Tommy Dreamer and Raven.
The storied rivalry between Tommy Dreamer and Raven began in 1994. Stevie Richards had an impressive win/loss record in ECW when he began copying the former identities of the wrestler then known as Johnny Polo. After a loss to Dreamer, Richards vowed that his idol would avenge the loss. Enter Raven.
Dreamer left on a tour of All Japan Pro Wrestling, and while he was gone, in came Raven. Having cut his usual unintelligible promos, nobody knew exactly what the connection between the two of them was. Raven took Richards under his wing. Dreamer returned in February 1995 at the Double Tables event, easily pinning Richards and immediately challenging Raven, who backed off. Thus the first shot was fired in the war that included as many mind games as matches.
Raven avoided Dreamer for weeks before Dreamer snapped and attacked from behind. A month later, Dreamer was forced into a gauntlet match, where he defeated Richards, Tony Stetson, and Johnny Hotbody for a chance to meet Raven, but this would be the first trap laid in by Raven, as he handcuffed Dreamer to the ropes and "crucified" him.
April 8, 1995 at ECW's Three Way Dance. Raven revealed that he and Dreamer went to summer camp together. They had been friends until Dreamer stole Raven's "fat girlfriend", who would be revealed to be the not-so-fat Beulah McGillicutty. That night was the first-ever official Raven vs. Dreamer match, as Dreamer had Raven beat with a DDT, but he became distracted by an altercation between Richards and Beulah. This enabled Raven to DDT Dreamer on the floor and gain a cheap pinfall victory.
April 15, 1995. ECW's Hostile City Showdown. Richards interferes in a Dreamer-Raven match, and no disqualification is called for. An irate Dreamer then knocks the referee down and gets himself disqualified.
May 1995. Enter the Sandman. Dreamer again gets himself disqualified, this time in a tag team match. This was when Dreamer started his own mind games, as when he began being outnumbered in a locker room brawl, Luna Vachon ran in to make a save.
June 1995. Beulah pins Luna thanks to Raven's interference, and Richards is once again beaten down when he tries to make the save. This would be the first time Raven ever broke an opponent's fingers, breaking several of Dreamer's by simply yanking back on them.
Hardcore Heaven 95. Tag Team Champions Raven and Richards succesfully defend against Luna and Dreamer.
July 15, 1995. Heat Wave 95. Luna defeats Richards inside a steel cage. After the match, Dreamer ran in, broke several of Raven's fingers, then, in a shot that would remain in ECW's TV opening until its demise, handcuffed Raven to the cage in a crucifixion pose and leveled him with a steel chair.
A month later, the Dreamer-Raven feud became a backstory to the birth of another feud, as Cactus Jack turned against Dreamer to allow Raven to score the pin in an eight man tag team match. Raven and Cactus did a series of double teams against Dreamer, which led to Dreamer calling his mentor, Terry Funk. This led to the infamous October 28, 1995 tag team match between all four men that saw Terry Funk nearly get burned thanks to Cactus Jack's fire chair. But more importantly to this feud was that when the lights came on following the ensuing blackout, a bloody Dreamer was hanging from the Eagle's Nest where Joey Styles did commentary. The message was clear at this point. No matter what Dreamer did, Raven always found a way to gain the upper hand. Dreamer finally gained a victory over Raven...when Funk pinned Raven to win the rematch at November to Remember. But Dreamer's first pinfall over Raven remained elusive.
Raven then claimed on TV that the real reason his friendship with Dreamer ended was that Dreamer wasn't there for support when his parents divorced. Dreamer attacked, bloodying Raven, all the while screaming "I was there for you!"
Dreamer's team beat Raven's team in an Ultimate Jeopardy match around this time, but Raven's team laid out all of their opponents after the match. Even in defeat, Raven would win the battle.
