Wrestler of the Day – August 4: Raven

Today is Raven. What about him eh?

Raven would start in Texas before moving to Florida and Portland. He finally made it to WCW as Scotty Flamingo, including this match at Beach Blast 1992.

Light Heavyweight Title: Scotty Flamingo vs. Brian Pillman

Like I said, it’s Raven as a beach guy. Pillman is his usual insane self but in a good way here. Imagine Raven wearing pink biker shorts. That’s just odd as all goodness. We get some very nice chain wrestling which gets a decent pop from the crowd. The speed here on Raven is very interesting indeed as it just isn’t like him at all but it’s working rather well.

Pillman works the arm over for a LONG time but as he goes up top he’s told he’ll be disqualified if he jumps off. Yes, in the light heavyweight division, we can’t have people jump off the top rope. WE WANT ARMBARS! Oh there also are no mats outside so when you get thrown out you land on concrete. Watts actually defended this as making the wrestlers tough.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously, there’s a big difference between toughening the wrestlers up and being a freaking prick that needs to get over himself HUGE. We shift into a mat based match which is fine as it’s what Scotty is best at. We’ve had WAY too many chinlocks in this.

Ok now we’re picking it up a bit as Pillman is just going nuts which means that the match is getting a lot better. After all kinds of jumping around and going all over the place though he dives at Flamingo on the ramp and just slams into the ramp. A knee to the back and Scotty gets the pin. My guess is that wasn’t a legit injury but it could have been.

Rating: B-. The chinlocks and rest holds killed this one from being great for me. I think 18 minutes was a bit too long for these two but it wasn’t a trainwreck at all. The parts that were good were good and the parts that were bad were bad. I liked it but a few minutes cut out would have helped it a lot.

Flamingo would go to the WWF and become Johnny Polo. He was mainly a manager but would occasionally have a match, including this one on Raw, December 27, 1993.

Johnny Polo vs. Marty Jannetty

Polo’s clients the Quebecers are on commentary and praising him for his in ring technique. Marty grabs a hammerlock to start but gets taken down for a standoff. Johnny grabs a headlock but gets sent into the buckle. An atomic drop and rollup get two each and it’s off to an armbar on the mat with Polo in trouble. Jannetty misses a charge and Johnny hits a dive to take him out again.

Back in and a cross body gets two for Marty but Johnny grabs a chinlock. That lasts all of two seconds before Jannetty gets all fired up and elbows Polo in the face. Johnny crotches him on the top but gets shoved down when trying a superplex. A high cross body gets two for Marty and a rollup gets the same. Marty dropkicks him out to the floor and ignores some Quebecer interference. He goes up top, only to dive on Pierre instead of Johnny. Back in and Marty tries a sunset flip but Johnny falls on top and Pierre offers some help for the pin.

Rating: D. This was pretty horrible with the lack of chemistry really hurting things. Polo wasn’t supposed to be any good but that presents a problem when you’re trying to have a match with him. I’ve seen far worse but this went on too long, especially with the ending. They could have done the same thing in about five minutes instead of nine.

It was off to ECW after this for the most famous character of Raven’s career: Raven, a loner who eventually acquired a stable called Raven’s Nest. He was very psychological and tormented various people. This would include a LONG feud with Tommy Dreamer, with one of the big matches coming at November to Remember 1995.

Terry Funk/Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven/Cactus Jack

Main event time. Funk is “planning on retiring”. That’s just amusing. Funk says he’ll remember what happened with Cactus last night forever. Apparently it was a big attack on Terry but Dreamer made the save. This is a revenge match for Funk and Dreamer always hates Raven Cactus is in a WCW Dungeon of Doom t-shirt. He was in a WEIRD (yet awesome) heel push where he longed to be back in WCW with “Uncle Eric”.

The pairings pair off and Raven and Jack rule the ring for the moment. Now we get to the brawl and Funk fights Raven. Stevie Richards brings in some weapons and gets put in a shopping cart for his troubles. Dreamer BLASTS Raven in the head with a freaking VCR. WHY WOULD YOU BRING ONE OF THOSE TO A WRESTLING SHOW??? In a funny bit, Dreamer hits him with the remote also.

Funk beats up the referee because he’s Terry Funk. Dreamer DDTs the referee for good measure. Funk hits Raven with a golf club in the putter. Cheese grater is broken up and Cactus drills Dreamer with a chair. Dreamer gets taken down by a double chain shot to the throat. Raven is busted open and poses anyway. Cactus channels his inner Abdullah as he jabs at Funk with a fork.

DDT to Dreamer as Raven and Cactus are dominating. They try the chain again but Dreamer does something smart and dives on it, bringing them together. Not that it matters as Cactus takes him down with ease. Cactus takes the Dungeon of Doom shirt to reveal another one with a huge picture of Eric Bischoff and the words “Forgive Me Uncle Eric” (coining that nickname) on the back. Only Mick Foley could make that work, period.

It’s more or less a big mess but were you really expecting something else here? Jack hits a double arm DDT on Funk onto the chair but there’s no referee. Raven dives over the top to take out Dreamer and Jack looks for more weapons. Here are Fonzie and Taz to be referees but Funk kicks out at two. Taz beats up Funk so Dreamer takes Taz out. Jumping DDT takes Raven down and for some reason a regular one does more damage. The referee is back up and Dreamer piledrives Raven onto a chair, letting Funk steal the pin.

Rating: B-. Pretty fun match overall as they kept things just weapons based instead of going everywhere. Also Jack having the continuing mental breakdowns in the middle of the match (the Uncle Eric thing) is great. Dreamer not beating Funk is one of those little things that makes a match better. Fun stuff here and one of the better brawls ECW did.

Another of Raven’s top feuds was with Sandman so we’ll look at a match from February of 1996.

ECW World Title: Raven vs. Sandman

I believe this is at Cyberslam 1996. Sandman, flanked by Missy Hyatt, finally starts his entrance after about two minutes of standing around. Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie quickly bail and the brawl is on after nearly eight minutes of entrances. Raven throws him outside and hits a plancha to take over. Sandman whips him into the barricade though and grabs a chair. He stands around for awhile before just kicking Raven in the head and walking around with him for awhile.

Back in and Sandman hits a delayed brainbuster before throwing Raven to the floor. There’s a plancha by the challenger before punching him into a chair back inside. Some Meanie interference lets Raven hit the Evenflow but Missy distracts the referee to prevent the pin. Sandman pops up and hits a DDT of his own, drawing in Raven’s chick Kimona. It’s catfight time and Stevie comes in for a superkick to give Raven two.

