In Defense Of… Scott Hall
A version of this article originally appeared on 411mania.com and was updated for the book IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com
Certain people, events, organizations, and storylines in wrestling history have gotten a bum rap. Some writers have presented overtly critical comments and outright lies as fact, and others have followed suit. Well no more! “In Defense of…” has one reason: to bring the truth to the wrestling fan!
Some dame walked into my office and said…
Oh, where to even begin? Well, how about Christy who said:
I would like to see you defend Scott Hall against all these assholes that don’t understand that alcoholism is a disease. They say “well why doesn’t he just stop?” Well, [it’s] not that simple. Furthermore, Scott Hall is a great and legendary wrestler and a good man.
And since I’m such a slowpoke, she also said:
Hi, I spoke with you a while back about doing a defense of Scott Hall…. You said you’d take the case and I was just wondering if you had any idea when that might happen. I think considering he was just remarried to a good and decent woman this time and he is working really hard to get his life together, I think it would be a really great time to do this. Let me know. Thanks a lot.
That was four months ago! She must be so mad by now. I hope you are still reading Christy! Meanwhile, in between those four months, I heard from a few more people including Bobbi who said:
Now….. since you did such a great job on Kevin…. how about helping us out and taking on Scott Hall? There are so many people out there that focus on Scott’s personal life and the alcoholism that has a hold of him…. they forget what a great wrestler and influence he is to people. Everyone condemns him…. they don’t understand that alcoholism is [an] illness….. one that thousands of people struggle with every day….. [it’s] not like Scott can just wake up one day and say…. “OK…. I’m not drinking anymore”. Several of us have tried to educate people, even referring them to gov links on alcoholism… but to no avail.
Please take Scott’s defense…. he needs SOMEONE to defend him.
And let us not forget BDSTW FOM:
Defend Scott Hall
Everyone knows his track record…
Plus everyone who has ever sent me something interesting (Feroz, I’m definitely using that tidbit you sent along), nice, or mean about Scott Hall over the past several months.
And I’ll just throw Andrew Strom in here as well because he loves Hall and is nWo 4-Life!
Those folks have said it all. Scott Hall is a man mired in personal problems, ones that far overshadow the long and illustrious career he has had. He is one of the greatest wrestlers to have never been world champion with accolades dating back two decades. He’s been involved in match of the year candidates (and winners), angles that revolutionized wrestling, and responsible for the catch phrases of our day. Yet this is all buried under unfair criticism and a lack of understanding about a disease (yes disease) that plagues this man forever.
Scott, though, has a long history to explore well before his problems surfaced.
The History of the Edge (not that kind)
In a rare In Defense Of… moment, Scott Hall was born with that name on October 20, 1958 in Baltimore, MD, although many list him as born in Chuluota, FL (about 4 ½ hours north of Miami, so it’s odd that he is sometimes listed as being born there). However, I was told by readers to check his marriage license to confirm the Baltimore, MD birth-town. However, being in a military family, Hall moved around a lot as a child, eventually finding his way to Munich, Germany and attending the All American High School. Returning to the states for higher education, Hall graduated from St. Mary’s College in Maryland with a degree in Pre-med. According to IMDB Hall had “hopes to become a children’s doctor”, but had also begun training to be a wrestler.
Luckily for us, Hall continued to follow his ambitions in wrestling and trained under “Gentleman” Chris Adams. You might also remember that Adams trained Steve Austin (and Steve took his wife as thanks). Also according to Wikipedia:
Adams is best known for being the trainer of Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1989, and bringing the Superkick to American wrestlers. Adams was also among the first wrestlers to use the Sharpshooter, which he called the Superlock (around 1985). He is also famous for using backflips and somersaults to catch his opponent off-guard.
And from our friends at Obsessed with Wrestling:
Chris Adams was a National Judo Champion in England before getting into the world of professional wrestling… He was a three-time national champion in that sport and a member of the British Olympic Judo team… Chris Adams was trained by European legends Tony Sinclair and Shirly “Big Daddy” Crabtree….
So as you can see, we are talking about a man of considerable skill and ability who trained Hall, and would not let Hall get away with being anything less than spectacular in the ring.
