Raven: Behind his Controversial Downfall in WWE

Raven: From His WWE Debut to Downfall

When Raven showed up to WWE in 2000, it should have marked his greatest run of all.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Debuting at Unforgiven 2000, Raven came to Tazz’s aid, who defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler in a strap match. There was no build for his arrival. There weren’t any vignettes. Raven just appeared, gave Lawler a DDT, and then left.

He would start teaming with Tazz after this encounter, ditching the “Quote the Raven, nevermore” catchphrase for “What about me? What about Raven?” which, to be fair, did get a reaction from the live crowds.

His pairing with Tazz would be short-lived, and they would go their separate ways by the end of 2000 when Raven would move on to the Hardcore Division.

Raven and the Hardcore Title

Photo Credit: WWE.

Making his entrance to the ring with a trolley full of weapons, Raven was quite successful, winning the Hardcore Title a record 27 times. Although this is the number reported by WWE, Scott Levy alleges he won the Hardcore Title 39 times.

Despite an appearance as Johnny Polo, the manager of The Quebecers at WrestleMania X, Levy got his first in-ring experience on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” at WrestleMania X-Seven.

He would defend the Hardcore Title against Kane and Big Show in a triple threat match. Kane would capture the victory in this encounter.

Raven’s Golf Cart Mishap Nearly Derails Broadcast

Photo Credit: WWE.

Did you know? During the triple threat match between Kane, Big Show, and Raven at WrestleMania X-Seven, the show came close to disaster after Raven drove a golf cart into the electric feed box, almost cutting the broadcast feed!

Joining The Alliance

Photo Credit: WCW.

After WrestleMania X-Seven, Raven would become a member of the WCW/ECW alliance to try and take over the WWF during the infamous Invasion angle. Other than his turn, he wouldn’t do much of significance while with this group.

Just before the Invasion pay-per-view in 2001, he was the victim of a squash match against Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle is undoubtedly one of the greatest wrestlers ever, and there is no shame in losing to him.

That said, this was a Hardcore Match — supposedly the very kind of match Raven specialized in — and he got run over in two minutes, followed by Angle continuing the assault after the match. How could Raven be taken seriously after this?

Feud with Perry Saturn

Photo Credit: WWE.

During this time, Perry Saturn had Terri Runnels as his on-air manager/girlfriend.

Saturn was in the middle of a storyline where after taking a knock to the head, he fell in love with a mop named “Moppy,” which he believed was alive, similar to Wilson the volleyball in the film Cast Away.

This storyline went over well with the fans, and it led to a face turn for Saturn.

Terri Runnels, clearly not happy that Saturn was spending more of his attention on an inanimate object, told Saturn to choose between Moppy and her.

The Woodchipper Incident and Moppy’s Strange Fate

Photo Credit: WCW.

When Saturn chose the mop, it infuriated her. She would leave Saturn for Raven, who helped her enact vengeance on Saturn by stealing Moppy and feeding it to a woodchipper.  

As Raven was feeding the mop into the woodchipper, the chipper didn’t work immediately, making for a few moments of awkwardness on television.

You could also hear Raven making a squealing noise as he pretended that the sound was coming from Moppy. This would be Raven’s only meaningful feud during his run in WWE.

Brand Shifts, Hardcore Reigns, and the ‘Loser Leaves Raw’ Fate

Photo Credit: WWE.

The Invasion angle ended after The Alliance was defeated at Survivor Series 2001. 

At this point, Raven was sparsely getting used on television. In March of 2002, he got drafted to Raw as a part of the first brand extension. He would have another short Hardcore Title run while also doing commentary from time to time on Sunday Night Heat.

He then had a “Loser Leaves Raw” match against Tommy Dreamer, where the stipulation was that the loser would have to spend a year on Sunday Night Heat. Raven would lose this match, and it was off to Sunday Night Heat for him.

A Year on Sunday Night Heat

Photo Credit: WWE.

As bad as being banished to Sunday Night Heat may sound, this became an opportunity for Raven. He was given creative control on a storyline inspired by the film Se7en, where he would show examples of people’s weaknesses and compare them to the seven deadly sins. He was the “puppet master” using Sunday Night Heat as his “personal playground.” 

During this stretch, Raven’s most notable segment was when he was in catering and offered a man $500 to eat a sandwich that he had just stood on. The guy, named Mike, accepted Raven’s challenge and ate the sandwich. Raven proclaimed that this showed “greed.”

It wasn’t long before this storyline got aborted as WWE management felt that it hadn’t gotten over well enough.

Raven Returns to Raw and Eventual Release from WWE

Photo Credit: TNA.

Although he had won his way back onto the Raw roster, Raven would lose to Jeff Hardy in a Royal Rumble qualifier match in what would be his final match in the WWE. Raven was released from the promotion the following week on January 20, 2003.

Following his departure from WWE, Raven joined TNA, where he found much success. He won the NWA Heavyweight Championship, formed a faction called The Gathering, which included CM Punk, and he had feuds with many of TNA’s top stars, including Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and Rhino.

He was also a part of the EV 2.0 stable consisting of former ECW wrestlers Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley, Stevie Richards, Rhino, Brother Devon, Pat Kenney, and Al Snow. He is now semi-retired, working only a handful of matches per year.

