The Life and Career of Scott Hall

Monday, March 21, 2022

"Hey, Yo..."

One of the most popular wrestlers of the 1990s passed away last week.  Scott Hall, the former WWF Superstar "Razor Ramon" and founding member of WCW's 90s pop culture sensation "new World order," passed away following complications during hip replacement surgery.  He was 63.

His longtime friend and fellow wrestler, Kevin Nash, made it public that Hall was placed on life support after suffering three heart attacks during the surgery.  Hall's family took him off of life support on Monday, March 14th, where he passed on 5 hours later.

Hall had previous health issues stemming from many years of alcohol and drug abuse, the physical tolls all wrestlers experience in the ring, and a life spent on the road. 

In 2014, he was helped by fellow wrestler Diamond Dallas Page in cleaning up his life and entering sobriety.  He succeeded, and the WWE brought him back in a public role and inducted him into the Hall of Fame twice.  Once as Razor Ramon and the second for being a member of the nWo.  

Hall is often regarded as "the best wrestler never to hold the World Championship in a major promotion."

With the sobering news hitting us wrestling fans this week, I thought it would be fitting that I post a tribute to the life of a man who provided so much enjoyment and entertainment growing up.  

Please click "Keep Reading" to read about the life of "The Bad Guy" Scott Hall.

Many wrestling fans first met Scott Hall during his first run with WWF as Razor Ramon, but his wrestling career started long before that.

Scott Oliver Hall was born on October 20, 1958, in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., as a self-proclaimed "Army brat."  Hall said he moved at least once per year growing up before settling in Germany, where he attended high school.  By the early 80s, Hall had moved to Orlando, Florida, where he worked as a bartender and security guard in a gentleman's nightclub.  

In 1983, one night affected the rest of Hall's life.  Toward the end of the night, Scott, working as the bouncer, escorted out an unruly patron who started a physical altercation in the parking lot.  When the patron pulled a gun, Hall managed to turn the gun around.  A shot was fired, killing the drunk man.  Police charged Scott with second-degree murder, but the charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence.  

In a 2011 interview with ESPN, Hall said he thought about this incident every day and had recurring nightmares.  Hall's longtime friend and fellow wrestler Kevin Nash claimed Scott's well-known substance abuse issues stemmed from untreated posttraumatic stress disorder following this event.

A year after that terrible night, his wrestling career began in the Florida territory of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).  Hall was trained by legendary wrestlers Dusty Rhodes, Mike Rotunda, and Barry Windham.  At CWF (Championship Wrestling of Florida), Scott Hall would form a team with Dan Spivey, best known by today's generation of fans as WWF's Waylon Mercy.  The pair was sent to Jim Crockett's North Carolina-based territory, where they debuted as a tag team with the ridiculous name "American Starship."  Hall wrestled under the name "Starship Coyote" and Spivey under "Starship Eagle."  

In the first few months, the duo was booked to wrestle so infrequently they were given side jobs on the ground crew for the minor league baseball team also owned by the Crockett family, the Charlotte Orioles.  

In mid-1985, after the brief stint in Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), the tag team ended up in NWA's Central States territory in Kansas City.  They received several Tag Team Championship matches before Spivey returned to Crockett in North Carolina.  Hall decided to stay in the Central States, where he received moderate levels of success.  

By the end of 1985, Hall had moved to Minnesota to join Verne Gagne's promotion, American Wrestling Association (AWA).  Gagne had wanted to promote Scott as "Magnum" Scott Hall, pushing him to the heights he had made Hulk Hogan before Hogan defected to Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).  

Using mannerisms and maneuvers similar to Hogan, Hall would travel between the AWA and Japan wrestling as "Big Scott Hall" between 1987 and 1990.  

"Big" Scott Hall

And "big" he was!  Scott was a deceptively large 6'7" and 290lbs.

Although Gagne wanted to eventually put his World Championship belt on Hall, Scott hated the cold weather and recognized the money bleeding AWA as a "sinking ship."  After being scouted by Jim Ross, he returned to Charlotte and Jim Crockett's NWA promotion as an initiative to develop new, young stars.  

On June 3, 1989, Scott made his debut as Scott "Gator" Hall.  His debut vignette showed him swimming and playing volleyball at the beach, riding boats, fishing, and playing with alligators.  His run in NWA/WCW did not go very well, and he quickly began losing matches regularly to elevate other wrestlers.  

Scott "Gator" Hall

He took a hiatus from WCW in 1990 and wrestled one match for the WWF, losing to Paul Roma.  He then left for New Japan Pro Wrestling for a few months before a tour of Germany for the famed Catch Wrestling Association.  After his time in Europe, Scott spent nearly a year wrestling in Puerto Rico for the World Wrestling Council, winning that promotion's World Heavyweight Championship.  

