Whether you know him by the chiselled and machismo-filled Razor Ramon or as the badass and smug Outsider of the NWO, Scott Hall has left an undeniable imprint upon the wrestling industry, the likes of which we feel the ripples of to this very day.
Putting in the work during the 1980s, Hall would be catapulted to stardom in the 90s with the introduction of the Cuban-American Razor Ramon, inspired by the characters of Tony Montana and Manny Ribera from the iconic film, Scarface.
He wanted the world and everything in it, so he seized it. Flicking toothpicks at any who stood in his way, The Bad Guy accumulated a plethora of classic matches, like Bret Hart at the 1993 Royal Rumble, Bob Backlund at WrestleMania IX, and a memorable feud with 1-2-3 Kid that inevitably led to Ramon gaining respect for the rookie.
As if he wasn’t already on a hot streak as a star, Ramon would soon see himself and The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels in the WWF’s second ever Ladder Match, a gimmick that lives on in wrestling today. And they ran it back again that same year in an equally incredible bout in during Summerslam.
Already a made man, Hall’s character grew and grew, putting over newcomers including Goldust and Vader, before leaving WWE in 1996 the company. With fellow departee Kevin Nash (aka Diesel), the two said goodbye to fellow Kliq members Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Shawn Michaels in the middle of the ring following the end of a taping.
What a memorable debut Scott Hall made, when he slithered through the crowd on May 27, 1996, climbing into the ring and declaring war on WCW, hell immediately following him.
I love this debut. Making your way through the crowd, defiant of the usual entrance expected of wrestlers, he made a statement. Surfing through the crowd, amid a wall of sound. The Shield did it in WWE, Jon Moxley does it in AEW. But The Bad Guy did it first, and did it best.
Big Sexy Kevin Nash would join him, and declared they were not alone. One of WCW’s own would join them at that year’s Bash at the Beach, but they would never say who, until HulkaMania became Hollywood, thus creating the New World Order, a spiritual predecessor in many ways to today’s Bullet Club. When you’re in Bullet Club or the NWO, you’re in it for life, and that’s Too Sweet!
One of the best builds in wrestling history, the rise of the NWO was unforgettable. We saw Sting become more than a man. A myth, as the bright and colorful paint bled into black and white and he swore vengeance upon the poison that would drain the soul out of WCW. It was sacred ground, now polluted.
Sting’s new appearance, inspired by The Crow, was suggested by Scott Hall himself (not wanting any credit). This look would last decades, iconic in its own way.
I myself will never forget Scott Hall. Slicked up hair, dripping in charisma, and exuding confidence, he was the definition of cool. When I wasn’t busy being a fan of Bret Hart, I wanted to be a Bad Guy. Those two were my immediate choices when playing the SNES videogames that WWF released in my childhood. Usually, this was followed by me begging my brother to let me win because I was a five year old with a goopy-goblin brain that had the coordination and video game skills of a lobotomized chimpanzee.
I still do a horrible impression of him (but at least I can flick toothpicks and do that jumping thing he does, you know the one). At the sound of screeching tires my thoughts are immediately on him, like breaking glass signifying Steve Austin or a coin flip summoning Kazuchika Okada.
Hall had that air to him, inhaling excellence and exhaling magnificence. He gave as much to the industry as he took and walked a great path in doing so, paving it for many to follow. He had the character and the means to back that character up; larger than life, yet felt real where it counts.
Scott Hall leaves behind him a helluva career, indelible memories, and was at the forefront of instances that revolutionized the industry, leading on the razor’s edge.
He also leaves behind loved ones who will live to share his tales and share the man he was. His family and his friends. The peers he shared the road with. And the fans who were magnetized for decades to him through times good and bad. Hell, he’s even a pop culture icon in his own right, whether it’s your friends rocking an NWO shirt or Drake wearing one of Razor Ramon.
Scott Hall was a driver and a fighter behind the scenes, in ways we didn’t know. He had flaws like the rest of us. Demons. Soon, he lost control of the wheel. These battles leave their own scars on us, and it is up to us to treat them. In the end, Hall had help in getting his life on track and he fought like hell to maintain it. Etched into his soul, he carried that as he got back in the car, put the petal to the metal and left tracks from his screeching tires as he took the road he once knew.
I wish this hadn’t been written under the current circumstances. I’m having a hard enough time penning this as is, hours after the announcement of his departure. I can’t even fathom the pain and heartbreak those close to him are feeling.
Yet, with the hole he’s leaving in the industry, one can only sit back and admire the sheer impact left by Scott Hall. One can only hope to mold the world of a fictional medium like he did. As we say good night to the Bad Guy, we’ve got to hold on to these things.
In times where once again there is a divide between promotions, we need to unite as fans in his memory. Whatever you watch, grieve and celebrate of the life of a giant that influenced this thing of ours. Scott Hall and Razor Ramon was one many of us grew up watching or grew old watching. And we’ll carry those memories as the sparks he started spread into a blazing fire.
Undying forever until humanity’s twilight, the work Scott Hall put in will be immortalized in time eternal.
After all, bad times don’t last forever, but bad guys do.