“I have been preparing for Scott’s death for the last year and a half”
Sean “X-Pac” Waltman – 2011.
Is that statement not one of the saddest things a human can ever have to say about one of his lifelong best friends? In late 2011 ESPN put together a fantastic yet haunting documentary looking at one of the saddest stories in the history of professional wrestling. That story is the career of Scott Hall; a man who is losing a life long battle with his personal demons.
Last summer a small time promoter for independent wrestling company ‘top rope promotions’, Steve Ricard, gained notoriety amongst the wrestling community for making a “business decision” that showed the world how far Scott has fallen. Scott Hall had been dismissed from hospital that morning after suffering from seizures, got loaded up on a cocktail of enough prescription medication to finish him off then travelled to the small show he was booked on. Scott hall couldn’t talk or stand up of his own accord yet the promoter made the decision to send the former superstar to the ring so as to have to refund the ticket money to the fans in attendance.
Scott Hall was one of the biggest superstars of the 90’s. From his legendary ladder matches, as Razor Ramon, with Shawn Michaels in the (then) WWF to his invasion of WCW and formation of the NWO – Scott Hall was, in his prime, one of the biggest wrestling stars in the world. So after watching the EPSN documentary on Scott I couldn’t get the image of how frail he looks out of my mind with the words of his best friend saying he is waiting for him to die ringing through me head. How did this happen, I asked myself? How did Scott Hall fall so far? I decided to do some investigating and came across a story that most wrestling fans may have never heard.
So before I began my investigation, I thought back to my experience of following Razor’s career and recalled a time during the late 90’s, probably 1998 or 1999, when Scott Hall would often be missing from WCW television for weeks, even months at a time. Around this time it wasn’t uncommon for Scott’s drinking habits to be alluded to, or even flat out ridiculed on WCW television, and that is where the demise of Scott Hall seemed to begin. WCW was at this time beating the WWF in the Monday night wars ratings battle and was making 100’s of millions of dollars in revenue each year. Now, if I was a businessman running a global company, paying an employee millions of dollars to perform each week, I would ensure that he either stayed sober or I would cut my losses and fire the employee. Why would WCW pay Scott Hall an unsustainably-high contract while allowing him to become addicted to drugs and alcohol? It just didn’t make any sense. And that is where I found the answer.
In 1996 WCW managed to secure contracts with two of the WWF’s biggest stars, Razor Ramon and Diesel (Real Names Scott Hall and Kevin Nash). As the story would pan out on WCW television, Hall and Nash presented themselves as invading the WCW from another company, implying, without ever actually saying, the WWF. So what WCW was doing was presenting Hall and Nash as actually being their former characters, Razor and Diesel (again, without ever saying their names) that were real life invaders from the WWF. At this point Vince McMahon filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit for theft of intellectual properties owned by Titan Sports (the WWF) going into such detail as “use of a Cuban accent” referring to Scott Hall’s kayfabe accent.
Now, this lawsuit between Titan Sport and Ted Turner’s Turner Entertainment continued for many years, during which time Scott Hall was getting himself into trouble backstage. Scott would often get too drunk to be able to perform, or take something that would put others in jeopardy, in a nutshell living the ‘sex, drugs & rock and roll’ lifestyle. Scott Hall would often joke around backstage that he could never, ever, be fire from WCW, no matter what he did, because he was the key witness in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. If this was indeed true then if WCW fired Scott Hall, they would run the risk of him testifying against WCW, and WWF winning this lawsuit.
The lawsuit ran up until 2000 when WCW decided to settle out of court and agreement is made whereby WCW pay the WWF a large sum of money as well as Vince McMahon being given first refusal if WCW is ever sold. What this meant was that if WCW ever went into liquidation and another investor made an offer to buy the company, Vince McMahon would then be given the right to buy it for the same price first. On a side note, this is how Vince McMahon managed to but WCW, a company making over 100 million dollars 2 years earlier, for around 4.5 million dollars in 2001. At this point, when the deal was finally made in late 2000, Scott Hall was immediately fired on the very same day. By this point Scott Hall had been getting away with his lifestyle choices for 4 years and I feel the damage had already been done.
Ultimately everyone is accountable for their own actions. Scott Hall has made some very bad life choices, in my opinion, however a feel being in a position where you are given star treatment by your employer, given millions of dollars per year and knowing you can never be sacked – add to the a passion for excess and it is only going to go one way. I really hope Scott Hall can defeat his demons, and would one day love to see him sober and stable, but unfortunately it seems that it is too late.
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Much Love – Rich x