After training, Scott Hall made his pro debut in October 1984 for Florida Championship Wrestling and began a program with Dusty Rhodes (Wow, Dusty sure seems involved in helping to bring along a lot of the best future talent, yet people still dump all over him for his choice of talent). In 1985, Hall moved over to the National Wrestling Alliance and became “Starship Coyote” in the Coyote tag team. This held on for a short time until Hall moved over to AWA, going from “Magnum” to just “Big” Scott Hall, and forming a team with Curt Henning.
On January 18, 1986 Hall (who looked a lot like Magnum TA with a fluffy mullet top and a big bushy mustache) and Henning defeated Steven Regal and Jimmy Garvin for the AWA World Tag Team Championships. Just two years into the industry, and Hall already had his first major championship (AWA was a major promotion at the time). As a matter of fact, according to Wikipedia:
The “Perfect Combination,” as they were dubbed by a Pro Wrestling Illustrated article, had many [hard-fought] matches against Buddy Rose & Doug Somers during this time. They eventually lost the belts to “Playboy” Rose and “Pretty Boy” Somers by count-out on May 17, 1986.
The “Perfect Combination”, eh? I wonder where Vince came up with the idea to call Henning “Mr. Perfect” after luring Henning away from the AWA to the WWF (despite everything Vince has ever said about WCW and Eric Bischoff, he did the exact same things to the AWA and other regional promotions). But that was not the only thing Vince took credit for that was not his.
After leaving AWA, Hall spent some time moving about the independent circuits in Puerto Rico and Florida (becoming Latino along the way) and CWA until making his way to the early WCW in 1990. As “Scott Hall”, he did not have a successful run, but in June 1991 the “Diamond Studd” was born (first as bodyguard to DDP, and later DDP became his manager). And during his reign what move did Scott Hall debut? Why it was the “Diamond Death Drop” aka the “Razor’s Edge” aka the “Outsider’s Edge”.
So you see, Vince and the then WWF did not come up with most of what Razor Ramon was. Scott had already picked up the machisimo gimmick from his time in Puerto Rico and Florida and had already developed his famous finisher… IN WCW!!!.
When Scott Hall made his way to the WWF in 1992 as Razor Ramon, it was not the gimmick that Vince created that got the man over. It was the man Scott Hall had become from all of his training and experience. And when Scott Hall returned to WCW in 1996 to form the New World Order, he was not just playing Razor Ramon without the name. Razor Ramon the gimmick was nothing without Scott Hall. The fans got into Scott Hall, the man behind the character. Eight years of experience created Razor Ramon, not the other way around. To claim he was just using the fame that Vince and the WWF gave him to get over in WCW is asinine. Scott Hall blazed his own trail, and his own self got over.
In the WWF, Scott Hall became a four-time Intercontinental Champion, including his ladder match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X. Although not the first ladder match in history, it was the one that put that type of match in the limelight. Voted match of the year by PWI in 1994, ladder matches became a staple of American wrestling because of the enormous effort of these two competitors.
Razor Ramon also had memorable feuds with Owen Hart, Psycho Sid, Goldust, and Jeff Jarrett, putting over all of them (among others, more on that later) along the way.
In 1996, after the infamous “Klique Farewell” at a house show at Madison Square Garden in New York City (where Triple H and Shawn Michaels broke their “face” characters to embrace their “heel” friends who were departing the company), Scott Hall made his reappearance in WCW as the start of the invasion that would become the Outsiders and the nWo. Let us never forget that it was Scott Hall who started off the invasion of WCW, that Eric Bischoff entrusted him to be the first man, and that he set the tone for everything the nWo would do for the next two years.
He and Nash as the Outsiders would dominate the tag team scene and with Hogan control WCW (in a storyline sense). He engaged in feuds with the Giant, Randy Savage, Lex Luger, and Goldberg, winning 7 Tag Team Championships, a Television title reign (the last true Television Champion, if you don’t count Dugan’s run when he picked the title out of the trash), and a 2 time US Champion.
But Hall would constantly be screwed out of the World Title. In the WWF he had fought Bret Hart for the title (once) and lost that match. In WCW, he actually won the World War 3 three-ring battle Royal which should have made him the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade 1997, but that was pushed off for the Hogan/Sting match (eventually getting his shot at SuperBrawl 1998). Hall would rarely ever get to fight for the championship, and often had his title-shots were forgotten.