Raven: Where Did It All Go Wrong in WWE?

Photo Credit: WWE.

When Scott Levy returned to the WWE as Raven in 2000, it was his opportunity to break into the company’s top echelon. His momentum, creative juices, and passion were flowing, but ultimately none of that mattered. 

Speaking with Title Match Wrestling, Raven reflected on this time of his career. “I was plenty sober when I got back [to the WWE], and I thought it was my time — but it wasn’t.”

Levy continued, “The locker room was so set that if you’re not a WWE guy, you haven’t done anything.” In other words, none of Raven’s accolades in ECW and WCW mattered. “I think they didn’t want to use me [in a prominent role].”

A Disheartening Revelation from Vince McMahon

Photo Credit: WWE.

After talking to Michael Hayes in private, he realized Vince McMahon’s true feelings about having him back in the WWE

“Michael Hayes said that he was in a booking meeting when Vince said, ‘Who the F hired Johnny Polo?’

“The way Hayes intimated it was that Vince was like, ‘What the F are we hiring him for?'”

It was a kick to the stomach for Raven for sure, but it didn’t shake him.

The Mind Games That Defined Raven’s ECW Success

Photo Credit: ECW.

“Nothing shook my confidence,” he admits. “I was too arrogant – look, I knew I had the goods. I really believed that. But my heart was already broken when I realized I wasn’t going to be used right.”

What made the Raven character so successful in ECW was Raven’s ability to play mind games with his opponents, such as when he brainwashed The Sandman‘s son against him.

Emotional Feuds and Crowd Connection Through Words

Photo Credit: WWE.

His feud with Tommy Dreamer was incredibly emotional, too, which was mainly down to him being allowed to have time on the mic.

He is considered one of the best talkers in the industry for a reason. He was incredible at using words to get the crowd to feel something, whether it be hating him and getting them behind his opponent or loving him as a “good guy.”

From Unrelated Pairings to the Moppy Misstep

Photo Credit: WWE.

WWE seemed to ignore all that. They threw him into a team with Tazz simply because they are former ECW guys, despite them hardly interacting during their time together in ECW.

Then he was put in the Hardcore division, again, because of Vince McMahon’s view of ECW wrestlers all being hardcore guys.

Although this was quite entertaining at times, he didn’t have any meaningful feuds. He was then deemed a joke when put in the storyline with Perry Saturn and “Moppy.”

Raven’s WWE Misfortune: Missed Potential and Creative Constraints

Photo Credit: WWE.

And just when things started to look up with his 7 Deadly Sins gimmick, that was dropped. 

Raven’s run in WWE was a flop simply because he wasn’t used correctly. He wasn’t given the same creative control of his character that helped him flourish in ECW. 

As with many other wrestlers brought to the WWE around this time, Raven’s run with the company was a huge missed opportunity.

The Real Bret Hart

Bret Hart.
Photo Credit: WWE.

Bret Hart has had a lot to say about his peers, but what do they have to say about him?

These twelve surprising stories paint a clear picture of who the real Hitman is!

12 Times The WWE Failed To Recognize Talent: Notable Hall Of Fame Omissions

These twelve legends are more than worthy of a WWE Hall of Fame induction but have been done wrong despite being on Vince's radar for years.
Photo Credit: WWE.

We pay tribute to the legends who were done wrong by Vince McMahon, despite being clearly on his radar. Sadly, many of them will never receive this honor.

Read: 12 All-Time Legends the WWE Hall of Fame Did Wrong

Rick Rude: A Ravishing Man with a Tragic End

Rick Rude was more than "Ravishing."
Photo Credit: WWE.

“He refused to budge.”

Rick Rude was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of wrestler. He went by the nickname “Ravishing” — and rightfully so. He had a solid moveset, great looks, and unbridled arrogance with the in-ring skill to back it up. He played hard in the ring but even harder out of it.

Learn His Tragic Story.

Wrestling Injuries That Ended Careers Too Soon

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro with some tandem offense on Kofi Kingston.
Photo Credit: WWE.

“When I hit the mat, I knew my neck was broken and that I was paralyzed.”

These individuals’ lives were irrevocably altered while doing what they loved.

Greg Valentine’s Defiant Act Behind The WWE Intercontinental Championship Belt

Greg Valentine on His Career and the Tragic Fate of His Destroyed IC Title
Photo Credit: WWE.

When Greg Valentine and Tito Santana met on July 6, 1985, in a steel cage in Baltimore, Maryland, Santana got the victory to reclaim the title. Valentine responded by retrieving the championship and destroying the belt, beating it repeatedly against the cage and tearing the gold away from the leather.

"I had to give the belt back to Tito after that angle," Valentine said. "And one day, when I saw him a few years ago, I asked whatever became of that belt, because Tito kept it after that angle. What he responded with broke my heart.”

Read: Greg Valentine on His Career and the Tragic Fate of His Destroyed IC Title

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Andy Smith is a contributor for Pro Wrestling Stories. He hails from Bolton, England and has been a wrestling fan for over 20 years. His favorite wrestler, as a performer, is Shawn Michaels while his all-time favorite character is Kane. Outside of wrestling, he is the captain of a pub league pool team, a huge Rugby League fan, and supports Leigh Centurions.