“Hard work pays off, dreams come true.
Bad times don’t last, but BAD GUYS do” – Scott Hall
When Kevin Nash announced on Sunday night on Instagram that Scott Hall’s life support would be turned off after he suffered three heart attacks on Saturday, following complications from hip surgery, the wrestling world, at large, was in shock. And is still in shock. Because that meant that the ultimate Bad Guy was about to die. This Monday night, in the USA, Scott Hall has passed away. He was only 63.
“Scott’s on life support,” Nash wrote. “Once his family is in place they will discontinue life support. I’m going to lose the one person on this planet I’ve spent more of my life with than anyone else. My heart is broken and I’m so very fucking sad. I love Scott with all my heart but now I have to prepare my life without him in the present.”
There have been few Superstars as controversial and impactful throughout WWE history as Razor Ramon. Scott Hall’s whole career was synonymous with controversy because he embodied the Bad Guy like no one before. He would never have sold a face character. He oozed swagger in every action. You hated to love him and loved to hate him. There was always that part of your brain that was rooting for him, no matter how despicable he got.
Hall was trained by Hiro Matsuda, who trained wrestling Legends like Hulk Hogan, The Great Muta, Lex Luger, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, and Ron Simmons. First cutting his teeth in Minnesota, Verne Gagne, the owner and promoter of the AWA, had wanted to push Hall to the same heights as he had Hulk Hogan, to the point Gagne had Hall use mannerisms and similar moves.
In NWA and WCW, he wrestled under personas like The Diamond Studd and Starship Coyote. Hall was brought into the NWA’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) territory by Jim Ross in 1989, as part of the NWA’s initiative to develop new, young stars (also including Brian Pillman and Sid Vicious). The Diamond Studd was a gimmick similar to Rick Rude’s, cocky and vain. He was then managed by Diamond Dallas Page.
The big man joined WWE in 1992 as Razor Ramon. Donning gold chains and flicking toothpicks at anyone that crossed his path, he was inspired by Al Pacino in the movie “Scarface” to create his gimmick. ”The Bad Guy” made a splash shortly after his debut by helping Ric Flair defeat “Macho Man” Randy Savage for the WWE Title. His biggest WWE moment came soon after when he defeated Shawn Michaels in a landmark Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at WrestleMania X.
The Bad Guy remained a top Superstar throughout his WWE tenure and was usually carrying, or on the hunt for, the Intercontinental Title. During this time, Razor became a key member of the locker room group known as The Kliq. The closely-knit set, consisting of Ramon, X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Diesel, was backstage power players whose influence was felt throughout the entire organization. Their most infamous moment came before Diesel and Razor left WWE when they embraced their supposed rivals, HBK and Triple H, in Madison Square Garden. It signalled the end of Hall and Nash’s association with the WWF.
Shortly after the so-called “Curtain Call,” the former Intercontinental Champion changed the landscape of sports entertainment forever. With his WWE contract status unknown to the public, Razor appeared unannounced on WCW Monday Nitro on May 27, 1996. After a few weeks of taunting WCW President Eric Bischoff and the organization’s stars, he revealed he wasn’t alone. Kevin Nash, also presumably under WWE contract as Diesel, made his presence felt by powerbombing Bischoff through the entrance stage at The Great American Bash.
According to Hall, he went to WCW, not for the money, but because they offered him days off. He was not aware yet of the fact he would soon become a member of one of the most iconic factions in wrestling history. After his WCW comeback, Sting, Lex Luger, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage joined forces to battle Hall and Nash at Bash at the Beach. On that evening, the true intentions of The Outsiders were revealed when Hulk Hogan betrayed WCW and joined the duo, officially giving birth to the most defiant faction in sports-entertainment history, The New World Order. Until he left WCW in early 2000, the nWo was his family.
While Hall said he didn’t go for the money, the lasting legacy of The Outsiders in WCW was that wrestlers were able to negotiate a lot more power for themselves, and with power comes money. Hall having negotiated his contract to get into the company, Nash was able to start his talks on a Favoured Nations basis, Hall was an Intercontinental Champion, Nash was a former WWF Champion, and was paid accordingly. While the early days of the Monday Night Wars were played out on TV, the real battle would commence when The Outsiders was unheard of contracts and Vince McMahon HAD to offer downside guarantees to keep his fledgling roster up North.
After running roughshod over WCW, the group was brought to WWE by Mr. McMahon in 2002. WWF co-owner Vince McMahon stated that his company had a “cancer” and that he would inject the WWF with a “lethal dose of poison”, so he would no longer have to share ownership of the WWF with Ric Flair. He then revealed the “poison” to be the nWo who would help McMahon destroy his own company before it could be ruined by anyone else. The trio unleashed hell on the WWE locker room and The Bad Guy set his sights on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The two battled at WrestleMania X-8 with Austin claiming victory. Soon after, Hall exited WWE.
He would re-emerge in TNA quickly after, followed by Kevin Nash in 2004. Hall joined Nash and Jeff Jarrett in the stable The Kings of Wrestling. At that time, his drug and alcohol abuse had become more than an issue, it prevented him from being the “real” Bad Guy he had always been. After some stints in Puerto Rico and Juggalo Championship Wrestling, he invaded TNA with his JCW faction, the JWO.
In 2010, Hall, Nash, and Waltman quickly reformed their alliance in TNA, but Hogan kept himself out of the group, claiming “times have changed.” The Band would last 6 months until Hall was released from TNA after 8 years of working part-time for the company. He subsequently retired from professional wrestling. He took pride in watching his son Cody succeed in American, Japanese, and European promotions, as Hall chose to train his son when he learnt that he wanted to follow in his footsteps.
Scott Hall’s influence on sports entertainment in the final decade of the 20th century cannot be overlooked. Although demons often plagued the talented performer, few were better than The Bad Guy when he was on his game, which is why he was a welcome addition to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, as a singles wrestler, and last year as a member of the nWo.
The Ultimate Bad Guy will continue to live in the memories and souls of the fans for eternity. Scott Hall was one of the few guys who could be a villain and still have everyone on his side because he was that damn good. As “bad” as he could have been, despite never winning a World Championship in a major promotion, Scott Hall will always be a Champion that had made the heart of the wrestling business beat at his very unique pace.
Special thanks to Mr Deathman and James Truepenny – All pics courtesy of WWE and TNA/Impact Wrestling