Raven Shoot Interview #2by Brandon Truitt
Aug 11, 2003, 19:00
This past weekend was interesting in wrestling on two fronts.
First, Booker T lost the IC title to Christian at a house show, which will be acknowledged on TV tonight. While it sucks that Booker lost, he was hurt so he really DID need to lose it and it shows that he could be in serious pain and yet still be a MAN about doing it. (Triple H and Shawn Michaels, I'm speaking in YOUR direction.)
Second, there is talk that the differences between Jim Cornette and Vince McMahon are getting to the point that OVW will lose its developmental deal and that the WWE will open a new territory in New England which is more convenient for them.
I'd say this is stupid egotism on Vince's part if it happens because Cornette and Danny Davis have done a much better job of preparing their guys than the other developmental territories have since this program started. HWA only produced Charlie Haas and the Island Boys. Memphis's contributions really stopped after The Rock since K-Kwik never really got the opportunity to do what he could. Puerto Rico produced jack squat in developmental talents although Carlos Colon Jr. was signed recently, well after he was established as a huge star there. OVW alone has produced Rico, John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Sheldon Benjamin, the Basham brothers, Nick Dinsmore (currently Doink), "Iron Man" Rob Conway (currently a Conquistador), and Brock Lesnar.
There will be no new shoot next week, although I'll be reposting the Bobby "The Brain" Heenan shoot from a year ago since many of you have probably not read it before. When I come back with new shoots, I'll probably post ones with Harley Race, Perry Saturn, and Justin Credible.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Raven shoot interview #2 (3/21/2003)
Before I start, I’ll make a note that Raven is wearing a KICKASS Marvel Comics silk shirt with Spiderman and Venom on it.
Why did he go to WCW? He didn’t want to leave ECW, but WCW offered him so much money that he couldn’t refuse. He gave Paul Heyman the chance to match a fraction of what WCW was offering him but they couldn’t swing a deal. He’d wanted to go for a while since he felt ECW had run its course creatively, he’d already worked against everyone in the company several times, and all the talented guys like Eddy Guerrero who’d been in ECW were now in WCW. However, he got cold feet right before he left but Heyman couldn’t offer him enough.
Was he playing Heyman and WCW off each other to increase his pay? No, he asked Paul E for a flat amount well below what WCW wanted to pay him and he felt it was far below his fair market value. He finds it bizarre that ECW’s creative side went belly-up around Barely Legal 1997, its first PPV, but that the company started drawing more and more money after that.
If he’d stayed in ECW, where would he go? There wasn’t anything for him to do since he’d worked with Sandman for a year and Tommy Dreamer for two years at that point. There were Sabu and Tazz, but he felt that Tazz couldn’t work a Raven-style program (character-driven, not match-driven) and that it would be counter-productive for him to try and work against his style at that time. He felt the same way about Sabu at the time and, now feels like them wrestling should be a huge deal. He’s refusing to do that match on the independent circuit in hopes of bringing it to NWA: TNA and making a huge program out of it.
Sabu’s style- He was innovative but it’s a shame that he never got his run with WCW or the WWF. He feels that’s the fault of Sabu’s decision-making and the way that business was when he was at his peak. Sabu got a lot of business advice at a young age since he was The Shiek’s nephew but the business changed to the point that the advice he’d been given was outdated by the time he got big.
Why did he and Sabu never face each other in ECW? Paul E didn’t want a no-contest and didn’t want either to lose at that time. He faced Tazz once and beat him, but that was in the early days of ECW before he became the focus of the company.
Were there any talks with the WWF at that time? No, because they were in the crapper at that time (This was middle-to-late 1997, before Steve Austin was fully established as the top guy there). They started taking off about six months later but he was already in WCW then. His friendship with Diamond Dallas Page at that time convinced him to go since DDP had Eric Bischoff’s ear and, indirectly, Raven would have Bischoff’s ear as a result.
Were there any promises made to him when he went to WCW? “Those were a part of the lost years, when the partying was getting really out of hand.” As a result, he can’t remember any being made to him. He felt he was protected better than anyone besides the Big Ten, who were the obvious main event wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. His position in the booking meetings helped, since he was able to think on his feet and come up with immediate counter-proposals whenever someone suggested he do something that was not in his best interest. He never had a problem putting anyone over but, since WCW had a history of people doing things in their best interest and it was known that there were no real long-term plans behind most of the matches, he felt it was a “When in Rome, do as the Romans” situation and just protected himself. He says it was a game for the other people to try and get him to put someone he wasn’t working with over, and says that he’d tell them “If you’re going to do that, at least send the guy I’m working with down to screw me”, and it just went from there. It would be one thing if he was asked to put Nash, as he wouldn’t have objected to jobbing to someone higher on the card. He says the one time they got him was when they convinced him to job to Horace Hogan, because the plan was for Horace to be positioned with Hulk Hogan since Horace was his nephew. He put Horace over then the storyline Horace was supposed to have with Hulk never materialized. He feels it was probably Horace’s best match ever.
The bookers in WCW at that time- Terry Taylor and Kevin Sullivan. He and Taylor always got along but “he was always trapped in a different decade than I was.” Taylor’s gotten a lot better at what he’s doing since Raven’s days in WCW. He grew up watching Sullivan in Florida. He and Sandman insisted that Sullivan be the referee in their Clockwork Orange House of Pain match in NWA: TNA as a “pass the torch” kind of thing. There were never really any problems with Sullivan although he couldn’t get Sullivan to push any members of The Flock. Sullivan’s retort was something like “Some must die so that others might live.” The Flock, and Billy Kidman in particular, thought that he was intentionally having them lose matches so that he’d look better although he was trying to help them. He felt they were the most over group of guys who never won a match.
