was conducted with Raven at an autograph signing in NE Philadelphia on
8/7/99 exclusively for ECWNews.com.
Please credit this site and columnist for any reproductions of this interview.
Saturday afternoon August 7th at a signing at Franklin Mills Mall, I had the opportunity to meet up once again with former ECW champion Raven, now employed by WCW. Over the course of our conversation he made a few comments that I asked him if it would be ok to put them on the record. He agreed and the result is the following interview.
We talked about ECW being on TNN and the availability of more money to sign more talent. I asked his feelings about the future of ECW. This was his reply. During the reply he goes on to talk about many other things. Keep in mind, this is Raven I am speaking with….
I got 10 months left on my contract and there is no one on earth I would
rather work for than Paul E. Paul E is the number one person I would ever
want to work for. I'm never going to have a real job.
If I'm ever going to have to work, which obviously I do, I'd be wrestling. Barring my inheritance, which my mom may attempt to spend. There is honestly no one on the planet I'd rather work for. He was the Scorsese to my DeNiro, he was the Jimmy Page to my Robert Plant. I mean, for all the heads we butted, and Paul E knows this too and he'd say the exact same thing. There's no one Paul E would rather have running his company, there's no one Paul E would rather have as his figure head, no one he would rather have hold his title, no one Paul E would rather have as his main star than me. I'd think he would probably admit to that, although he doesn't admit to talking to me according to Dreamer. He swears to Dreamer that he doesn't talk to me.
Misnik: "But, you and Dreamer still talk though, right?"
Raven:" Yeah, me and Dreamer are still close friends. Me and Dreamer talk about every three weeks. Me and Paul E talk about once a week."
Misnik: " Oh, Paul E returns your calls?"
Raven:" He calls me. Me and Paul E talk at least once a week. But Paul E swears to Dreamer that we never talk. Its his little game. But there is no one Paul E would rather have fronting his company and I don't think that there is any other company I would rather front. I'm not so sure I would have the chance to front any other company but even if I did I would rather work for Paul E. It's a fiduciary thing and my fiscal needs only outweigh to an extent. Let's put in like, lets say 10 dollars. 10 dollars is the cap. WCW says we'll give you 10 dollars and Paul E says I can give you three. Three against ten for piece of mind and to work for Paul E isn't worth it. BUT, if WCW says I'll give you six , then I'll take the three." "I'll take a lot less to work for Paul E because the show is that much better. Well, actually lately I haven't been watching it much. From what I have seen and what I know Paul E is doing is holding all the tricks in his bag, I mean why shoot his wad before TNN? Paul E is holding back, he's laying in the weeds and what the stars don't get is that is he's letting then stand back a bit."
Storm and Justin Credible, let them down in a little lull period.Let them
lull there, cause he's going to break them out. You can get a bigger breakout
when you are down a little lower and they're already up there and are already,
hey these are the big stars. No body gets that, let them sink down a bit
on the roster. Everyone's like oh, Sid crushed them, Sid buried them, he pushed them forever. That's assiine.No he didn't. Paul E did that intentionally because A) you needed Sid and he was a big factor in getting TNN I would imagine and I like Sid too. But let's face it, Sid's a monster. Sid's a real main draw.
Put it this way, he might not actually draw draw and I don't really know the facts on that, but he is a legitimate name name. He is one of the 7, er, 10 biggest names in the sport. If you asked casual people, you gave them a list of 100 names, Sid would be one of the top rated, er, recognizable ones."
" So, it
was a smart move, lets face it you have to appease Sid or Sid ain't going
to do it and people are throwing a fit cause these two guys are down a
little bit. If you watch the WWF, the guys that got over:
Cactus, Austin got over because… when Cactus got in, he wasn't that over. I don't care what anyone says, Mankind when he first came in wasn't that over. It wasn't until Cactus hit bottom and became the three faces of Foley and went down to the bottom and started working his way back to the top he became the mega star that he should be. Austin was the jabronie Ringmaster wrestling Savio Vega which is a great rib on him. We always used to laugh, it was a big rib cause Savio Vega had that tough skin. He looked like he was wearing a pair of ToughSkins out there. Remember the jeans he used to wear out there?
