ECW legend discusses The Undertaker and why Paul Heyman didn't advocate for him during his WWE days.
ECW legend Raven created a memorable career as an intense, hardcore, and dark figure. Raven romanticized destruction in the ring, and also had brief runs in WCW and WWE. Despite the type of popularity that would merit a main event push, WWE never ran with Raven anywhere beyond their hardcore division. In addition to occasional spots working on the indies, Raven–who is 52-year-old Scott Levy–is focused on his podcast, “The Raven Effect”, which covers current events, conspiracies, and pro wrestling.
SI.com: How did your podcast, “The Raven Effect”, get its start on The Jericho Network on PodcastOne?
Raven: I started talking with Chris Jericho after I heard his podcast, and I was really impressed. I wanted to do a podcast together, but he didn’t have the time with his band, his wrestling, and his family. He kept that in his head, and when he decided to have the Jericho Network, he wanted to have shows with me and Konnan. My co-host, Busby, is really funny. It’s worked out great. Some of the best episodes we’ve done are just the two of us, without a guest. My natural audience is the wrestling audience, and we’re going with more wrestling-related content. We’re devoting at least 60 minutes of pure wrestling discussion, either of my origin of how I got into wrestling, the territories where I’ve worked, and it’s fun to take a look back.
I don’t watch any of today’s product. I stopped watching in 2000. That was the “Invasion” group with ECW and WCW, but when they started pushing none of us, except RVD, slightly, but basically had us all as a bunch of jobbers, that’s when I stopped watching as a viewer. I stopped watching partly due to the fact I wasn’t impressed with the product, and partly because it was depressing to watch the show and know that you had the talent to be a main-eventer and never got that break in the main company. In ECW, I was a top guy. In WCW, I was right below the top guys, right below the top ten. I wasn’t buried, I wasn’t beaten, but I was never put up into the upper brackets. Then I left WCW, went back to ECW and was used as a top guy. When I went to WWE, outside of the hardcore stuff, I wasn’t really used well. So to watch the product–and it’s not that I was bitter–but it bothered me. It was depressing to watch. Now, it doesn’t bother me to watch, but I just don’t have any interest. I barely have enough time to watch the shows that I have DVR’d, but there is too much wrestling.
SI.com: Was Paul Heyman an advocate for you during your time in WWE?
Raven: He was doing anything but advocate. He was irritated because I didn’t finish up my contract with him, so I basically left halfway through because WWE was interested. I wasn’t happy with the way Paul E. was using me and we left on bad terms, so the last thing he was going to do was advocate for me. But Paul E. and I totally patched it up, and I have nothing but respect for him. Even when he was mad at me, I still had nothing but respect. He is the most creative genius the business has ever seen.
Without an advocate there, Vince wasn’t going to use me. I think Vince thought I went from Johnny Polo to ECW. I don’t think he ever knew I was in WCW. There was also heat from when I used to work there, which was my fault, so he wasn’t interested in pushing me. He basically threw me in the hardcore division, he told me later, thinking I’d fail, but that was my environment so I swam instead of sunk.
SI.com: From your time in WWE, was The Undertaker the true locker room leader?
Raven: He was the locker room leader. I was loud, I was obnoxious, so I wasn’t his cup of tea, but we got along. There was no enmity. He was every bit the locker room leader everybody says, he was the authority. If he had been six inches shorter, he would have been the perennial world champion. But at 6-foot-10, he was relegated to the monster, “Creature Feature” matches. It wasn’t until near the end of his career when he finally started being able to show that he could actually work, but, by then, he wasn’t anywhere near the worker he was ten years before that. He was amazing.
SI.com: Amidst the recent alleged issues between John “JBL” Bradshaw Layfield and Mauro Ranallo, as well as the culture within WWE and pro wrestling as a whole, it is worth asking: Is there a bullying problem in WWE?
Raven: There’s always been one, but it’s always been part of the business. It’s been part of the business, not just there, but everywhere. We’re not in the dark ages anymore, and bullying is bulls***, but Vince has a very immature sense of humor sometimes, and stuff like that makes him laugh. If you see silly comedy angles on the show–really silly stuff–then that’s from Vince. He is an amazing businessman, but he is eccentric. I guess you can be eccentric if you’re a billionaire, but he was eccentric long before he was a billionaire.
SI.com: “The Raven Effect” is an extremely versatile podcast, as it is funny, informative, and particularly dives into the psychology of wrestling. Why should people download and listen?
Raven: Give it a shot–I present a really unique point of view. I’ve worked everywhere. I’ve worked in the territories, I’ve worked since the territories for the main companies, I’ve worked in great positions on the card, I’ve worked on the bottom of the card. I was an obnoxious ass**** and I said a lot of things I shouldn’t have, and I saw a lot of things most people shouldn’t have. I’ve been there, done it, and seen it. I’m a pretty good authority on psychology, and if you want to be entertained and learn and be amazed, this is the podcast for you.
The final reason you should listen is because “The Raven Effect” podcast is both sublime and preposterous yet it is also surprisingly candid and intimate. It consists of me, Raven, agent provocateur, raconteur extraordinaire, and well, other adjectives, as well as a motley assortment of friends, enemies, ne’er-do-wells, and know nothings as we banter both intelligently and borderline nonsensically concerning everything you ever wanted to know about and everything you didn’t, with the operative word being ... didn’t.