The Flock- He picked a lot of the members personally although he got stuck with a few of them, such as Van Hammer, because guys like DDP insisted he take them. Jimmy Hart came to him on Hulk Hogan’s behalf about putting Horace Hogan in The Flock, which he had no objections to although he was called a kissass by some Flock members for doing it. Terry Taylor chose Billy Kidman. Raven personally chose Scott Vick (Sick Boy) because he wanted guys who’d never been seen before “instead of retreads.” He mentions Chuck Palumbo in particular as a retread since Chuck went from the gay gimmick to no gimmick to being a member of the Full Blooded Italians in a short amount of time. He feels that, if a company has serious plans for giving someone a new gimmick, they need to send that guy home for a certain amount of time so that people get his old gimmick out of their minds before giving him a new one. Getting back to the subject, he also thinks that Perry Saturn was his pick. Outside of Saturn, very few Flock members got promo time or wins. In order to keep them from doing the same old “every kicks the guy when he’s down then the guy beats them all up in ten seconds” routine, Raven would choreograph the run-ins so that Kidman would miss a top-rope spot then someone else would try something and miss, etc. so that it was all fresh.
Kevin Sullivan’s influence on him- He grew up watching Sullivan’s Prince of Darkness character. He’d originally wanted to be Michael PS Hayes, so that’s what Scotty the Body was based on. When he decided to go darker, he was originally basing the character off of Jake “The Snake” Roberts but, since he grew up in Florida, a lot of Sullivan’s Prince of Darkness character rubbed off on him as well. He feels that Sullivan can be a cancer in some ways but, all this time later, he doesn’t have anything against him.
How was Sullivan out for himself? Raven believes that the more the lower guys get over, the more everyone else gets over. He thinks Sullivan booked on the philosophy that if one guy is really over, don’t let anyone else get TOO over because it will start bring that first guy’s popularity down. He thinks it’s possible that the reason The Flock wasn’t given many wins may have been Sullivan’s way of making him seem more over in comparison, although it was more likely done “just to fuck with me.”
The attitude of the WCW locker room when he first arrived- His memory isn’t good for trying to remember that time but he feels it wasn’t a bad place to be at that time. It definitely got worse later. He remembers signing up with them in June or August of 1997, when he was a complete alcoholic, then getting pancreitis a few months later and having to quit drinking as a result. Since he couldn’t drink, he started taking Ecstacy “and REALLY fried my brain as a result.” None of that kept him from getting a push because people were on all kinds of stuff in WCW and he didn't stand out from anyone else in that regard to management. He figured he would be the only sober person when he went to the WWF but, as it turns out, guys like Edge, Christian, Triple H, Lance Storm, and Chris Jericho don’t take drugs or drink or, if they do, it’s very rarely. He feels it’s the kind of people in the business these days rather than management’s influence on what they do.
Who’s idea was it for him to be in the crowd as an outsider? He couldn’t believe he was getting paid big money to drink and watch wrestling at ringside. He thinks it was Bischoff’s idea, as everyone thought that he was going to be a surprise run-in but, instead, it was Curt Hennig. It was the first time anyone got introduced like that and it helped him get over immediately. On the few nights when WCW shows were held in dry towns, the entire Flock would be pissed off and have Hammer on the phone to his drug dealer trying to hook them up.
Stevie Richards in WCW- He didn’t want him in WCW because things weren’t going good between them at the time. He thinks that Disco Inferno talked Terry Taylor into hiring him but that everyone gave HIM heat over it because they figured he got Stevie hired. Stevie didn’t end up lasting long and he thinks it’s because Stevie had his head up his ass. When he finally got his head together, he was fine.
Raven’s Rules- It was Terry Taylor’s idea and he actually thought it was a bad idea. He thinks it hurt his heat to be cheating and have it be legal than to be doing it behind the referee’s back. As a result, he’d have a member of the Flock distract the referee whenever he was going to do something like that. The only good thing about the whole situation was that he could do the drop toehold onto the chair without making it a huge production. He gives credit to Shane Douglas for inventing that move and says that Shane had given him permission to use it.
Was WCW putting him in hardcore matches to capitalize on his ECW background? “Absolutely.”
Being in the Dead Pool with Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse- He liked the name and found it funny that he was a charter member of it considering that his habits outside of the ring always kept him on people’s lists when they’d do wrestling dead pools. It only lasted a few weeks, though. He doesn’t even remember what happened to that. He says that Vampiro was never used correctly in WCW and that evil clowns are the best gimmicks ever, which is why he loved the original heel Doink the Clown in the WWF.
He explains that a dead pool is a game in which people make a list containing names of people they think will die within a certain period of time. (This concept was actually made into the fifth and (so far) final Dirty Harry movie, “The Dead Pool”, in the late 1980s.) He, Scott Hall, Chris Candido, Sunny, Axl Rotten, and several other people are always on those lists.
Drugs in WCW- It was a huge party scene there. Management didn’t try to stop it because few people ever showed up unable to perform and he thinks no one died while he was there. (Raven’s faulty memory is showing up again. Louie Spicoli died in 1998 while Raven was there. Bobby Duncum Jr. died in late 1999 or early 2000, several months after he left WCW.) He would stick to uppers instead of downers, which he felt kept him from being unable to perform. If he was drinking too much and was tired, he’d just take uppers and pain pills until he was fine again. “You gotta be able to balance your narcotics and I was of the belief that if you can’t handle your drugs, don’t do them.”
Were there any ideas he wanted to do with Flock members that he didn’t get to do? His memory’s failing him as he knows there were some but he can’t remember what they were. He did like some of the stuff they did do, like Saturn winning The Flock’s freedom from him in a match.
