Raven In WWE - What Went Wrong?

Quoth the Raven, "Never Pushed"

Raven Smackdown

"Who the f*ck hired Johnny Polo?"

Not the ideal start to a second life with a resurgent World Wrestling Federation in 2000, but the one Raven apparently received. The above words were those of Vince McMahon, apparently so ensconced in his company's incredible growth and becoming a billionaire for the first time that he'd not done any of the work in bringing Scott Levy back to Stamford.

So goes the story - as told to Levy by Michael Hayes - Jim Ross had to 'admit' to the room that he'd gone to the trouble of signing a marketable upper midcard talent, but McMahon's chagrin at being out of the loop might have marked his cards.

There was tangible evidence of a certain separation between the two sides on the very night he debuted. To the utter thrill of ECW fans that still held out hope that all their Philadelphia favourites weren't just going to be squashed like bugs, Raven appeared at Unforgiven 2000 and helped (!) Tazz (!!) defeat Jerry Lawler (!!!).

Over top of a pretty sizeable pop, Ross screamed "where in the hell did he come from?" on commentary, before going on to note with bizarre clarity that he "didn't work" there. Any extra element of that was dropped in the (limited) follow through, but an otherwise-impactful debut feels retrospectively tainted knowing the conversations that had occurred beyond the scenes.

It was a strange tact to take on a performer that had only just been brought in. The goods weren't exactly box-fresh, but they weren't particularly damaged either. It would take decisions such as this and countless others like it to render a potentially profitable endeavour completely valueless, but Levy's arrival coincided with that philosophy becoming the troubling norm.


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Michael is a writer, editor, podcaster and presenter for WhatCulture Wrestling, and has been with the organisation over 7 years. He primarily produces written, audio and video content on WWE and AEW, but also provides knowledge and insights on all aspects of the wrestling industry thanks to a passion for it dating back over 30 years. As one third of "The Dadley Boyz", Michael has contributed to the huge rise in popularity of the WhatCulture Wrestling Podcast, earning it top spot in the UK's wrestling podcast charts with well over 50,000,000 total downloads. He has been featured as a wrestling analyst for the Tampa Bay Times and Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, and has covered milestone events in New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, London and Cardiff. Michael's background in media stretches beyond wrestling coverage, with a degree in Journalism from the University Of Sunderland (2:1) and a series of published articles in sports, music and culture magazines The Crack, A Love Supreme and Pilot. When not offering his voice up for daily wrestling podcasts, he can be found losing it singing far too loud watching his favourite bands play live. Follow him on X/Twitter - @MichaelHamflett