Misnik:" Yeah, oh yeah"
Raven:" He would wear the toughskins and the tshirt. He would always go out wearing this ridiculous outfit. His first six months he was brawling with him that is the cruel irony of it all."Austin came in and had to work his way all the way to the top."" That's the thing people don't get, look at the Big Show they brought in. I think Paul (Wight) is a great guy. But the worst thing they did for him is to bring him in on top. He should have came in like 911 and started beating up all of the little guys and work his way to the top because Paul didn't get a chance to get over with the people because people don't want to see a ready-made star cause they want to say, hey, you got to prove it again. Where ever you go, you have to prove yourself again. You have to start at the ground floor. Even if ECW was as big as WWF or WCW I still would have rather come in the way I did to WCW because I started out and worked my way up. I worked up to the ceiling cap. The big 10 won't let me up. I have been the perennial number 11 for the, what , past 2 years now."
Its 10:45 am on Saturday. At this point, the interview is temporarily interrupted as Raven places his breakfast order. I note this because of how the interview picks up after the order is places.
Raven:" I like when its printed that an interruption came because Raven had to make his food order"
Misnik:" Now, wait a second, I think I should get the food order and see what you had"
Raven:"Well, no one cares what the food order was, just the fact that this interview was interrupted by the food order and now that we are discusing the food order. Its sort of a post modern thing. I like Post Modernism." Well with the food order , no one gives a rat's ass about that one, in the immortal words of the Stone Cold one"."Umm, so, ok.. they didn't give Paul a chance to get over the way he came in. He was so over in WCW and the more they tried to bury him, the more over he got."
Misnik:" The same thing that they did with Chris Jericho"
Raven:" Let me tell ya, that mother fucker was over huge. I mean he was over huge in WCW. Tell ya what me and him worked and basically, well Raven never loses. Know what I mean. So they don't know what the deal is going to be with the Giant. Cause he's the Giant, I mean I came up with the idea for him to chokeslam me through the table in the center of the ring. Its exciting. The reactions were unbelivable. I mean he is so talented too. I couldn't believe it. Cause I was there, he'll tell ya the first person who really helped him in the business, even though I didn't really do that much. The first person that paid attention to him was me. Me and Mabel were in a bar in Chicago and Paul came up to us and introduced himself to us.It was some "stay out club", it was late and I hooked up with some broad who was psychotic. I took her home and she's showing me all these knife wounds in her arm where she had stabbed herself cause she was masochistic."
Misnik:" Sounds like you're kind of person"
Raven:" Yea, it was. Then I went to bed and I woke up. I don't sleep real sound. I woke up and I looked over and she was just staring at me. She was just sitting on the bed staring at me. I'm starting to get a little worried now. I roll back to sleep and wake up 20 minutes later and she's still staring, now she's changed clothes. But she is staring at me still and this went on for the majority of the night. Its really strange.She had all these knife marks on her arms where she had just cut herself, ya know because she had some personal trauma. I don't know what her mental baggage was. I didn't want to know."
Paul comes up to us in a bar and I'm like well I'll do what I can for you,
but I was having my own problems cause I was with Vince and I wasn't happy
there. I didn't like being a manager. I was a producer for Monday Night
Raw. I didn't like doing that. Its not like I didn't like doing these things,
I just wanted to wrestle and also knowing that I am one of the laziest
wrestlers in the business. But, however when I do work I am one of the
toughest workers in the business. But when I can avoid it I am one of the
laziest. You might think that would be the perfect job for me, but it wasn't.
I needed to get back in the ring.
So, I had my own problems trying to figure out and find a way to get out and find a way to get free the Raven character that has been inside me my entire life. I'd dress up like Johnny Polo and as soon as the show was over, Id leave in a leather jacket, ripped up jeans and a ripped up t shirt. You know the "act" isn't an act. This is my real life. People knew, they realized this was me.People are smart enough to tell.
People in WCW are smart enough to tell. They know they are looking at someone who's really got problems."
Misnik;" I remember back when you were in ECW staying up at the Travelodge drinking with you all night."
Raven :" I was an Olympic class drinker."
Misnik:" Yes you were"
Raven:" So, anyway, Paul asked me for help and I suggested Larry Sharpe's Monster Factory to him, which is where I went. I don't think it's the greatest place to go, but I had no place else to send him and I corresponded with his manager a couple times, but I really couldn't help him much. But, that was Paul Wight's first introduction into it"
Another interuption comes , this time to check on Raven's car by the fine security staff at Franklin Mills Mall.
This concludes part 1 of the Interview with Raven. Next time, more on how Raven influenced Paul Wight's career in wrestling plus starting out in the business, his feelings on Tommy Dreamer, the current state of ECW and how he would fit in and more