The gimmick where he “went home” and was living at his “parents’ house”- “It was ridiculous.” The only good thing to come out of it was that Sandman got hired to be a part of it. Chastity was brought in as his “sister” as a part of that, too. He can’t remember if he brought her in then Saturn started dating or the other way around. He wanted her full name to be Chastity Slutworth but that got shot down. He said the name was part of the theme where women associated with him would have ridiculous names like Beulah McGillicuddy or Kimona Wannalaya. It pisses him off that Tommy Dreamer and everyone else take credit for Kimona’s name because Raven had stolen that from some old third-grade joke book titles like “Under the Bleachers by Seymore Butts” and so forth. “Dreamer’s like ‘I got it from this’ and I’m like ‘That’s not where it came from, ya fuckin’ idiot, it came from this.’” He thought the whole house gimmick was going to kill his career and, instead, it got him even more over. “It just goes to show you that sometimes you think you have your finger on the pulse but you really don’t.” He says that the opposite of this was WCW wanting to play up his ECW connection more, which he thought was stupid because ECW was still a niche in the wrestling market rather than a full-blown national power. “People chant “E-C-Dub” now more than they did five years ago.” The only reason he can think of why people bought into it so much was that they must have believed that they were really getting a peek into his real life.
Stories from the Gold Club in Atlanta- He and the guy that played Dick Hurtz in ECW used to go there all the time. He couldn’t drink so he was on Ecstacy and Somas and so forth all the time. “The Gold Club was like the greatest titty bar in the history of the planet.” You could actually have sex in the club if you were a star athlete or so forth. Whenever there weren’t paying customers there, he would get free Gold Rooms, free food, free admission, etc. The only things he didn’t get were free hookers, which he feels was due to him being a local instead of a visitor. He says he was averaging a hook up with a different stripper one out of every four visits at one time and then getting blown in the club. Recently, he was about to start seeing the ex-girlfriend of one of his friends and, once they started talking, she revealed that she’d been one of the strippers that blew him five years ago. He also tells a story of how, one night when he was getting blown, Disco came in so Raven introduced the girl and she tried to say “hi” while she was still sucking his dick. They were talking about booking storylines while she was still giving him head.
Memories of matches with DDP- “Bless his heart.” The one thing he hated about the whole situation was that Page would want to save ideas for the next week in case they came up with something, while Raven felt that he was creative enough to come up with something better the next week.
The US title win- He was pissed about winning it then losing it to Goldberg the next night. He then starts talking about how he has years of his life where he can’t remember what was going on unless someone reminds him.
The Chris Benoit program- He was pissed that they were just jobbing Benoit out then getting into a three-way program with Benoit and Page. He feels that Benoit was being severely misused by getting jobbed out since he’s a tremendous talent. He thought that DDP was bringing him up to his level in that program and that they were both raising Benoit’s stature at the same time but the bookers had Benoit lose his first match after the program to Scott Norton and had Norton kick out of Benoit’s finisher. “He was more over then than he was for a long time after that” but WCW management pissed that away and that the fans were getting pissed over it. He compares it to what happened during his last run in the WWE, where he was jobbed out every week yet still got pretty good reactions from the fans. He thinks that the program started by accident because he was supposed to wrestle Benoit but, on the way to Nitro, he came down with pancreitis and had to go to the emergency room instead. Since he wasn’t there that night or the next Nitro, Flock members subbed for him and Terry Taylor just decided to turn it into a program. By the time that he healed up fine, Benoit had gone through the entire Flock and the buildup was amazing, even if it was accidentally done correctly for once. He thought the match would turn into a shoot because Benoit hated him at the time but Benoit let him call the whole match. He ended up calling a match where beat down Benoit to start with then Benoit continually kicked his ass until the finish. Eric Bischoff put him over after the match for taking an obscene number of chops from Benoit, which he says is a strong compliment considering Bischoff’s martial arts background.
Was Benoit screwed over because of the Kevin Sullivan situation? “Oh, of course. Kevin Sullivan was a bastard back then.” (For those who don’t know, Sullivan booked his wife, Woman, in an angle where she would leave him and have an affair with Benoit. The funny thing is that it really DID happen that way behind the scenes and has become a huge Smart Mark joke since then.)
His reputation for being lazy- He had a reputation for being lazy unless it was a big match, which he says was well-deserved but that he’d work his storylines around it to make it a part of his character.
Back to the US title- He was pissed he wasn’t allowed to keep it for longer because he felt . He starts talking about how the Smoking Gunns won the tag titles like four times during the mid-90s because there was no one else yet he doesn’t put them on the same level with, say, Demolition. He feels the US title was treated that way for a long time as, occasionally, they’d put it on someone for a reason like Magnum TA or Tully Blanchard but, more often than not, they’d put it on someone for no reason. He starts to name names but thinks better of it because some of them are friends of his (coughKONNANcough). He felt he was being used properly and that he’d be able to build off of what DDP had done for the title’s reputation but, instead, he was squashed by Goldberg. “The thing was that he didn’t even need the belt.” He puts over how most people claim that the match where he lost the belt to Goldberg was one of Goldberg’s best ever. He thinks there’s three good Goldberg matches but doesn’t remember what the third one is besides his and the DDP one from Halloween Havoc 1998, which he feels is better than the one he did with Goldberg. He thinks that part of Goldberg’s problem is that he believes that he wouldn’t sell in real life, so he doesn’t sell in the ring. He personally thinks “that’s real fuckin’ stupid.” What pissed him off about losing the belt wasn't the belt itself more than him thinking that the office believed he was doing a good job and would help the belt’s image but, instead, he was just transitioning it to Goldberg.
Goldberg- He tried to teach him how to sell but, once Goldberg told him he wouldn’t sell in a real fight, Raven quit trying with him.
Disco Inferno calls him on his cell phone with this point and Raven starts screwing with him and the interviewers.
Tagging with Perry Saturn- That was a lot of fun to begin with but he REALLY loved that Saturn did all the work for him. He says it’s a symptom of him learning from the old-timers who believed that less was more, but that they took it to the point of being lazy. He feels that the years of laziness has extended his career by having him get less banged up which, in conjunction with him getting pickled on drugs and alcohol for so long, could keep him going for quite a while.