There goes the referee (like it matters) as Sandman “hits” a “legdrop” for two. The referee goes down again and here are Richards and Meanie to run interference. The Bruise Brothers (Harris Twins) come in with a double chokeslam for two on Sandman. Raven can’t get Sandman up for a suplex so he puts Sandman on top and pulls him face first onto the chair. The DDT on the chair retains Raven’s title.

Rating: D. Another overbooked mess that people call wrestling for some reason. The match was a glorified disaster but the best stuff in this feud was always the talking and storytelling. That being said, unfortunately we still had to sit through the wrestling and get driven crazy by the matches. Bad stuff here, again.

We’ll wrap up his ECW run with a match from Cyberslam 1997.

Raven/Brian Lee vs. Terry Funk/Tommy Dreamer

Raven is world champion. If Funk beats Raven, he gets a shot at the title at Barely Legal. Lee is a hired gun here. This is during the Dreamer can’t beat Raven angle which I would have ended at Barely Legal, but instead they went with Funk who is the guy that was from the NWA and therefore what they were against, but hey who cares about that right? Beulah, who is dating Tommy at this point, is here being her sexy self.

We get big match intros because we need to have them for what is I guess the main event. Raven comes in and lays down to let Dreamer beat him for the first time in his life so that Funk can’t get the pin to get the title shot. Dreamer, ever the moron, hits him instead. Raven pops up and says “Hey Dreamer why didn’t you pin me?” That was funny for some reason.

Off to Funk so Raven runs and hides. Dreamer comes in again as this is stupid so far. Powerslam by Lee and he brings in Raven. Dreamer gets a DDT and tags in Funk immediately to let him try to get a win. Back off to Lee as this has been pretty basic so far. Raven won’t fight Funk so the fans chant him a coward. Raven and Dreamer go to the floor and the others join them. An ECW match turning into a brawl? NO WAY!!!

They’re in the crowd already and I have a feeling I’ll be able to read a novel or so while this is going on. Funk and Raven wind up back in the ring and Raven hits him low. Dreamer and Lee are on the floor having the real fight since Funk is old and Raven is probably stoned. He grabs the mic and yells at Funk for awhile while everyone looks at Dreamer and Lee who are off camera.

This creates an obvious problem of Raven vs. Funk is more or less the occasional punch and Raven yelling while the fans are all looking away at the violence on the floor. Funk grabs the mic and I’d suggest a censor button on standby. He kicks Raven’s leg out a few times and it’s the spinning toe hold. Raven screams that he quits but there’s no referee. The referee finally comes in and Lee hits Funk with a trashcan.

Lee hammers on everyone with the trashcan. Dreamer tries to protect Funk so Funk keeps getting up. Funk can’t stand up and is bleeding from the ear. Oh I have a bad feeling where this might be going. Yep the doctors are here to check on Terry and he still wants to fight. Is this supposed to be impressive or something? Terry is put on a stretcher after a few attempts and is taken to the back.

And now it’s time to make this the big angle of the show as here’s Stevie Richards who is all ticked off at Raven which I guess explains him being in the triple threat at Barely Legal. Raven wants to be kicked but Lee picks Richards off and chokeslams him. Lori Fullington, Sandman’s ex-wife comes out and is mad at Raven also. Take a DDT girl. Down she goes also.

Dreamer, ever the genius, comes out with Sandman’s son Tyler who was brainwashed by Raven at one point. Here’s a beatdown for Dreamer as well. Sandman comes out with his son on his shoulders and it’s some big emotional moment or whatever. Sandman fights both guys off and pins Raven just because. Now there’s your triple threat and Dreamer is left out in the cold. Yep that’s how they set up their first PPV people.

Rating: F+. Dude, seriously? Another big brawl, an injury angle to an old man, an ex-wife and son being brought out and a guy that hasn’t been seen the entire night is now #1 contender. Stevie is in the same spot now for getting chokeslammed and I guess beating Balls Mahoney earlier. And people wonder why non-ECW fans complain aboutnot being able to understand this company. I had no idea why they were in that match until I saw this show. Not like that’s important information to say at Barely Legal or anything right?

Raven would jump to WCW after losing his final match to Tommy Dreamer. Here’s his first match at Clash of the Champions XXXV.

Stevie Richards vs. Raven

Raven can best be described as a loner who would eventually lead a cult called the Flock. Richards is his goofy lackey who doesn’t know what to do here. Raven isn’t under contract to WCW so he demands that it’s a No DQ match. That’s fine with Richards so Raven runs him over and sends Stevie into the corner and outside.

Raven follows him out with a plancha but gets caught in a backslide for two. They head outside again with Raven dropping an elbow from the apron. We get our first weapon with a chair brought in. Raven hooks a drop toehold to send Richards face first into the chair but Stevie whips him into the chair in the corner. A running headbutt and side slam get two on Raven but he counters a superkick into a cover for two. Raven’s Even Flow DDT is enough for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not much of a match but it was a good way for Raven to debut. The No DQ rule would be the norm for Raven for his entire WCW run and he would have success as a result. Things wouldn’t take off for him until the Flock though. Richards would be gone from WCW by the end of the year.

Raven would enter a great feud with Chris Benoit, setting up this match at Souled Out 1998.

Raven vs. Chris Benoit

This is one of the best built matches WCW has had in a long time with Benoit having to face every member of the Flock before finally getting his hands on Raven. Raven has sent all of his lackeys to attack Benoit time after time and tonight Benoit FINALLY gets his hands on their leader. The Flock comes out to back Raven but are ejected by an executive order. Raven rants about being shunned all his life and being fine with it here. The match is also Raven’s Rules, meaning anything goes.

Raven starts with a baseball slide before Benoit is even in the ring. Benoit is sent into the barricade and then the steps before heading inside for a backslide on Raven for two. Benoit is sent right back to the floor so Raven can blast him in the back with a chair. Back in and Benoit is snapmared and bulldogged down onto the chair for two. Benoit comes back with a drop toehold onto the chair (Dusty: “YOU TAKE A SEAT! YOU TAKE A SEAT! YOU TAKE A SEAT!”) but can’t immediately follow up.

Chris hits the snap suplex onto the chair for two of his own before ripping Raven’s shirt off. Raven bails to the floor and gets caught by a baseball slide before being sent into the steps. That’s a nice callback to what Raven did to open the match. Bird Boy stumbles up the aisle with Benoit chopping him down along the way. There’s another snap suplex on the ramp to put Raven in big trouble. Back in and Benoit stomps the chair into Raven’s head before hitting the Swan Dive onto the chair but both guys are out.

