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   Fri, December 5, 1997



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The SLAM! Wrestling Raven interview
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling


 He is as dark and mysterious as his feathered namesake. An unpredictable figure perched at ringside, flexing his talons and ready to strike. Who knows the thoughts he is thinking or the plans he is hatching? His words reveal deeper truths to those irresistibly drawn to his presence like moths to the flame. His thoughts, the bizarre visions of an unstable madman to the non-believers. Made up of World Championship Wrestling's outcasts and lost souls whom he has taken under his wing, Raven's Nest grows unchecked while the struggle between the New World Order and WCW forces rages on.

SLAM! Wrestling caged Raven long enough to conduct this revealing one-on-one interview with the squared circle prophet enhanced by e-mail questions sent to us by our readers.


Q: I know that Raven is your creation, how about the others? Did you try to have a hand in their creation?

- Stuart Kemp.

A: All the other personalities are friends of mine or mutants, misfits or freaks I found along the way and have given them a chance to stand beside me. Creating Raven was solely my idea. It comes from a very tormented past and tortured childhood. Paul E. gave me a forum to express my views and now the WCW is giving me an even wider forum.


Q: Do you write you own poetry for the spots? If so.. other than the obvious Poe, who are your favorites and/or influences in the literary world?

- Chris Todd.

A: I write everything myself. Frankly, I don't have very much interest in poetry. I tend to think of my words as more along the lines of rock lyrics. Basically my influences are Curt Cobain, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. I think if you can't understand the past then the present isn't as meaningful.


Q: So, what groups or discs have you been spinning a lot recently?

- SLAM! Wrestling (John Powell).

A: I still listen to The Offspring quite a bit, the Alice In Chains unplugged album, The Stone Temple Pilots and anything by Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was the progenitor of all these other groups. I am sure if you asked any of the new bands, they would tell you Led Zep was a major influence.


Q: Do you ever wake up in the evening, feel a pulsating heart beat beneath your bedroom floor and hear, in the shrieking wind, the voice of Edgar Allan Poe pleadingly speak, "Please, enough of the 'Quotith the Raven, Nevermore' stuff. Stop or I'll send a wild baboon to your quarters and he'll rip your hair right out for infringing copyright!"

- Jeffrey Ferrier.

A: Absolutely not. I am not infringing on anything. Poe was an alcoholic-psychotic and I was fascinated more by him than his works. His works are rather obtuse and oblique. He, as a person, was an interesting prospect for me to examine. I have spend most of my life in Philly. I was born, grew up and lived there. The Edgar Allen Poe Historical Society is located in Philly but I have yet to find any interest in going there.


Q: Poe used his works as sort of a catharsis for his tortured existence. Does your character allow you to do that also?

- SLAM! Wrestling (John Powell).

Yeah. But you know what? It doesn't get out as much as you think. It is cleansing for the moment but it doesn't alleviate the pain.


Q: What caused the transition form a high-flying, mat wrestling, "pretty boy" like Scotty The Body/Flamingo to the hardcore brawling, blading, Raven?

- Robert O'Keefe.

A: Well, I really didn't like being that "high-flying" character. That was something that was forced upon me by promoters because that's what THEY wanted. There is an aspect of me when I am not being moody that is jovial but those moments are few and far between. It wasn't something that I wanted to do. I wanted to explore my darker half and I just had to find that opening but I had to pay the bills prior to that. I just want to be myself. I won't be a corporate whore.


Q: What made you change your managing career as Johnny Polo into Raven?

- Richard Millan.

A: I NEVER wanted to be that. That was something they gave me. At the time I was stuck with nuthin' and I had nuthin' so I took what I could get. Then, I realized I don't want to be this and I am not happy. I wasn't being true to me. I wasn't being real. I thought I was putting on sham or an act. I didn't want to be perpetrating a hoax. Being Johnny Polo was a childhood mistake. I was a lost soul looking for answers. So, I up and quit. I called Vince (McMahon) one day and that was it. They actually gave me an office job at that point. They made me an associate producer of all their television shows.