In April 1991, Hall made his official return to WCW as "The Diamond Studd," a gimmick similar to the WWF's Rick Rude, a wealthy, cocky, vain, good-looking young man.  He was managed by Diamond Dallas Page and, in his debut match, squashed (wrestling terminology for quickly or easily defeated) Tommy Rich.  He would beat Tom Zenk, another rising young star, at The Great American Bash a month later.  

The Diamond Studd

At Halloween Havoc 1991, The Studd teamed with Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, and Big Van Vader in the infamous Chamber of Horrors Match.  

An injury sidelined him at the end of 1991, but he returned to competition as part of a new stable of wrestlers called "The Diamond Mine."  Also in this new group were Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash), Scotty Flamingo (Raven), and manager Diamond Dallas Page.  Once the Diamond Mine's brief push (wrestling terminology for promotion or success) was over, Hall left the WCW again.

Scott would join the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) a month later as Razor Ramon.  Razor was a shady but stylish Cuban American bully type from Miami that he modeled after Tony Montana from the 1983 film Scarface.  Ramon created the nickname "The Bad Guy" and the catchphrase (in a terrible Cuban accent) "Say hello to The Bad Guy."  His catchphrase was a direct ripoff of Scarface's Tony Montana quote, "Say hello to my little friend."  

Later in his career, Hall would claim he pitched the Scarface idea to Vince McMahon as a joke, using a phony Cuban accent to quote lines from the film.  In this meeting, he provided ideas for vignettes for the new character that would recreate several of the film's most famous scenes.  McMahon, famously obsessed with wrestling to the point he doesn't know or understand any modern pop culture, had no idea what Scarface was and believed Hall had created the ideas himself.  

Razor Ramon's First WWF Vignette

Using Scarface as inspiration, it is long-rumored that Vince McMahon came up with the name "Razor" as a child-friendly euphemism for a drug dealer, as a razor blade is often a tool used to cut cocaine.  Hall insisted that Razor only be a nickname, and Vince McMahon insisted on the alliteration of using another "R" name.  Hall asked around, and fellow wrestler Tito Santana suggested a Latino-sounding name, and Razor Ramon was born.   

As a side note, it never occurred to me that Razor was a nickname until researching for this article.  I always assumed Razor was his first name and Ramon was his last name.  The things you learn...  

After weeks of now-classic introductory vignettes, Razor made his in-ring debut in August of 1992 with his soon-to-be-famous finishing move, "The Razor's Edge," the same crucifix powerbomb he used in WCW as "The Diamond Death Drop."  Early on, Ramon wore large gold chain necklaces to the ring and would threaten the attendants at ringside that "Something happens to this, something gonna happen to you."  He'd follow up the threat by flicking his toothpick at the hapless WWF employee.  Hall's 'toothpick flick' at WWF employees, and eventually directly into the camera, would become a fan favorite and career-long staple.  

Razor's first run at the top of the company came when WWF Champion Bret Hart was supposed to defend his title against Ultimate Warrior at the Royal Rumble.  When Warrior suddenly quit the company, Ramon was chosen to replace him.  Razor verbally disrespected Hart and the famous Hart wrestling family during the feud but eventually lost to Bret at the Pay Per View by submitting to the Sharpshooter.  

On a very memorable (for me, especially) episode of Monday Night RAW, Hall suffered an upset loss to the enhancement wrestler "The Kid."  This not only created a new star but was a personal favor to Scott's good friend backstage, "The Kid" Sean Waltman.

Growing up, I did not watch Monday Night RAW until the late 90s, when it became super popular.  I was always watching WCW on Mondays, but for whatever reason, I was next-door at my Grandparent's house that night (May 17, 1993.)  I distinctly remember watching this happen as I laid on the floor in their living room with some action figures of mine.  It was probably parent-teachers night or something, and they were babysitting us since I wasn't often at their house that late on a school night. 

The Kid defeats Razor Ramon

Afterward, "The Kid" would start calling himself the "1-2-3 Kid" and go on to a successful career as Syxx and X-Pac.  This upset victory led to a feud that carried into the King of the Ring tournament and a turn into a babyface (good guy) for Razor Ramon.  As Ramon slowly gained crowd support, he helped "1-2-3 Kid" defeat "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, solidifying his face turn.  Ramon would defeat DiBiase at Summerslam in what would be DiBiase's final match.  A few months later, Razor would win the vacant Intercontinental Championship.  

While being the secondary title, the Intercontinental Championship had always been viewed as the "worker's belt."  For example, the World Champion was always given to the biggest ticket seller and fan favorite.  The Intercontinental Champion was always the one that could be counted on to consistently put on good entertaining matches to excite the crowd.  

