Pulse Wrestling’s Top 100 Wrestlers of the Modern Era: #24 – Raven

From boytoy to light heavyweight champion to spoiled rich boy to grunge icon to cult leader. Jim Morrison was right. What a long strange trip it’s been.

24. RAVEN

Real name – Scott Levy
AliasesJohnny Polo; Scott Anthony; Scotty the Body; Scotty Flamingo
HometownPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
DebutedFebruary 20, 1988
Titles HeldECW World Heavyweight (2); ECW World Tag Team (4 – 2 with Stevie Richards, 1 with Tommy Dreamer, 1 with Mike Awesome); EWF Heavyweight; HWA Tag Team (with Hugh Morrus); MEWF Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight; NWA Central States Heavyweight; NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight (3); NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team (3 – 1 with Top Gun, 1 with the Grappler, 1 with Steve Doll); NWA Pacific Northwest Television; 3PW Heavyweight; NWA World Heavyweight; UXW Heavyweight (5); USWA Tag Team (with Brian Christopher); WCW Light Heavyweight; WCW United States Heavyweight; WCW World Tag Team (with Perry Saturn); WWF/WWE Hardcore (27)
Other Accomplishments2005 TNA King of the Mountain; Most reigns of anyone as WWF/WWE Hardcore champion; Final NWA Pacific Northwest Television champion

When Scott Levy began his wrestling career in 1988, he was very different from the man we are familiar with today. He first showed up in Memphis as Scotty the Body, a flashy young man who served two purposes – one, to work as Missy Hyatt’s boytoy, and secondly, to help Eddie Gilbert when he needed assistance.

His next stop was Florida, where things didn’t work out after an argument with Steve Keirn, who was part owner of the company due to the fact that he didn’t feel comfortable with jobbing to Keirn. A stop in All-Star Wrestling in Vancouver also fizzled. Scotty was over with the fans, but Al Tomko insisted on reserving the top spots for his sons. After Tomko started spreading false accusations about him having legal issues, Scotty left the territory and headed to Pacific Northwest.

Pacific Northwest was run by Don Owen and operated primarily out of Portland, Oregon. It was here that Scotty would find his first real success. Scotty the Body debuted as a red-hot heel, and he quickly began collecting belts. July 8, 1989 saw Scotty and Top Gun (David Sierra) defeat the Southern Rockers to win the titles. The reign didn’t last long as Scotty and Top Gun split and began feuding over the belts. Scotty defeated Top Gun on August 5 and named the Grappler his new partner.

However, they again had a short reign. After a rematch against the Southern Rockers, the title belts were held up and the Rockers regained the titles at the end of August.

In September, Scotty defeated Carl Styles to win the Pacific Northwest Heavyweight title. Again, the feud with the Rockers flared up and Rocker Rex King defeated him for the title on October 7. Scotty regained the belt a week later and would hold it until February of 1990 when he was defeated by Curtis Thompson. (Scotty would also result in Thompson’s loss of the title – on March 30, he had a rematch. Due to Scotty’s cheating to win the belt, it was vacated. Thompson would not regain the belt.)

March of 1990 saw Scotty defeat Ricky Santana for the television title. He would never be defeated and the title would be abandoned later that year.

After this, Scotty rethought his priorities and became a face. He began feuding with the Grappler and defeated him in June to win the heavyweight title for the third time. The belt was held up at the end of July following a rematch between the two, and the Grappler would regain the title on August 4.

1991 saw Scotty the Body departing Portland and heading to Dallas, Texas, where he became part of the original roster of the Global Wrestling Federation. Now known as Scott Anthony, he joined a stable called the Cartel and was allied with Cactus Jack, Makhan Singh, and Rip Rogers.

1992 saw Anthony leave Global for WCW, where his past came back to haunt him. Dusty Rhodes was the booker and knew him from Florida. Diamond Dallas Page lobbied hard for Anthony and Anthony was given a tryout match. Afterward, Eric Bischoff praised the quality of the match as the best tryout he’d ever seen.

Anthony was signed and renamed Scotty Flamingo. He became a part of the light heavyweight division and captured the Light Heavyweight title from Brian Pillman on June 20. He lost the belt to Brad Armstrong in July.