Benoit finally covers for two but can’t even stand up to keep the pressure on Raven. A northern lights suplex is countered into Raven’s DDT but Raven is too weakened to cover. It’s Benoit covering Raven for two before putting on the Crossface. Raven doesn’t try to escape and instead smiles at the pain. He laughs himself into unconsciousness in a creepy moment to end the match.

Rating: A. If there’s a better Raven match out there I’d love to see it. These two beat the tar out of each other and it was brutal throughout. This is the kind of emotional response you can get to a well built feud. The place went NUTS for Benoit’s win, which makes you wonder why he was wasted for so long in WCW.

And another great match from Uncensored 1998.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven vs. Chris Benoit

This is No DQ and falls count anywhere. Page is defending after invading the Benoit vs. Raven feud. It’s a triple lockup to start and now everyone stands around. Another triple lockup brings everyone out to the floor. Page is sent into the steps and the challengers fight in the ring with Benoit getting two off an elbow. Benoit stomps him down in the corner but Page comes back in to break it up. Raven and Benoit head back to the floor so DDP can hit a big dive to take them both out.

Back in again with Chris taking over and hitting a top rope splash for two on Raven. Page and Benoit slug it out to the floor but Raven dives over the top to take them both out for two on each. Page sends Benoit into the barricade but Raven charges into both of them again. Raven is whipped into the barricade and it’s Page vs. Benoit for a bit. Raven goes up by the set and comes back with a garbage can but Benoit puts it over Raven’s head so the other guys can beat on it with crutches. Benoit takes over with a crutch shot to Page’s back as they’re up by the entrance.

A trashcan to Page’s bad ribs has him in trouble and a suplex on the ramp has the ribs in even more trouble. Benoit and Raven team up for a few seconds to send Page through an Uncensored sign. Chris pulls out a kitchen sink of all things to hit Raven in the head but Raven throws a table at his head. Raven comes back with a velvet rope to choke Benoit but Chris whips Raven through the table. Page is still down as the other guys head back to the ring.

Benoit chokes Raven with the velvet rope but Raven hits him low to change momentum again. Now it’s chair time but it’s Raven taking the drop toehold into the metal. Page is slowly crawling back to the ring as Benoit whips Raven into a chair in the corner to send him to the floor. Back in and Benoit puts on a sleeper but Page comes in to put one on Benoit at the same time.

Raven hits a jawbreaker to put everyone down. Why Benoit’s leg being on Page isn’t a cover I’m not sure. Chris gets up and rolls the Germans on Raven but Page gets up to German suplex both guys at the same time. The challengers both knock Page down and Lodi hands in a stop sign to crack Page in the head. Now it’s a table as Benoit stands around. Raven puts Page on the table but Benoit cracks Raven in the head with the sign. Benoit takes Raven to the top for a superplex through Page through the table but Page knocks Benoit to the floor and Diamond Cuts Raven “though” the table to retain.

Rating: A-. This was a wild brawl before the wild brawl became the norm in wrestling. Benoit and Raven did most of the work here as Page laid up by the sign but that’s to be expected. The match was fun though and was exactly what it was supposed to be: a big ECW style battle (with a bunch of ECW spots) on a mainstream stage.

Now we’ll take out Benoit and see how things go. From Spring Stampede 1998.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven

Page is defending, Raven has the belt itself, this is under Raven’s Rules and the winner gets Goldberg tomorrow. Sick Boy tries to interfere at the beginning but gets a belt to the face for his efforts. Page shoves Raven into the corner and pounds away to start before hitting a belly to back suplex. A big dive to the floor takes out Raven and Sick Boy but Raven knocks Page off the apron, reinjuring the ribs. Back in and Page counters the Even Flow into a swinging neckbreaker for two.

Raven bails to the floor to avoid a Diamond Cutter and the fight heads up to the set. Page throws Raven off a stagecoach into some bails of hay before diving off said coach to take Raven down. Raven is thrown into a corral and beaten down by a trashcan. Now Raven goes through another wooden fence and suplexed onto the website table. Page is kicked into a wall and Raven blasts him in the head with a piece of metal.

They head to some VIP area with Raven diving onto Page to send him through a table. Raven pulls a bullrope off a horse and chokes Page down before grabbing a trashcan. The can freaks Tony out, despite it being used about two minutes ago. Raven wraps the rope around Page’s neck and drags him back to the ring where Sick Boy has a kitchen sink. The sink is only good for two for Raven and it’s back to the rope choking. Page fights up and drop toeholds Raven onto the sink as Tony and Heenan make plumbing jokes.

Kidman tries to interfere but splashes Raven by mistake, giving Page two. Sick Boy blasts Page with a crutch to give Raven two so Raven calls in the rest of the Flock. Hammer accidentally clotheslines Raven down so Page knocks him out with a sink. A low blow puts Page down and here’s Reese for a chokebomb, giving Raven another two count. Lodi throws in the stop sign but Page knocks it into Raven’s face and takes out a few Flock members. Kidman gets a Diamond Cutter but Horace Hogan debuts by hitting Page with the stop sign, allowing Raven to DDT Page on the sink for the pin and the title.

Rating: C. I’m not a fan of this garbage brawling style but this could have been worse. It’s good that Raven finally won the title that he’s been chasing for months and it makes sense as the numbers and style finally caught up to Page. I wasn’t liking the way most of the brawling was treated as comedy spots when the feud has been serious though. It was a reversal of what had made the feud good up to this point and hurt the match a good deal. Still though, not bad and a decent way to wrap the feud up.

From the next night on Nitro.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Raven

Raven is defending and this is under his rules. He lays the belt out in front of Goldberg and they talk trash, only to have Raven dropkick him down. We head to the floor with Raven being whipped into the barricade to give Goldberg control. Back inside and Goldie puts on a leg lock before superkicking Raven right back to the floor.

Raven grabs a chair and smashes Goldberg in the back to slow him down. There’s the drop toehold onto the chair followed by a reverse chinlock on Goldberg. The big man powers up and no sells a bunch of right hands. There’s the spear but Goldberg has to destroy the Flock. Raven tries to leave but the fans throw him back to ringside. Another spear and a Jackhammer onto a stop sign (brought in by Horace) make Goldberg US Champion.

Rating: C+. Total destruction here by Goldberg which is a good idea, but I don’t know why it had to be at Raven’s expense just one day after he won the title. The guy did some great work with Page and Benoit earlier in the year but now he gets to keep the US Title for a single day? Still though, good, hard hitting match here.

