Wrestling legend Raven on working with DDP, DDP YOGA, fitness goals and hypnosis
If you were a wrestling fan at any point in the 1990s or 2000s, then you are undoubtedly familiar with Raven. Not only was Raven a 39-time WWF/E Hardcore Champion, but he also held gold in WCW, ECW, TNA and the USWA.
While Raven is semi-retired as a wrestler – choosing his independent bookings carefully – he keeps busy with a variety of entertainment-related projects. Along with screenwriter Chad Damiani, Raven co-hosts the weekly podcast The Raven Effect on Westwood One’s Jericho Network. He also does stand-up and recently began working on a new live show that integrates both stand-up and hypnosis.
Raven is also the star of a new web-series called We Can Rebuild You, which chronicles his journey with DDP YOGA. I asked Raven about this and more within our phone chat.
More on Raven – who will be part of the inaugural Chris Jericho's Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea, alongside the likes of Diamond Dallas Page, Chris Jericho, Konnan, Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks, Mick Foley, Kenny Omega, Rey Mysterio, James Ellsworth and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – can be found online at www.theraveneffect.com.
It's very interesting that two of the more high-profile projects of yours, your podcast and your working with DDP, came about through old connections to WCW. People often look back at WCW in a negative light, but the fact that you are still working with some of your old WCW friends, does that make you look back at WCW more favorably?
Raven: I always looked back on it as great. I loved the storylines I did. I left before the shoe fell off. I've got a lot of regrets related to the business, the way I dealt with things, the way I did things, the way the business did things, but I'm past that now. Whatever. It's over and done with. In a perfect world, WCW would still be around, you know?
I've been wanting to do the DDP YOGA for a long time. I've picked it up numerous times but never stayed with it or went to the DDPY Performance Center. I knew that once I went, Page would dog me until I stayed with it, so I wanted to wait until then... I got to be too much of a hermit. I need to be around people more.
So I said I'm going to start doing DDP YOGA and right around then saw this hypnosis video on a TED Talk. It said, "Is hypnosis fake?" Then the guy put everybody to sleep. It's a TED Talk, there's no way they're going to let it be fake. So I e-mailed the guy, he knew who I was and e-mailed me back. We started talking for about two hours and I was like, "Will you give me lessons?" He said, "Absolutely."
He started giving me lessons every Monday. It took about three weeks, four weeks, and I finally hypnotized somebody. The great thing about hypnosis, with the DDP YOGA thing tying in with it, is now that I had participants. (laughs) I would go there and work on hypnotizing his staff. Some guys I could, some guys I couldn't, now I can hypnotize pretty much all of them. So it's really good, it took me out of my hermitness and put me out with people, but not so much that it's taken away from my home life.
I really enjoy being at home and by myself, I really enjoy the solitude, which isn't something I could say most of my life. I enjoyed having a posse of people with me because I couldn't take being alone because of my issues, my demons. Long story short, I grew to love it too much, and then it was starting to become detrimental. That's when the DDPY and hypnosis started tying in and it worked out perfect. It's a perfect symbiosis. Just enough time being with other people, just enough time with no responsibilities.
How long ago did you start DDPY?
Raven: Maybe three, four weeks after the hypnosis. Probably six weeks I've been doing it.
What's been your goal with DDPY? Is it to get full range of your shoulders back? Weight loss?
Raven: Here's the thing, when I went to the head orthopedic surgeon for the Atlanta Braves, he said I had the two worst shoulders he'd ever seen. So I was kind of proud of that. (laughs) It's not really something to be proud of, that shows where my boundaries are. Anyway, so I had one shoulder replaced and it took 13 months until I was completely healed and I got as much range of motion as I could get. It's still not a whole lot but it's better than it was. After 15 years of taking anti-inflammatories, I could finally stop taking them, which is good.
I wanted to get range of motion back as much as I could. Improve my balance, because I had surgery on my right foot in 1997, and I had to take an inch of bone out of my foot and it threw off my balance in my right foot. If I balance on my right foot and I balance on my left foot, it's worlds different.
I also wanted to get my core tighter, because I herniated three discs years ago; sometimes it bothers me. I also wanted to get my cardio better. I have an elliptical at home, so I do cardio four or five days a week. I'm only going to push myself so far, so I wanted to Page to push me, because Page will push you. I wanted to find some new limits, some new goals. Getting in better shape was one of them.
Jericho talks about it. He swears he wouldn't even be wrestling now if it wasn't for DDP YOGA, which is great. It makes me think, "Maybe I could go back in the right," which I don't want to do, but I wouldn't mind feeling like I could. I still wrestle occasionally, but I'll only do tags and six-mans and I only do it as a babyface now, instead of as a heel. That way I don't have to get touched by anybody.
As a babyface, I can come in on the shine, beat up the heels, then my partner gets beat up to get the heat and makes the hot tag. Nobody touches me, so I'm quite safe that way. But I'd like to have the feeling again of being able to go, but I have no interest in doing it, but I'd like to feel that healthy.
In the case of Dallas, is he harder on you because he's known you for years? Or is he more sympathetic because he knows what it's like to have injuries from the ring?
Raven: Both. Page has also grown immensely as a person, as have I. I don't want to brag about myself, but I used to be a bit of a d**k. Now I'm much less of a d**k, so that's an improvement. (laughs)
I've always liked Page, but we had a lot of similar personality quirks that aren't the most desirable. He's changed them and become this amazing, amazing guy. Not that he wasn't amazing before...Page has and always will be a great guy, but he's grown so much as a person that I felt it needed to be mentioned.