“The never ending saga in … the overall story of the loner, the slacker, the tortured soul known as Raven, who craves acceptance yet destroys it once he achieves it.” – Paul Heyman, Prodigy Chat, 1997.
That’s ECW founder Paul Heyman’s succinct description of the richest element of the success of ECW at its incept. Raven, as personified & created by Scott Levy, is perhaps pro-wrestling’s most complicated and well drawn character ever.
The most unique aspect of the Raven character is that his story has transcended multiple promotions yet continues the same story begun in a summer camp years before when a girl came between two best friends and changed all their lives forever; how one must face their demons again & again to try & gain the upper hand yet lose that comeuppance in a neverending cycle of pain and retribution. Scott Levy is also a talent outside of the ring as he has collaborated with writer Brian Azzarello in creating one of the most compelling & critically acclaimed issues of the Marvel Comics anthology title “Spider-Man’s Tangled Web” with his story “The Last Shoot.”
World Wrestling Federation
[1992 – 1994]
In a prior incarnation, the real-life Scott Levy was called Johnny Polo™, playing the role of pampered rich kid. While fans were less than intrigued by his character, the World Wrestling Federation was impressed enough with Levy’s inward creativity to give him a side job as a television producer.
But office life didn’t suit the future Superstar. He left the World Wrestling Federation and re-invented himself as Raven, a grungy, tortured character known for abstract rants reminiscent of Jim Morrison.
He may have inherited his way with words from his father, an editor at the National Enquirer. Raven claims that, as the consummate reporter, the elder Levy was fascinated by the world, but had little interest in his own family, forcing his son to seek attention elsewhere.
After graduating with a criminal justice degree from the University of Delaware, Levy concluded that a wrestling career would provide him with the recognition he so desperately wanted. He trained at Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe’s New Jersey wrestling school, then toured the country under such names as Scotty the Body, Scotty Flamingo and Scott Anthony. All were obnoxious and flamboyant, not unlike the way Scott Levy conducted himself both in and out of the arena.
As Johnny Polo, he managed a French Canadian duo appropriately called the Quebecers™ to the World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship in 1993. When he left the organization in 1994, he planned to return someday.
Extreme Championship Wrestling
[January 5, 1995 – June 7, 1997]
ECW is where Scott Levy earned his greatest fame when he debuted in January 1995 as the mysterious & enigmatic Raven. Coming in to take out Tommy Dreamer at the behest of Stevie Richards, Raven soon had an elaborate mythos around him. He & Tommy Dreamer were childhood friends who had a falling out as children in summer camp over their treatment a girl named Beulah McGillicutty. As grown men, they would feud over the love of this girl for over 2 1/2 years.
Raven also formed a Nest in ECW centered around his cult of personality. Consisting of a varied cast of players through his stay from Blue Meanie to Lupus, they kept Raven from ever being beat by Dreamer, though Dreamer got the upper hand many times such as the famous ‘Chairshot Heard Round The World” at Heat Wave ’95. Raven and Stevie Richards even seized the ECW Tag Titles 2 times during his stay there: once against his former charges, the Pitbulls, & once again from The Public Enemy.
Raven’s other most memorable feud in ECW came against The Sandman. Raven struggled against Sandman early in their match-ups but soon managed to defeat Sandman in early 1996 after turning the Sandman’s family against him. Raven lost the title by proxy when Sandman beat Stevie subbing for Raven in a tag match in October 1996. But Raven gained his revenge after beating The Sandman for his 2nd ECW World Title victory in a bloody barbed wire match in December 1996. Raven would hold the title until losing it to Dreamer’s mentor, Terry Funk, at ECW’s first PPV Barely Legal. Raven and Dreamer’s feud came to a head at Wrestlepalooza 97, when Dreamer finally got the win over Raven that forced him to leave ECW.
World Championship Wrestling
[June 29, 1997 – August 22, 1999]
Upon leaving ECW, Raven resurfaces soon thereafter in WCW, where he sat at ringside for events for months, cutting promos that would air on WCW TV and interjecting in matches at his leisure. WCW head JJ Dillon eventually offered Raven a contract guaranteeing him “Raven’s Rules” – a stipulation that let Raven control the stipulation of every match he was involved in. Raven soon recruited a new Flock of followers starting with ex-ECW stars Stevie Richards and Saturn. He soon turned Scotty Riggs to join him after a short feud in 1997 & amassed many more flunkies.