Memories of tag matches with Benoit and Dean Malenko or Kidman and Rey Misterio- He doesn’t remember the Kidman matches as much as the Benoit-Malenko ones. He thinks that they were better heels than babyfaces but that, when he and Saturn were the heels, Benoit and Malenko did great. The problem with Benoit and Malenko as heels was that they weren’t good at knowing the right time for the faces to get a flurry of offense in. He also remembers doing an interview with Mean Gene Okerlund in which Saturn would do a comedy routine except that Mean Gene would ask him instead and screw up the set up line. He and Saturn became really close around that time and, as a result, they’ll always be close.
When did he start wanting out of WCW? When they decided they didn’t want to put him in the Big Ten. As a part of the house skits, he pulled out a photo of Roddy Piper and that, combined with his history of working for Piper in Portland, was something he felt should be used to put them in a program together. Since Piper was one of the top guys, just working with him would raise Raven’s stock in the company. The whole angle got kiboshed because the top guys wanted to protect their spots and he says “it’s very similar to why the WWE’s in the mess it’s in now.” He and Piper had even come up with a really good scenario and Piper had signed off on the whole thing. It would have included personal stuff which he felt, if it was any good, would help lend legitimacy to the feud and help the heat. He says that stuff like that is why the Tommy Rich vs. Buzz Sawyer feud is still famous “forty years later” and why other feuds have been remembered for so long.
Trying to get to the top of the card- He got pissed that he, Jericho, and Konnan were right below the top guys and weren’t allowed to move up. However, he also notes that a bunch of people around that level used to be the subject of the “they should be on top” stuff but, since they haven’t done crap since they made it, it should show that thinking someone should be on top and accepting them as a top guy are two different things. He feels that Konnan’s mic work is enough to overcome his shortcomings in the ring because it can sell tickets. It’s an extension of his belief that promos and storylines sell tickets and that good matches are just a bonus. “Hell, look at Hogan and Warrior.” He also says there’s a distinction between good promos and promos that put people in seats and that can be seen in the WWE where some people cut great promos but can’t make themselves seem like top guys. It’s an attitude or style more than what you say. He says that Jericho proved he had it in the WWF, Konnan proved it in Mexico, but he never got a chance to prove it anywhere, since ECW was only a regional promotion.
Final days in WCW- “This will teach you never to do business after taking drugs and drinking all night.” He flew to Las Vegas the night before and was reading an Entertainment Weekly while he was reading. He then went out with Disco, did a bunch of Ecstacy, went clubbing, and hooked up with a pretty yet muscular girl. Screwed her, got no sleep, then went to the meeting at the building. “My hair was sticking up like Sideshow Bob.” He ended up taking the wrong exit from the hotel and, since they were in Vegas and the door shut behind him, it meant a long-ass walk to get back to where he needed to go in the hot sun when he already felt like crap. He finally made it to the MGM for the meeting. He and Konnan laid down in front because they knew they were going to get yelled at over their comments to the media. He started thinking that Bischoff was going to bitch at him first when he heard the word “Scott…” come out but then Bischoff finished the sentence by saying “… Cunningham, out attorney, is here” and he thought he might actually be left alone. When Bischoff then said “If anyone’s unhappy, there’s the door”, he figured he was being singled out and said “Okay, see ya” and walked out. Bischoff then started picking on Konnan, Buff Bagwell, and others so he turned around to say “How about that, Konnan?” before realizing he was the only person to walk out. Raven says he was pissed about his situation, creatively, and that money was secondary. He felt his happiness was worth more than money to him at the time. He, along with others like Kidman and Konnan who were debating a release, called the WWF but never got called back, which he found out later was because the WWF thought they never really WOULD get released from WCW. He thought he didn’t have heat with Vince but was obviously wrong because, soon after he got back, a road agent told him that the first words out of Vince’s mouth at a meeting were “Who the fuck hired Raven?!?” If he’d known that would have happened, he wouldn’t have gone there.
His release- Immediately after the meeting, Bischoff asked him what he was going to do next and he said he was going to the WWF. Bischoff tried to tell him that he couldn’t do that but Raven threw the previous offer of a free and clear release back in his face. Bischoff then said that he’d talk to the attorneys and, by the time the attorneys got back to Raven an hour later, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to go to the WWF because Bisch wouldn’t allow it. It turns out that Bischoff respected him a lot for having the balls to walk out on him and was told that he shouldn’t leave because Bisch had big plans. He had decided he wanted to go to the WWF, though, because it was by far the hottest show on TV at that time. “We actually used to watch RAW while we were at Nitro.” Bisch left the door open for him to return and wanted him to feud with the KISS Demon, which Raven debated doing since he thought it would be positioned as a top program. He starts talking about the film Dark City at this point and says that Dustin Rhodes’ character at the time, which was based off of a guy in Dark City but was seen as a peeping tom and a pedophile instead, was going to be revealed as pulling the strings of both Raven and the Demon. This turned Raven off completely because Dustin had been used like crap ever since he came to WCW from the WWF earlier that year and, in addition to that, it was the complete opposite of where he wanted to be on the card. He wanted to be a top guy, NOT the flunky of someone lower on the card than him. The only thing he ponders is that, if he stayed, he could have left with Saturn and the other Radicalz and gotten a higher downside guarantee on his contract.
Going back to ECW- He called Paul E up after all of that and told him “I’m surprised you haven’t called me up yet.” It turns out that everyone thought it was a work instead of a shoot, so Raven told him he really did get a release. Paul E immediately threw out a figure for him, which got him to agree right then and there and says that the figure was much higher than what he’d asked for two years before that. He figured that the company seemed to be better off financially at that time, although he was wrong.