Q: How did that job go?

- SLAM! Wrestling (John Powell).

A: It went great because I am an extremely creative person. I hated it but that's what they gave me. They were even grooming me to become part of the booking committee. They were putting me in outfits I didn't want to be in. As soon as I'd leave the office, I'd be back in leather and ripped up jeans. I just didn't feel right as part of the corporate world.

I wanted to wrestle. I wanted to hit people in the head with a frying pan and a steel chair. They were shocked and mortified when I quit. They thought they had a long-term career plan for me as a behind-the-scenes kind of cat. That wasn't for me. I'm an in-your-face person. So, I moved on and walked away from a six figure income. I had absolutely nothing. I realized then what I wanted to become. The look of my character was what I had been wearing for years anyway. It was just a matter of leaving my street clothes on. The name was just a name that struck me in a vision.


Q: How are you going to be able to keep your ECW style in WCW since WCW doesn't condone the violence that ECW does?

- Hitman316.

A: As long as I can wield a chair, I can find fifty creative ways to hit somebody with it.


RAVEN Q: What did you think of your time in the Pacific Northwest as Scotty "The Body"? Any interesting stories?

- Denver Deseranno.

A: It was funny. I'd walk into the building wearing a leather jacket and jeans, then have to put on this act. I felt like a lie and a hoax. I felt like a trained seal. Whatever talents I possessed allowed me to excel to the level that I held the Pacific Northwest title longer than anybody but the fact was that I didn't feel happy about it. I never truly felt comfortable until I finally stepped into the ECW ring as myself.


Q: How much money would it take to become Johnny Polo again?

- Vinnie Bartilucci.

A: There isn't enough money. They couldn't pay me enough to do that. I couldn't do that. Ultimately, you have to live with yourself. You can't find happiness in other people. True happiness comes from inside.


Q: I wonder how you feel about the WWF, especially after your painful-to-watch existence as "Johnny Polo", and whether you would ever consider going back to work for Vince McMahon after all of the stuff we've seen on RAW, and his handling of Bret Hart?

- Dave Valenzuela.

A: There's a couple different paths in life. Sometimes we make our own choices. Sometimes the choice is made for us. Sometimes there isn't a choice at all. In this particular case, I choose not to answer.


Q: Did you choose your Nest, if so, what does each member bring to the group?

- SrRey258.

A: Yes, I did choose my Nest. I picked them all out myself, individually. This was due to the special talents they might possess, mental deficiencies or needs or wants I could fulfill for them so they could be loyal in a place where loyalty alone isn't a popular motivation. As far as anybody else joining...you'll have to wait and see.


Q: When are they officially gonna start calling you guys Raven's Nest instead of The Flock and Raven's Group?

- Buff33333.

A: The names are interchangeable. They call it "The Flock". I call it "The Nest".I guess it's six and one half dozen of the other.


Q: What was the most insane shot you have ever taken or have been asked to take?

- BOBBY S BARR.

A: The most insane shot is the one that still plays at the beginning of the ECW show. I was handcuffed crucifix-style to a steel cage and hit with a steel chair so hard that the chair doubled around my head. That or a match in Baltimore where they put up barbed wire all around the ropes. At one point, a piece of the wire came off and I was on all fours being whipped across the back with the wire by The Sandman.


Q: What are the main differences (aside from pay) between the ECW and the WCW and WWF?

- James T. Paterson.

A: Bischoff. He's got a long-term creative vision. He's got a good sense of what's good and bad, what works and what doesn't. When something isn't going over, he's the first one to say..let's move on. He's has this uncanny sense. It's a gift. Also, he's a straight-up and fair guy.

Paul E.? The guy's a genius when it comes to booking storylines.

Vince? Vince is Vince.