Raven feuded with Chris Benoit from late 97 to mid 98, when Benoit took umbrage at Raven’s slacker attitude to wrestling. Raven also developed a deep bitter feud with DDP, whom Raven felt could’ve saved him from destroying himself in ECW by getting him in WCW sooner. Raven eventually got the better of DDP, defeating him for the WCW U.S. Title at WCW Spring Stampede, to only lose it a day later to the juggernaut known as Goldberg.
Raven then had a feud with Saturn, who wanted to break away, but Raven went to huge lengths to keep them together, even while being attacked by rejected members like Kanyon, whom soon came under Raven’s sway. At Fall Brawl 98, Saturn defeated Raven to wrest the Flock from him after Kidman turned on Raven mid-match. At this point, Raven became depressed and went on a months long losing streak. Raven eventually rebounded with the aid of Kanyon & Chastity, who Raven would lose to Hak in a feud over hardcore. Later, Raven & Saturn would win the WCW World Tag Titles at Spring Stampede 99 from Benoit and Dean Malenko. Raven would lose the titles after the Triad took him out for months with a beating. Raven would return to WCW with the Deadpool of ICP & Vampiro, but soon left again for ECW
Extreme Championship Wrestling
[August 26, 1999 – July 15, 2000]
Raven was offered a release from his WCW contract by Eric Bischoff on August 24, 1999 & 2 days later, he made his re-debut for ECW @ Queens, NY, where he defeated the Dudley Boyz in an impromptu ECW Tag Team Title match to gain him & his arch-nemesis Tommy Dreamer the ECW World Tag Team Championship. Raven would use this as a tool to torture Dreamer, letting him get beaten badly in tag matches then running in to save the day & remind him they were bound not just by titles, but by hatred.
Raven soon had a change of heart after the Sandman returned to ECW & the Impact Players, Lance Storm & Justin Credible, set their sight on the titles. Raven became intent on proving he had reformed himself to Dreamer by saving Francine, Tommy’s manager and girlfriend, from harm. This ultimately cost them the titles to the Impact Players. Raven wallowed in a depression after this loss, but it soon proved to be a devious ruse designed to steal Francine from Tommy like Tommy stole Beulah from him.
Dreamer rebounded as he & Masato Tanaka soon won the Tag Titles. Raven and then-ECW Champion Mike Awesome, as guided by The Sinister Minister James Mitchell, won the ECW Tag Titles from them shortly after, but lost them in turn back to the Impact Players & Awesome then turned on Raven to target Dreamer.
Raven buried the hatchet with Dreamer at Cyberslam 2000. However, Francine soon turned on Raven & helped Justin Credible win the ECW World Title. Raven then set his sights on beating Justin Credible for the ECW Title. However, due to Francine, Raven would come up short & soon announced he was leaving ECW on July 15, 2000 as he headed for WWE.
World Wrestling Entertainment
[August 24, 2000 – January 13, 2003]
Raven made his debut for World Wrestling Entertainment on August 24, 2000, when he showed up at the WWE Unforgiven PPV & helped Tazz defeat Jerry Lawler. Raven & Tazz became a unit, as Raven cited they were united by their status as low class individuals. They feuded with The Dudleyz, Jerry Lawler & Al Snow. Tazz broke away from Raven only to get beat by Raven shortly.
Raven became involved in the Hardcore Division, becoming the all-time holder of the WWE Hardcore Title with 27 title reigns, including a title defense @ Wrestlemania X7 against Kane & Big Show. He feuded with Molly Holly trying to win her over with the help of Tori, who was in a ninja phase. Raven then became involved in a feud with Euro Champion Eddie Guerrero abut was denied a shot at the title through Edge and Christian. Instead, Raven faced Rhyno at Backlash 2001 in what is considered the best Hardcore match in WWE history.