His relationship with Paul E when he returned- He doesn’t think there was any heat when he came back, although there were a few problems because people had asked him to get them jobs in WCW then later denied that they had asked. He didn’t realize how burnt out Paul E was as a booker an was only looking at the ECW deal for a show on TNN and several other things. He says that Paul E’s obviously recovered since then as he’s done a great job in the WWE with “a bunch of new toys to play with.” He doesn’t know if Paul E knew he was tapped out creatively at that point but doesn’t think that Paul E would admit it if he was. He says it’s bullshit to look back in hindsight and say that you should have done things different because of all the other little things that happened because of the decisions you made. In his case, he’s not sure he would have kicked his drug habit or done some of the other things he did if he’d stayed in WCW. He stopped caring once he saw how little Paul E was putting into the creative side of things at that point and feels that Paul E thought Raven had stopped caring first and was pissed as a result.
Memories of the angle where he returned and beat the Dudleys with Dreamer for the tag titles- “It was the loudest sustained pop in company history” and reiterates that the reason he never wanted Dreamer to beat him was that he knew he’d be back eventually. He thinks that Bubba Dudley will probably say differently but the Dudleyz were getting cheered everywhere and, despite the fact that they were leaving for the WWF, they didn’t want to cut a heel promo on the fans. Raven says he talked them into it because it was going to be the first title Dreamer had ever won with the company and they wanted to make it as big a deal as possible.
Who’s idea was it for him to team with Dreamer? He thinks it was Paul E’s and feels it was a good idea of the time but that Dreamer wasn’t the same anymore because of his position on the booking committee. He, Lance Storm, and Dreamer all used to book the shows and, when Dreamer had an idea overruled by himself and Storm, Dreamer would just start ignoring everyone else.
Main changes during his second run- He’s fuzzy on a lot of that period because he says he was shooting up a lot of drugs, so he’d have to be reminded about what went on. “I’m really fuckin’ lucky to be alive.” He says that he didn’t really become a junkie until his last six months in ECW but that he was a functional junkie, meaning he could work even though he was still lazy. He thinks that Paul E decided that no one was going to die while working for him, which is why he came down hard on himself, Chris Candido, and Sunny. Paul E gave him an ultimatum about cleaning up, but he didn’t have any problems with it because he’d already decided to give it up anyway. He finally just added up how many drugs he was taking each day and what kinds, then realized he was on WAY too much stuff such as Percocets, Oxycotin (which has been referred to as “legal heroin” and is what Jack Osbourne went into rehab for recently), etc. He finally realized he was shooting up and/or eating the equivalent of 240 Percocets per day. Since they were in cycles where they would visit Philadelphia every six weeks and they were in Philly when he decided he was going to quit, he told everyone he was quitting in six weeks and everyone thought he was bullshitting them. Part of why he handled it right that was that he wanted to shame himself into doing it, as he didn’t want to tell everyone he was quitting then not doing it.
Detox- “It was fuckin’ ungodly painful” when he did it. Bill Alfonso and another friend of his came to the outpatient clinic when he went there. When he told the doctor what he was taking, he was told that no one could take that much and, besides that, shooting up the way he was doing it was incredibly dangerous. The doctor told him that it would take twelve hours between his last shot and his withdrawal and that they’d be open at certain times to give him some pills of Buprinex, a drug similar to Methadone. The doctor was completely wrong because his withdrawal started about six or seven hours after his last shot and wasn’t taking his calls. When he finally came into the office the next morning, he got his Buprinex and some Valiums but it had no effect. He found out later that the doctor had told his staff that, with the dosages that Raven was taking, there was a high chance he’d die when trying to go through detox. The normal person would take about three of Buprinex per day but, due to his dosages of Percocets and Oxycotin, Raven was taking about twelve per day. He was on Buprinex for a long time but now he’s clean.
Was anyone helpful to him at this time? “Getting drugs or keeping them away?” He jokes that, at one time, there was a joke about how if anyone in ECW actually passed a drug test, they’d be fired. He starts trying to tell drug stories but can’t think of ones without burying certain people.
He takes a moment to bring up Rob Feinstein’s tryst with porn star Kristi Mist and that everyone thought he was gay for years before that. Feinstein: “They still do.” Raven: “Well, that’s what you get for blowing me.”
His working relationship with Paul E- He was given his notice verbally then, once he got hired by the WWF, Paul E refused to give it to him. He doesn’t have a problem with Paul E calling his last six months in ECW a paid vacation before he went to the WWF but says that Paul E treated his first six months in the company the same way. “Normally, what we hate in other people is what we hate in ourselves.” Paul E was pissed that he wasn’t being creative and took it out on Raven. He brings up that Paul E spent a lot of time in Los Angeles at one point supposedly trying to find a financial backer for the company but, instead, he was filming scenes for the flop remake of Rollerball. Tommy Dreamer actually put together a consortium of his old friends who, combined, would have put $90 million into the company but Paul E didn’t want to do it because ECW, sink or swim, was his and his alone.
Matches against Justin Credible and Lance Storm- He remembers doing a run-in at the pay per view where he was going to bounce into the ring through the ropes. He ended up bouncing off the ropes and back onto the ramp. When he came back to the locker room, the guys said “Raven zero, ring one.” He remembers another night where he was in his Jim Morrison phase, with a full beard and wearing leather pants, he tried to make a run-in but the ring was set up weird because of the building and, as such, he had trouble getting into it in his tight leather pants and had to put his foot on the announce table before swinging himself into it. That made it “Ring two, Raven zero.” In the ring, he feels that Lance wasn’t stiff enough in the ring but he’s a great, hilarious guy. Credible was very good back then but that he’s become a miserable person now because of how the business has treated him. He’s hoping that Credible can pull it together now that he’s in NWA: TNA.
When he went back to ECW, did he think that there was no long-term planning? He thought that they might have long-term plans like the old days but he soon found out otherwise. It pissed him off how little Dreamer seemed to care when things didn’t go his way at that time. They’re still friends but they weren’t close at that time.
