The Wisdom of Raven

Scott Levy aka Raven is one of the most intelligent active workers in the business. Below is an excerpt from his online journal entries:

"Critics rave about these high spot-kateer matches with 80 million flips, flops, cartwheels, somersaults, gainers, half-twists, huracanranas and tumbleweeds that the fans may or may not be into, tell no story, and convey zero drama when no one acts any more injured after taking seventy of these as opposed to taking one. That is the equivalent of going to a movie with duels, gunfights, car chases and explosions where guys get stabbed and shot and immediately get up and show no signs of wear and tear over a plotless two hours. Then, they review a match that tells a story, has the people in the palm of its hand through psychology, the babyface gets sympathy because of his selling, the heel gets heat because the babyface sells and the match gets one star or my personal favorite, a DUD.

The idea of this business is to draw money. You draw money by making the fans love you or hate you, like or dislike wont get it. They have to care about you emotionally on a visceral level (promos are a big part of this, but thats for another day). It is truly hard to care for someone who no matter how long the match goes or how many things have happened to him, he's still running around like he snorted an eightball and acting like the match has just started. Can you imagine if in "Gladiator," Russell Crowe never sold like these high spot-kateers? It would totally kill the drama and that's what wrestling is: a drama. This bears repeating: wrestling is a drama or at least its supposed to be, not a bunch of bumper cars crashing willy nilly into one another with no rhyme or reason (yes, I said willy nilly).

What compounds this problem is the sheet writers talk about how great these so-called matches are, so workers coming up, instead of learning selling and psychology realize the best way to get noticed is have the sheets put them over, and the best way to do that is by having a crazy car-wreck high spot filled demolition derby where everybody is as fresh at the end of the match as they are at the beginning. Young workers figure, "Why learn how to work? The sheets are only gonna put me over if I become a high spot-kateer." If they spent half the time they do in the ring coming up with crazy spots by learning to sell instead, they might actually become stars. We have a running gag in the locker room after a high spot-kateer match. Someone will say, 'What did you think?' I say, 'Not enough selling and psychology.' They say, 'Did you watch the match?' I say, 'No, I didn't have to.' ... The critics, in trying to defend their positions, would say these people aren't pushed enough; so the only way to engender fan reaction is to become a high spot-kateer. Well, that defense is erroneous on two levels because

1) half the time the crowd still doesn't care even if they do a million high spots

2) if they truly sold and had psychology, eventually they would tug at the heartstrings of even the most jaded fans and overcome disinterest.

In movies, if there's no story (plot), movie critics shit on it. In wrestling, if there is no story, critics laud it with praise. Alas, not all is lost. In TNA, former high spot-kateers like CM Punk, Christopher Daniels and Micheal Shane are actually learning to sell and have psychology. Of course, now the critics won't like them, but hey, the consolation is maybe they'll draw some money. Wouldn't that be a shame?

Addendum:

It has been brought to my attention by my chief executive officer Vic Moreno that some people are misinterpreting my statement to believe that I don't like high spots. I like high spots. I think high spots are intrinsic to a good match. I just have a monstrous problem when all a match is is high spot, high spot, high spot, high spot with no selling for more than ten seconds at a time, no psychology and pacing that starts at one speed and ends at exactly the same speed it started; where momentum doesn't change, faces don't get sympathy, heels don't get heat and the story isn't told. To paraphrase Aristotle, "Moderation is the key." Use high spots to enhance your match, not to be your match. If you still can't understand my point, then either I've failed you as a teacher or you're just one really goddamned lousy student.

For more, go to: www.raveneffect.com

Even MORE wisdom from Raven:

"The sport of wrestling is based on getting fan reaction to such extremes that people will buy tickets to see the next show. If wowing them with acrobatics worked, people would have been doing this years ago. The problem I have with critics is to them it doesn't matter if there's fan reaction or not, if they see what they like, they will praise it. However, I believe if you are not entertaining the fans, you are not doing your job, period. Bottom line.

Also, to sound off on all you respondents of my column who feel that it's the only way for young up and comers to get noticed, you are absolutely wrong. I've seen more guys get noticed just by being a personality or a character like The Sandman or knowing how to work like Shane Douglas. I can tell if someone has a clue to the business even if they are doing the most mundane things like circling the ring. There is an old timer's saying that you can tell if someone can work by

a) how they get in the ring

b) how they lock up

and it's true.

Ultimately, my point is that if you are a critic, you should look at the product with a more discerning eye than a normal person and if you do have a more discerning eye, you'll see on 2 different levels why selling and telling a story is more important than being a high spot-kateer:

a) it is more aesthetically pleasing & its more awe-inspiring on a deeper emotional level

b) its much more conducive to drawing money which is what
i. the business is about.
ii. keeps all of us employed.

All of this doesn't mean I don't enjoy high spot-kateer matches. They are fun in their place. I just hate when they are given so much more weight than what they actually deserve. That's all."

Raven has stepped into the ring and locked up with the correct.

Raven has kicked the correct in the nuts and given it a drop toe hold onto a chair.

All high spots = more surgery

altho raven sometimes sounds like a brainchild, he's definately a thinking man proWrassler

Quoth the Raven,

Nevermore.