After being let go by WCW in 2000, Hall made a short stint in ECW before heading to Japan and NJPW, putting over talent there. His personal problems (we’ll get to it) mired that, and Hall was without direction before returning the WWF in 2002 for the rebirth of the nWo.
His stay in the WWF lasted a mere five months, and Scott made his way to the newly formed TNA for a couple of months. After some time off, he returned to TNA for the autumn before leaving wrestling for a couple of more years. At the end of 2004 through January 2005, Scott Hall made his last wrestling appearance in TNA (or anywhere for that matter) at the time of this writing in 2006.
What an amazing, storied history and impact Scott Hall has had on wrestling. We’ll get into some particular detail momentarily, but for now we have a “big” thing to discuss.
Curse of the big man
Because Scott Hall is such a large guy (6’ 6”, 260–280 lbs.), Hall often gets lumped into the “Big Man” category that we have talked a lot about. And much like counterparts in Kevin Nash, Undertaker, Goldberg, and Sid Vicious, Hall has a much larger repertoire than he uses on a day-to-day basis. First, let’s have a look at JD Dunn’s Countdown to WrestleMania — WrestleMania X:
Intercontinental Title, Ladder Match: Shawn Michaels (w/Diesel) vs. Razor Ramon.
Probably don’t have to go into much on this one. The thing that stands out for me is that Razor Ramon’s music is just Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music played really slow. Razor ducks under the ladder prompting shock and awe from the announcers. Diesel gets tossed early on by the referee. Or what, he gets disqualified? Shawn gets clotheslined over the top like a rag doll. He dropkicks the ladder into an unsuspecting Ramon. We get the first real uses of the ladder as a weapon as Shawn drives it down into him and finally just throws it down on Razor’s back. Michaels [loses his pants] and Vince wusses out on saying Shawn has made an “ass of himself.” Think about that one compared to today. Shawn splashes him off the ladder and goes up but Razor recovers just in time to push the ladder over. Shawn bounces off the ropes like a super ball. He sets up the ladder in the corner but gets whipped into it and falls all the way to the floor. Great googly moogly! This sets up the catapult into the ladder spot. UN-BE-LEIVABLE! UN-BE-LEIVABLE! Razor goes up but Shawn jumps off the top rope and pushes him off. UN-BE-LEIVABLE! (Those are Vince-isms if you’re wondering). Razor slams him off the ladder but falls down himself. He sets it up again but Shawn dropkicks the ladder forcing Ramon off it again. Michaels hits Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere and nails a piledriver. He goes up but Ramon just does get up and pushes the ladder over. Shawn has no time to yell to Diesel, let alone make a wish. He falls crotch-first on the top rope and gets entangled allowing Razor to climb up and get the belts at 18:47. One of the greatest matches to ever come out of North America. It’s lost a bit of its luster thanks to the Hardyz, Dudleyz, and Edge/Christian TLC matches, but it still ranks right up there with the best of them. *****
I think JD hits it right on the head. If you watch this match today compared to TLC2, you would not think it was that innovative or amazing. But this was leaps and bounds above most of the wrestling quality that the WWF was showing at the time, and demonstrated what Scott Hall was really capable of.
So sure, in later WWF matches and WCW matches, he mostly did the paintbrush, abdominal stretch (with cheating), fall-away slam, sleeper, chokeslam, and the edge, but he had plenty of other moves and abilities in his arsenal. It’s the same story we always tell: he did not need to do them. Scott Hall, as Razor Ramon, was a heel that the fans forced to turn face. In WCW, he was a heel that got bigger face pops then most of the face roster. The man was over, and did not need to lay everything on the line every night. He could do an easier (physically wear-and-tear) match any night of the week and still send the fans home happy. They came to take the survey and see the spray-paint; they did not care if he could pull off a top-rope plancha (which he could).
Of course, in the ring Hall was still trying to have some fun. But that did not mean he did not know how to do his J-O-B.
Being a Klique and nWo member, Scot Hall constantly gets berated for only looking out for himself and his own interests. Well if that’s true, then why has he put over the following people:
In his last wrestling appearance to date in 2005, Scott Hall put over Jeff Hardy at TNA’s Final Resolution on January 16, 2005. Knowing he was on the way out, he still chose to show up at the PPV and give Hardy some additional credibility to fight in TNA’s upper card.