Why did the newer guys like Mike Awesome, Lance Storm, and Justin Credible never get over to the degree that the older stars did? “They just didn’t have the X factor.” The show never really progressed past a certain point anyway so it’s not like they really got the chance. He starts talking about how both Konnan and Jericho had the X factor and that’s why they should have been top guys but that other wrestlers who people clamored for shouldn’t be top guys because they don’t have it. He says that no amount of good matches can make up for that one quality. The X factor, when he defines it, is “that something” that just makes people want to see them.
Does he think he could have worked harder during his second ECW run? He could have worked harder throughout the whole middle of his career. He would only do just as good as he needed to during that part of his career.
Any regrets about that run? He wishes he never went there because his drug problem got worse, his working relationship with Paul E went into the toilet, he pissed on his ECW legacy, etc. He also would have done better financially if he’d gone somewhere else.
Why didn’t TNN have the impact that Paul E wanted? The product sucked at the time. As an example, “who the fuck was going to watch Nitro when they had RAW?” If the product was good enough, people would have sought it out.
Why was there never another big Raven-Dreamer match? He was a face the whole time and people weren’t going to boo him, so there wasn’t a point in him wrestling Dreamer.
Wrestling philosophy- He believes that he business is story-driven rather than match driven while Mick Foley always used to disagree and would say that it was match-driven. He says that the best times for the business are when it’s at a nice balance between the two rather than at one extreme or the other. By the time he got hired back to the WWF in 2000, he believed that wrestling was match-driven and Foley was adamant that it was story-driven. The WWE’s pendulum started swinging back towards wrestling in 2001 so they started insisting that everyone work the same style, then it swung back towards storylines again.
Was it always a sure deal that he was going back to the WWF? Vince Russo told him through DDP that he could make big money there but he still wanted to go to the WWF because he felt he had to make it there. He’d still go there if he had another chance because it was right for him. Jim Ross met with him but no one wanted to hire him because of his reputation as having a drug problem. He starts talking about how JR offered him an insultingly low amount so that they didn’t have a repeat of what happened when they signed William Regal in 1998 but the camera makes an abrupt jump here. (Regal was signed in late 1998 after getting fired from WCW for some combination of making Goldberg look stupid in a match by improvising and pissing on the leg of a stewardess during a flight. He was signed to the WWF and lasted until late 1998, at which point he was sent to rehab and then Memphis until it was determined that he was completely clean and could handle the schedule.) JR offered him a minimum of $75,000 a year for the first year and his contract would increase for every year he was still there, which was JR’s way of limiting their risk if Raven relapsed but leaving an carrot for him down the road if he was able to stay clean. He says that he thinks Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy were both on $75,000 minimum guarantees, which is bullshit considering what they’ve done for the company, but that he only had to make it through the first year before he got a guaranteed hike in his pay. He went into debt at that time between Paul E owing him $78,000 and his low guarantee in the WWF but he’s since made a ton of money. “It just turned out to be fuckin’ the shits, though.”
His heat with Vince McMahon- He thinks that Vince was pissed that he had a lot of influence on Shane McMahon while he was there in 1994 and, on top of that, he quit and they prefer to fire people rather than having them leave on their own. He thinks that his party reputation may also have hurt him although, outside of Jim Ross, no one ever really seemed to notice it or comment on it.
Working a program with Tazz- It was great because he got to beat up Jerry Lawler on PPV in Philadelphia , which was his home turf, so he thought he was still going to get a chance. He didn’t realize that the business was about to take a belly flop. He talks about how people think Russo’s so bad for the business but, when he talks to him, he knows what he’s doing. He feels that all the undercard stuff in the WWF during Russo’s run from 1997 to 1999 were all Russo, while McMahon would work with Russo on the main event angles during that time. He says that, if you talk to the writers now, you’ll hear all about how McMahon only cares about the top four guys (Triple H, The Rock, Steve Austin, and The Undertaker) and can believe that it was the same way back then. He talks about how Russo actually got Mark Henry of all people over at one point, which is amazing. He was making $6000 a week in the opening match for a while there.
Why did he think he got jobbed out? He thinks it’s because Vince McMahon was pissed at him for whatever reason. He hears he won him over by the end but it was already too late.
The angle with Tori as the masked ninja- He dogs her and talks about how he’s been paired with a bunch of worthless people and mentions her in the same breath as Van Hammer and JT Southern. She wanted to be a ninja but he wanted her to be dressed like Stevie Nicks in the old-school Fleetwood Mac outfits. He calls her “a cunt” and says that she blew at least one spot per match the whole time she was there and that Al Snow can verify it. “That’s a perfect record. Unfortunately, it’s a negative perfect record.” He never pissed and moaned at her over it but, when she was about to get released, she started claiming that he’d yelled at her and so forth. The office was pissed at him for a while because they thought they had a lawsuit on their hands, although Gerald Brisco and JR were later able to prove that he never yelled at her.
Putting Saturn’s mop, Moppy, in the woodchipper- “It’s amazing what people remember in the business.” He thought “it was stupid as fuck but it was over.” They were supposed to take him out of that angle to do his Seven storyline but, instead, he ended up doing it on Heat WELL after that and it was only a shadow of what it was supposed to be.
The hardcore matches- He feels that he’s been in six of the top ten hardcore matches in the WWF and that the one he did with Rhyno was the best by far. He also puts over ones he had with Crash Holly. He thinks he was put in the hardcore division because Vince thought he was worthless but, when he actually got over, he got back on Vince’s good side but they still wouldn’t write anything for him. It pisses him off that the people who were SUPPOSED to be the writers wouldn’t actually write anything but, instead, he’d write it and have a friend type it up for him. “It was just the worst fucking thing you’ve ever seen” and it was so sad that, after waiting so long to get a big run there, it was just bullshit when he made it there.
