Despite being loved, there’s a good chance Raven hears nothing but boos on Saturday at the 2300 Arena.
Scott Levy, better known as Raven, will return to his home base Saturday when MLW presents Battle Riot V in a match that features 40 wrestlers in a battle royal.
Raven has more than a few fans in Philly. He was born in Springfield, Montgomery County and lived there until he was about 10 years old. He left the area when his father, who was a reporter at the Inquirer and editor at the Daily News took a job at the National Enquirer.
But Raven really became a “Philly” guy when he came to Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he became a champion, main-evented the first pay per view and was one of the top guys in the promotion when it was at its peak.
Fans loved him, but because his character was a horrible person with no redeeming qualities, he never heard cheers.
Now, after his terrific ECW career, great stints with World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment, and then becoming one of the top guys in Impact Wrestling, where he was recently inducted into the hall of fame, fans see him differently. People love him. But since joining MLW, he’s back being despicable, so he’s not going to hear many cheers on Saturday night. And the boos are music to his ears.
“Once you reach a certain level it’s hard to get booed unless they respect your body of work too much,” he said. “In my Impact Hall of Fame speech, I got people to boo me. I felt like it’s cheating being a babyface that gets cheered.”
In ECW, Raven changed the game. The promotion was known for having fans who loved to know everything about the wrestlers in real life, and they weren’t afraid to go against the grain and cheer the good guys. During Raven’s feud with Tommy Dreamer, he shocked not only the fans, but his opponents and the promotion’s booker Paul Heyman that he could make the fans hate him.
“When I got (to ECW) people were booing babyfaces and cheering heels because the fans were smart,” Raven said. “And they saw guys that could work, guys that couldn’t, they knew the insider stuff, they knew Tommy was Paul E’s boy, even Paul E thought you couldn’t have heels and babyfaces. I said I was going to be a heel, make the people hate me, and love whoever I worked against.
“Roddy Piper taught me this, if they believe your stuff is real, that’s all that matters. So I said I would be a heel and be a true heel. I like being hated, it’s what I’m used to from my childhood. I would just be a despicable person.”
MLW is a great place for Raven because it allows him to be himself.
Whenever he does independent shows, even though he’s been a villain for most of his career, the fans can’t help but cheer him. But in MLW, he’s back to being despicable, and the fans will react accordingly.
“I love MLW,” Raven said. “I do the level of what I can do, but I’ve always worked smarter not harder and I intend to continue to do that. The work I continue to do, I’m not going to see a lot of bumps, I have two knee replacements, and I’m getting shoulder replaced. I’ve been known as a lazy person, but the Raven character suited my laziness. You never get to Raven until you get past the minions, and if you know how to work that character, you can get away with murder.
“There’s a lot of talent in MLW that I’m really impressed with. They have some great guys. I love helping them in any way. You don’t get a lot of guys with experience asking for advice, they don’t want to seem like marks, but I love to help other guys. I love helping the younger guys.”
While Raven is one of the marquee names, there’s a list of great talent coming to Philly, including Jacob Fatu, John Hennigan, Willie Mack and Rickey Shane Page. It should also be a fun show for Raven because of the location.
“I love Philly, I moved back there before ECW because it was the hub for all the indies,” he said. “Atlanta is the hub of the south and in Philly, you’re near New York, New Jersey, Baltimore is an hour the other way. And when I was in ECW, I was there anyway.
“It’s always fun to go back there. We’re all marks for that arena. It meant so much because the audience was part of the show like Rocky Horror, the audience was a part of the show, not as much as they thought they were. You couldn’t have formed it anywhere else. It wouldn’t have gotten over anywhere else, and to allow it to expand, but if it wasn’t in Philly it wouldn’t have gotten past the growing pains but in Philly. It’s the most hardcore, fickle, loving, hating, every kind of fan. Philly is the perfect place for an island of misfit toys, which is what it started out.”
Raven stays busy outside the ring, too.
He works as a backstage agent for NWA, which is owned by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. He also hosts a podcast, the Raven Effect, and anyone who is a fan of him knows he is a great talker. That translates well into podcasting.
“I like doing podcasts, it gives me a chance to spew my nonsense and it makes money and it’s enjoyable,” said Raven, whose podcast is available on all major channels that host podcasts. “Only an hour a week, not a lot of time, we don’t prepare. I don’t want to talk about wrestling, I did that for 35 years. I don’t want to do that, I don’t watch wrestling. It’s supposed to entertain people sitting in a men’s locker room talking about whatever.
“I’m not a big talker when I’m at home. I don’t talk on the phone, so the podcast lets me keep up with my friends. I love doing that, I like not preparing, not having to get dressed up. It’s phenomenal.”
To see Raven and all of the stars of MLW on Saturday night at the 2300 Arena, visit MLW.com.