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Jimmy Rave: The Crown Jewel

Recently, I came across some news that Jimmy Rave would be making his debut for Absolute Intense Wrestling on April 8th, 2017. For the last several years, Rave hadn’t been getting a lot of attention working mostly independents in the Carolinas & Georgia area. In 2015, Rave was signed on with Global Force Wrestling, which has yet to really take off. After scrolling through Twitter, I saw several fans praise the decision to bring in Rave to AIW. It showed me that people hadn’t forgotten about him.

My first exposure to Jimmy Rave was in the early 2000s when he competed for Ring Honor, which is arguably how he made his name in wrestling. He started to make appearances for ROH in 2003 and didn’t have much character to him. Rave was a young prospect and had a mentor in AJ Styles, at the time. For most of 2003, Rave would be on the losing end of things despite guidance from AJ. His only win for the entire year was against Slim J, actually.

By June 2004, Jimmy Rave would be out of Ring Of Honor after submitting in a tag team match. He had been down in the dumps with his string of losses and this certainly didn’t help. However, it wouldn’t be the last of Rave in ROH.

Jimmy Rave as the leader of the Embassy.

The whole “leaving ROH forever” deal lasted all of a month. Rave returned to ROH on July 17th, 2004 but with a drastically different persona. Now, he was the crown jewel of Prince Nana and the leader of the Embassy. Rave would adapt to wearing a fancy robe and become the most hated man in ROH. Often times, Rave would be welcomed during his entrance with streams of toilet paper. It was quite the visual.

In a memorable moment on October 2nd, Rave was involved in a segment with Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, which saw Rave and the Embassy unsuccessfully attack the team. By the end of the year, Rave was challenging for the ROH Pure Championship, but was unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain gold.

2005 proved to be a star making year for Rave. First, he started the year getting victories over AJ Styles and CM Punk during the Third Anniversary weekend of shows in February. Rave’s feud would turn into a violent, bloody and personal series of matches. Their matches included a dog collar match in May 2005 and ended inside a steel cage in the same month. Rave also continued his feud wit AJ Styles, which continued when Rave started to steal AJ’s finishing move and dubbed it the Rave Clash.

Following a match on July 8th, Rave tried to suffocate AJ with a plastic bag. Later in the month, Rave won another rematch before losing the feud ender on September 17th when AJ hit a Styles Clash through a table off the middle rope.

Despite the loss, Rave didn’t lose any steam. Rave and his stable, the Embassy would be involved in a lengthy feud with Generation Next, which was led by Austin Aries. The two stables would meet in a Steel Cage Warfare on December 3rd, 2005. The match is ROH’s version of War Games, which the Embassy would lose in one of the classic matches ROH has produced.

Jimmy Rave just moments before a match against Bryan Danielson

To start off 2006, the Embassy won the Trios Tournament, which allowed the members to earn title shots. Jimmy Rave took advantage of this and challenged ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson at the Fourth Anniversary Show. The match would end up proving Rave as a top wrestler for ROH and not just as a sleazy heel, but as a man who can hold his own against the very best. He kept up with Danielson for over a half-hour before losing due to referee stoppage. Despite nearly winning the top championship, Rave would settle into a midcard/tag team rank for the next seven to eight months. By the end of the year, Rave was involved in a feud with the likes of Homicide and Nigel McGuiness. Rave also adapted a more serious attitude by November 2006. At Final Battle 2006, Rave was victorious over McGuiness.

2007 started off as a good year for Rave, too. On January 27th, Rave won a no disqualification I Quit match against Nigel McGuiness. The victory gave Rave momentum for an ROH World Championship match against Homicide, which saw Rave fail to win the championship. Rave also had a singles match against Samoa Joe during Joe’s final five matches, which Joe won. In March, Rave lost to Nigel McGuiness in a Fight Without Honor to end their feud. Over the course of the next several months, Rave would lose matches against Bryan Danielson and failed to win the ROH World Championship again this time in a match with Takeshi Morishima. Rave’s last appearance in 2007 came on July 27th. On August 2nd, Rave left ROH and signed on with TNA.

During his time in TNA, Rave formed a team with Lance Hoyt and was managed by Christy Hemme. They were given the gimmick of guys obsessed with the popular game Guitar Hero. They would mostly put over other top teams in the company along with Rave losing to TNA X-Division wrestlers. At Bound For Glory 2008, Rave nearly suffered a career threatening neck injury, but luckily avoided major damage. Rave was released from his contract on February 11th, 2009.

At this time, Rave reached a low point in his life and career. Dating back to his feud with Nigel McGuiness in ROH, Rave had developed a dependence on drugs to get through various injuries. Despite his addiction, Rave returned to ROH on March 21st, but was unable to recapture the momentum he had two years earlier and was later released in the fall of 2007. Rave had two other appearances in ROH, once in 2011 losing to Tommasso Ciampa at Final Battle and briefly joining the SCUM stable in 2013. He hasn’t appeared in ROH since June 2013.

Since that time, Rave has overcome his drug addiction and has had a job helping other addicts. He continues to compete on the independent wrestling scene, obviously. He has plenty of matches on YouTube. Rave has matches against Chris Hero (Kassihus Ohno), Bryan Danielson, Anthony Henry, CM Punk, AR Fox, Necro Butcher, Johnny Gargano and Drew Galloway available after a simple search ion YouTube.

Personally, I think Jimmy Rave is one of the most forgotten about talents that ROH produced. His run as the leader of the Embassy was booked rather well and he became a rare ROH born star that didn’t make a name for himself elsewhere before appearing for ROH. He had a great mix of charisma and in-ring ability. His feud with CM Punk really sticks out to me and the Steel Cage Warfare match in 2005 was an excellent match. I remember hoping that Rave would win the ROH World Championship in 2007. He certainly earned it and I thought fans would buy into it. Instead, Rave signed with TNA for reasons I don’t know and wasn’t able to reignite the fire he had going for himself in ROH on the numerous occasions he has returned.

Despite that, Rave is more than capable to deliver entertaining matches. I will be sure to check out his appearance in AIW on April 8th, 2017. For more information on AIW, check them out online at aiwwrestling.com

Below, are two matches involving Rave. The matches are against Johnny Gargano (current NXT star) and Drew Galloway (former WWE star and Impact star, free agent currently).

Feel free to share any thoughts, memories or opinions on Jimmy Rave below.

Thanks for reading.

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