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Why i love the wrestler Raven
Me and the wrestler Raven go way back since my childhood. Probably no other wrestler has ever had as much of an influence on me than the wrestler Raven. I've almost always been a WWF/WWE fan until i stumbled across the wrestler Raven at TNA IMPACT! At 11 years old, i became a loyal TNA fan as i was fascinated by the wrestler Raven's dark character and wrestling style.
I can relate to the wrestler Raven more than many average pro-wrestling fans because of how similar we are. Both of our parents physically and emotionally abused then abandoned us in some way. Both of our parents divorced. Both of us took out all of our frustrations and anger on our siblings. Both of us starved for attention and acceptance by the popular kids but were rejected instead. We ultimately have naturally the same or at least similar psyches and characteristics - arrogance, sorrow, unsociable, aggressive, angry, self-absorbed, and intelligent. Raven became a role model growing up because there was no one there to guide me. Raven influenced me in the way i dress, the way i make my art, and even the way i live from the lessons i've learned just by watching him wrestle.
Now onto the more technical wrestling aspect for why i am such a huge fan of his runs in major promotions.
* The wrestler Raven character was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "the Raven" poem. From my point of view, it would suit Raven well as the raven represents man's sorrow, anguish, frustration, anger, grief, loathing, all the negative emotions manifested in a creature symbolic of bad omens.
* He was also inspired by the film's manipulative tactics featured in "Point Break."
* He has an IQ of 143, higher than that of the average person.
* He has a degree in criminal justice upon graduating from the University of Delaware.
* He has an immense knowledge on the pro-wrestling business more than many and has worked as a writer working behind the scenes.
The wrestler Raven is mostly recognized for his iconic run at ECW. He's known for his hardcore style of wrestling, feuds, and title runs. He's a hardcore wrestling icon because...
He's a very fleshed out character - He's not just a heel or athlete, but an actual character which is what pro-wrestling should focus on creating. From a writer's perspective, he's relatable. He has strengths and weaknesses in all aspects of life (physical, mental, psychological, emotional, etc.) He has a backstory of childhood abuse and has a traumatic personality. He feels he's been wronged and makes it his mission to unleash his pain onto those who are responsible for his hurting. He is selfish and uses others for his own benefit in the process. He's sadistic, cruel, abusive, and evil but at times sympathetic to his opponents.
His gimmick and entrance themes are appealing - The wrestler Raven's post-grunge gimmick appeals to the younger wrestling audiences in ECW especially since post-grunge rock (namely the Offspring) was popular at the time. It also broke away from the traditional wrestling custom of wearing trunks to matches.
The Crucifixion pose - Rather than completely discard religion (namely religious icons) from the entertainment business, he uses them and reinvents them with a freshly new meaning (ex. Sandman Crucifixion angle). While previous wrestlers may have used the Crucifixion pose, Raven's pose was far more iconic because it suited his character. It can represent a raven's outstretched wings or Jesus when he was nailed to a cross. It is completely up to your interpretation.
His outstanding mic-skills - The wrestler Raven is one of the few pro-wrestlers that can deliver highly intense promos. He often infuses each one with a philosophical lecture on life (ex. good and evil, suffering, human nature, willpower, etc.), his backstory, his emotions, aggression, anger, disgust, frustration, his outlook on his opponents, his ambitions, thought-provoking poetry, heated taunts, and an iconic catchphrase at the end. One of his most memorable ones in my opinion was at ECW was with the Sandman. He poured absolutely everything from his soul into this promo, perfectly investing every minute and movement in the message he sent. Using the phrase "quote my father's son" rather than his normal catchphrase "quote the Raven..." was proof that he was hellbent on accomplishing what he set out to do.
His hardcore wrestling style - The wrestler Raven is high-flying and often ruthless in his approaches, using various weapons at his disposal. He is very strategic when handling any kind of opponent whether large or small while brutalizing them at the same time. He is a master of ring psychology and storytelling.
One of my all-time favorite runs. The wrestler Raven was still in a time when TNA IMPACT! was still in it's prime.
