ECW Original Blames Heat With Vince McMahon For Lack Of WWE Push

Despite becoming a major player in the original ECW, Raven failed to garner the same momentum during his second run with WWE in the early 2000s. The two-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion believes that the uninspiring stint chalks up to a particular set of circumstances that other WWE Superstars have also endured.

"WWE, I had heat with [Vince] McMahon. Long story," Raven told Soundsphere. "I never really got what I felt was the push I deserved in that company. So no, I didn't get to do everything I wanted, but what I did do – I felt the work I did in ECW will stand up against anybody's work, anytime, anywhere, ever.

"Whether it's work rate, whether it's psychology, whether it's matches, whether it's storyline, storyline especially, plot-driven episodic television. Because that's what I got into wrestling for, was episodic storytelling."

The former WWE Hardcore Champion's first run with Vince McMahon's company came in 1993 under the guise of Johnny Polo. He exited the promotion the following year and signed for Paul Heyman's ECW in 1995, when the sinister and sociopathic Raven character was born. The gimmick was a huge success for the organization, which saw major storylines come together with The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer.

Although Raven left for WCW in 1997, he once again returned to ECW in 1999, before re-signing for WWE in the new millennium. The former ECW Tag Team Champion failed to climb the ladder in the Stamford-based promotion and was restricted to competing in the Hardcore Championship division. He saw out his latter days with the company by regularly performing on the secondary "Raw" show, "Sunday Night Heat", until he was released in January 2003.

Raven continued his career in TNA, now known as IMPACT Wrestling, becoming a one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. His last recorded match came in February 2020, where he teamed up with Justin Credible in a losing effort against Jason Dugan & JD Dalton for Atomic Revolutionary Wrestling.

The one-time WCW Light Heavyweight Champion now hosts a weekly podcast, The Raven Effect, discussing a wide range of topics from pro wrestling to real-world events. He is due to undergo surgery for a knee replacement and shoulder replacement in the near future.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Soundsphere with a h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.