Ramon started what would become a legendary run as Intercontinental Champion with a feud with Shawn Michaels.  Micheals had been stripped of the title months before and returned to television with his own version of the belt, claiming to still be champion since he hadn't been beaten for it.  

The disagreement was settled when Ramon defeated Michaels at Wrestlemania X in a critically acclaimed ladder match.  In this match, Ramon and Michaels set the standard for all future ladder matches.  In the end, Razor climbed a ladder and retrieved both belts hanging from a rope above the ring to become the undisputed Intercontinental Champion.  

This Ladder Match is often referred to as one of the best Wrestlemania matches of all time and the be-all-end-all Ladder Match in wrestling history.  It was also the first WWF match to receive a five-star rating from "journalist" Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT WRESTLEMANIA X AND THIS MATCH

Following the now-legendary ladder match at Wrestlemania, Ramon was paired with a bodyguard named Diesel, played by his longtime friend Kevin Nash.  After several months being a feared duo in the WWF, Deisel turned his back on his friend Razor and with the help of rival Shawn Michaels.

Diesel vs. Razor Ramon

Razor would win the Intercontinental Championship a few more times, becoming the first four-time champion in WWF.  It was during this time he became associated with the backstage group known as The Kliq, also consisting of Kevin Nash (Diesel), Paul Levesque (Hunter Hearst Helmsley), Shawn Michaels, and Sean Waltman (The 1–2–3 Kid).  This backstage group looked out for each other's best interest and began having political power backstage.  

In 1995, Hall and Nash were set to depart the WWF for rival company WCW for higher salaries and more time off.  On his last night in the company, Hall was involved in an incident known to wrestling fans as "The Curtain Call" at a Madison Square Garden non-televised house show.  Hall and Nash, along with Michaels and Triple H, broke the unwritten rule of kayfabe (acting as if wrestling is real) by celebrating and embracing each other in the ring.  The characters they portrayed were supposed to be bitter enemies, and even though most fans knew wrestling was scripted, this was the most blatant disregard for "the script" and just a sincere final moment together.  

Scott Hall's story grew even more legendary when he debuted in World Championship Wrestling.  

Scott Hall debuts in WCW

He appeared from the crowd in street clothes claiming to be an outsider set to take over the company.  Two weeks later, he was joined by Kevin Nash.  The pair insinuated that they were sent by Vince McMahon and the WWF to perform a hostile takeover, paralleling the real-life competition between companies.  At the Bash at the Beach 1996 event, Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage defended WCW's honor against the "Outsiders," Hall and Nash.  This was the same event where Hulk Hogan shocked the world and aligned himself with the bad guys, forever changing the wrestling landscape.  CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT THIS EVENT.

The Outsiders ran roughshod over WCW for most of 1996 and 1997, holding the World Tag Team Championship from February 24 to October 13 of 1997.

With Kevin Nash out injured, Hall would wrestle mostly singles matches for the remainder of the year, eventually earning a shot at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship by winning the 60-man battle royal at the World War 3 Pay Per View.  In January of 1998, Hall would reteam with Nash and win the WCW Tag Team Championship a fourth time and later a fifth in February.  At the nWo Unsensorced Pay Per View in March, Hall got his WCW World Heavyweight Championship shot against Sting, losing the match.

Hall's personal demons would creep up on him as he was forced into rehab after arriving at the WCW Nitro taping, heavily intoxicated and under the influence of painkillers.  During Hall's absence, the nWo was split into two feuding factions, the classic black and white "Hollywood" and the new red and black "Wolfpac."  After rehab, Hall would return to television and turn on his good friend Kevin Nash, aligning himself with Hulk Hogan and nWo Hollywood.   Hall's problems with drugs and alcohol were incorporated into a very controversial WCW storyline where he would appear "drunk" on television, even to the point of vomiting and passing out.  Many fans were confused and disgusted.

While the storyline was playing out, Hall was legitimately arrested for keying a limousine while intoxicated outside a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  This was just one of many sad examples of life imitating art for Scott.

Hall would face Nash months later at Halloween Havoc, where Nash had beaten Hall bloody and left the ring.  Nash lost by count-out, described by the announcers as an act of mercy.  Following this defeat, Scott became "The Lone Wolf" when, during Hogan's sabbatical from wrestling, the new leader of the nWo, Scott Steiner, ejected Hall from the group.  

At Starrcade, disguised as a security guard, Hall interfered on behalf of his friend Kevin Nash during his Main Event match against WCW World Heavyweight Champion Bill Goldberg.  Using a stun gun, Hall attacked Goldberg, allowing Nash to powerbomb the stunned Golberg and become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.  CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY-CHANGING MOMENT.