His evolved character - His character was far more developed than it has ever been in previous runs such as ECW or WCW. He was more concerned with fulfilling a self proclaimed destiny and achieving a divine transcendence rather than merely dwelling in his traumatic past like he did in ECW. He was far more aggressive, angry, cruel, arrogant, and self-absorbed than in previous runs as he was driven by pure ambition. What i love most is how he portrays his heel character more as an anti-hero (or protagonist). The qualities that heroes consider strengths such as compassion, mercy, and kindness are flaws the wrestler Raven admits to posses in his twisted mind. He plays the heel role very well often belittling the fans and disrespecting the heroes of TNA. He is ambitious and disregards his health, his opponents well-being, morals, the rules, sportsmanship, and friends if it means doing what needs to be done.
Darker gimmick - He has a darker character than in previous runs using blackened face paint, a straight jacket as an indication he is clinically insane, a helm, a dark kilt, and looks more like the extraordinary but malignant raven inspired from Edgar Allen Poe's poem.
Mic-skills - The Wrestler Raven's microphone skills whether it's backstage or in a promo have evolved over the years since his time in ECW. They have become much darker in nature, more poetic, proverbial, and grim. He often projects various emotions and faces with or without words.
Hardcore wrestling style - He became more brutal than in previous promotions especially since TNA booked him for more evolved hardcore matches such as his own invention - the Clockwork Orange House of Fun match. His vicious nature in the ring often mimics that of a raven as he claws into his opponent's faces with his fingers.
Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer - One of the most memorable feuds in ECW history. The feud began when Raven was a lonely kid with no friends in Summer Camp while Tommy Dreamer was popular with everyone. This is where their rivalry began. It also involved Beulah where McGillicutty who was rejected by Tommy Dreamer when she was obese and younger while Raven took her under his wing in a sense. Raven revealed their friendship ended because Tommy Dreamer wasn't there for him during his parent's divorce. The feud ended in Wrestlepalooza 19997 in a "loser leaves ECW" match although it was not completely the end of the rivalry.
Raven vs. the Sandman - What became a rivalry for the ECW title shortly developed into one of the most emotionally intense feuds in ECW. When the Sandman sided with his archnemesis Tommy Dreamer, the wrestler Raven brainwashed the Sandman's family and used them to psychologically torment him.
Raven vs. Jeff Jarrett - The feud began at NWA/TNA when the wrestler Raven debuted and stole what he felt was rightfully his from Jarrett - the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The two engaged in a series of intense matches with the drive to win what they have been longing for.
Raven vs. Larry Zybysko - The feud began when Larry Zybysko gave the wrestler Raven a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight title only to double cross him later. Zybysko would begin unfairly denying him the privileges to earn another title shot at TNA and sending opponents in an attempt to rid TNA of the wrestler Raven. The feud ended once the wrestler Raven was fired by Zybysko in a TNA IMPACT! taping.
Raven vs. Abyss - The feud began in TNA's Asylum years when Abyss set out to take down the Raven's Nest and later under the rule of James Mitchell, show that he was the real monster. The two engaged in a series of brutal hardcore matches involving the likes of Sabu, Monty Brown, Rhino, and the list goes on.
Raven vs. Sabu - The feud began when the wrestler Raven challenged Sabu to an empty arena match in which Sabu refused due to a promise he made to his uncle, the Sheikh (one of the legendary pioneers of hardcore wrestling). The wrestler Raven then began disrespecting the Sheikh and calling Sabu a disgrace. The wrestler Raven began taunting him time and time again even attacking him on some occasions, costing Sabu the matches. Sabu finally making the choice to retaliate against the wrestler Raven and ultimately face him in a Hangman's horror match in an attempt to defend the family honor.
Raven vs. James Mitchell - The feud began at NWA/TNA when James Mitchell's New Church competed heavily with the wrestler Raven's Gathering. What made the feud so great? James Mitchell in a hair vs. hair match, shaved his head bald with the help of Vampiro. It was also the time when the wrestler Raven reflected on the shadow of his former self and developed until the feud ended in a last man standing match.
The wrestler Raven will always be immortalized in hardcore wrestling history as the legend who mastered ring psychology, story-telling whether in the ring or behind the scenes, popularized hardcore wrestling, the art of Kayfabe.