The hardcore division- “They were smart to get rid of it” because the job guys doing all that kind of stuff took away from the top guys doing it in their matches. The problem was that they were putting uncreative people in that division, although he loved the three-way he did with Kane and Big Show at Wrestlemania X-7. The only thing he regrets is that he came up with a golf cart spot where he and Kane would drive all the way around the Astrodome with Big Show chasing him except he accidentally turned over his cart before they could do it and screwed it all up. He found out later that the power line for the entire show was where he ran the cart off the road and, if they’d hit it, the show would have gone completely black. “I could have killed Wrestlemania” and it would have taken about twenty minutes to get things going again. In order to save the whole spot, Big Show hit him, knocked him into Kane’s cart, and Kane practically ran him over. He also talked about how he and Al Snow wanted to do a hardcore match in Madison Square Garden where Raven would get sprayed with a fire hose and so forth. It got cut for time and he’s thankful in hindsight because messing with the hose’s casing set off an invisible alarm and the fire department showed up to find out what was going on. He feels that if they’d done that spot and the fire department closed down the show, Vince would have fired him on the spot.
The Rhyno match at Backlash 2001- “The best hardcore match ever” and he wonders how Rhyno was even able to fit into the shopping cart when he missed a spear on him and went into the back of it head first. He likes Rhyno a lot.
What did he think of the ECW reformation angle? It was wasted because “the Alliance was fucking bullshit.” He feels that WCW alone should have been worth millions but that Vince let his ego get in the way and blew the whole thing. “The ECW thing got more over than the WCW thing” but they blew that as well. He feels that Austin could have drawn against Spike Dudley, Tazz, or others but they refused to do it. He’s not sure who screwed them over but doesn’t think it was Vince at that time. He definitely feels that Tazz could have drawn in the WWF if given a chance.
Was everyone feeling horrible at that time? Yes, because he was miserable about the business and, if he was with another wrestler, all he could talk about was how depressed it made him and he became a real downer. He started riding alone in order to get away from it when he left the building at night. He says that Chris Jericho was also depressed for a long time because they wouldn’t let him into a top spot in the company. Raven feels he was more screwed because “everyone on the planet knows that I deserved at least a midcard spot.” (I totally agree, although his demeanor would appear arrogant to some when he says this.)
Was he going to get a commentator position? They wanted him to do it but he never wanted it. Tazz chose to do it because he couldn’t stand being jobbed out and it was a way for him to still provide for his family. “It’s funny because he really sucked at commentating to begin with but he’s really good now.” He actually got over with Vince for turning it down and even considered throwing the audition because he knew he’d get it if he tried. He ended up selling the Seven storyline to Vince around that time but it went nowhere the way it was done. Vince then wanted to put him on the writing staff but knew that he had to give him a few more years as a wrestler first if he’d turned down a commentating gig for the same reasons. He thinks that he may put it on the Internet one day so that people can see what it was rather than the “watered down crap” it became.
The Seven storyline- Since you can’t kill people and just beating someone up isn’t very good, proven because they do that on RAW and “Brian Gerwitz is an idiot.” He thinks “he fucked me royally business-wise.” Since psychological damage lasts longer, he wanted to do that based off of the seven deadly sins. The first three would have been jobbers or guys like Coach, in order to get things started without bogging down in a feud. The fourth one would become a feud, which would last a few months, which would end with Raven losing an “I Quit” match. You’d think it would end the storyline but he’d then actually come back two weeks later and come in for the fifth sin. The last ones were going to be envy and lust. He wanted take a face like Matt Hardy and show him on a bar in a videotape kissing a girl who isn’t Lita, checking into a hotel with her, etc., all the way up to the shot of the “Do not disturb” sign going on the door. The next shot would be of the aftermath of the night before, with beer bottles and condom wrappers abound, then pulling back to show Raven consoling Lita. While he would be consoling her, he would be feeling on her and trying to kiss her but she’s too busy sobbing. It would come out later that Matt didn’t actually do it. The next week, he’d be gone while Hardy would be trying to find him for revenge. The week after, Raven would have Lita in the ring and insist on playing the tape again because, while Matt’s sin was lust, Raven’s was envy because he was envious of Matt’s perfect life and perfect girlfiend and so forth. Immediately after saying that he was guilty of envy, he’d act like his soul was purged despite completely screwing over all those other people. Matt would beat the piss out of Raven, Lita would knock Matt out with an international object, and Lita would leave with Raven. He’d then feud with Matt and it would turn out that Lita had cheated on Matt first and that their relationship was already in trouble but that Matt had been trying as hard as he could to hold it together. Raven booked it out to be a six month program with at least two major feuds within that time but he was later asked by Stephanie McMahon where he would go afterwards. Raven felt that he’d be made by that storyline for life at that point and that they wouldn’t NEED to find other sins to have programs on.
His final storyline before getting fired- He was going to turn Hurricane heel in a program with Tommy Dreamer and himself. He’d turn Hurricane into such a heel that Hurricane would turn on him, which would make him a tweener. Dreamer would be trying to play the angel and keeping Hurricane as a face while he would be the Devil and trying to turn him heel. There’s more than that but that’s the simplest form of it. After that, Hurricane would then bring in an OVW sidekick and a girl who would supposedly be the head of his fan club. The long and short of it would be that Hurricane would become a major player, getting over an OVW guy as a monster, Hurricane’s valet, revitalize Raven and Dreamer’s careers, etc. without having to work with a Triple H or other big star to do it. The first reason he couldn’t do it was that Brian Gerwitz didn’t want to turn Hurricane heel since he’d come up with the Hurricane character. Then Gerwitz wanted to make Hurricane heel but use his own idea “which probably fucking sucks and he wanted to cock-block me out.” (Gerwitz’ idea was for Hurricane and Trish Stratus to tag against Stevie Richards and Victoria, they win and hug after the match, Hurricane thinks that Trish likes him and writes her a note, she tells him sorry because she’s got a boyfriend, he turns heel. Raven’s right… it sucks.) “That’s the stupidest fuckin’ idea I’ve ever heard” and that his blows Gerwitz’ away on so many levels it isn’t funny. He knew he was gone as soon as he’d heard the idea because he had also heard that he’d be offered a writing position after he left but figured the writers kept it from happening. He wouldn’t have taken it anyway because he wouldn’t want to see his work trampled by incompetence. He says that Gerwitz can write good promos for The Rock and comedy for Edge and Christian but that’s about it.