With Hall and Nash aligned again in January of 1999, the two nWo factions rejoined.  Hall went down with a knee injury and was not seen on television until October.  His first television appearance was with Kevin Nash, seated ringside, where they told the camera they were planning to get "the band" back together.  

In February of 2000, Scott Hall made his last appearance in WCW, losing to Sid at SuperBrawl.  After departing WCW, Hall made appearances in ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling before returning to WWF in 2002.  He reunited with Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hogan in a poorly repackaged version of the nWo.    

On May 5, 2002, on a flight back from England, retroactively dubbed "The Plane Ride From Hell," Hall became incredibly intoxicated.  Flight attendants on the flight accused several wrestlers of inappropriate behavior, and in Hall's case, he was accused of licking one's face.  The case was ultimately settled outside of court and was a featured episode in September 2021 on the documentary series Dark Side of the Ring.  Hall's final appearance was the following night on RAW.  

Following his release from WWE, Scott would appear in Total Nonstop Action (TNA) briefly in 2002.  He would return two years later in 2004 to team with his good friend Kevin Nash once again.  Hall would take some time off in 2005 before reappearing in TNA in November 2007 to confront his "old friend" Kevin Nash.  Hall claimed that Nash was not there to help him several times during his troubled past, especially recently.  Nash argued that nonstop partying with Scott had nearly cost him everything, including his family.  After a brief staredown, the two hugged it out in the ring and united forces once again.

Hall confronts Nash on TNA Impact

In 2010, Hall would return to TNA on the three-hour Monday night live episode of TNA Impact.  That same night, Hulk Hogan made his TNA debut.  Hall, Nash, and Sean Waltman quickly reformed their alliance, but Hogan kept himself out of the group, claiming "times have changed."  The following week, the revived alliance was named "The Band."

On the June 14, 2010, episode of Impact, "The Band" was stripped of the Tag Team titles due to Hall's real-life legal problems stemming from an arrest in May where he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting a police officer.  Police were called to the "Hitching Post Bar" in Chuluota, Florida, after Hall (who had been "drinking heavily" according to the police report) had "become aggressive."  The day after being stripped of the title, it was announced Hall had been released from TNA after 8 years of working part-time.  He subsequently retired from professional wrestling.  

After being released by TNA, Hall checked himself into alcohol rehabilitation, paid for by Vince McMahon and the WWE.  Weeks after leaving rehab, Hall had a pacemaker implanted in his chest while being hospitalized for pneumonia.  He was also diagnosed with epilepsy, requiring taking over ten different medications daily to treat his heart and seizure problems.  

Like many retirements in pro wrestling, Hall's didn't last long, and he began appearing for Continental Championship Wrestling, teaming with his friend Sean Waltman.  Between 2010 and 2014, Hall would continue with appearances at independent promotions and autograph signings worldwide.  

In 2013, Scott's friend and former manager, Diamond Dallas Page, invited Hall into his home so that he may stay sober and rebuild his life.  Page also started a fundraiser that eventually raised $110,000 for Hall's first hip surgery and dental work.  Scott appeared in DDP's film "The Resurrection of Jake the Snake," which chronicled his time in DDP's home with Jake Roberts, who was also trying to stay sober.  

Having significantly cleaned up his life, in 2014, Hall was rightfully inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  Following his speech, he was joined on stage with Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels to reunite the Kliq.  

His speech closed with the poignant line "Hard Work Pays Off.  Dreams Come True.  Bad Times Don't Last... But Bad Guys Do!"

Hall's Closing Comments From the Hall of Fame

Hall would make a handful of sporadic appearances for WWE throughout the following years.

At Wrestlemania 31 in San Jose, California, Hall joined Kevin Nash and Hogan, reunited as the nWo again, to help their old WCW enemy Sting.   

The following year at Wrestlemania in 2016, Scott Hall was seen backstage celebrating Zack Ryder's Intercontinental Championship victory, giving him his blessing and well wishes, having been the "best Intercontinental Champion ever."  

In 2019, Hall was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for a second time, under his real name as a member of the new World order, with fellow nWo members Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman.  

In March 2022, Hall was hospitalized after falling and breaking his hip.  After the surgery, a blood clot was dislodged, and he suffered three heart attacks on March 12th.  Hall was placed on life support until his family could arrive.  On March 14th, he was removed from life support and passed away.  

Rest In Peace, Bad Guy.  Thank you for all the miles and the smiles.  

This week I'll be posting some youTube links to some videos of Scott Hall in The Video Drive-In section, so check them out if you have time. 

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