And then everything began to get...um...strange, for lack of a better term. At House Party 96, Beulah admitted she was pregnant and that it wasn't Raven's. An incensed Raven began to beat up Stevie until Beulah admitted that the baby was Tommy Dreamer's. Dreamer had once again stolen the girl from Raven. Dreamer ran in to save Beulah from a Raven attack. Part of this attack was the now famous "Tommy, Use My Sign" poster that had a stop sign underneath it.
Dreamer had finally gained a victory of sorts over Raven, but Raven would soon win the ECW World Title and bring in Kimona Wanalaya. Dreamer would bring in The Bruise Brothers (Ron and Don Harris) to aid his war with Raven's Nest, but at Cyberslam 96, they would turn on Dreamer and align themselves with Raven. Dreamer was beginning to suffer injury after injury at this point as Raven continued to get further and further ahead in the feud.
A desperate Dreamer finally called on the services of an old enemy, Shane Douglas. Douglas volunteered to watch out for Beulah's safety, and when one of them won a championship, the other would receive the first shot. Douglas then cut a similar deal with The Sandman. Douglas, Dreamer, and The Sandman defeated Raven and The Bruise Brothers in a six man tag team match (the first ECW match I ever saw), but an irate Raven again went after Beulah in an attack that even Kimona tried to stop.
Raven eventually attacked Kimona and kicked her out of the Nest, and that's when Douglas had a revelation of his own. A revelation so newsworthy that Raven admitted it was true, and that it would destroy the relationship between Dreamer and Beulah. The revelation? That Beulah was not only never pregnant, but that she was having a fling with Kimona. They shared a public kiss that got ECW banned from many TV stations. Dreamer left with both women on his arms to gain a minor victory, but Kimona didn't stay in ECW long after this.
The Raven-Dreamer feud continued indirectly for months, as Dreamer spent as much time wrestling Brian Lee as he did dealing with Raven's mind games. Meanwhile, Raven was in the middle of his feud with The Sandman where he used The Sandman's own family against him. Raven would lose the title to The Sandman when Sandman defeated Stevie Richards, substituting for Raven, who was out with a "personal situation" to attend to. Raven quickly returned to regain the title, and now he found himself against Stevie Richards, who had formed the shockingly popular Blue World Order.
Injuries had taken their toll on Dreamer, but soon Terry Funk reentered ECW. Raven and Lee were scheduled to face Dreamer and Funk at Cyberslam 97, and Raven told Funk that if he pinned Raven, Funk would get a shot at ECW's first pay-per-view event, Barely Legal. Raven, however, tried to force Dreamer to get the pin, knowing that his mentor's title aspirations being destroyed would hurt more than gaining that elusive pinfall victory over Raven. However, Funk was bloodied and unable to finish the match. Sandman replaced Funk and scored the pin.
As ECW neared Barely Legal, the main event was set. Dreamer would face Raven's other two enemies, Sandman and Richards, in a three way dance with the winner to meet Raven for the title. But Dreamer did the noble thing: He stepped down to allow his mentor, Terry Funk, to take his place in the three way dance. Dreamer agreed to do commentary and vowed not to interfere, because he wanted Funk's victory to stand on its own.
Funk won the three way, but was immediately attacked by Raven to jumpstart the title match. The match was about to be stopped for blood, but Raven knocked the doctor out and continued to batter Funk for the sole purpose of torturing Dreamer. Dreamer finally left the booth to confront Raven, but was attacked by Big Dick Dudley. He got Dudley out of the way, DDT'd Raven, and Funk got a three count only moments later to win the title.
But Raven still held the wild card...Dreamer never got that pinfall victory. One final match was signed for the August 17 Hardcore Heaven event, but in order to hold onto that wild card, Raven signed a contract with WCW. Commissioner Tod Gordon stepped in, moved the match up to June 7, and the match is set. Can Tommy Dreamer vanquish his foe with a pinfall victory? Or is Raven's last ECW appearance also the night he forever remains in Tommy Dreamer's nightmares?
Without any further ado... let's go to June 7, 1997 at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Welcome to Wrestlepalooza 97.
