The tumultuous life of Scott Hall — a star in the AWA, WWF, WCW and TNA — came to an end on March 14, 2022, in Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia, after some complexities following hip replacement surgery last week.
He suffered three heart attacks on March 12, and never recovered. He was kept on life support until family could come to say goodbye, and even then, lasted hours — to the point that his friend, Sean Waltman had to tweet out, “I know you all mean well, but it’s weird seeing RIPs while our friend’s heart is still beating.” Later, Waltman tweeted, “He’s gone.”
WWE announced on its Monday Night Raw broadcast that Hall had died, and sent out a tweet: “WWE is saddened to learn that two-time WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall has passed away. WWE extends its condolences to Hall’s family, friends and fans.”
For as great as Hall was in the wrestling ring, much of the story of Scott Hall involves outside the ring exploits, including battles with drugs and alcohol, prison time, family strife and a failing body.
One of Hall’s best friends, Kevin Nash, summed him up in 2009 in an interview with The Main Event: “Scott is Scott. He’s always going to have his demons but he has his good days and his bad days.”
But no one will ever say that Hall didn’t have a good time along the way. At the 2018 Cauliflower Alley Club reunion, where Hall, Nash and Sean Waltman were the presenters for Shawn Michaels to receive the Lou Thesz/Art Abrams Lifetime Achievement, he summed it all up: “The guys that have been on the road and wrestled us know we’re the biggest fans of all. We do this stuff, sometimes it ain’t about the money, it’s just about the love of the business and the passion for it that people have been talking about all night.”
Scott Oliver Hall was born October 20, 1958 in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. His family was in the military, and they moved often; Scott attended high school in Munich, West German, for example.
He was living in Tampa, Florida when Barry Windham met the 6-foot-7 Hall in a grocery store, and suggested pro wrestling. At the time, Hall was a bartender in a strip club, and worked himself into great shape when he wasn’t lying on the beach. He’d started a little bit of wrestling training with Hiro Matsuda, but Windham fast-tracked Hall. At the Sportatorium in Tampa, Windham and Mike Rotunda showed Hall the basics, and by 1984, Hall was in Florida Championship Wrestling.
Hall feuded with — and learned from — Dusty Rhodes in Florida, and was put in a tag team with another towering youngster, Dan Spivey, and they were known as American Starship, with Starship Coyote (Hall) and Starship Eagle (Spivey).
“They were impressive as hell, looking, but they were both real green. Those guys, as far as it went, they looked great, but as soon as they started working, I thought, ‘okay.’ Of course, they both got better, a lot better,” recalled Marty Jannetty, who first wrestled them in Kansas City. “Scott was very green, a very big man. That was the biggest he was back then. He was close to 290. Later, he leaned out, and got to 275, 270. God, he just looked like a monster.”
Hall was recruited to the AWA, where he was “Magnum” Scott Hall and “Big” Scott Hall. In his book, former AWA World champion Stan Hansen noted that AWA promoter Verne Gagne tried to promote Hall as the next Hulk Hogan. “There was one difference between Hogan and Hall. Hogan was a veteran who had years of experience while Hall was still very green. He wasn’t a bad talent, but he was inexperienced,” wrote Hansen, with co-author Scott Teal. “Scott Hall later had great success in both the NWA and WWE, and a lot of that success came from the exposure he received during his time with the AWA.”
When paired with Curt Hennig in a tag team, Hall hit his stride. On January 18, 1986, they beat the team of Jimmy Garvin and Steve Regal for the AWA World tag titles. They would lose the titles to Buddy Rose and Doug Somers in May 1986 — oddly, by count out. Hennig began chasing AWA World champion Nick Bockwinkel and Hall floundered — and left for the WCW/NWA.
From 1989-1992, Hall truly learned his craft. He had a couple of tryouts with WWF, but was not ready. WCW used him as Scott “Gator” Hall in 1989, though he never got any sort of push. Working in New Japan, Germany and in Puerto Rico, though, Hall was much more featured.
Hall and his then-wife, Dana, lived in Germany and Austria, in a trailer, as the style there was tournament-based, where wrestlers would work the same location for weeks at a time; Hall was Texas Scott. Owen and Martha Hart were there too. Hall: “Me and Owen were good friends. When I was working for that company in Germany, my trailer was right next to his trailer. We’d hang out, go to the gym together,” Hall told the Pro Wrestling Torch in 2006. “Back then, our wives would go jogging together. It was a lot of fun.” In Puerto Rico, for the World Wrestling Council, Hall was Caribbean Heavyweight champion for a time.
