Razor Ramon: The Bad Guy who was loved by millions

In the world of pro-wrestling, there are some wrestlers who gain everyone’s respect with their in-ring skills and great storylines and pure hard work resulting in a body of work, and there are those who walk into a room and immediately command attention and win you over simply with their charisma and character. Scott Hall, better known by his ring name Razor Ramon fell in both categories. Hall was part of some of the important matches in wrestling history as well as moments and storylines (or ‘angles’ in wrestling) that are influential to this day. Therefore, it’s no wonder when he passed away on March 14, 2022 at the age of 63, the world (and not just the wrestling world) mourned his loss and celebrated his contributions. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer (in 2014 as a singles competitor, in 2020 as an nWo member) wowed the wrestling fans with his cool bad guy persona. Back before ‘cool bad guys’ became common, Hall was the one you could look at and say “He might be the bad guy, but by God, he is cool”. From the way he carried himself, his tall, lean physique, cool shirts, toothpick-in-mouth and an iconic “Hey yo!” on the mic to how he threw punches and his signature move – the Crucifix Powerbomb aptly renamed to ‘The Razor’s Edge’ – everything about him screamed superstar. And the Scarface-inspired character did make him a superstar in WWE. His Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship against another icon Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X in 1994 is the stuff of legend. The two, while not the first ever to compete in ladder matches (ladder matches go way back to the 1970s), popularised and innovated ladder matches in American wrestling, particularly WWE. It was awarded the Match of the Year 1994 by Pro Wrestling Illustrated and became the first match in the company’s history to be awarded 5 stars by the prestigious Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s sports journalist Dave Meltzer. Hall wrestled in multiple territories and promotions in several countries including WWE, WCW, NJPW, AWA, NWA and more, and won many championships including the Intercontinental Championship four times, but he never won the world championship in any major promotion. Yet, he offered (more than) enough of his talents to rise above titles and be a valuable player everywhere he went. Two unforgettable moments in wrestling history would have never happened without Hall’s involvement. Firstly, the infamous ‘Curtain Call’ at Madison Square Garden in 1996. In pro-wrestling, ‘kayfabe’ is the suspension of disbelief, a portrayal of on-screen relationships and rivalries being real and not staged. In mid-90s WWE (then WWF), Michales, Triple H, X-Pac, Kevin Nash and Hall were part of the backstage group called The Kliq. In 1996, Nash and Hall decided to jump ship to WCW and on the last show at The Garden, the group hugged each other in front of the audience, completely breaking kayfabe as they were rivals as part of the on-screen storyline. The moment came as a shock at the time when wrestling promotions worked hard to maintain the illusion for the public that pro-wrestling was not staged. The second moment came only months after when Nash and Hall (now dubbed as The Outsiders) debuted in and took over WCW, challenging Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger to a match. They teased a mystery partner who turned out to be none other than Hulk Hogan. This marked the birth of one of the greatest factions of all time, nWo. Hall, Nash and the shocking new villain in the once-fan-favourite and American hero Hogan wreaked havoc in WCW until the promotion dissolved in 2001. But perhaps the most important contribution of nWo was forcing American pro-wrestling into a serious and violent sport into the late 90s after it became cartoonish and generally uninteresting early in the decade. One may argue it was instrumental in forcing WWE to change its presentation and led into the Attitude Era, leading to an exciting Monday Night Wars – a rating battle between WWE and WCW, considered the boom period in pro-wrestling which saw a massive increase in popularity and profit of the major promotions and wrestling overall. Hall was a major player in all of this and more. But he is not just remembered for being a great performer, but also for helping others. He flipped the script and lost to X-Pac when the latter was not an important player on any level and turned him into a star. His Kliq fellows and peers from over the years still speak highly of not just his on-screen contributions but also as a person – a funny, likeable and genuine human being who entertained and helped others whenever he could. And all the things he achieved, Hall, like all of us, came with his problems, mainly his health, addictions and substance abuse. And so, nobody was shocked that the legendary ‘Razor Ramon’ (his wrestling name in WWE), the Bad Guy, was no more. As Hall himself once said, he “should have been 100 times”. Perhaps the heartbreak was over the fact that in the end, it was a fall and a hip replacement surgery, resulting in a blood cot that caused 3 heart attacks on March 12, that put him on life support and led to his death two days later. It makes sense (though extremely unfortunate) that it took 3 heart attacks to pin the Bad Guy. One wouldn’t be enough. Hall was too strong and too good to “sell” even for death itself. Every time Hall fell, he got back up again and survived. Underneath the cool persona and the magnetic charm was a human who faced the toughest battles. In 1983, Hall killed a man in self-defence. The incident was etched in his memory. Nash once talked about Hall suffering from PTSD from the events going back to his childhood that nobody knows about. So, it’s likely that his addictions had deeper roots. And he kept facing them for years. Numerous arrests, injuries, declining health, rehab and whatnot, Hall survived. As Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart said on Instagram in his tribute to Hall, “We have lost so many wrestlers from my era, and this is just one more to a list that’s far too long. I won’t blame anyone thing, but I do believe that if the days of wrestling 300 days a year had been kinder and more considerate if we could’ve been home with our loved ones more, many of my old friends and brothers would still be here. I think Scott would smile to know that so many people really loved him and will truly miss him.” His long-time close friend Nash was the one who broke the news of Hall being on life support waiting for his family to gather to pull him off it. “My heart is broken and I'm so very sad. I love Scott with all my heart but now I have to prepare my life without him in the present. I've been blessed to have a friend that took me at face value and vice versa. When we jumped to WCW, we didn't care who liked or hated us,” he wrote on Instagram. “We were the "Outsiders " but we had each other. Scott always felt he wasn't worthy of the afterlife. Well, God, please have some gold-plated toothpicks for my brother. My life was enriched with his take on life.” At one point in the last decade, it was a fellow wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) who helped turn Hall’s life around with a clean and healthy lifestyle through his DDP Yoga program. DDP also helped another legend Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts get healthy again. It can be said without a doubt that DDP gave Hall 10 more years of his life. During this time, he got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice, being recognised for his tremendous career. In his 2014 induction speech, Hall uttered one of the greatest lines: “Hard work pays off, dreams come true. Bad times don’t last, bad guys do.” And make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, Scott Hall was a bad guy – a bad guy who was and will continue to be loved by millions. Rest easy, Bad Guy!

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