Flamingo spent the rest of his time in WCW feuding with Pillman, Armstrong, and Johnny B Badd. The November, 1992 Clash of the Champions featured a boxing match between Flamingo and Badd which Flamingo won.

Flamingo would leave WCW in early 1993, but not before having a match with a man he would meet again. In February, Flamingo faced off against the debuting Robbie V – who would become known later as Rob Van Dam.

Although Flamingo was picked up by the WWF, he wound up being sent back to the USWA while they prepared an angle for him. Here he allied with Brian Christopher during Christopher’s war against the Moondogs. The two captured the USWA tag team titles on March 22, and lost them back to the Moondogs a week later.

His next stop was the WWF, where he was renamed Johnny Polo and given the gimmick of a spoiled rich kid. Polo was a manager and began managing Adam Bomb briefly, before he was replaced by Harvey Whippleman. Later in 1993, Polo began managing the Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau and Pierre (Carl Oullette). In 1994 the Quebecers left the company and Polo found himself mainly working backstage as well as doing commentary. Polo left the company later in 1994.

Meanwhile, in ECW, Stevie Richards began promising a new personality. He came out at various times dressed as Scotty the Body, Scotty Flamingo, and Johnny Polo. He even went so far as to promise Joey Styles that he was bringing Johnny Polo into the company.

Finally, in January of 1995, Stevie’s promises came true. Johnny Polo debuted, but he wasn’t the Polo that fans were familiar with from WWF television. Now known as Raven, he wore clothes associated with the grunge movement in music and portrayed himself as a social outcast.

A defining feud was soon born as Raven attacked Tommy Dreamer, hinting at a long history between the two. Soon the truth came out when Stevie told Raven that he’d found someone named Beulah, a fact that enraged Raven.

Raven (the outcast) and Dreamer (the popular kid) had been foes at summer camp. Beulah McGillicutty had been the fat girl who’d been in love with Dreamer, but he’d rejected her because of her looks so she had wound up with Raven instead.

When Beulah debuted, she was gorgeous. Raven gladly welcomed her into his stable along with the Blue Meanie and his bodyguard Brian Lee.

In June, Raven and Stevie defeated the Pitbulls to become the ECW Tag Team champions. The Pitbulls regained the belts in September, and two weeks later Raven and Stevie regained the, only to lost them to Public Enemy in a three way match later in the night.

Raven’s next target was the ECW champion – the Sandman. Raven immediately began playing mind games with the Sandman as Raven convinced Sandman’s wife and young son to join him. On January 27, 1996, Raven’s plan was completed as he defeated the Sandman and won the world heavyweight title.

April of 1996 saw Dreamer winning a victory over Raven, although it wasn’t in a match. It had been revealed that Beulah was pregnant with Raven’s baby. At Hostile City Showdown Shane Douglas told Dreamer that Beulah was cheating on him and she was never pregnant. Beulah finally revealed that she’d been cheating with Kimona Wanalaya, Raven’s new valet. Kimona and Beulah then began kissing each other to confirm the truth. Dreamer thought a moment, kissed both women, and proclaimed to the cheering ECW crowd that he’d take them both.

This time period also saw one of Raven’s most controversial actions. In October of 1996, Raven was still warring with the Sandman. After Sandman’s son attacked his father, Raven directed his lackeys Stevie and the Blue Meanie to go under the ring. They pulled out a cross, and at Raven’s direction crucified the Sandman on it.

The response was immediate. Even the calloused Philadelphia crowd rejected the angle and Heyman sent Raven out later in the night to apologize. Also, Kurt Angle was backstage at the event, fresh off winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. After seeing the angle, Kurt stormed out of ECW, promising to sue if his name was used in any way with footage of the angle. In the end, the footage never aired and was never seen until the WWE’s Rise and Fall of ECW DVD.

Later that month, Raven no-showed a title defense at Ultimate Jeopardy. In response, Heyman booked a new match – Stevie Richards and Brian Lee against the Sandman and Tommy Dreamer with Raven’s belt on the line. The Sandman pinned Richards to regain his title.

Raven wasn’t going to let this stand, and Sandman wasn’t going to make it easy for Raven to take the title away. The two finally faced off in December at Holiday Hell in a barbed wire match. After a brutal battle, Raven emerged as the victor and new world champion.

