By Alan Wojcik
Alan Wojcik: It’s been a while since we last did an interview so let’s backtrack a bit. How did you initially come to work for Ring of Honor in 2003 and what were your impressions of the northeastern fans that seem to be over critical about everything?
Jimmy Rave: I rode to the Night of the Butcher Dec of 02 and wrestled a young fellow named AJ Styles on a pre show match. 15 hour drive, 3 min match and the rest is history. I thought it was a risk going up there. All I knew was being a southern babyface. Well, Philly doesn’t like us all that much. Luckily, I stuck around CZW and ROH for awhile.
Alan Wojcik: You had some high profile feuds with AJ Styles and CM Punk. What are you
Jimmy Rave: Punk was the person who pushed me more than anyone. He forced me to break out of the shell I was in. I held back for a long time and he pretty much beat me until I was ready to fight for a spot. I found out later he was a big part of me getting into ROH. He is like a brother to me. We may not talk all the time but if I need to call him he’s there and he can do the same for me. Our matches are my favorites. AJ and I came from the same promotion, NWA-Wildside, and really never wrestled there. When he left WCW, he and David Young took me under their wing and would take me on the road with them. When it came time for us to throw down… well I remember thinking, "this is the same guy I used to play video games with, why the F*** is he hitting me so hard." Then I realized he was mad I made the Rave Clash look like a million bucks! If we were at Wildside, CZW, IWA, ROH or TNA he always made me work! He would give the shirt off his back for you if you needed it that’s the kinda guy AJ is! (Unless, it’s his favorite shirt then he may let you borrow it but he’ll want it back.)
Alan Wojcik: Was working for ROH under Gabe Sapolsky’s booking how you were booked into the Florida based Full Impact Pro that ROH became a sister promotion to?
Jimmy Rave: Yeah, Gabe knew I was close to Florida living in Georgia so he asked me to come down. I brought Sal Rinauro, Seth Delay, Rainman and Jay Fury with me. We had fun times on those long trips. Rainman is now Cory in the Dark City Fight Club (Chavis’ partner is Jon Davis) and boy are they blowing up! Sal is the most under used guy in the wrestling business. Seth smells like pond water. I haven’t heard from Jay in a long time. But to answer your question.. .Yes.
Alan Wojcik: During this time you were also working for the ultra-violent Combat Zone Wrestling but you were their Iron Man champion. Did you ever want to mix it up with guys like Necro Butcher and the Wife Beater?
Jimmy Rave: Necro and I weren’t there at the same time, I don’t think. I think Wife Beater was gone then too. I wrestled Nick Gage, he was awesome. Nice guy! But other than him not really anyone. I miss CZW.
Alan Wojcik: On several occasions you have worked for the Vince Russo created Ring of Glory. For fans that have never seen their events please describe one for them.
Jimmy Rave: Vince, AJ and I were booked for Cyberspace Wrestling in NJ. He told me about becoming a man of God and I watched him study the bible the whole trip. He watched AJ and I wrestle and said to me, "if I still booked TNA you would have a job." Well, he left TNA that week. When he was looking for a venue to run he called my wife to be his real estate agent. Well, within a few days he emailed me and told me his plans. All the angles were based off of scripture. I wrestled Abyss a la David vs. Goliath once and then on the DVD taping I won his version of the world title called the Spirit of the Sword. Paul Bearer (basically playing the devil) tried to bring me to his side and the babyface (playing a working man, Jesus) gave me a choice. This may sound all screwy but that night was one of my favorite shows. If you get to check out the Ring of Glory stuff do so. It would have been a great thing for a Christian channel to pick up on. Plus, Vince was going to have unknown Christian bands play joint shows and people were being saved based on these shows. It was awesome.
Alan Wojcik: Over the years you have continually worked for NWA Wildside/Anarchy. What makes that promotion so great that it launched your career as well as AJ Styles, Sal Rinauro and Seth Delay among others?
Jimmy Rave: It was a platform to showcase our talents to hundreds of television markets. I didn’t make money there but what I did there ended up making me money. Those names you mentioned are just a small handful. Abyss, Evan Bourne (Matt Sydal), Jesse (WWE), Hernandez of LAX and tons of others came through those doors on a dirt road in Cornelia, GA. Some people to this day don’t understand it but I’ve learned more there, anywhere I’ve wrestled.
Alan Wojcik: You were part of the 2005 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup (defeating Fast Eddie Vegas & Petey Williams but lost to Sonjay Dutt.) Have any memories of that event and did you ever meet Jeff before he passed away?
Jimmy Rave: I met Jeff at the 52 NWA Anniversary show in Tampa, FL. He was a nice guy and it’s a shame that he is gone. I remember James Gibson beating the piss out of someone, Sonjay Dutt using "Holla Back Girl" as his entrance music and Roderick Strong chopping me in the face. Good times!
Alan Wojcik: As a former NWA World Jr. Heavyweight champion were you ever approached by the promotion that has been featured on DISH Network to work for them and were you ever up for consideration for the short lived MTV promotion Wrestling Society X?
Jimmy Rave: WSX talked to me about tagging with Teddy Hart. It was just talk. NWA hasn’t approached me at all. I really enjoy their show and would like to do it. I wouldn’t mind taking the belt back from Quack! He is very under used. Crying shame!
Alan Wojcik: You competed in the 2007 Battle of Los Angeles hosted by Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. What did you think of the promotion and its fanbase which seems to be worldwide thanks to their DVD distribution deal?
Jimmy Rave: I remember being very disappointed in my match with Sydal. I had just quit ROH the week before and had a ruptured eardrum and had this one shot to show PWG that I could hang there and failed. They will probably never bring me back because of how much I stunk it up. 2007 was a bad time for me. PWG has a great product though. I watch their stuff all the time. They are like the little engine that could, ya know.