Raven would get back into the title hunt at Halloween Havoc 1998.

TV Title: Raven vs. Chris Jericho

This could be good. Side note: I’m watching this on the WWE Network (praise be its name) and Break the Walls Down is swapped in for Jericho’s WCW theme. My head snapped up when I heard that instead of his regular song. Raven complains about his losing streak and asks What About Me.

He went to bed at 11am this morning and then arrived at the arena to find out he’s in an unscheduled match. Well he doesn’t feel like wrestling tonight so he gets up and leaves. Jericho doesn’t want to wrestle either but all of the Jericholics are here to see him because Jericho equals buyrates and rock and roll. He was really looking forward to facing an icon like the leader of the Flock, but there wouldn’t be much of a challenge because Raven is a LOSER. That’s enough to get Raven inside for the opening bell, nearly thirteen minutes into the show.

Jericho jumps him coming in and whips Raven with his leather jacket, setting up the arrogant cover for two. Raven gets his hands on Jericho and they fall over the top and out to the floor. Jericho gets suplexed ribs first onto the steps and comes up holding his knee. A dropkick off the steps puts the champion down again. Jericho: “HELP ME!” Back in and Jericho hits a quick Stun Gun before the springboard dropkick sends Raven into the barricade.

Chris follows him out with a dive but Raven steps aside and Jericho goes head first into the barricade as well. It’s Raven’s turn now as Jericho whips him into the steel again before they head back inside. Raven bites Jericho’s face before throwing on a quickly broken sleeper. Jericho hits a backsplash and takes the turnbuckle pad off but Raven blocks the whip into the corner. A standing hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb by Raven before he catapults Jericho face first into the buckle for two.

Jericho is oddly unharmed by being sent face first into steel but Raven catches him in a belly to belly for two. Back up and Jericho sweeps the legs to put on the Liontamer. Raven is quickly in the ropes and hits the Even Flow out of nowhere for two. A low blow lets Chris hit a German suplex for another close two as Kanyon runs out and gets on the apron. Jericho immediately knocks him off and reverses another Even Flow attempt into the Liontamer for the quick submission.

Rating: B+. Why does no one bring this up as a great match for either guy? They meshed the hardcore and wrestling stuff together here and got a great match as a result. Jericho was wrestling like a face here for the most part and it worked just as well as his awesome heel run. The announcers played up how Raven has been submitting so quickly after passing out from the Crossface with a smile earlier in the year. Nice touch of continuity to go with a great match.

We’ll wrap it up with one of Raven’s last matches in WCW at Slamboree 1999.

Tag Titles: Raven/Perry Saturn vs. Billy Kidman/Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko

Raven and Saturn are back together again for some reason. The Horsemen (Benoit and Malenko) are heels. Raven and Saturn are rather popular. I really like WCW’s style in these matches as three are three men in the ring at once. Oh and Rey/Kidman are the champions. Kidman, Dean and Saturn start us off. Saturn is in a skirt due to a long story with Jericho.

Malenko gets beaten down and Saturn beats up Benoit who I guess got a tag. Saturn throws Kidman over the top in a release belly to belly. That landing looked SICK. You can’t tag someone from another team in this match. BIG Horsemen Suck chant. Raven covers Benoit and avoids a slingshot leg from Rey. Benoit and Kidman drape Raven over the top and then Benoit smashes Billy.

This is a very fast paced match so it’s hard to keep up with everything. A top rope splash by Kidman misses Benoit as Raven is on the floor. He manages to break up the Crossface though and double teams Benoit with Saturn. Frog splash to Benoit gets two. In a move that literally made my jaw drop, Dean launches Rey over his shoulder and Rey LANDS ON THE BUCKLE ON HIS FEET and hits a moonsault press for two. THAT WAS AWESOME.

Saturn dives on everyone not named Benoit and Raven. Benoit hits the Swan Dive to Raven for two but Saturn saves. The Horsemen double team Rey and now they beat up Saturn. The tagging aspect has been dropped for the time being. And of course just as I say that it’s officially Benoit vs. Kidman vs. Saturn. Kidman fights back and the fans cheer. BIG superkick from Saturn takes him down though. The crowd is really into this.

Benoit hits a springboard forearm over the top (think Jericho and his dropkick to the apron) to take out Saturn. The two of them are in the ring and a northern lights suplex gets two for the Canadian. Here are the Rolling Germans but Kidman makes the save. Dean gets a tag and gets rolled up by Saturn in a reversal to the Cloverleaf. Saturn is knocked to the floor and things slow down a bit.

Dean is like screw slow and KILLS Kidman with a powerbomb for two. Dragon Suplex to Kidman gets a delayed two. Dean tries to throw Billy into the air but Kidman hits a dropkick in mid air to break it up. Russian legsweep takes Benoit down and there’s the tag to Raven for a big reaction. He hits what we would call Three Amigos to Benoit for two. Back to Saturn who is a bit spent.

Rey vs. Saturn vs. Benoit at this point. Saturn saves a pin on Rey as Malenko and Kidman come in. Saturn and Benoit are down and Kidman isn’t sure who to jump on. Dean tries another powerbomb on him but Kidman rolls into a sunset flip. Everything breaks down and the champs hit a SWEET alley-oop rana to Benoit in the corner. They try it on Saturn but he hits a top rope sitout powerbomb to Rey for two. Arn comes in and hits a spinebuster on Saturn to HUGE heel heat. Someone in a Sting mask breaks up the Shooting Star by crotching Kidman. An elevated Even Flow gives Raven/Saturn the belts. Kanyon was in the mask.

Rating: B. This is better than probably any other match I’ve seen in all of WCW so far in 1999. They were all over the place in here and beating the living tar out of each other, which is the best thing you can ask for. Also the popular team wins off a big ending with the DDT. Very good match, but now things are going to fall through the floor, which is WCW in a nutshell.

Raven was bored in WCW and was the only man to walk out when Bischoff said that anyone who wanted out could leave. He would return to ECW and win the Tag Team Titles with Tommy Dreamer. Here’s a defense at Anarchy Rulz 1999.

Tat Team Titles: Tommy Dreamer/Raven vs. Rhino/Steve Corino

It’s a singles match to start as Corino stays on the ramp and Raven is nowhere to be seen. Thankfully Dreamer was just in a baseball jersey and had his gear on underneath. The powerful Rhino hammers away to start but gets caught in the corner for a neckbreaker. The impact hurts Dreamer’s back but he’s still able to chase Corino off. Jack Victory is still in a wheelchair so Dreamer shoves him into a chair shot from Francine. Dreamer gets two on Rhino off a slingshot cross body but Rhino comes back with a spinebuster for two.

