SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Every good supervillain has an engaging backstory – or backstories. The Joker, for example, might have been a down-on-his-luck comedian who snapped after one bad day. Or maybe he was an everyday blue collar worker who resorted to a life of crime. Or maybe he was always just the psychopathic uber villain with the creepy clown makeup who made Batman’s life a living hell.
The same can be said for Scott Levy. In an earlier life, maybe he was the musclebound Scotty the Body. Or maybe he was the flamboyant Scotty Flamingo dressed in neon pink. Maybe he was the spoiled rich kid turned manager Johnny Polo, whose mismatched clients included a monster who survived a nuclear meltdown and a couple of would-be Mounties.
Or maybe, after all these years, he’s really just Raven.
After several years in the business, Levy found his identity as Raven, the brooding, jaded Gen Xer dressed in a leather jacket and jean shorts with a flannel shirt tied around his waist – not to mention a T-shirt that often featured a comic book hero or villain.
As a kid, Raven was an avid comic book reader.
“I loved them,” Raven said during a recent interview with the Torch. “I had so many favorites. It’s just great storytelling when it’s done right – great characters and great storytelling.”
Raven was a fan of DC Comics, particularly Batman. It’s not surprising that Raven, who is well known for his sharp intellect and quick wit, was drawn in by Bruce Wayne’s alter ego.
“Batman was always my favorite because he had no actual powers,” he said. “It was his brain that was his superpower, and his motivation and dedication.”
Like many others who were devoted to comics as kids, Raven grew up and moved away from them. He rediscovered his love for comics during the early days of the Raven character in ECW.
“I grew up and I got too old for (comics), because they were too immature; they were written for kids,” Raven said. “But then around 1990 they started writing them for adults, and somewhere around ’95 I got back into it.”
Raven he has collected over 30,000 comic books, 200 superhero statues and 100 pieces of related artwork over the years. While he has kept his collection in storage, he stopped reading comic books a few years ago.
“It got too expensive,” he said of the comic book hobby. “I was spending so much money on new comics every week it was ridiculous. Plus I had no place to store them. Then DC, when they changed to a whole new history for the 50,000th time, it was one time too many. It seemed like the gettin’ was good, so I just quit cold turkey.”
The comic book influence on the Raven character can be seen on several of his action figures. A late-90s Toy Biz WCW figure, for example, has Raven wearing a T-shirt with a picture that looks an awful lot like Marvel’s Daredevil. In 2001, Jakks Pacific produced a figure of Raven with the Punisher’s skull logo on his shirt.
Some wrestling collectors might be surprised to hear that Raven’s favorite figure from his career is a WCW Grip ‘n Flip figure from Toy Biz, which had magnets in the hands and was sold in a two-pack with Diamond Dallas Page.
“The one I used to like the best was the one that had magnets in the hands,” Raven said. “Not because it had magnets, but because it was the best made one and the one that looked the most like me.
“The first WCW one (an OSFTM figure from 1997), I have (Tommy) Dreamer’s body for some reason,” Raven added with a laugh.
Many collectors prefer Raven’s Jakks Pacific TNA Legends of the Ring figure from 2011, but Raven has his own gripe about that particular toy.
“The first TNA one (from Toy Biz in 2006) looked pretty good,” he said. “But the second one (from Jakks), that leather jacket was enormous. It was like I was wearing my dad’s coat.”
Raven initially didn’t save many mementos from his career, as he didn’t “want to be a mark for myself,” he said. His ex-wife – who Raven says is still his best friend – convinced him to save some items. He has one of each of his figures and several other items, along with his vast collection of comic book items.
“I’ve got tons of crap,” Raven laughed. “I spent a lot of money on it. Now I’d like to sell it on eBay, but I’m too lazy. It’s way too much of a headache for me. Someday I’ll find someone to do it for me.”
One item Raven did keep is a mask given to him by LA Park, the original La Parka of WCW fame. In 2012, Raven, Dreamer and Super Crazy took on LA Park, the current La Parka and Super Parka in Mexico. LA Park asked them to try to rip his mask off during the match.
“We couldn’t get it to rip, so he had to rip it himself in the ring,” Raven chuckled. “He acted like he was keeping us from ripping it but he was actually doing the ripping, which goes to show how good of a worker he was. After the match I thought that would be a pretty cool souvenir and he was like, ‘Here, take it.’”
Today Raven stays busy with the Raven Effect podcast on the Jericho Network on Westwood One. The podcast, which Raven describes as “wrestling adjacent,” is different from many other podcasts hosted by current and former pro wrestlers.
“There’s two kinds of podcasts that wrestlers do,” Raven said. “One is an interview like Jericho does – which he’s great at, so why would he need me to do it? – and two, a wrestling recap. Konnan does that, (Vince) Russo does that, everybody does that. I don’t follow the current product, so it would be disingenuous. But I do think what I have to say is kind of interesting, and I can be quite amusing, and I think people want to hear the opinions of celebrities that they’re fans of.”
Raven’s cohost on the podcast is his old WCW chum Chad Damiani, who Raven has dubbed “Busby Berkeley.” According to Raven, the two rarely talk during the week, because the podcast is their friendship.
“We don’t need to talk during the week because we’ll talk on the podcast,” he said. “Anything personal we want to talk about we’ll just bring up there, unless it’s something really personal – and then we’ll definitely bring it up.”
New episodes of the Raven Effect Podcast are available on the Jericho Network on Westwood One each Monday. Follow Raven on Twitter @theRavenEffect.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PRIOR COLUMN: COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Trading Cards and Action Figures of Bruno, Valiant, and Paul Jones
PWTorch Collectibles Specialist Michael Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.