Sean Waltman (The Kid)
In one of the most famous upsets in history, on May 17, 1993 the premiering Kid defeated Razor Ramon (who had already fought Bret Hart for the title) by roll-up. This, and ensuing feud where Ramon learned to respect Waltman and turned face, basically launched Waltman’s career and gave him years of exposure.
On Monday Nitro on November 3, 1997, Chris Jericho defeated Scott Hall by a surprise roll-up (he’s really susceptible to that move). At the time, Jericho was just a cruiserweight wrestler with some notoriety. This gave Jericho something he could brag about for years, and a huge win for his WCW career.
In what I consider the biggest upset in Monday Nitro history, on September 9, 1997, Hector Garza defeated Scott Hall (with Syxx) with a roll-up (there it is again!). A cruiserweight with no fanfare whatsoever was put over by Hall of his own will and volition. If that does not prove how much this man tried to help other guys get over and be given a fair chance, then nothing does.
And making other people look good also made Hall look good in the long run. So good, that he got some recognition for it.
Got awards? Why not!
There are lots of awards to look at, but the PWI awards are always of interest. According to accelerator3359.com (I love old website), Scott Hall has had:
PWI Achievement Awards: (3 wins, 2 1st RUs, 2 2nd RUs, 2 3rd RUs)
• 1986 Most Improved Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
• 1992 Most Improved Wrestler
• 1994 Match of the Year (Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels)
• 1994 Wrestler of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up
• 1995 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett)
• 1996 Match of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (War Games)
• 1997 Tag-Team of the Year (The Outsiders)
• 1998 Feud of the Year, 1st Runner-Up (nWo Hollywood vs. nWo Wolfpac)
• 2001 Comeback of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up
That’s a lot of high-up-there awards, yet this is not what Scott Hall is remembered for. His contributions to wrestling seem meaningless compared to his personal troubles.
Wait, that was his idea?
Now, we’ve already covered how Scott Hall created his own gimmick and was not dependent on Vince or anyone else for his ideas. As it was, Scott had almost complete control during his interviews and came up with most of his gimmicks. And how many catchphrases did Scott get over in a short time? Well let’s see, there was:
- “Hey yo!”
- “Survey say…”
- “Don’t sing it… bring it.”
- “Down where you ask? You know where!”
And that’s just the beginning. The crowds used to sing along with everything Scott would say, whether he was a good guy or a bad guy (usually calling himself by either he felt like).
But just as Scott Hall used to put others over, he also tried to help other guys and the promotion he was in. Regular reader/writer Feroz Nazir sent this along:
I remember Scott Hall mentioning that one of the ideas behind the NWO was to create a situation for the fans: “Are you a fan of WCW or the NWO?” [opposed] to “Are you a fan of WCW or the WWF?”. Meaning that they intended for the WWF to be completely out of the picture by offering them 2 wrestling factions(?) in 1 [organization].
I think it was on the “documentary” NWO: Back in black.
This situation is exactly what happened. The WWF was mostly forgotten in WCW and it did become about the nWo and WCW. Perhaps it went too far in the end (oh, that’s a case later in this series), but just as Scott set the tone for the nWo invasion with his initial appearance, he continued to set the stage for what the nWo vs. WCW was all about.
In the WWE, he was not given this free reign and they missed the point of the nWo. It was not a faction, it was a separate organization trying to take over and destroy tradition. DX and the nWo were very different, although DX was patterned after many of the mannerisms and attitudes made famous by Hall.
Back behind the curtain, though, Scott was still trying to help others. From Mike Johnson’s recap of Sting during the Spike TV/TNA press conference:
When asked about the Crow Sting look, he said it was a Scott Hall suggestion…
From Richard Trionfo’s recap of Shane Douglas on Between the Ropes in January 2005:
Shane was asked about some of the veteran talent that has come into TNA and how it has been received by the younger talent. Shane says that there was some concern from the locker room because of what they may have heard about people not being ‘team players’. Shane talks about Scott Hall, and says that Scott has worked hard in the ring and is teaching guys in the ring. Shane talked about a match between Scott and A.J. Styles that helped out A.J. because he was slowed down to tell a story in the first segment of the match.
And in an interview with masked wrestler Bob Cook from DDT Digest:
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall showed me around. And as far as all the rumors are concerned, maybe he’s changed in the last two years, but Shawn Michaels was a really nice guy when I was there. I also think he is the best worker in the business.