Raven’s next notoriety came when he left WWE to join the ECW/WCW Alliance in 2001, when he stole Terri from Saturn and defeated him at Unforgiven 2001. Raven & Justin Credible also challenged for the WCW Tag Titles in 2001, but fell short. He was banished from WWE at Survivor Series 2001. Raven returned when he was drafted by the RAW roster in 2002, defeating Maven to claim the Hardcore Title for RAW. In June 2002, Raven lost a Loser Leaves RAW match to Tommy Dreamer & was banished from RAW for 6 months. He made HEAT his personal playground & feuded & defeated D’Lo Brown, Tommy Dreamer, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy during this period as he planned a masterpiece that would destroy WWE. He was offered a spot back on RAW if he dropped his masterpiece. Raven came back to RAW with a new look but left after a RAW match w/Jeff Hardy
National Wrestling Alliance: Total Nonstop Action
[January 22, 2003 – 2010]
Raven made his debut for NWA/TNA on January 22, 2003, assaulting Jeff Jarrett after a successful title defense and stealing the NWA World Heavyweight Title from him. It was recealed that Vince Russo, the leader of the Sports Entertainment Xtreme faction of TNA, had convinced brought Raven in as his hitman, his heavy hitter, against tradition to take the title and make S.E.X the name draw in TNA. Raven asserted himself in the ring against Jarrett repeatedly, AJ Styles then involved himself to make it a 3 way feud for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
Along the way, Sandman came to TNA to take Raven out for personal reasons. Raven defeated Sandman decisively in Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun match, a literal bloodbath that saw Sandman go through 6 tables. Raven also defeated AJ Styles in a hardcore ladder match for the Number One Contendership, that saw Raven pass out from the blood loss he suffered. Raven was unable to show up the next week on TNA, So Disqo Inferno promised Raven’s title shot to D’Lo Brown saying S.E.X had dominion over it since Raven was not there. This lead to Raven distancing himself from S.E.X. and forming his own faction with Julio Dinero, who Raven defeated in Julio’s TNA debut, & Alexis Laree, who Raven stole away from the ring to his side after a loss by her to Trinity.
Raven now stands to claim the NWA World Heavyweight Title for his own as he leads his new entourage of followers in TNA towards his destiny: the NWA World Heavyweight Title against ‘The Chosen One’ Jeff Jarrett; a man whose vision of wrestling and whose reign as champion is seemingly anathema to everything Raven visualizes himself doing with what he feels is his birthright.
Following Raven’s loss to Jeff Jarrett, he disappeared from TNA for a time, until he came back and got his revenge on Sabu by costing him the chance to be number one contender at Anarchy in the Asylum on May 7, 2003. Raven starts to become a fan favorite in his pursuit of Jarrett and on June 11, 2003, he is once again placed in a position to achieve his destiny in a three way dance against AJ Styles & Jeff Jarrett. Raven has Jarrett pinned when ‘The Franchise’ Shane Douglas interjects himself & costs Raven the match and his destiny! Ultimately, it’s discovered that Shane Douglas is a minion of Father James Mitchell of The Disciples of The New Church in his agenda to take out Raven for Raven’s actions in taking Mortis from him in WCW & abandoning his Unholy Alliance in ECW.
Raven decides to take out Mitchell & Douglas with the help of The Gathering, including his latest recruit CM Punk, who replaces Alexis who Mitchell takes out of TNA after a kidnapping attempt. Raven’s quest at revenge is repeatedly foiled by a mysterious man in white in the seeming employ of Mitchell’s New Church. To combat this, Raven challenges Douglas in a hair vs. hair match to settle it between them. As Raven has Douglas beat, the lights go out and Raven is attacked by the mystery man who reveals himself as Vampiro, Raven’s former protege in the Dead Pool in WCW. As Raven looks on in stunned surprise at this unforeseen betrayal, Vampiro hits Raven with his own Evenflow DDT allowing Shane Douglas to get the pin on Raven. Vampiro, Douglas & Mitchell then scalp Raven down to the bone with a pair of sheep shearers. From this point, Raven declares a war to annihilate Mitchell & his New Church one by one.