Victory is now standing at ringside as Corino throws in a ladder. Dreamer’s DDT is countered, sending Tommy spine first onto a chair. Rhino powerslams Francine but here’s Raven (after he trips over the ropes) with a DDT to Rhino. Corino and Victory come in as well to hammer on the Tag Team Champions but stereo DDTs give Raven and Dreamer pins.

Rating: D. This was the usual match that made no sense if you were trying to pay attention but the fans loved it. Raven and Dreamer were yet another oddball team that had success in spite of their hatred, much in the vein of Candido and Storm a few years back. This was much more of a match than an angle, but that’s something you have to expect from ECW.

Raven left ECW in the middle of 2000 and would up in the WWF. He would start doing hardcore stuff because….well what else was he supposed to do. From Raw on January 29, 2001.

Hardcore Title: Crash vs. Raven

Raven has the cracked gold here. Crash has Molly though so I think he wins this one. Raven has his shopping cart of weapons and rams a charging Crash with it to send him off the ramp. We have shrubbery and a tricycle in there if you’re interested. We go into the crowd almost immediately as Crash hammers away with a trashcan. Crash dives out of the stands with a double axe to take Raven down for two.

They fight into the concession area and Raven finds a mop complete with mop bucket. Bulldog doesn’t work and Raven goes into a wall. Crash tries to crush him with a cart of some kind but misses a tope into said wall. We go out into the street and Crash hits a bulldog onto a park bench. Crash crotches him on a tree. Let that sink in for a minute. That gets two as Raven’s Ninja pops up to make the save and give Raven the win to retain.

Rating: C+. Energetic hardcore match here but at the same time it’s exactly what you would get in any of these matches. The Ninja thing never went anywhere at all but they had an interesting idea I guess. The idea was long since over by this point though but it would be over a year before they ended it.

Another title defense from Wrestlemania X7.

Hardcore Title: Raven vs. Big Show vs. Kane

Raven is defending and brings out a shopping cart of goodies with him. Before Show is here, Raven tries to jump Kane for no apparent reason. My guess would be drug related mental issues but that’s just speculation. Show makes the LONG walk down the aisle, only to have Raven tossed over the top rope and down onto him. Raven is easily caught so Kane dives off the top and takes them both out, getting two on Kane.

We head into the crowd with Show never getting into the ring and the brawl is on. Bird Boy’s philosophy seems to be let the monsters brawl and sneak in some shots where he can. A street sign to Kane’s head staggers him, only for Kane to throw Raven nearly through a wall. Show chases Raven away and tries to lock themselves into a kind of storage area. Kane will have none of that and breaks the door down to keep beating up Big Show.

Raven tries to choke Kane with a gardening hose but Kane basically lassos him with it before throwing Raven through the window of a small office. Show knocks Kane through the office door before they brawl through the wall between the offices. Raven stomps away before stealing a golf cart, only to have Big Show jump on the back.

Kane steals one of his own and brings the referee along on the chase. According to Raven, there was supposed to be a chase scene around the arena but it never happened. Also they almost hit some cables that would have cut the power to the entire stadium, which would have been awesome and awful at the same time. They fight to the catering area and the Snapple is destroyed, much to Heyman’s chagrin.

Now we head back up the steps to the stage where Kane goes nuts on Big Show, only to get clotheslined back down. Show loads up a gorilla press on Raven but Kane kicks them both off the stage. A legdrop from Kane onto Show is enough for the pin and the title in a crushed part of the set.

Rating: C+. This is a fun hardcore match with the cool brawling spots mixed with the fun and goofy stuff which is how you make for a good hardcore match. These kind of matches were rare, but for the most part this was a more serious kind of Hardcore Title match, which usually makes things better. Kane would hold the title for awhile before it fell back into the goofy style.

And now for what is considered one of the best hardcore matches ever, from Backlash 2001.

Hardcore Title: Raven vs. Rhyno

Rhyno is champion. This is considered one of the best hardcore matches ever so let’s see if it lives up to its hype. Rhyno tries a Gore immediately but Raven drop toeholds him into the stop sign. Trashcan shot gets two. Rhyno takes over with a running shoulder in the corner and the beating begins. Raven gets a trashcan up to block a running charge but it hurts him even more. He falls out to the floor and gets covered for two.

Rhyno sets up the steps and puts Raven in a chair. He tries a run up the stairs to set up a dive, only to crush the chair. Raven uses the same setup but gets a clothesline off the steps for two. Back inside for half a second as Rhyno takes over again. Raven gets his head taken off by a trashcan lid and a sign shot gets two. Back into the ring and Rhyno hits him with a shopping cart. Whatever works I guess.

Drop toehold puts Rhyno into the cart and down he goes. A bunch of sign shots take Rhyno down and a LOUD one does it again. Bulldog out of the corner gets two. Rhyno picks up the shopping cart but Raven gets a trashcan shot in to have the cart fall on Rhyno for two. Cart goes into Rhyno’s ribs but Rhyno gets a sign shot in to get two. Momentum shifts back and forth a lot in this match. Rhyno tries the Gore into the shopping cart but misses and Rhyno is stuck inside the cart. We go to a replay of it and during that the Gore ends Raven. That fits the move as the move is supposed to come out of nowhere, which it did there.

Rating: B. Well they were right, this was good. The key thing here is it never got silly. This was more about violence than the weapons if that makes sense. Most of the time there would be comedy spots in something like this but here, it was all about the violence and the brutality out there, making for a far better and more entertaining match.

2002 was mostly spent winning and losing the Hardcore Title (26 reigns overall) before it was off to TNA. Raven would chase the NWA World Title, including this match at Weekly PPV #42 on April 30, 2003.

NWA World Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Raven

From April 30, 2003 with Jarrett defending. Raven has Julio Dinero with him but unfortunately not the more famous lackey: CM Punk. He also has his chick Alexis Laree, more famous as Mickie James. This is billed as the showdown with Raven wanting to claim his destiny. Feeling out process to start with Raven slamming the champion down and celebrating. A drop toehold ticks Jeff off even more so he erupts with right hands and a dropkick to send Raven out to the floor.

Raven is sent into the barricade but some interference from the Gathering (Raven’s stable) lets him take over again. Jeff knocks Raven down and dives on the Gathering as he foreshadows his lucha libre skills. Another drop toehold puts Jarrett into the steps as Raven has been busted open on something. Dinero has set up a table for Raven who lays a bloody Jarrett on the wood. Jeff gets inside before Raven can dive on him though and the fight continues.

