"Hard work pays off, dreams come true, bad times don’t last, but bad guys do." — Scott Hall during his 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction speech
Scott Hall glided across the Smoothie King Arena stage in New Orleans to be inducted into the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Looking dapper, tanned, in shape and clear-eyed. He was happy and sober. One year to the day before, Hall had been picked up at the Atlanta airport, unable to walk, sitting in a wheelchair, a shell of the man that he used to be and more closely resembling a homeless, hopeless drunk.
However, on April 5, 2014 "Razor Ramon" was on top of the world, after giving his speech, and on his way back to his locker room got a hug from the most powerful man in the sports entertainment business, Vince McMahon, who told "Razor" that he loved him. "I’d been waiting on that for a long time. I felt validated. Those words made my night."
Diamond Dallas Page and Jake Roberts, in what all involved parties believed was Hall’s last chance at sobriety and self preservation, picked their friend up at the Atlanta airport while being filmed and stared upon by onlookers, many of them longtime wrestling fans.
DDP and Jake Roberts saved Scott Hall’s life.
(This life-changing story is featured in the documentary entitled "The Resurrection of Jake the Snake", which is making the rounds and getting rave reviews. For more information on this film and Q&A event that features in-person appearances with DDP, Roberts and Hall visit www.jakethesnakemovie.com.)
Hall’s wrestling friends had been addressing Jake the Snake’s sobriety for weeks, noting miraculous strides in Jake’s overall health through DDP Yoga and Page’s "relentless positivity." Hall had been to at least 12, in-patient, high dollar, as in $40K for 28 days, rehab centers in his life and none had worked.
"What did I have to lose? I was drinking myself to death," Hall told me recently. "I don’t even know why I answered the phone when Dally and Jake called because I wasn’t answering any calls or talking to anyone. I guess it was fate. Jake was one of my professional heroes and Dally was always a great friend. It was just the two of them and me in Page’s home."
WWE, which had paid for at least six of Hall’s rehab stints, suggested that Scott try psychotherapy so that the root problems Scott was attempting to deal with could be addressed instead of just the symptoms.
Scott was diagnosed with having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the result of being involved in a fatal shooting when he was a young strip-club bouncer and before he got into pro wrestling in the early ’80s. The shooting occurred at a Doll House location on Orange Blossom Trail in Florida when an armed man with a lengthy police record took issue with an unarmed Scott Hall over a woman and the two fought for the weapon.
Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon, in full character.
The assailant was shot in the head at close range with the high caliber handgun. The results were obviously gruesome and unforgettable and as Scott described, "brutal."
After three days in jail, Hall saw the charges dropped but he and the woman lasted eight years together. All the while "Scott suppressed his guilt" and the trauma of killing another man, moving to Tampa and joining every gym in town to find out where the wrestlers worked out so that he could make contacts in hopes of following his dream of being a pro grappler.
During the days leading to finally getting into the wrestling business, Hall contemplated suicide but his strong Roman Catholic upbringing would never allow him to see that plan through. He did not want to "go to Hell and that’s where I thought suicide victims went. I was afraid of Hell."
"I always wanted to be a main eventer in pro wrestling. I lived my dream but the excess of the ’80s and the huge money of the ’90s became a great temptation for many of us.
"After working in a main event, on the advice of one of my peers, I took my downers, Xanax was my drug of choice, before I stopped sweating and got into the showers. Then I’d have a few beers on the drive to the hotel and then hit the rack to make that 6 a.m. flight. Some nights we wouldn’t go to bed at all and hit the hotel bar and then hit a diner, eat and then get to the airport to sleep on the plane," Hall shared.
Hall eventually found answers with Page and Roberts and via psychotherapy.
"To anyone that will listen, I honestly tell them that there are people that can help you. Find some professional that you connect with and go for it. Ignoring the problem, the real problem, did not work for me nor do I recommend it to anyone else," the 56-year-old father of two said. "If you click with your therapist then they can help you,
To anyone that will listen, I honestly tell them that there are people that can help you. Find some professional that you connect with and go for it.
