Following successful periods in both ECW and WCW, Scott Levy returned to WWE in 2000 as Raven. This time, there were hopes that he’d be able to make a success of himself, but the man would largely be placed in the mid-card pack. Much to Levy’s surprise, Vince McMahon didn’t even seem to know that he’d been hired. Even Chris Jericho seemed stunned by the news when Levy broke it to him during a podcast interview recently (you can listen to the podcast here).
Whilst speaking to Michael Hayes backstage, Levy was shocked to learn about McMahon’s initial reaction to his hiring
“Who the fuck hired Johnny Polo?!,” McMahon blurted out during a meeting.
At the time, it was Jim Ross’ duty to hire talent and he didn’t necessarily need McMahon’s approval on acquisitions.
In 1993 and 1994, Levy worked for WWE as Johnny Polo, with the character of spoiled, rich preppy kid. He started off as Adam Bomb’s manager in May 1993 and managed him for four months until he was replaced by Harvey Wippleman. He then became the manager of The Quebecers tag team in September, whom he led to three reigns as WWE Tag Team Champions. In addition to managing, Polo also occasionally appeared in tag team and singles competition, facing Jim Powers, Virgil, Rick Steiner, Marty Jannetty, Doink the Clown, 1-2-3 Kid, Owen Hart, and Pierre Oullette. Polo also worked as a color commentator, and behind the scenes as an associate producer for Monday Night Raw. Levy left the company in October 1994 and joined ECW shortly thereafter, where he crafted Raven, his controversial and most successful persona.
McMahon’s reaction is intriguing, because it shows that (in 2000, at least) he wasn’t fully aware of everyone who was on his roster and that Levy had been portraying the Raven character for years. While on the surface, his reaction would appear stunning, it really isn’t. McMahon has said that during the Monday Night Wars, the only non-WWE wrestlers he paid some attention to were Hulk Hogan and other former WWE stars who were members of the nWo.
Upon learning of McMahon’s reaction to him, Levy knew he’d struggle to get to the top of WWE. If the boss didn’t even know who he was, or what he was doing there, it didn’t bode well. After years of toiling in amongst the glut of other wrestlers in the middle of the card, Raven was released from his contract in January 2003.