Raven (w/Chastity and Lupus) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Beulah McGillicutty) "You sold out" chants, as is the norm when the ECW crowd knows someone is leaving. Staredown to start, but almost immediately, Lupus tells Raven that it's his last night, so just leave and he'll take care of Dreamer. Raven makes a break for the front door of the ECW Arena, but Dreamer simply pie faces Lupus down to the mat, hops the guardrail, and the brawl in the crowd begins. Dreamer catches Raven and rams him face-first into the garage doors. Chair shot. Dreamer drags him through the crowd and hits him with a bottle of Powerade. Climbing the bleachers, and Raven throws Dreamer off of the bleachers and through the merchandise table. Raven tosses Dreamer into the broken table. And a piledriver onto the concrete floor. Raven kicks Dreamer, and now they fight behind the bleachers. Raven suplexes a table onto Dreamer, and Dreamer is bleeding already. Shane Douglas fans a towel for Dreamer from the Eagle's Nest. Raven sets up a table and goes for a piledriver, but Dreamer backdrops him, and Raven bounces off the table. Raven is lying on the table, and Dreamer goes for an elbow, but Raven moves and Dreamer goes through the table. Raven whips Dreamer into the guardrail at the entry way. He tries it again, but Dreamer reverses it and Raven hits the steel. Guardrail atomic drop by Dreamer. They finally get to ringside, and Dreamer whips Raven into the guardrail again, then bulldogs Raven face-first to the floor. That busts Raven open. Back into the crowd, and Dreamer hits Raven with a chair. Behind the bleachers again, and Dreamer slams Raven into a "cast-iron vending machine". Dreamer tries to climb to the Eagle's Nest, but Raven tosses him off the ladder and into the vending machine. A fan hands Raven a chair, and Raven uses it on Dreamer's back. We finally get to the ring after about 9 minutes of brawling. Setting up the chair...drop toehold onto the chair by Raven. Low blow, and Beulah cringes on that one. Boot to the face, and Raven calls for a chair. Lupus obliges him, and Raven sets Dreamer up on the top turnbuckle. Dreamer knocks him off with a headbutt and a low blow, but Raven simply launches Dreamer onto the chair and covers for the first 2 count of the match. Dreamer counters a hiptoss into a DDT, and he grabs a "Do not enter the Dream Land" sign. Fight for the sign, referee John Finnegan goes down, Dreamer hits Raven with the sign, and Dreamer reveals a "Do not enter" sign underneath. Dreamer drops the sign and hits a piledriver. Cover for 2, thanks to a save from Lupus (shades of Hostile City Showdown 95). Beulah in to DDT Lupus, and Raven low blows Dreamer and rolls him up for 2. Raven stalks Beulah back into a corner and apparently begs her to take him back, and Dreamer gets a low blow and a roll up for 2. Chastity in to spray Dreamer in the eyes with hair spray, and that sets Dreamer up for a Raven dropkick that gets 2. Beulah and Chastity go at it.....CATFIGHT! CATFIGHT! Raven pulls Beulah off of Chastity. Beulah with a low blow, and Dreamer gets a DDT onto the road sign for 2. Dreamer goes for another DDT, but Raven pushes Dreamer into Finnegan. Dreamer gets the DDT and covers, but there's no referee. In comes Louie Spicolli, who DDTs Dreamer. Raven covers and again only gets 2. Spicolli goes for a Death Valley Driver, but Dreamer counters into a DDT. That leaves Dreamer open, enabling Raven to hit a DDT for 2. Raven goes for another DDT, but Dreamer counters into a Death Valley Driver. Dreamer tells Raven to get up, hooks a front facelock, shouts "EC fucking W", hits yet another DDT, and covers to finally score that elusive pin over Raven at 15:06. The brawl at the beginning, while necessary since you're blowing off a multi-year feud, was a bit excessive. And this had way too much interference and way too many DDTs. That being said, this was a very entertaining brawl with a ton of false finishes that the crowd completely bought into. Plus, they played off their previous matches, with Dreamer having the match won before a last-second save, the use of the road sign inside a sign, and teasing the table bump off the top of the Eagle's Nest that was pretty much a trademark of this feud. So I'm going to rate this ***1/4, with the acknowledgement that hardcore ECW fans will probably be disappointed that I didn't rate it higher and that people who hated ECW will probably mark it lower (a general statement that is NOT indicative of everybody).