Q: Why did you kick the living crap out of your Flock or Nest members?

- SLAM! Wrestling (John Powell).

A: I really don't quite frankly. I haven't kicked the crap out of any of them. I have slapped Stevie Richards around because he's a clueless putz. He deserved it and he's a complete idiot. And when he walks away from the cameras, Stevie is even a bigger idiot. Most people become more idiotic when they're on television. He becomes more idiotic when he leaves television and God knows what a fool he is in front of the cameras.

I just smacked Kidman around a little bit to get him see things my way. And Scotty Riggs - whom I have known for years - just didn't want to let the dark side loose. So, I had to beat it out of him. Everyone has a dark side. There are two sides to everybody.


Q: What did you do to make Scotty Riggs join The Flock?

- Brad Querruel.

A: We sat with him. We talked with him. Finally, he understood about all the friends he's lost. He was a popular guy. Bagwell leaving him was the beginning of the downward spiral. He realized that we, unlike Marcus, are going to be there for him. It's a family of misfits but nevertheless we're still a family.

I exude power. I have a hypnotic sway. I back it up in the ring because I will take more of a beating than anyone. My Nest knows that. They've seen that. They know what I speak is the truth. I speak from the heart. A blackened, hardened heart. Honesty is always the best policy. My twisted vision is one of mangled car wrecks and massacred people. My Nest knows I am fighting right out front so they will fight right behind me.


Q: What was the nature of your falling out with Stevie Richards?

- Jason Trent.

A: We never were friends. He was a lackey and a hanger-on. He was a wannabe who followed me around and was my errand boy. Stevie Richards thought we were best friends but I wasn't friends with him. I was surprised he was at ECW's November To Remember. He never called no one. He never said he was going to do it. It's just bad business. Your word is your bond.

He thinks Paul E. will use him in a more outstanding role. But if he had any more talent than I would have certainly put that to use. Frankly, I thought he was the best lackey in the business. It just wasn't good enough for his ego. Well, hopefully his talent will allow him to reach the levels he thinks he should achieve. That's putting it tactfully as I possibly can.


Q: Do you think he will ever achieve that desired status?

- SLAM! Sports (John Powell).

A: No. He's a mid-card guy. He's not a top guy. Stevie just doesn't have the look, the size or the mental strength. That's what it comes down to. That's what allows me to take all the beatings I take. It's not a physical strength. It's a mental strength to stand there while your hands are cuffed to a steel cage and you can't move while a steel chair is coming at you fifty miles an hour.


Q: Here's some SLAM! Wrestling quick word association for you. I'll say a word or phrase and you tell me what pops into your head.

Q: The icon.

A: Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Q: Hall and Nash.

A: Future icons.

Q: nWo.

A: Fascinating.

Q: The Nitro Girls.

A: Seeexy!

Q: Chris Benoit.

A: The most physical, brutal athlete in WCW. It doesn't get any more rugged than him even in ECW. That's why I am glad he's found the interest in me and my Nest. We're going to play him like a violin. If he wants a piece of me...he's going to have to go through everyone.


Q: Are you saying you'd like Benoit to join The Nest?

- SLAM! Wrestling (John Powell).

A: No. I don't think he's that kind of guy. He's more of a loner and I don't think he has the stability for what I am creating. But his brutality intrigues and amazes me.


Q: If you were to retire tomorrow at a final match, who would you like that match to be against?

- SLAM! Sports (John Powell).

A: If I could chose, it would be Tommy Dreamer. I'd like to have a barbed wire match with Dreamer. Within the realm of WCW, obviously I'd like to face Hollywood Hogan. Win, lose or draw that's who I'd like to face.


Q: Any message for your fans?

- SLAM! Sports (John Powell).

A: Listen to my messages much more deeply. Don't just take them in surface value. Use your brain. Think, learn and listen. There's much more to what I am saying than what's there on the surface.

RELATED LINKS
  • Raven bio and story archive