Dinero slides in a chair for the third drop toehold from Raven for two. A knee to the ribs puts Jarrett down again and Raven kicks him in the head like the villain that he is. There’s a sleeper as the fans are behind Jarrett. Jeff comes back with a jawbreaker and a Diamond Cutter of all things to put both guys down. Some right hands block the Raven Effect and a nice dropkick gets two for the champ.

Dinero gets a dropkick as well and Jarrett slams Alexis. Another Raven Effect attempt is countered with an enziguri for two and a catapult into the corner gets the same. The Stroke hits from out of nowhere for another near fall but no real pop from the crowd. A sloppy Raven Effect gets the same but Jeff comes back with a Cactus Clothesline to send both outside. Raven is laid out on the table and Jeff drops a middle rope elbow to drive him through it.

Back inside and Jarrett lays Raven out with a DDT but Dinero makes the save. The referee FINALLY ejects the Gathering but Raven shoves Jarrett into the referee, knocking him into the barricade. Both guys kick each other low as the Disciples of the New Church come out to brawl with the Gathering. Raven calls out Extreme Revolution (your usual ECW guys) to destroy and handcuff Jarrett.

Saturn and Credible hit a Conchairto with superkicks on Jarrett but the lights go out. Back on and here’s Sabu to take out Raven and the rest of the ECW guys. Everyone else leaves and Jarrett ducks a chair shot, sending the chair into the ropes and back onto Raven’s head for two. Bill Behrens (boss) comes out to uncuff Jarrett but Raven grabs the Even Flow for two. Not that it matters as Jarrett pops up and hits the Stroke for the pin.

Rating: B-. I was really digging this until everything fell apart at the end. There had to be some insanity in there but based on this and this alone, giving Raven the title wouldn’t have been the worst idea. There’s chemistry here and a natural dichotomy between these two which makes for a good match like this one.

He would take a break from the title chase to help out an ECW buddy at Weekly PPV #81 on February 18, 2004.

Julio Dinero/CM Punk vs. Raven/Terry Funk

From February 18, 2004. Punk and Dinero are still the Gathering even though they’re not under Raven’s control anymore. Apparently this is Raven’s big return from an unknown amount of time gone. Dinero blasts Funk in the back with a chair before the bell as things starts in a brawl. Raven puts on a right side up Tarantula on Punk before Dinero comes in to save his heel partner. It’s SO strange to see Punk with shoulder length dirty blonde hair and yellow shorts.

Everyone heads outside where Funk is busted open. Punk takes Terry back inside to talk a lot of trash but Terry comes back with a Stunner of all things to send CM to the floor. Dinero comes in but gets decked as well. There’s the spinning toe hold and a small package for two on Julio as Punk makes the save. Dinero’s top rope backsplash hits Terry’s eternally damaged knees and Funk crawls over to the corner….but gets punched by CM Punk because the blood has blinded him.

The tag brings in Raven a few seconds later and Bird Boy cleans house. We get the rag (don’t ask) on Punk’s face and a bulldog/clothesline combo takes the Gathering down. Another Funk Stunner puts Dinero down and we get the TUMBLEWEED (abdominal stretch into a rolling rollup) for two. Raven comes back in and hits a quick DDT for the pin on Dinero.

Rating: D. This was about having Funk in there and that’s about it. The Stunners were out of nowhere but almost ignored by the announcers. I’ll give Terry this much: he isn’t just out there throwing punches and nothing more. It’s also strange to see Punk as a glorified indy guy instead of one of the biggest stars in the world.

Raven would be in the first Monster’s Ball match at Victory Road 2004.

Abyss vs. Monty Brown vs. Raven

This is the original Monster’s Ball match, which originally was far different. The idea here is that the guys have been locked up without light or food for 24 hours. This aspect has since completely disappeared due to reasons of sanity and now it’s just a regular hardcore match. The announcers say that Raven has the advantage here as he’s smaller and crazier which makes sense, at least in the lack of food and light idea.

We have a table set up inside of 30 seconds. Abyss is dominating here for the most part. It’s really more of an intense triple threat rather than a hardcore match and now we have chairs coming in. Raven really is underrated in the ring. I love what Brown does by just chucking a chair at Raven’s head. That’s awesome. Naturally we have a ref bump because they’re required I suppose.

Now we move to the big spots of the match as we have Brown sitting on the top rope and Abyss busts out the tacks. Since he’s the only one wearing a shirt you know that he’s the guy that’s going to wind up going through them. Yep, Raven comes in to powerbomb him while he’s trying to suplex Brown. That wasn’t predictable at all. Not a bit. Raven gets two off of it and then we set up another stupid spot as the table is set up in the corner and Raven gets Pounced (a spear/tackle) through it. It was a mess of course.

Rating: D+. These things are going to happen and while I can’t stand them, I get that there’s a point to them. There is a market for these I guess and at least they’re keeping it shorter. There’s really no way to make these good without going too far, but this was really lackluster even for one of these.

Raven would appear at an ECW reunion show called Hardcore Homecoming in June 2005.

Sandman vs. Raven

Does this need an explanation? Raven has Meanie and the Musketeer with him for no apparent reason. Raven REALLY needs to go back to the t-shirt and the jeans. Raven makes fun of Sandman’s entrance not being that cool. We’re less than 48 hours from One Night Stand and one of the most awesome entrances of all time, so that’s just very amusing.

Raven is apparently the only wrestler ever to have an action figure in WWE, WCW, ECW and TNA. That’s…kind of cool I guess. It would be hilarious to see Raven just sitting around coming up with random as all goodness thoughts like that. I’ve never heard Raven talk this much and I like it. He picks on Hat Guy also, which has to be the highlight of his career.

Sandman has to beat Musketeer, who is dressed like a guy from 19th century France, to get to Raven. They have a sword vs. cane fight. They did this before I think and it was stupid then too. Remember the match hasn’t started yet. Oh hey let’s get the match going. Raven hits like 6 shots to Sandman’s head with the cane before the ball shot puts him down.

We get a Johnny Polo chant. Geez has there ever been a guy that changed so much from one gimmick to another? And now we have Sandman in the Musketeer’s hat. Did that gimmick come to Paulie in a dream or something? There’s a ladder on the floor for no apparent reason. The fans that are standing up to see this get a nice SIT THE F DOWN chant. Sandman comes back and we’re in the ring with the ladder now.

