Monday, February 19, 2007

Raven, Part 2

Raven dominated ECW in 1995-1996 and enjoyed two reigns as ECW World Heavyweight Champion during his tenure in ECW. His group of followers, Raven's Nest, included many names over his two-year stint in the company, including Cactus Jack, Stevie Richards, Tony Stetson, Johnny Hot Body, The Pit Bulls, The Dudley Boys, Brian Lee, The Bruise Brothers, Beulah McGillicutty, Kimona Wanalaya, Lori Fullington, The Blue Meanie, Super Nova, Chastity, and Lupus. He started a legendary feud with Tommy Dreamer that lasted for the next two years, before Dreamer finally defeated him at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 1997. Also, during his first stint in ECW, he successfully defended the ECW World Heavyweight Title against Terry Gordy and Steve Williams, among others, giving Dr. Death his first loss in a singles match in the U.S. in many years. In June 1997, Raven faced Tommy Dreamer in a "Loser Leaves ECW" Match in a losing effort. Raven who didn't have all too much left to do in ECW received a huge offer from World Championship Wrestling.

In 1997 Levy left ECW and joined WCW, as an "unsigned free agent" (for storyline purposes). On June the 30th 1997, Raven is seen sitting in the front row at WCW Monday Nitro and the announcers recognize him as a champion from an independent organization. Then on August 21, 1997 at Clash of the Champions Raven brutally defeated Stevie Richards in an "unsanctioned" match then took a seat in the front row. The storyline continued that Raven would frequently appear in the front row for the next few months, slowly forming what would be known as The Flock. Raven eventually signed a (kayfabe) contract with WCW with J.J. Dillon that stipulated that he could wrestle only when he wanted and under his own rules. Thus, Raven's Rules is born.

On November 23, 1997 at World War III Raven met Scotty Riggs in a match in which Raven dropped Riggs into a chair, damaging Riggs' eye. Riggs later joined the Flock, as would Billy Kidman, Van Hammer, Horace, Lodi and Sick Boy. Leading the Flock, he enjoyed some moderate success, but nothing on the level of his former ECW main event status. He won the WCW U.S Heavyweight Championship as well as the WCW World Tag Team Championship, with Perry Saturn. The former reign lasted only a day as Raven defeated Diamond Dallas Page at a Pay Per View and lost the belt the following night to Bill Goldberg on WCW Monday Nitro.

Raven had a notable feud with Perry Saturn after losing the U.S Title to Goldberg. He blamed the flock and Saturn in particular for his loss. This led to a series of matches, the last of which happened at WCW Fall Brawl 98. Without the Flock, Raven began a series of depressing interviews and walked out on several matches. In October at WCWs Halloween Havoc 98, Raven refused to wrestle Chris Jericho for the Television Title, but eventually was convinced to return to the ring. He lost the match and wasn't seen until 1999. Rumors of a feud with Roddy Piper were in the works, but that was scrapped for an unknown reason. He was reunited with his former valet Chastity, who WCW claimed was his sister, and moved into other storylines, creating feuds with Chris Kanyon, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Hak (The Sandman). He later joined with Vampiro, and the Insane Clown Posse in a short-lived stable called The Dead Pool. In a meeting which involved every contracted WCW wrestler, when Eric Bischoff offered anyone their release right then and there, Raven was the only one to stand up and walk out, as he was dissatisfied with WCW's creative direction. As a final effort to try to get Raven to stay on the WCW roster, Eric Bischoff told Raven about a storyline which involed Raven beating his opponent and "taking their souls". This made Raven interested in staying with the company however, when Raven found out how the storyline would end (Dustin Rhodes a.k.a Goldust being behind the whole thing) he lost interest and asked for his release. Raven left the company in 1999.

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