Aftermath: Dreamer immediately became the top man in the ECW vs. WWF feud, as he was attacked by Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and Jerry Lawler as soon as the match ended. That led to the battle between Lawler and Dreamer at Hardcore Heaven 1997. Raven, as already mentioned, went to WCW and tried to recreate the Nest, but never got a chance to do anything with it.
As far as this being the blowoff of the feud, it was...until August 26, 1999, when Raven came back to ECW and shocked the world by helping Dreamer win the World Tag Team Championship...but that's another story.
Raven Returns to ECW as Dreamers Tag Partner.
The rumors turned out to be true and Raven returned to ECW at the TNN show (taped August 26), which aired on September 3. During the show the ECW Tag Team Champions the Dudley Boyz ranted about going to the WWF, which of course brought Raven's old nemesis Tommy Dreamer to the ring. A match then began which the Dudley's dominated, when the locker room wanted to come to the rescue of Dreamer, Raven showed up and planted one of the Boyz with the DDT and then covered him, and so Raven and Dreamer became ECW Tag Team Champions. Dreamer then wanted to hug Raven, but he just left the ring. At ECW Hardcore TV, September 11, Raven and Dreamer had their first "titledefence", as Steve Corino and Rhino were having their fun with Dreamer, Raven ran in and DDT'ed Rhino, meanwhile Dreamer did the same to Corino. Raven and Dreamer then pinned their competitors, after the match Raven jumped into the crowd to celebrate. On the September 17 episode of ECW on TNN, Raven explained that after he left ECW the first time, Tommy Dreamer's life lost meaning and direction, which lead to Tommy and Beulah splitting up. Raven then stated that he was an existing demon in Dreamer's lifte, but also that he was the savior who had already been crucified for Dreamer's sins. At Anarchy Rulz, Dreamer stated that he wasn't going to let the doctors tell him what to do with his back injury. Tommy was then attacked by Steve Corino, Rhino, and Jack Victory. The three men completely dominated Tommy until Raven hit the ring, and it didn't take long before both Raven and Dreamer nailed their opponents with DDTs for the victory. Raven then saluted Dreamer with the middle finger and left with Mancow (a radio show host) and two other fat guys.
At the ECW on TNN show, September 24, Raven again came to the rescue of Dreamer, who was under siege by Danny Doring and Roadkill. The team of Raven and Tommy then finished of their adversaries with DDT's. After the match Raven hugged Tommy, but only to boot him in the face and leave. Dreamer then called Raven back, but he only came to the apron and then left again. The next week on TNN, it was reported that Raven and Tommy had a confrontation backstage, but no one knew what had happened. Later when Dreamer was fighting Yoshihiro Tajiri, and was on the road to victory, Raven appeared and nailed Tommy with a DDT, so Tajiri could easily pin Tommy. Raven came to the "aid" of Dreamer again at the TNN Show on October 15. Here he pushed Steve Corino of the top rope and delivered a DDT to Tajiri, but also Tommy got one from Raven. He then sat down in the corner, Tommy however won the match, which got Raven give Dreamer a congratulatory clap. At the TNN show, October 22, Raven again came to the rescue of Dreamer, who this time was getting beaten by Lance Storm and Justin Credible. The Impact Players then wanted to get it on with Raven, but Dreamer made the save. When the two had chased the heels away Raven blasted Tommy with a DDT. Dreamer then called Raven out, but before any action could take place, Raven left the ring.