We go back to the 80s with a handful of powder though as we get the DDT for two. That’s one issue I have here: 8 years ago this would have been over for about an hour but here it gets two. The other thing is it’s more or less impossible to have a guy actually be a heel which is ok but it can get a bit annoying though.

Sandman gets the White Russian Leg Sweep and then the Rolling Rock. Meanie comes in and completely misses the moonsault again. Not that Sandman moves, but Meanie just completely misses. They do another and he misses it again. The THIRD one finally hits it. And yep, it’s a complete mess now. Donny Allen, who apparently was the ECW jobber, comes out to beat up Sandman but Mikey runs him off. After offering a beer to Sandman, he turns on him for no apparent reason with the Whippersnapper for the pin.

Rating: D+. It was a wild brawl and that’s all it was supposed to be. Raven outsmarts Sandman again as Joey says and all is right with the world. What more can you really ask for? Both guys get pops though, which is never really that interesting but whatever. It was a fun match so that’s fine.

Back to the NWA World Title chase at Slammiversary 2005.

NWA World Title: AJ Styles vs. Raven vs. Abyss vs. Monty Brown vs. Sean Waltman

The idea here is you have to hang the belt above the ring, sort of like a reverse ladder match. However before you can do that, you have to qualify by getting a fall on someone else. Whoever is pinned/submits goes to the penalty box for two minutes. Waltman dives off the box onto Raven while Styles dives off a ladder onto Brown. Brown shrugs him off and goes inside where he Pounces Raven and pins him to qualify. Raven has to go to the box.

AJ hits a huge dive to take out Waltman and Abyss so it’s Brown/Waltman in the ring. AJ sets for the springboard forearm but Abyss breaks it up. A spinwheel kick puts Abyss down but Brown breaks up the Bronco Buster. Raven is let out ten seconds early for some reason. Alpha Bomb pins Waltman which doesn’t change anything for Brown but Waltman goes to the box. Raven has a table set up at ringside.

AJ dives off the cage to take out Abyss. The camera work is lacking a bit here as we keep missing stuff. Brown hits the Pounce on AJ but Raven pulls him to the floor for the pin to become eligible. Abyss loads up Shock Treatment on Brown but Raven beats them both up with a trashcan. Styles and Waltman are forming an alliance in the box. Waltman is now out and he grabs another trashcan to take Brown down with.

The clock ends for AJ as Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam to pin Brown. AJ and Waltman aren’t eligible yet. As I say that AJ hits the Clash on Raven but Abyss makes the save. Pele puts Abyss down and Waltman cracks the masked man with a chair. No one has used a ladder yet. Waltman puts Abyss on the table and AJ hits Spiral Tap, which is good for a pin for AJ.

Brown is released and here’s the first ladder. Raven throws Brown into the barricade and AJ is going up the ladder. He drops the title, but Waltman hands it to him. Naturally that’s a swerve and Waltman hits the X Factor off the ladder, good for a pin. There’s a table in the corner now too. Raven staples Waltman’s head and Abyss is free. Abyss and Raven both get staples between their legs but Waltman gets taken down as well.

Waltman gets up first and chokes Abyss. Does anyone know where the belt is? Waltman sets up a ladder as Styles is released. They both go up and fight on top of the ladder but Abyss shoves it over. A Pounce puts Abyss through the table but Raven DDTs Brown. He goes up the ladder and Abyss can’t stop him, giving Raven the win and the title.

Rating: B-. This was a fun match but as always with these matches, they’re wild brawls that no one can keep up with. Well ok maybe that’s a stretch but they’re still chaotic. It’s probably a little too complicated but this is TNA’s signature mess and that’s ok for the most part. Raven winning should have won the title a year or so earlier but still, this worked well and he would have a good reign.

The reign wouldn’t last long and Raven would move into a long feud with Larry Zbyszko. Here’s one of Larry’s enforcers at Sacrifice 2006.

Raven vs. A-1

Larry sits in a chair in the ring before the match starts. Larry gets in his face so A-1 hits Raven with said chair to get an early advantage. A-1 rams him into the corner a bunch of times as Larry sits in on commentary. They head to the floor and A-1 rams him into the post a few times to stay on the back. Raven’s back goes into the barricade as the beating on that thing continues.

Back into the ring and A-1 fires off shoulders in the corner. A corner splash/forearm puts Raven down again as we’re still waiting on Bird Boy’s first offense. A-1 kicks him down but Raven FINALLY gets in some right hands in the corner. A clothesline out of the corner buts A-1 down and he fires off some kicks. An Edge-O-Matic puts Raven down but Larry’s distraction lets A-1 get in a cheap shot. A charge misses and the Raven Effect gets the pin.

Rating: D. This was a really dull match, but that could be said about almost any match in this Raven vs. Larry feud. It just kept going on and on with nothing ever really being accomplished. We got matches like Raven vs. Kanyon out of it which didn’t make anyone interested in the match or anything like that, but who cares about stuff like that?

Raven would help Abyss in his war with Rellik (which is Killer spelled backwards) and Black Reign (which is stupid). From Turning Point 2007.

Abyss/??? vs. Black Reign/Rellik

Oh so apparently the partner was known and it’s Raven. This is the Match of Ten Thousand Tacks. There are tacks everywhere and there’s a bag of them above the ring on a pole. Wave to Russo everyone! Tenay continues to treat the fans like idiots by reminding them that Rellik is Killer spelled backwards, thereby taking away the monster aspect and making him sound like a 13 year old trying to be clever on AIM.

Everyone but Raven heads to the floor so Raven jumps over the top to take everyone out at once. Abyss and Reign go up into the crowd as Raven uses his Russian legsweep to send Rellik into the barricade twice. Back at ringside, Abyss sets up a table with tacks on top of it. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to talk about in this match as it’s the same match Abyss did every week in this period.

Abyss gets his hand on whatever weapon Reign usually uses which has a sharp blade on it. That busts Reign open and everyone is back inside now. Abyss is busted via something. It was a chair shot. Good enough. Rellik slides in a bed of tacks and drives a handful of them into Raven’s mouth. Things slow way down as they’re filling in time for the finish now. Rellik goes for the bag of tacks above the ring but gets powerbombed off by Raven.

Raven Effect gets two on Reign. Now Bird Man is bleeding from the mouth. Oh man Abyss is COVERED in blood. We’re just waiting on the big spot to end this. Reign hits everyone with a kendo stick but as he’s choking Raven he gets flipped off the corner and into a table covered in tacks. Raven misses an elbow through a table to Rellik who gets the bag of tacks off the pole. Abyss goes for a chokeslam to Rellik but gets something spit into his eyes. There’s a Black Hole Slam into them instead and we’re done.

