The wrestling world stands together in shock and heartbreak today as Scott Hall, the legendary performer who brought us Razor Ramon and helped transform wrestling forever with the NWO, has sadly passed away at the age of sixty-three.
Affected by complications from surgery after falling and breaking his hip, Hall consequently suffered three heart attacks and was put on life support. Kevin Nash, Hall’s long-time wrestling partner and real-life best friend, today put out a heartbreaking message on Instagram to say that once Hall’s family had all convened at the hospital, the depiction would be made to turn off his life support.
The impact Scott has had on his fans and peers alike has become keenly visible today, with wrestlers and supporters all taking to social media to share stories, favourite memories and images of a man who meant so much to so many. There is joy amongst the sadness as memories come back to life again, are vivid once more, but the sadness won’t go. The loss is too big.
If you were a WWF fan between late ’92 and early ’96, especially if you were a kid, you were a Razor Ramon fan. No ifs, no buts. You practiced the strut, the swagger, the shake. You put out your arms like Razor did as if to say ‘I’m here, and you’re gonna love me—whether you like it or not!’ And you definitely threw a toothpick—real or imagined—with that mix of cool disdain that made Razor such a great anti-hero, especially during the NWO years.
Razor was a major fixture in the WWF during that time; he was a four-time Intercontinental champion and arguably should have had a main event run. If he’d stayed, maybe he would have done. He could have been used as a perfect foil to turn heel on Shawn Michaels and feud with him over the Heavyweight title. It certainly would have elevated Michaels’ title run, and he and Razor certainly had history…
Ah yes. Razor had many great WWF matches, particularly with Bret Hart, but the two that are most celebrated, and rightly so, are his duo of ladder matches with Shawn Michaels. Not only were they groundbreaking at the time, they completely stand up today as killer matches full of jaw-dropping moments and great dramatic storytelling. Razor and Shawn had beautiful chemistry together and their matches will no doubt still be talked about for years to come.
Fast forward to May 1996, and not only is one of the WWF’s major stars standing in a WCW ring, which was a major coup, but he is about to blur the lines between real and worked in wrestling, something that the likes of Brian Pillman were beginning to do, but in such a way that the impact it had on the business was astronomical. Scott Hall’s invasion of WCW, insinuated to be under the ‘authority’ of the WWF but soon to be revealed as the New World Order, peeled back the layers and revealed the machinations of the business in a way that hadn’t been done before. It felt different, a fresh approach to wrestling storytelling, and it chimed perfectly with the edgy, hip ’90s.
But the initial success of the NWO was as much to do with the way WCW allowed Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to be themselves on-screen as with Hulk Hogan turning heel or the invasion of WCW. Kevin Nash bloomed out of the restrictive big-man mould of Diesel, but it was Scott Hall that was always fascinating to watch. You could see how Razor Ramon used exaggerated aspects of Hall’s own personality, as the best gimmicks do, but watching Hall in those first couple of years in WCW was like watching the absolute embodiment of cool in action. It seemed more natural to him, more real. He had the audience in the palm of his hand, throwing out charismatic catchphrases with ease. His survey taking was always a highlight of any night’s mic time, and ‘Too Sweeeeet!’ still lives today thanks to the Bullet Club and The Elite who, for as much success as they’ve had on their merits, have also achieved a lot by trading on the NWO’s cool cultural cache, much of which was directed or shaped by Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. And who else has made taking a drink to the head, thrown by a fan, and made it look like the coolest thing in the world?
In different circumstances, Hall might even have made a fine booker. Not only did he understand that the NWO needed to evolve past Hulk Hogan’s tired old promos to flourish, showing an understanding of how to make the product appeal to a modern audience, it was also said that Hall came up with the idea of Sting moving away from the surfer look and taking on the Crow-inspired gimmick which was another piece in the puzzle of how to modernize wrestling and was a major part of WCW’s success during the Monday Night Wars. One can only imagine what a focussed Hall could have done with the pencil, given the chance by the right promotion.
That he was not focused for large periods of time is well documented, and I am not going to dwell on Scott Hall’s personal problems here. I believe a person can make mistakes, and I believe a person can be redeemed, repair the damage and be forgiven. Everyone deserves another chance, and by all accounts, Scott Hall was clean for several years and was very loving and attentive to his loved ones during that period. And what difference do his personal problems make to the love his fans and peers feel for the man? Absolutely nothing, and rightly so.
The wrestling community will ensure that Scott Hall is not forgotten; that he is celebrated for his talent, for his formidable charisma and understanding of the business.
There’ll never be another like Scott Hall again.
We at Sports Obsessive offer our condolences to Scott Hall’s family and friends at this very difficult time.