In April 1991, Hall was back in WCW as The Diamond Studd and was a featured performer, working on pay-per-views and Clash of the Champions specials. Eventually, the Diamond Mine stable was formed with Hall, Diamond Dallas Page, Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash) and Scotty Flamingo (the future Raven).
When he finally was hired in WWE, debuting in August 1992 after some vignettes, Hall was repackaged as Razon Ramon, playing up the machismo, an obvious tie-in to the movie Scarface. It proved to be the perfect gimmick for him, as he chewed his toothpick, and oozed confidence and swagger. Yet in the ring, Hall set new standards — especially with his ladder match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 10. Ladder matches had been around since the 1970s, beginning in Stampede Wrestling, but had not ever had the spotlight like Ramon-HBK got.
NWA World champion Matt Cardona was there, and told Scott Fishman once about the impact that match had on him:
Growing up in New York, I was fortunate to go to a few WrestleMania events when I was a kid. I was at WrestleMania 10 at Madison Square Garden for that legendary ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon. It was the first ladder match I saw live and the first ladder match a lot of the world had seen. It was mindboggling. It was one of the best matches I’ve seen ever. After all these tables, ladders and chairs matches and ladder matches we’ve seen, you go back to that match, it’s still just as good, if not better than what came after it.
Ric Flair, in his book, Ric Flair: To Be The Man, put all the praise on Michaels: “Scott was famous for having a classic ladder match with Shawn Michaels in 1994 at WrestleMania X, and on a given night, he could be a very good performer. But when people called him ‘great,’ they lowered the bar ten feet. At WrestleMania X, Shawn had that match with the ladder; Scott Hall just happened to be in the vicinity. Because of that match, Scott got the rub from Michaels — who really is great — and a huge career push.”
“Hey, yo” and “Say hello to The Bad Guy” became popular catchphrases for Razor Ramon, and he set the standard for the Intercontinental title, holding it four times, for lengthy periods of time, and facing the best of the best in the company.
Hall also had a lot of stroke through his friendship with The Kliq, who were Diesel (Kevin Nash), Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Paul Levesque), Shawn Michaels, and The 1–2–3 Kid (Sean Waltman).
On May 27, 1996, Hall’s jump to WCW, showing up in street clothes as “an outsider” proved to be the start of the Monday Night Wars; when Nash joined him on June 10, the real battle was on. In WCW, Hall and Nash were powerful figures, and once they added Hollywood Hogan to the mix, the New World Order — NWO — became the center of storylines for years.
Hall was not the easiest to deal with, wrote Jim Duggan in his book, Hacksaw: The Jim Duggan Story, which came out in 2012:
Hall ended up a sad story, though. He really was one of the most talented guys in the business, with a great look, and he could cut a great interview. But he was also one of the most detrimental guys a company could have. He had a lot of substance-abuse problems, and they made him impossible to deal with.
And I don’t just mean with people in wrestling, either. In 1998, WCW booked a tour and had chartered a plane to get us to the tour cities. When we boarded the plane to return home at the end of the tour, we found the same flight crew that we’d had on the flight out. Scott had been such an asshole on the way that they refused to let him on the plane, and they called a whole team of security to make sure he didn’t cause a scene.
Chris Jericho had a similar take on Hall in WCW, and wrote in A Lion’s Tale:
Scott Hall seemed like a nice guy deep down inside, but the combination of power and substance had turned him into a real asshole. … It was no secret that Hall enjoyed being a dick and he said on more than one occasion, ‘They pay me to wrestle, not to make friends’ and ‘It doesn’t say anywhere in my contract that I have to be nice to anyone. This is the wrestling business not the friendship business.’ He sure practiced what he preached.
Vince Russo, who had been in WWE when Razor Ramon was on top, and The Kliq were at their manipulative best, wrote in his autobiography, Forgiven, that “Vince [McMahon] had little or no control of his locker room.” Russo continued:
Let’s call a spade a spade. I never, not for one day, enjoyed working with Scott Hall. From the minute I met Scott, he was difficult to deal with. Whether he was kidding or that ‘was just him,’ it was a chore. The guy just liked to make your day harder — plain and simple. Now that’s okay once in a while, but with Scott it was all the time. The sad part about it was that when you finally got Scott to do what you wanted him to do, he was without a doubt one of the best in the business. Unfortunately, those times were rare — for me, anyway.
Hall’s time in WCW came to an end in February 2000. He made a couple of ECW appearances — never really featured — and returned to New Japan, including teaming with NWO member Scott Norton.