The relationship between Raven and Dreamer turns stranger every day, at the TNN show Dreamer took on Lance Storm, Raven hit the ring and nailed Tommy with a DDT so Storm go the victory. In the aisle Raven was nailed by Justin Credible, whom together with Storm busted Raven open, until Dreamer made the save. Raven stated that he didn't need help, which Dreamer responded to by DDT'ing Raven. Raven and Dreamer then teamed up to take on the Impact Players at the ECW show, which ended when Rhino entered the ring to help the Impact Players. The lights then went out and the Sandman returned to ECW to save Raven and Dreamer. The three then stared at each other, until Raven left the ring. At the November to Remember pay-per-view, on November 7, Raven teamed up with Tommy Dreamer and Sandman to take on Justin Credible, Lance Storm and Rhino. Raven didn't work to well with his partners, because he avoided tags and took his own tags whenever it pleased him. Raven and Sandman wanted to nail Credible with their separate Singapore Canes, but he ducked and Raven nailed Sandman, so Justin scored the pin. Raven shrugged his shoulders and left. At the following TNN show, Raven rescued Dreamer and Sandman from a beating from Justin Credible, Rhino, and Steve Corino. When Raven had cleared the ring, he wanted to help Dreamer up, but Sandman caned Raven. Raven then asked Tommy, why he let the drunk beat him up. Raven and Dreamer took on Rhino and Chris Candido at the TNN show in late November. Raven and Dreamer showed surprisingly good teamwork in this match and won. But after the match they were attacked by Steve Corino and Jack Victory. Sandman came to the rescue and cleared the ring, which got Raven to attack him. Tommy tried to separate them, but Sandman caned Dreamer. The Impact Players then attacked and laid the three men down. At the ECW show on TNN, December 3, Raven clashed with Sandman in a match where Tommy Dreamer served as the special referee. The match went back and forth, until Chris Candido and Rhino attacked Dreamer and then Sandman. Then Sandmanís ex-wife Lorrie Fullington entered the ring and nailed Raven with a low blow, during the following catfight between Lorrie and Francine, Raven nailed Sandman with the Evenflow DDT. As Dreamer was making the count, the Impact Players pulled him out of the ring, they then proceeded to attack Sandman, until Raven made the save. As Raven re-entered the ring, Sandman caught him with a leg sweep to win the match. In the weeks leading up to Guilty as Charged, it was like Raven and Francine were having some feelings for each other. At the pay-per-view it pointed to the same, when Raven and Tommy Dreamer clashed with Lance Storm and Justin Credible for the ECW Tag Team Title. Surprisingly Raven and Dreamer worked very well together with some good double team maneuvres. The Impact Player continued to keep coming and started to dominate, but Raven kicked out of an That's Incredible, shortly after a cat fight between Francine and Dawn Maire started. Justin wanted to nail Francine with the Singapore Cane, but Raven pushed her out of the way and took the shot instead. Credbile then hit That's Incredible and got the pin and the ECW Tag Team Title.
At ECW on TNN, January 21, Raven and Dreamer took on Danny Doring and Roadkill. During this match Raven took Francine to the back, when she was knocked out by Dawn Marie. Tommy had to fight the match alone and got his ass pummeled when Rhino entered. At ECW on TNN, January 28, Raven didn't want to go to the ring, because Raven and Tommy's match wasn't for the title. Dreamer yelled at Raven, but Raven didn't come to the ring. At ECW on TNN, February 4, Raven was confronted by James Vandenberg, concerning his problems with Tommy Dreamer and Francine. Paul Heyman then interrupted and tried to talk some sense into Raven, but he was talking to deaf ears. At ECW on TNN, February 25, Tommy Dreamer called out Raven, but instead Francine made her way out and defended the actions of Raven, since he was blinded when he delivered a DDT to her. Shortly after the Impact Player hit the ring and challenged Dreamer to find a partner. Raven then made his way out and attacked Credible and Storm, but they hit back, Dreamer then made the save. Raven then got some powder from James Vandenburg, which he threw at Lance, but it was Tommy who took it in the face, so blinded he nailed Francine with a DDT. Raven then carried her to the back, so Dreamer fought alone and lost. At ECW on TNN, March 5, Francine and Tommy Dreamer were having a verbal fight, which ended with Francine slapping Dreamer. Tommy then was going to piledrive her, but Raven made the save and took out Tommy.