The last time Scott Hall and I were together in the WWF, Scott got me so drunk I couldn’t walk.
So from guys you’ve heard all about and their major gimmicks to guys you have no idea who they are and made no television impact, Scott Hall was there, helping out in any way he could. He was a bright, energetic man. But this man was haunted by demons of his own, and an addiction that could not be stopped.
Scott Hall’s problems with alcoholism and subsequent jail time, divorce, and other consequences are well documented. In many of our past cases, I have asked whether or not someone’s addiction problems, jail sentences, or other out of ring shenanigans should have an impact of their legacy and what they meant to wrestling. Usually, the answer has been “No” because they have reached pinnacles in the industry, being world champions or being the definitive beginning of a genre.
This is not the case with Scott Hall. Because of Scott’s addiction, he never was able to reach the true peak of his ability and wrest the top crowns of our beloved sport. As a matter of fact, Scott was let go by WCW and WWE for his behavior stemming from his addiction.
And this was true well after he got clean. No matter what, Scott Hall was under the constant scrutiny of his past actions. Although given multiple chances, his chances were met with a skeptic response rather than possibility. From Cool Dudes and Hot Babes (how’s that for a source!):
The source we spoke with would not comment on the specific grounds of Hall’s possible wrongful termination suit. The source did tell sportstalkcleveland.com however that Hall believes his bad boy reputation led to a rush in judgment [by] the WWE and also states that because of his numerous second chances and previous arrests, they were less than fair in their decision to terminate him.
“Because of everything that has happened with him out of the ring, they were quicker to be less lenient with him than anyone else,” the source stated. “They are too quick to be afraid that Scott is going to slip back into getting into trouble every other day. They have no regard for the fact that he loves this business and he loves entertaining people. He doesn’t do anything that anyone else doesn’t do, they are just tougher on Scott.”
Scott’s legacy was forever tarnished because of his personal problems. The question is, to what extent do we hold Scott Hall accountable?
This is not the forum to debate how to treat people with alcohol abuse problems. I will not recommend the twelve-step program, checking into a detoxification clinic, or undergoing various forms of psychotherapy. The “cures” and treatments for alcoholism are a personal debate you will have to have for yourself.
What I want to stress here is that alcoholism is a disease, and that Scott Hall had limited control over his ability to stop himself.
“That’s BS”, you say, “If anyone wants to stop something they can just stop. Scott Hall just chose not to.”
First off, I think we have to accept something about terminology. When I, and others, say alcoholism is a disease, the first reaction of many people is that it cannot be a disease because it is not caused by a virus or bacteria and is not transmittable to other people. But is cancer a disease? It is not caused by a virus or bacteria and cannot be transmitted, yet it is considered a disease. What about sickle cell anemia? There is another “disease” that does not meet that criteria. And on top of that, what about schizophrenia? This is a mental disease that is not caused by anything related to an outside force and cannot be caught by anyone else.
I submit that a disease is an ailment of the mind or body that needs an exterior force (whether a chemical change in the body a la white blood cells or some type of medicine or even therapy or medication) for proper treatment.
With that, we need to understand what type of disease alcoholism is. From Mental Health Matters:
Alcohol Addiction, or dependence, is defined as having at least 3 of the following signs: a tolerance for alcohol (needing increased amounts to achieve the same effect), withdrawal symptoms, taking alcohol in larger amounts [than] was intended or over a longer period of time than was intended, having a persistent desire to decrease or the inability to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed, spending a great deal of time attempting to acquire alcohol, and finally, continuing to use alcohol even though the person knows there are reoccurring physical or psychological problems being caused by the alcohol.
Right, and we know that Scott Hall did meet those criteria:
(1) High tolerance for alcohol intake
(2) Took alcohol in larger amounts than intended
(3) Used alcohol for longer periods than intended
(4) Inability to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed (and even took pills that would make him sick if he tried to consume alcohol)
(5) Continued to use alcohol despite the problems it caused in his life
You see, alcoholism is sometimes a physical addiction and sometimes a psychological addiction and sometimes both. Think about the small things you do just by compulsion every day. I always tap a can of soda before I pull the tab or smack a capped bottle first on a table before opening it. Why? I don’t see why not. And even though I am aware of the compulsion, that does not mean I can just stop, or see the need to.