As Raven entered 1997, he debuted a new valet – Chastity – whose job was to keep Beulah neutralized when he battled Dreamer. However, a new threat was on the horizon for Raven as Terry Funk made his return to the promotion. At ECW’s first PPV Barely Legal Funk defeated Raven to end his second world title reign.

Raven found his attention turning from Funk and once more focusing squarely on Dreamer. In June, Raven and Dreamer battled one last time in a match where the loser would leave ECW. Dreamer finally defeated Raven for the first time in their feud and Raven was sent packing.

Raven’s next stop was in WCW. On June 30th, he debuted by sitting in the front row at Nitro. He was acknowledged as a world champion from another company, but ECW was never named.

At the August 21 Clash of the Champions, Raven destroyed Stevie Richards and returned to the front row. During this time, he also began assembling a group he called the Flock. Stevie was the first to join Raven. At the same time, WCW also began building a feud between Raven and Diamond Dallas Page.

By October, the Flock had gained its first new member in Perry Saturn. Next to join was Sick Boy (Scott Vick), and he was immediately followed by Billy Kidman. They continued to simply sit in the front row week after week.

In November Raven faced Scotty Riggs in a match (No DQ, since Raven wasn’t under a WCW contract). Raven tripped Riggs and sent him face first into a steel chair. An eyepatch-wearing Riggs then became the next member of the Flock. Van Hammer followed him. The final members became sign-carrying Lodi, Reece, and Horace Hogan. Finally, Raven signed a WCW contract with clauses that stated his matches were always hardcore (known as “Raven’s Rules”) and he only had to wrestle when he wanted to.

The Flock began collecting gold as well. Saturn defeated Disco Inferno for the Television title. At Spring Stampede 1998 Raven defeated Page to win the WCW United States championship. Unfortunately, the reign would be short as he was defeated by Goldberg the next night.

The loss of his belt deeply affected Raven. He blamed the Flock – especially Saturn for the loss. This led to a match between Raven and Saturn at Fall Brawl, where (with Kidman’s help), Saturn won and freed the Flock from Raven’s control.

With the Flock gone, Raven plunged into a deep depression. He would refuse to wrestle matches. Finally he had an opportunity to face Chris Jericho for the Television title. When Raven lost the match he left the ring and vanished from WCW programming.

Raven reappeared in videos where it was revealed that he’d returned home to his rich family. Chris Kanyon tracked him down in Florida and eventually convinced him to return.

Raven returned in early 1999. He now had a valet – Chastity (who was now called his sister). Things wouldn’t last long as he soon found himself feuding with Hardcore Hak (ECW’s Sandman) and Chastity turned her back on him to ally with Hak.

After that, Raven began teaming with Perry Saturn again. In May, the two of them captured the WCW World Tag Team titles in a three-way match against the team of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko and the team of Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. This also didn’t last as they lost the belts to Diamond Dallas Page and Bam Bam Bigelow on May 31. Actually, Saturn lost the belts. Raven had been attacked by the so-called Triad to open the show and was put out of commission.

Raven returned again in August, now allied with Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse as the Dead Pool. Backstage, however, things were reaching a boiling point. It all blew up on August 23. During a backstage meeting, Bischoff began calling wrestlers by name in front of the entire locker room. Finally Bischoff brought up Raven’s name and said that if he was unhappy he could have a release. Raven immediately left the meeting and called his lawyer to get the ball rolling. Raven was done with World Championship Wrestling.

However, there was a catch. Raven’s no-compete clause in the release stated that he couldn’t jump to the WWF. Instead, he gave Paul Heyman a call. On August 26, 1999, ECW was taping their TV show for TNN. The focus of the show had been the Dudley Boyz, who were making their final appearance before jumping to the WWF. On this episode, they had won the ECW Tag Team titles and were promising to present them to Vince McMahon as a trophy. Suddenly Tommy Dreamer came out and vowed to save the belts. Dreamer was in trouble when a familiar figure entered through the crowd. The crowd exploded as Raven helped Dreamer defeat the Dudleys to win the belts.