Raven and Mike Awesome teamed up on March 4 to take on the reigning ECW Tag Team Champions - Tommy Dreamer and Masato Tanaka, the match was then broadcast on the ECW on TNN show on March 10. In the beginning of the match Dreamer wanted to lay his hands on Raven, who was accompanied by Francine, but Raven didn't want any part of Tommy. During the match Raven taunted Dreamer, who just got more mad. Mike Awesome proved to be a good partner for Raven, as he saved Raven on some occasions, it was also a powerbomb from Awesome, who Raven took advantage of to score the pin on Tommy Dreamer and thereby Raven and Mike Awesome became ECW Tag Team Champions. At Living Dangerously, March 12, Raven and Mike Awesome entered the three way dance against the Impact Players and the team of Tommy Dreamer. It was a surprising short affair for Raven and Awesome, who were the first team eliminated and thereby they lost the ECW Tag Team Title. At ECW on TNN, March 17, Raven helped Mike Awesome retain the ECW World Title against Masato Tanaka. This incident got Tommy Dreamer to the ring, but he received the same medicine as Tanaka. At the ECW on TNN TV show, March 24, Raven and Mike Awesome went up against the Impact Players for the ECW Tag Team Title. During this contest Francine and Dawn Marie had a cat fight - Francine had some white powder which she tried to throw in the face of Justin Credible, but he ducked and Raven got the powder instead. Raven was then rolled up for the pin. At the following taping, Raven and the owner of ECW, Paul E. were having their problems, which resulted in Raven not being at the show. The crowd then chanted for Raven, which brought him out, he then DDT'ed Mikey Whipwreck, and then called out the Sandman to celebrate with him - totally out of character, the Sandman was then sent out to take out Raven with a cane. At ECW on TNN, April 7, Raven was accused for putting a bounty on Dreamer's head last week, but Raven denied the accusations. Raven later helped Tommy and the Sandman winning a handicap match against the Baldies, when he hit the Evenflow DDT on DeVito and scored the pin. Raven and Dreamer then got in a stare down, when Judge Jones and Mike Awesome hit the ring, Jones then stated that he put the bounty on Dreamers head, Awesome then attacked both Raven and Dreamer and put them both through tables. Unfortunately Raven and Dreamer can't pay Mike back, since he left ECW for WCW. At ECW on TNN, April 21, Raven made his way out and attacked Justin Credible - this turned into a tag team match, where Mikey Whipwreck teamed up against the Impact Players. But Raven and Mikey ended up losing. At ECW Cyberslam Raven congratulated Tommy Dreamer for his ECW World Title victory, but Dreamer's regain didn't last long, when Francine sided with Justin Credible to let Credible win the title. At ECW on TNN, May 19, Raven took on Justin Credible. Raven controlled the early goings of the match, but Credible fought back. The match ended when a prone Raven yelled at the referee for not being there, when he had Credible pinned, so Justin school-boyed him to win the match. At ECW on TNN, June 2, Raven talked about Justin Credible, that he had stole Raven's look, his girl, and his title. Credible answered the challenge by coming out and the two got it on. Raven had Justin in control until Francine entered the ring, this gave Credible the chance to nail Raven with the cane and then performed his "That's Incredible" finisher. Dreamer then hit the ring and chased the heels out of the ring . Out of no where Scotty Anton attacked Raven and Cyrus also entered the ring and took his shots on Raven. At ECW Hardcore TV, July 15, Raven clashed against Rhino for the ECW TV Title. Raven hit the Evenflow, but Rhino kicked out and hit the Gore to win the match. The next night at ECW on TNN, Raven worked his last TV show, Raven came out and thanked the fans for their support, but Cyrus and Anton came out. It all ended with Raven getting Gored through a table by Rhino.