This was the case with Scott Hall. His alcoholism was a compulsion that was beyond his control. Despite the negative effects on his life that he was aware of, his ability to control the compulsion was limited. It was more than a habit, but something he needed to do just as you and I need scratch an itch on our nose.
But Scott Hall was one form of alcoholism, and there are many others. From Wikipedia:
Alcoholics do not typically experience craving, unlike individuals afflicted with opioid dependence. Of importance is that frequency and quantity of alcohol use are not related to the presence of the disease; that is, individuals can drink a great deal without necessarily being alcoholic, and alcoholics may drink minimally and/or infrequently. As described in Psychiatric Annals by Pagano et al (June 2005), “alcoholism is a chronic, often progressive disease that can be fatal without intervention and treatment. Rationing or other attempts to control use fail as pathological attachment to the drug develops. Use continues despite serious adverse health, personal, work-related, and financial consequences. Comorbidity, genetic, and psychosocial factors contribute to the risk of developing this disease.”
So you see what I mean? Even if Scott Hall had the ability to stop drinking suddenly (which he did not), he would still be an alcoholic. Back to Wikipedia:
[A]n alcoholic in recovery is not drinking at all yet still has the disease just as a diabetic who keeps his blood glucose at precisely 100 (normal) all the time is still diabetic. Neither individual would be likely to suffer significant symptoms secondary to their ongoing illness, yet both are still afflicted.
An excellent analogy if there ever was one. His disease may be in “remission”, but Scott Hall will always be an alcoholic and always have to work to fight the disease.
What are you asking of me?
Now that we understand that Scott Hall is an afflicted man, what do I intend to do with that information?
I am not asking you to forgive Scott Hall or excuse his actions. I’m not asking you to look past all of the destruction he has caused professionally, personally, and legally. What I am asking is that you understand where he is coming from, and that you do not let the rumors of Scott’s behavior in the past few years blind you to the progress he has made.
When Hall was let go from the WWE in 2002 after the Insurrection PPV, several sites incorrectly reported that he was intoxicated and had fallen asleep backstage. The truth of the matter is that, yes, he did fall asleep backstage, but that was from being exhausted and staying up too long (he’s in his 40’s, you know). Hall had had a drink before the event, and not within hours of show time. Someone made the jump from falling asleep to blabbering drunk simply because of Hall’s issues, not because there was any truth to the matter. From Cool Dudes and Hot Babes:
“Following Monday Night Raw, they flat out told Scott he was fired,” stated our source. “Scott told me that he wasn’t drunk at the London pay-per-view or before that Raw. If you look at the tape of the pay-per-view, he doesn’t walk funny or act like he has had a lot to drink. The fact that he fell asleep is inexcusable, however it isn’t grounds to be fired. Besides, Scott wasn’t even scheduled to wrestle that night, so why should they even care if he is sleeping backstage.”
The type of paranoia that runs rampant in the WWE nowadays (don’t play video games backstage, always wear your dress clothes!) made it a place ready to kick Scott Hall out fast. Although Vince and company wanted Scott Hall the character, they did not want Scott Hall the person. One does not go without the other, and there was a severe lack of understanding of both.
From an interview recap in March 2002:
Hall’s problems went beyond attitude or management. He’s battled alcohol addiction and marital issues, and spoke candidly about his ups and downs.
Now he’s divorced and raising his children as a single parent. He’s been in and out of two rehab centers. He sees an addiction specialist and takes Anabuse, a drug which makes the taker violently ill at the mere taste of alcohol. He’s thankful for another chance to earn a living in the business.
“I’ve been searching to get in touch with Scott Hall, to find Scott Hall. He got lost in a blur of alcohol and immature decisions,” he said. “I just want to be the best me I can be.”
Scott is well aware of everything he has done and tries to do better. Is he always successful? Not by a long shot. But since when is trying and failing a crime?
Where does it all come back to?
So is Scott Hall responsible for his own downfall? Well, yes and no. The beginning of Scott’s disease begins with himself with questions and answers that only he can answer. But the snowball effect is not completely his fault. Neither is the fact that no matter what he does, he will always have this disease and he will never be able to break the stigma of what he has done. Even though Hall has had multiple “chances”, each of those chances was laced with doubt. There was no fair, fresh start. He was already falling from day one, and the slightest mistake that he made would be blown significantly out of proportion. Where one person would get a slap on the wrist, Scott could be sent home.
