well once brought to the main stages. I don’t know if it was that the underground feel of an ECW made the character more appealing, or if the people running things in the top promotions just didn’t get it, but for some reason the character just seemed stagnant. I personally lean more toward the second option on the list, Raven was a GREAT character with a GREAT look and attitude, yet for some strange reason he couldn’t get over. I believe, if not for this little nWo storyline going on while they had Raven under contract, maybe he could have gone further during his WCW days. The timing could have been better, but at the same time, I don’t know how well the twisted character that Raven had crafted in ECW could have been booked in WCW with their programming being of the PG variety. If not for the non-compete put in place when Raven left WCW, he may have become just as big in WWF as he had been in ECW, getting the chance to go to the much edgier WWF while still having the name recognition of having been on WCW television.
While Raven never got the top title in either of the top organizations, he did hold many other titles during his career and formed some classic stables along the way. His two ECW championships and his one-time NWA championship reign are the highest-level championships he ever carried, although he did carry the WCW Light Heavyweight, United States, and Tag Team titles during his tenure. While in WWF he carried the Hardcore Championship a total of 27 times, kind of a crazy number but considering it was during the 24/7 era it’s somewhat more understandable. Some people talk about the Hardcore Championship just being a prop, but Raven held the title more times than anyone else in the existence of the championship. Even though he never held the big belts for the big two, he still made one hell of a name for himself and helped inspire other workers, even having an amazing feud with an up and coming CM Punk in MLW, which helped develop one of the greatest stars of the modern era. No matter what, this man has left his imprint on the business of pro wrestling, and thanks to Punk and anyone he helps inspire over the years; his legacy will only grow larger.
As I said at the beginning, it’s pretty much certain that Raven will not be given a shot to join the WWE Hall of Fame with his lawsuit and everything. That being said, the man’s resume speaks for itself, he’s done more than some people that have been included in the Hall, but we all know its Vince’s Hall and not necessarily based upon what someone has accomplished inside the ring. A cornerstone of the underground phenomena that was the original ECW, a man who spread his name even further than the reaches of the underground by succeeding in WCW, and the man who held one of the most beloved titles in WWE history more times than anyone else, how could you not (if they were to be objective) consider this man to be worthy of joining the Hall of Fame? Raven was such a great character, it’s just a shame that WWE never found a way to translate everything he accomplished in ECW over to their product. The man could work, in my opinion he’s one of the top five talkers in the history of the business, and had a unique look that could easily get over with the audience, with any luck one day he’ll be welcomed to his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
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