Rating: C+. It’s a big brawl with lots of blood which is what most of the rating is for. The problem with Abyss is he always had to top what he did before, which became a problem as he had too much stuff to do. Not a bad hardcore match but the tacks spot had been done so many times before that it’s hard to get fired up for them again.

Raven would be gone for most of 2008 before returning as his hardcore stuff. Here’s a match from Slammiversary 2009.

Raven/Daffney vs. Abyss/Taylor Wilde

I’m still not sure if Taylor is hot or not. Ok she looks good here so we’ll go with yes. The genders pair off of course but Taylor is launched into both of them before Daffney is splashed by Abyss. Taylor hits an FU on Daffney but Stevie trips her up to shift the momentum. Daffney is thrown over the top down onto the guys and Taylor hits a dive onto them also.

The guys go into the crowd and Daffney follows. Here come the weapons as one goes upside the head of Daffney. They fight up towards the stage and Raven chokes him with a guardrail. The girls have kind of been forgotten about at this point. There’s a table with a red cloth over it. Oh there they are and Daffney is down. Not that we get to see it or anything but at least they’re not dead.

Oddly enough Daffney goes through the aforementioned table off a splash by Taylor off a speaker. Into the ring now go the men and Abyss has a bag of something. Raven gets a chair shot in to bust Abyss open (film at 11). Drop toehold puts Abyss into the chair again and the cut opens up even more. Here are some kendo stick shots but Taylor pops up with a garbage can lid to Raven to break it up.

Raven gets some trashcan shots in but they’re no sold by Abyss and here comes the monster, cracking him with the stick. Now we’re talking about West’s fantasy team for some reason. Chokeslam takes out Raven but Stevie has the referee to prevent the cover from being counted. Raven’s weapon shots are rather weak. Taylor is launched onto Raven but Stevie interferes again. There are the tacks but Daffney winds up going into them in a pretty awesome spot. Stevie breaks it up AGAIN but walks into Abyss. Even Flow (Raven Effect) gets two and there’s the Black Hole Slam to the tacks to end this.

Rating: B-. Eh pretty much just a hardcore match but at the same time that’s all it needed to be here I think. Abyss’ willingness to more or less have his body destroyed can help him a lot and that’s what he did here. The girls didn’t do much here at all but at least Taylor looked good in blue so it’s not like they were a problem. Props to Daffney for the tacks bump too so overall, not bad here.

Another year, another ECW reunion. From Hardcore Justice 2010.

Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer

For no apparent reason, Foley is the referee. Beaulah is here and is still hot. The fans chant Uncle Scotty to complete this joke. They do the drop toehold spot and Dreamer gets beaten up in front of his kids. Dreamer might be the first guy to bleed tonight. It’s your usual stuff here with the beatdown that isn’t that great but the history makes it watchable. Raven is busted.

The signs are brought in as is the ladder. They do some decent stuff with that for two for Raven. Dreamer Driver gets no cover. We finally get to the barbed wire which is wrapped around Raven’s face. He taps but the BWO runs in to make sure it doesn’t count. This needs a Sandman run-in. Down goes Foley for no apparent reason. Raven Effect gets two. Or is it the Even Flow? Whatever.

Foley and Socko, which they can’t say, takes down Raven and that guy from earlier that we couldn’t recognize in the Blue Meanie skit runs down with a top rope leg drop for Dreamer. Allegedly his name is Lupus? Mandible Claw with wire to Raven of course doesn’t put him down and he cuffs Dreamer.

Beaulah comes in to stop the Rock/Foley ending in the Last Man Standing match which doesn’t work. Dreamer manages to DDT Raven while cuffed behind his back for two. Raven hits Dreamer in the knee with the chair and a DDT on it ends this. Yes, Dreamer jobbed to Raven in the final encounter. I am about to give up.

Rating: D. This started out as an ok brawl but just got insane. To be fair it was a pretty brutal match but the ending is just stupid. The problem is that this feud was perfectly finished in ECW and there was no need for this. Dreamer winning was the right way to go here so of course they didn’t do that. Not a horrible match, but it’s just showing how bad this idea was overall as this feud is one that didn’t need to continue.

We’ll wrap it up with an indy show for the Insane Clown Posse at Bloodymania V.

Tag Titles: Ring Rydas vs. Tracy Smothers/Bull Pain vs. Necro Butcher/Mad Man Pondo vs. Raven/Sexy Slim Goody

The Rydas are the champions and are known as Ring Ryda Red and Ring Ryda Blue. They’re masked and are also known as the Irish Airborne, mainly from ROH. The ring is WAY too small for eight people. Raven and Smothers start things off and we start with dancing. Before there’s any contact it’s off to Slim, who is a big fat guy who may or may not be gay. Smothers keeps falling down without any contact being made. Pain comes in and twists Slim’s nipples to start things off.

Bull Pain pounds on Slim as the announcers crack jokes about whatever they think of. A reverse DDT puts Slim down for no cover for Pain. Pain looks like a shorter Albert from his piercing days. The Rydas get on Pain’s nerves and draw him into their corner so Red comes in to pound on Slim. The Rydas are small guys so the size difference is jarring.

Off to Blue vs. Necro with Blue speeding things up and hitting a running knee to the face. Blue goes up but jumps into an uppercut. Off to Pondo who hits a kind of piledriver onto a chair that is in the ring out of nowhere. Things break down a bit and it’s off to Necro vs. Smothers. Necro chops away in the corner and Pain starts beating on everyone with a bat or a pipe or whatever it is.

Tracy comes in and Necro sets for a tiger driver, but Tracy’s daughter/sister (forget it people, it’s JCW) Isabelle comes in to break it up. Pain walks out on Smothers for some reason and Tracy follows. Red breaks up a DDT on Pondo from Raven and heads up. In a pretty awesome looking finish, Red gets shoved off the top by Goody into the DDT from Raven who hits it perfectly for the pin and the titles.

Rating: D+. This was a bit of a mess because there were too many people and too much stuff going on out there at once. The ending was pretty awesome looking though as Red looked dead after that DDT. I have no idea why Raven and Slim are together but it’s Raven so it’s not a big deal at all.

Raven is a guy who was almost all psychology but his in ring work could back him up most of the time. The problem though was once he left ECW, almost everything felt like an attempt to recreate the most successful character in his career. That’s nothing new in wrestling, but it rarely works. Still though, he’s incredibly entertaining when he’s on his game and that was very often.

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