Dreamer and Raven held the belts until January, when they were defeated by the Impact Players (Justin Credible and Lance Storm). Shortly thereafter, the former foes would choose new partners and try to recapture the belts. Dreamer chose Masato Tanaka and Raven’s partner was Mike Awesome. Tanaka and Dreamer won the titles on February 26, and they were defeated by Raven and Awesome on March 4. This reign would not last long, as on March 8’s Living Dangerously the Impact Players would defeat both Raven and Dreamer’s teams to regain the belts. This would be Raven’s farewell to ECW.

In June, Raven began working to secure a WWF return. Although management was doubtful given Raven’s history, they finally agreed. Raven debuted in September at Unforgiven when he helped Tazz defeat Jerry Lawler in a strap match.

After a brief period where he worked with Tazz, Raven soon returned to his roots and entered the hunt for the Hardcore title. On December 20, he defeated Steve Blackman to win the title. Since the title was defended under 24/7 rules, that stated that anyone could pin the champion anywhere and at any time, as long as there was a referee there to make the count.

With the 24/7 rule in mind, Raven decided he needed someone to watch his back. In January, a woman dressed in black like a ninja began interfering in his matches to ensure that he retained the belt. On March 11, the ninja was revealed as former DX member Tori, who almost immediately vanished. By April, Raven had racked up eleven Hardcore title reigns.

That summer the infamous Invasion began. Raven mostly stayed out of the invasion until Paul Heyman reunited the ECW alumni (who then joined WCW as the Alliance). However, Raven wasn’t feuding with major WWF superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin or the Rock. His best-remembered feud from this period was a feud started by his manager, Terri Runnells. Terri had been dumped by Perry Saturn for a mop named Moppy, so she enlisted Raven to get revenge. Finally Raven kidnapped Moppy and fed her into a wood chipper while he and Terri laughed. He also spent time during this period tag-teaming with Justin Credible.

However, after the Invasion ended, Raven found himself banished from WWF programming due to a stipulation in the final Survivor Series match (which stated that the losers would be fired). Raven was reassigned to Les Thatcher’s Heartland Wrestling Association in Ohio. While there, he wrestled and also helped with the booking.

Raven returned following the first draft extension in March of 2002, and his first action was to defeat Maven to regain the Hardcore title. However, after losing the title to Bubba Ray Dudley, Raven decided to step back and became a commentator on Sunday Night Heat. He wound up quitting to return to Raw, only to lose a “loser leaves Raw” match against Tommy Dreamer on June 24, which sent him right back to Heat.

Raven began a new storyline based on the seven deadly sins and was given creative control over it. However, the angle was dropped and Raven was brought back to Raw, only to be released on January 20, 2003.

Two days later, Raven debuted for TNA by attacking Jeff Jarrett and stealing the NWA World title belt. Raven began demanding a title match against Jarrett, claiming it was his destiny to win the title.

In March, Raven debuted his newest brainchild – the Clockwork Orange match. In this match, poles were erected at the ring’s corners and wires were run between the poles. Weapons were then attached to the wire.

In April, Raven reformed a stable under the name of the Gathering. His first converts were Julio Dinero and Alexis Laree (WWE’s Mickie James). CM Punk also soon joined.

Punk’s inclusion is ironic because Raven had also returned to the independent scene. While Raven led the Gathering, he was also feuding with CM Punk in Ring of Honor. Punk finally defeated Raven in a steel cage in November to end the feud.

On April 30, Raven and Jarrett met in a title match that had been heavily hyped for a month. Jarrett wound up winning the match.

Raven and the Gathering then began feuding with Father James Mitchell and his Disciples of the New Church. On September 17, Raven lost to Shane Douglas in an infamous hair vs. hair match. After being defeated by Douglas with help from Vampiro, Raven’s head was shaved. However, Mitchell applied too much pressure to the clippers and instead dug them into Raven’s scalp, drawing blood with every pass.

After the Gathering was defeated in a dog collar match (which also saw Punk, Raven, and Dinero hung from the rafters of the TNA Asylum) Raven vowed to destroy every member of the New Church until he got his hands on Mitchell.

Sinn was first. Raven took him out with one punch after wrapping his fist in a chain. A week later he defeated Slash in a dog collar match, and followed that up with a win over Vampiro in a Blood Gallows of Retribution match by hanging Vampiro. Finally Raven defeated Mitchell in a last man standing match to end the feud.