Norton compared Nash and Hall. “Kevin was awesome in the NWO. You can’t deny certain people. He was awesome in NWO. I was there. I was around him all the time. But you can only ride certain things for so long. Scott Hall, when he was doing the gimmick with the toothpick in WCW and NWO, he was awesome too. But to get him to put somebody over, you’d almost have to, it was a meeting of all the bookers, it was just crazy.”
In one of many never say never moments, WWE welcomed Hall back in February 2002, followed by Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hogan. Hall had a high-profile match at WrestleMania X8, losing to Stone Cold Steve Austin. A trip back to the US from England in May 2002 — the Plane Ride From Hell — proved to be the final straw for Hall in WWE.
There were two runs for Hall in Total Non-stop Action — TNA — post WWE. Immediately after leaving WWE, he was heavily used in NWA-TNA, teaming with Waltman — who was now Syxx-Pac — and challenging NWA World champion Ron Killings (now known as R-Truth). He wasn’t there in 2003, but came back in late 2004, in a stable known as The Kings of Wrestling with Nash and Jeff Jarrett. He was out of TNA again, returning in November 2007, feuding with Sting and Kurt Angle. Then in 2010, The Band — Hall, Nash and Waltman — were a unit, this time without Hogan, who had just debuted in TNA; the idea was that The Band didn’t have TNA contracts and were outsiders invading, and eventually did earn them. The Band — which later included Eric Young — were TNA tag team champions, and often invoked “The Freebird Rule” meaning that any one of them could compete as champion. Hall’s demons proved to be too much, and he was released by TNA.
The lowest point for Hall seemed to come in 2011, when he showed up unable to perform at a fan fest, was hospitalized and jailed, all at different times. He entered rehab at least a dozen times, the WWE footing many of the bills.
“When I was at my worst drug wise, nobody could do anything about it but me. I want to be there for Scott. Kevin wants to be there for Scott. We need him to do his part, or we just get sucked dry emotionally,” Waltman told Scott Fishman in 2011. “I love Scott Hall. He is my brother. I wish for him, more than anything, for some sort of serenity and peace of mind. Wrestling with Razor Ramon, the NWO, the 1-2-3 Kid, X Pac. It’s wrestling. There is more to life, believe it or not. I want to be in wrestling all my life, but it can‘t be the be-all-and-end-all because when it’s gone, you have nothing.”
Reading comments made by Nash in 2011, on the Live Audio Wrestling show, essentially show that Hall got another dozen years out of his life following the worst of times. In part, Nash said:
I can’t make Scott Hall want to live, I can’t make Scott Hall want to get better, I can’t make Scott want to repair his relationship with his children, I can’t make any of those things happen and the only one who can is Scott. When and if he does, I will be the happiest person on Earth. He always knows no matter what, day or night, if he needs me and really needs me or needs anything or anything of me or for him, I will be there in an hour and he knows that. I can’t be his therapist, I can’t be his wife, I can’t be his rehabilitation specialist, but I can be his friend. I think he needs friends more than he needs people telling him what he has to do or not to do. Lately it’s like the ninth inning, two out, a full count and they’ve walked into the baseball game and sitting in their seat and telling us what’s been going on in the game – I’ve been doing this for 17 years with Scott, you don’t just jump into the game and tell me what he needs to do because you haven’t been here, you haven’t lived it, you haven’t done that and Dana (Hall) has. A lot of people think she’s a crack pot but people forget she has two children with the man, that’s real flesh and blood and Cassidy and Cody are great kids and they deserve better but at the same time Scott – people think Scott’s problem is he likes to get drunk and likes to take drugs and he’s an addict and he’s not – he has post traumatic stress and had several incredibly horrible incidents happen in his early youth going on to his adolescence and early adulthood and he has had things happen to him that he cannot get through.
In 2014, the WWE Hall of Fame welcomed Razor Ramon into its ranks. Hall’s speech was short, and highlighted by the Kliq reunion. He was also the center of an ESPN E:60 documentary, titled Scott Hall, which came out in 2011. The documentary revealed, for the first time, a fight Hall was involved in, in 1983, at a strip club over a woman, where things escalated to where the two men pulled out guns, and Hall killed him. Arrested for second degree murder, the case was tossed because of a lack of evidence.
Hall’s son, Cody Hall, who matched his father in height at 6-foot-7, had a modest career in the ring, with most of his success coming in New Japan.
Hall had two children with his wife Dana Lee Burgio (married and divorced twice) — Cody (born in 1991) and Cassidy Lee (1995). Jessica Hart was married to Hall for a year, in 2006.