Alan Wojcik: In August 2007 you left Ring of Honor for what looked like the last time. What led you to depart from the promotion and now that booker Gabe Sapolsky is gone could you see a return in the future.
Jimmy Rave: I was hurt all of 2007. I broke my jaw wrestling Samoa Joe and wrestled with it broken for 5 weeks so we could get the match with me vs. Nigel in the UK. My face was swollen those whole five weeks. I just felt like I couldn’t afford getting hurt anymore after I ruptured my eardrum. Gabe and I weren’t communicating very well and I was going out of my mind at the time. I needed to take a step back and look at myself and my place in life. Could I go back…. Ha!
Alan Wojcik: You have been part of several factions over your career. In Ring of Honor you were a member of the Embassy while in Full Impact Pro you were a member of DP Associates. If possible please compare the two groups and their leaders Prince Nana, Mr. Milo Beasley & Dave Prazak.
Jimmy Rave: DP Associates was more of a fun thing to give me a mouthpiece. I wanted to cut promos but I don’t think Gabe was feeling that. But if you suck at doing things the only way to get better is actually doing it right? Prazak was great to work with though. I have a lot of respect for him. The Embassy though… man that is real. We were supposed to be a joke but didn’t let that happen! We didn’t go hang out with fans, we didn’t sign autographs and we sure as hell didn’t want to hear people cheer for us. Nana and I click man, you can’t fake that. Now, oh my goodness 2 years apart and we are back. All hell is going to break loose!
Alan Wojcik: When you signed with TNA Wrestling in September 2007 it was a return to the promotion. Did you notice any immediate differences and what did you think of the Orlando crowd you only saw once or twice before?
Jimmy Rave: Just another day at the office, honestly. I needed the money and I needed the exposure. Plus I thought I could do something huge if I got the chance.
Alan Wojcik: When you were told about the "Rock N’ Rave Infection" gimmick what were your initial thoughts of it and being paired with Christy Hemme and Lance "Rock" Hoyt?
Jimmy Rave: I thought, man I hope this works. It did for awhile but we just didn’t catch any steam. So it fizzled out.
Alan Wojcik: You guys were in some great matches with TNA tag teams like LAX (Homicide & Hernandez). Which team did you feel you had the best chemistry with and which one did you think, "Damn why are we booked with these guys"?
Jimmy Rave: LAX and The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) were the best. I’d wrestle them every day if I had to. I wish we got to work Beer Money ("Tennessee Cowboy" James Storm & Robert Roode) because our last match I thought was very good. There actually wasn’t a team I dreaded. Some people didn’t like working the older guys but I begged to work Team 3D. I felt Lance and I could learn from them so much. Bubba was hard on me but I respected his opinion. He never lied to me or sugar coated a thing.
Alan Wojcik: Did being on Spike TV somewhat weekly earn you more indy bookings or did TNA discourage that?
Jimmy Rave: Nope, I didn’t get booked much. I did a lot of house shows until Oct. then it was downhill from there.
Alan Wojcik: The TNA locker room you joined had several high profile names like Sting, Kevin Nash, Samoa Joe, Scott Steiner, Kurt Angle & Booker T. Did they dress with the rest of the roster or did they live the Main Event Mafia gimmick?
Jimmy Rave: They dressed together BUT Kevin and Kurt fought for me to keep a job from what I hear. Kurt gave me sound advice anytime I asked and Kevin was the most down to earth guy I’ve met. He would hang out in our locker room and just shoot the shit. I don’t give a crap what anyone says about those two… in my book, great guys!
Alan Wojcik: Last spring you were part of the New Japan Best of the Super Juniors series. Explain to the fans the concept of the event and overall memories of competing in Japan.
Jimmy Rave: The most important tournament in junior wrestling. You get 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. There are 2 brackets of 6 wrestlers, 12 total. In the end I had 6 points and so did Kanemoto but he beat me and went to the finals. New Japan was an amazing company to work for! Professional and hard working. I loved it there! It was the biggest honor just being invited.
Alan Wojcik: You were one of the X Division stars who competed in the Steel Asylum match at Bound For Glory IV. How did it differ from other cage matches you have participated in would you have preferred to work the X Division as opposed to tagging with Hoyt? (Please note: the interviewer is not knocking Lance Hoyt)
Jimmy Rave: Steel Asylum wasn’t that much different just harder to get out of. I loved doing the X Division stuff and I preferred it. Lance and I just weren’t ever given direction. He and I could have done some great stuff but it just wasn’t in the company’s plan. We had a blast tagging with each other and I would do it again, anytime! He’s a awesome guy. I prefer setting a pace of a match though.
Alan Wojcik: What were the circumstances of TNA releasing you from the promotions and your thoughts on your exit now that it has aired on TV?
Jimmy Rave: Just time for my contract to come up and they didn’t know what to do with me. They didn’t beat me on TV so I didn’t lose a loser leaves town match. They left the door open to come back at anytime. I sat down and spoke to the office about it and they told me to keep in touch. I have no regrets wrestling there. Do I wish I would have done more, of course but it didn’t happen. I didn’t complain, I just did my job and went on with it. Life goes on.
Alan Wojcik: People who wish to book you for shows can contact Bill Behrens at firstname.lastname@example.org .
What does the future hold for Jimmy Rave, could you see yourself full-time in Japan or possible interest from WWE?
Jimmy Rave: Japan, WWE, ROH maybe TNA who knows what I’ll do. I am going to train harder than ever and get in the best shape I can. Then… the sky’s the limit for me!
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?