New problems arose on December 17th. Raven was fighting Abyss when Punk and Dinero turned on him and nailed him with chairs, giving Abyss the win. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Gathering soon revealed their new manager – Father James Mitchell.

Raven needed backup, and he once again found it by turning to his past. Terry Funk and Sabu soon allied with Raven, and they were able to defeat the Gathering.

Afterward, Raven began demanding another title shot and soon found himself in a feud with Chris Harris to determine the #1 contender. The feud even saw Harris preventing Raven from winning the NWA World title on more than one occasion. However, the feud finally died away as Harris was quietly reunited with James Storm as America’s Most Wanted.

Raven next set his sights on old friend/foe Sabu. Raven had been trained by the Sheik, Sabu’s uncle. According to the storyline, the Sheik had made Sabu and Raven promise him that they would never fight each other. Raven battled with Sabu and his new friend Sonjay Dutt until the feud was dropped following Sabu suffering a back injury that led to a viral infection that would sideline him for over a year.

From there, Raven would have a brief feud with Jeff Hardy.

At Slammiversary 2005 Raven would achieve his destiny. He defeated AJ Styles, Sean Waltman, Monty Brown, and Abyss in a King of the Mountain match to win the NWA World championship.

Raven began feuding with Abyss over the title, but that feud soon picked up with Jeff Jarrett and Rhino also wanting shots at the champion. Sabu and Raven patched up their differences and battled their three foes until September 15, 2005. On that night’s Border City Wrestling show America’s Most Wanted joined forces with Jeff Jarrett and helped Jarrett take the title away from Raven.

Raven’s rage over losing the belt soon put him at odds with Director of Authority Larry Zbyszko. After being thrown out of the building for several weeks in a row, Raven had had enough. Raven grabbed a microphone and began talking about how Larry was mistreating him. Larry rebutted by offering Raven a release and telling him he’d make his life a living hell until he signed it.

At Genesis, Raven defeated Larry’s hand-picked opponent PJ Polaco (who was better known as Justin Credible. Turning Point saw Raven put Chris K (Kanyon) away. Finally, at Final Resolution, Sean Waltman defeated Raven in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match to force Raven to leave TNA.

In actuality, Raven was suffering from a thyroid condition and was written out of the show to allow him to receive medical treatment.

Raven returned at April’s Lockdown and attacked as Larry was being put on probation in preparation for June’s debut of Jim Cornette as the new management figure. Finally, at July’s Victory Road, Raven defeated Zbyszko in a hair vs. hair match, sending Larry out of TNA.

In November, Raven reformed the Flock. Now known as Serotonin, the group was made up of Kaz (Frankie Kazarian), Martyr (Maverick Matt AKA Matt Bentley AKA Michael Shane), and Havoc (Johnny Devine). The group never caught on and after struggling for months it was dropped.

Raven’s final match with TNA was at January 2008’s Turning Point where he and Abyss defeated Black Reign and Rellik in a thumbtack match. Raven was released from TNA in March of 2008.

Raven has not been idle in the months since. He has continued to wrestle on the independent scene, as well as opening his own wrestling school.

Raven also recently made headlines again. When the WWE released their second quarter report, a mention was buried in it that Raven and other former WWE wrestlers were suing the company, challenging the WWE’s position that their wrestlers are classified as “independent contractors” instead of “employees.” The potentially industry-changing lawsuit is pending.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Raven makes an impact wherever he goes. He has shown time and again that he has a keen mind for the wrestling business that can benefit a company he works for (when he is permitted to use it).

The Raven character itself was groundbreaking. To begin with, Raven’s debut referenced his former identities – a major kayfabe no-no. Then Raven upped the stakes in every feud he was in by stealing the Sandman’s family or breaking Tommy Dreamer’s fingers. When Raven debuted in WCW, although he was no longer as edgy as he’d been in ECW, he was still unique among the WCW/NWO battleground.

Raven himself is unique in wrestling as well. He is the only man to hold titles in WCW (when it was still self-owned), the WWF, TNA, and ECW. Raven has been able to reinvent himself to stay relevant in wrestling for over a decade. Raven has definitely earned his place on this list of the top 100 wrestlers of the modern era.

The entire Top 100 Wrestlers feature can be found here.

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