Don’t get me wrong. Hall has done some terrible things that he did deserve to get fired over and didn’t. But you do not put the robber away for a murder he did not commit. He may rob people for a living, but that is not the crime he is being tried for.
And that is what has happened to Scott Hall. He has done bad things in the past, but he is constantly being tried and found guilty for things he did not do or were blown out of proportion. Given a second chance? Maybe. Given a fair chance? Never.
The toothpick flick
Scott Hall: a man whose personal demons have destroyed his legacy. We have forgotten how he came up the ranks in the independents, how he developed his own personality, his own finisher, and own style. He has impacted every organization he has even been in, setting off waves that forever changed wrestling. He gave back trying to teach the next generation how to be a performer, and put them over in the ring. Yet all we remember is that he had a problem, a problem beyond his own ability to control, and one that should never take the place of all that he has given for our sport.
The defense rests.
After the Trial
IN THE CASE OF THE IWC VS. SCOTT HALL, SCOTT HALL HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING A DRUNK WHO LET HIS OWN PERSONAL PROBLEMS PREVENT HIM FROM EVER ACHIEVING FULL SUCCESS. FURTHERMORE, HE IS ACCUSED OF BEING A LARGE, SLOW, UNINTERESTING CHARACTER THAT ONLY GOT TO WHERE HE IS WITH THE HELP OF OTHERS AND KEEPING EVERYONE BELOW HIM DOWN.
That case was different than any I had ever done before. But were the results?
With 76.5% of the vote, Scott Hall was found:
Another one… for the good guys. Yeah, like you didn’t see that joke coming?
Sometimes these cases go beyond the subjects and touch people personally. I was grateful that so many people shared with me their experiences with alcoholism, such as these:
I would just like to thank you for a superb defence of one of my all-time favourite performers. Scott’s disease has overshadowed his accomplishments and I had always had a personal interest in defending the man no-one else would, as my own Grandfather was an alcoholic.
My Grandfather’s disease overtook his life so much, that he lost his marriage, his retirement fund and even alienated some of his closest friends and more [ignorant] family members. The disease [affected] him to the point that he developed a little known form of alcohol-induced Alzheimer’s known as Korsikov’s disease. Fortunately, after much work, he cleaned up but had to be taken into specialised residential care due to his constant fight of both alcoholism and the [literal] 5-minute memory that Korsikov’s has left him with.
I’m glad to hear that Scott has made every effort to clean-up and lead as normal a life as possible. I’m extremely thankful to you for your extensive research into the disease and have chosen to broadcast your findings on such a wide plateau. Hopefully, some people will be less eager to point the finger, and remember that alcoholism carries just as much pain as any other disease.
I have seen up close what a chemical addiction can do to somebody and its effect on everyone that cares about them (it’s not pretty). I have also seen first-hand how awesome it is when that person recovers. The key to it all is the person. They won’t clean up until THEY want to. Nobody else can force them.
One thing that really pissed me off was his last stint in WWE with the nWo, WWE version. When he was being [interrogated] by Stone Cold, they had Stone Cold pouring beer all over the man… Now if that was real beer or not, I do not know… But to me [that’s] like tempting a dog with meat above his head to see if he will jump at it or obey his master.
I have known people in my life who are Alcoholics. One of my best friends is one, sober for over 30 years now.
But the stories he would tell me about his troubles with the bottle are ones I have taken to heart. I feel that Scott Hall has gotten a raw deal every time he’s tried to come back. He was a single father for a while and he has always tried to correct the issues in his life. I feel that it is not fair to judge the man without walking a mile in his shoes, and I’d ever recommend someone become an alcoholic. He deserves our respect, not just from the fans, but from the industry he helped and gave so much of his blood, sweat and tears for.
I know from being married to a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor the horrible trap that alcoholism creates: you want to stop, you can’t, you drink, you hate yourself more, so you drink to quiet your self-loathing. An ugly circle that usually drags your loved ones down with you until they tire of you and disown you.
As I shared with these people and others, I, too, have dealt with people who have had alcohol and chemical dependencies in my life, and not usually to a happy ending. I share these stories not for the evidence for Scott Hall, but more for an understanding of where these people are coming from. Also as I told one particular critic: this is not enabling, just having compassion.