Why is Gerwitz still around? He thinks that Gerwitz is a good yes man and knows how to play the game. He says that the writers tend to look down on the talent and names both Gerwitz and Dave Lagana specifically. Lagana did help him out on a storyline but Raven could read him enough to know that Lagana didn’t really want to do it because he’s an underneath guy.
Being stuck on Sunday Night Heat- He sold the Seven idea to Vince and he also gave the Hurricane idea to him at the same idea. Vince then said he’d have to talk to the writers then, two days later, sent word that he was fired. Back to the point, Vince told him that he needed to quit as the Heat announcer in a storyline and would lose to Jerry Lawler in a countout instead of getting pinned like the original plan. It pisses him off a bit that they told Lawler the reason for it was that he politiced his way out of it and that Lawler put it in his book. The next week, he thinks that Pat Patterson got in Vince’s ear and shot it down because Patterson never got his gimmick. Gerald Brisco, on the other hand, didn’t get it but would see people dressed like him when he went to his son’s wrestling tournaments. He feels part of the problem was that he thinks management has no clue about his career as Vince probably thinks that he spent seven years in ECW after he left the WWF in 1994 while Patterson never saw any of his better work to know how good he really is. Because of it, they were unwilling to invest as much in the angle as it deserved and were going to start it on Heat and, if it took off, move it to RAW. “Five months later, they still hadn’t start it” because his friend on the writing staff wouldn’t do it without Brian Gerwitz or Stephanie McMahon’s approval and Gerwitz was telling the guy to just do it on his own. Four months after going on Heat, he asked Vince if they were ever going to start and “Vince said ‘We haven’t?’, which obviously shows how much he watches Heat.” Vince took an interest in his Heat matches for about two weeks then started ignoring the show again.
Leaving the WWF- He’d been miserable for years, for his entire WWE run and probably his ECW run too. When he was released, he thought he’d get depressed but he actually felt as if the pressure was off of him and his career started to pick up. “If I’d have known that the indies paid so well, I’d have quit.” He says between independents and NWA: TNA, he makes twice what the WWE paid him for fewers nights a week. He particularly enjoys NWA: TNA because he’s a top guy and the shows are storyline-driven.
His Ring of Honor match against CM Punk in Boston- Great match but not his best. Punk’s really good but he’s not at the top of his game yet. He feels the match would have been better if he’d been heel instead of Punk because the heel controls the tempo and thinks that Punk was nervous about setting the tempo because of his respect for Raven as well as his inexperience working against him.
Why did he come to Ring of Honor and offer to put a young guy over? He never had a problem with putting people over although it was a negotiation tactic in WCW. He never refused to job in the WWF. The only time besides WCW he’s refused to job was in Florida, which is covered in the first interview. He also wants to give Punk the rub because everyone expects him to win, so a win over Punk does nothing for him. Since they hadn’t agreed for him to work multiple shows yet, there was no point in him coming in and winning the only match he was guaranteed to have there. He gives the example of Hacksaw Jim Duggan over Mike Sanders in NWA: TNA as what not to do since Sanders is a weekly player while Duggan was doing two appearances.
Wrestling Sandman in TNA- “Like old times.”
How did he end up in TNA? He doesn’t remember if he called them or they called him but that they expressed immediate interest. He hadn’t gotten any independent bookings because everyone assumed he had a 90 day clause, which he would have had if he hadn’t refused to sign his release. He loved the fact that it was a surprise and that, these days, the Internet and the wrestling writers blow a lot of surprises for people which pisses him off. If they’d known he was going to be there, the reaction wouldn’t have been nearly as big.
His early days in TNA- The Dupps “were fuckin’ horrible” and the Dupp Cup stuff was “highly entertaining in a painful sort of way.” He feels the show has a lot of potential and that some of the problems within the company are being fixed as we speak. He plans on being there for a long time because he feels the only way he’d go back to the WWE is if they bring him in as a top guy. He doesn’t want to be Curt Hennig, who was signed only because they didn’t want the XWF to have him.
The X Division- The problem is that they have no psychology and they don’t sell much past four seconds after a move. They could be breakout stars, especially Amazing Red, but that they have to learn exactly when and why to do what he does. He gives the example of AJ Styles as someone who’s learned how to be a top guy in the past year by learning how to do promos, making a character, selling, learning psychology, and wrestle a better style. He says that “Fallen Angel” Chris Daniels is overrated by the sheets because he’s a great high flyer and has the start of a good character but he’s not ready to be a top guy yet, as he needs to develop the total package. Ron “The Truth” Killings (K-Kwik) was someone else who people wanted to get a push but couldn’t get over doing it because his skill set wasn’t fully developed yet. He has a lot of potential as his promos are great but his ring work needs help.
People who think they know the business- They’re insightful enough to see that someone has potential but not enough to see if someone has everything it takes to be put in a position.
Wrestling styles- Lower-card guys in the WWE were able to get big reactions out of the fans because they used holds, as most fights people have ever seen will end in a front facelock or something similar. The reason holds got a bad name is that “guys started grabbing them because they were too lazy to work.” If someone knows how to work a hold, people will get into it. He says that younger guys will start adapting their styles when they realize how banged up they’re getting and gives the example of Edge, who’s been in the business about six years and is getting neck surgery. Doing less spots at the right times will get better reactions.
There are no matches included.
Thoughts: Great, but not a classic because of Raven’s faulty memory during the WCW years. The only other problem with it is that the shoot is in the low three hour range but no matches are included. As it stands, I’d go with Highly Recommended.