"I had the inability to ask for help when I needed it. People offered to help me but I refused. They’d ask ‘How are you?’ and I’d answer, ‘Better than you.’ "
What was the reason for the turnaround?
"I finally had the courage and the clarity to forgive myself," he said. "I had lied to myself for years. I couldn’t keep a promise to myself, for instance like saying, ‘I’m not drinking today’ and a couple of hours later I’m drinking heavily. Forgiving myself has been the best thing to happen to me. "
When we spoke, Hall told me that he had not had a drink "today" and that his goal was to make it to dinner time.
He attended WWE’s SummerSlam weekend and said that he had a blast. He felt alive again.
"When I stay clear-headed, my phone rings and people want to utilize me or be around me," Hall said from his home in Atlanta.
To make sure that he did not waver in Brooklyn, the site of SummerSlam, Hall took Antabuse, which makes one deathly ill when mixed with alcohol. Hall told me that he "hated being sick even more than he used to enjoy drinking" so the medication is an effective deterrent when he thinks he might be venturing into a danger zone.
I had lied to myself for years. I couldn’t keep a promise to myself for instance like saying, ‘I’m not drinking today’ and a couple of hours later I’m drinking heavily. Forgiving myself has been the best thing to happen to me.
Hall is widely recognized as one of the brightest "wrestling minds" out there and it’s easy to see that when he is clean and sober or "clear-headed," as he described it, why the former Razor Ramon would be in demand. He shared some of his observations on the current state of the genre including these gems: "Wresting is still about winning and losing. It’s that simple. All the titles must mean something. They have to be special. The business is still all about, I’m better than you and I’m going to prove it."
Simple, timeless logic from one of the best in the squared circle. A great mind that still has much to give his life’s work.
We reminisced about the famous Madison Square Garden Curtain Call the last night that Hall and Kevin Nash were in the WWE before leaving to join WCW, which evolved into the Monday Night Wars.
Hall remembered Shawn Michaels coming into Vince McMahon’s office at the Garden and saying after Hall had lost to HHH and prior to HBK beating Diesel inside a steel cage that Shawn wanted all his friends to join him in the ring for a farewell. McMahon asked Shawn if doing this was important to him and Shawn said yes, leading McMahon to say, according to Hall, fine then make it happen.
Hall admits that McMahon may have not been prepared for the "fallout" of many other talents in the locker room who did not agree with the "Curtain Call" that cost HHH a possible Rumble and/or King of the Ring victory but facilitated Steve Austin to winning the KOR and started a roll that became the stuff of legend in the business.
"It was all a strange coincidence," Hall said. "HHH got punished but he steered the course and look at him now. Austin did not approve of the Curtain Call but by coincidence he got a major break and he made the most of it. I think that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous."
Hall lives his life with a series of short-term goals, fighting every day to remain clean and sober knowing that he could stumble again but if he does he’s not going to beat himself up. He’ll simply get up, dust himself off and start over again.
He wants his legacy to be that of being the father of pro wrestler Cody Hall, who’s currently learning his trade in New Japan Pro Wrestling as a 6-foot-7, 260-pound newcomer and the father of Cassidy, an outstanding, college student with aspirations of becoming a nurse.
"I love the wrestling business, but my Mom never named me Razor," he said. "That I did with the blessing of Vince McMahon but, at the end of the day, the wrestling business was always essentially about the money and the miles. My most important legacy is being a good father to my two children."
"My life is like driving down a road. I occasionally glance in the rearview mirror but I’m not focused on the past or looking back anymore. That’s why the windshield is bigger than the review view mirror. I prefer to look ahead, make my short term goals, and focus on today. I’m where I’m supposed to be but not where I want to be. Thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK and I’m on my way one day at a time. Help awaits everyone if they truly want it."
(Scott Hall can be reached for booking information via Twitter @ScottHallNWO or emailing him at Scott@Razor4Life.com.)