CM Punk had been the most zealous follower of Raven’s Gathering. The two had a volatile past on the independent wrestling scene in the U.S., most notably in the Ring of Honor promotion, where the two had a blood feud over their divergent lifestyles of debauchery & avarice vs. straight edge. However, in TNA, the two had formed a mentor/student bond & Punk regarded Raven as a role model & someone who he could respect & learn from to become one of the greats in the wrestling industry.
However, Raven’s interest was keyed in on achieving his destiny of becoming NWA Champion. He decided the best course of action was to leave The Gathering behind & set Julio & Dinero free. Punk refused to accept that Raven would abndon him & kept watching Raven’s back; assuming Raven was testing his loyalty. Jarrett & his flunky in TNA’s power structure, Don Callis, kept throwing obstacles in his path to the gold; namely TNA Redshirt Security’s Legend, Northcutt & Wilson as well as the monster Abyss. Raven had success against them one-on-one but the numbers game was too much. Punk kept pleading for Raven to let them help him, but instead he chose The Sandman as his partner against them. Finally, Raven relented after further losses against the Redshirts. Callis offered Raven a chance to face Jarrett for the Title if he could take out Abyss, Northcutt & Legend at once. If Raven failed, he could never challenge for the NWA Title again. On December 17, 2003, Punk & Julio turned on Raven, claiming he abandoned them for personal glory costing him his destiny. Worse than that, the man they sought to be their new mentor: none other than Raven’s hated blood rival, The Sinister Minister, Father James Mitchell!
Raven feuded with The Gathering led by his former nemesis Father James Mitchell for the early weeks of 2004 as he kept being defeated by them despite the aide of his rival turned partner The Sandman. Raven disappeared as Sandman fought the Gathering on his own with the aide of ECW mainstays like Ballz Mahoney & Terry Funk to no avail. Funk promised to bring a Raven back taht could take out Punk and his crew and Raven returned in his classic look. When it seemed the day was won, The Gathering took out Funk and Raven came back and defeated Punk and Dinero once and for all with the help of Sabu!
Sabu and Raven became a formidable team in TNA, even getting shots at the TNA Titles, but Raven’s ambition for the TNA Championship got the better of him & he turned on Sabu. Raven claimed that he and Sabu had both been trained by Sabu’s uncle The Sheik & that he had promised that they would never fight on the Sheik’s deathbed. But Raven claimed that vow was as dead as The Sheik. Raven goaded Sabu into fighting him to no avail, even decimating Sabu’s protege, Sonjay Dutt. Sabu finally relented & Raven got the victory, but Raven claimed it wasn’t enough and wanted to end Sabu’s career in a Hangman’s Horror match. Sabu was injured so Sonjay took his place & defeated the mighty Raven to gain revenge for Sabu. At this point, Raven once again sought the TNA Title, embroiled in a 3 way feud with Abyss & Monty Brown. However,Raven was robbed of his title chase by another former nemesis — Diamond Dallas Page!
Despite it all, Raven eventually won the NWA: TNA Championship at Slammiversary on June 19, 2005 in a King of the Mountain match against A.J. Styles, Monty Brown, Abyss and Sean Waltman. Eventually, Raven lost the title at a house show to Jeff Jarrett and feuded with Larry Zbyssko, TNA’s authority figure over a rematch and he left TNA for a time. He was later reinstated and started a stable called Serotonin where he feuded with one of his disciples Kazarian before leaving TNA. He later returned to attack his longtime nemesis Abyss in 2009 alongside Stevie Richards and Daffney.
Raven and Stevie teamed until early 2010 when they disappeared off TV due to Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. Later in 2010, Raven returned with Tommy Dreamer and Stevie Richards as part of a renewed ECW stable called Extreme Version 2.0. Raven and the rest of his former ECW stablemates were given a one night only ECW reunion PPV called Hardcore Justice, where Raven battled Dreamer for the last time, defeating him, but Beulah turned him down for the last time. Raven continued on as part of the ECW faction as they feuded with the new Four Horsemen faction, Fortune. Hulk Hogan turned heel as owner and then set the former ECW members against his faction Immortal and Raven lost his TNA contract against the TNA Champion Jeff Hardy.
Raven has since been in the indie scene inflicting pain when he can against his former ECW nemeses in promotions such as Extreme Rising and Revolution Pro Wrestling.