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Scott Hall

Scott Hall

At 6-foot-4 and chiseled at a legitimate 270 pounds, Scott Hall was destined to be a success in 1980s pro wresting right from the get-go. But it took him some time to find the character that would make him one of most instantly-recognizable performers in the game.

Hallís career began under the tutelage of the infamous Hiro Matsuda, who had a fearsome reputation for pushing wrestling newcomers to their physical limits. Having moved from Chuluota, Florida to Miami with wrestling on his mind, Hall joined every gym around in the hope of picking up advice from many of the wrestlers who worked out in the city. But a chance meeting with Barry Windham at a grocery store gave the then 26-year-old the break he was hoping for, as Windham showed him the ropes, setting Hall on the road to his first career program in the CWF (Championship Wrestling from Florida) with Dusty Rhodes. While working for Jim Crockett Promotions, he also formed an imposing team with Dan Spivey, collectively known as American Starship.

Hallís first successful run in wrestling was with the AWA in 1985, where he -- thanks to the musings of "Lord" James Blears -- took up the moniker of "Magnum" Scott Hall, playing off the fame of the Tom Selleck TV character. With his tremendous size and natural charisma, Verne Gagne saw Hall as a potential superstar in the making, and teamed him with Curt Hennig in a combination that won the AWA Tag Team Titles from Jimmy Garvin and (the American) Steve Regal on January 18, 1986. Bizarrely, in a time before such bizarre stipulations became commonplace, they lost the titles via countout to Buddy Rose and Doug Somers on May 17 of the same year.

Hall returned to his old stomping ground in 1989, although by this time Jim Crockett Promotions had been replaced by World Championship Wrestling. He did not have much of a chance to show off his extra years of experience, however, as his only pay-per-view appearance was on the undercard of Ric Flair vs Terry Funk at the Great American Bash 1989. With no apparent opportunities on the horizon, he went to work for Otto Wanz in Austria, and then the WWC in Puerto Rico (where he was a short-term Heavyweight champion) before returning to WCW as "The Diamond Studd", using much the same look as heíd become famous for.

Initially a bodyguard for Diamond Dallas Page, the latter soon became Hallís manager. At Clash of the Champions XV, Hall defeated former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Tommy Rich in his gimmickís wrestling debut, and was then involved in the unintentionally comedic "Chamber of Horrors" match at Halloween Havoc 1991, where he teamed with Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, and Big Van Vader to lose to The Steiner Brothers, El Gigante, and Sting. When he lost to Tom Zenk three weeks later at Clash, it seemed to spell the end of any illusions of WCW grandeur.

In 1992, Hall appeared on WWF TV in a series of vignettes, and was now named Razor Ramon -- a surname that was suggested to him by Tito Santana. He debuted in the ring on the August 8 edition of Superstars, and it wasnít long before he was in the main event mix, as the company prepared for the Survivor Series pay-per-view, in which Hall and Ric Flair ultimately lost via DQ to Randy Savage and the returning "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig (a replacement for the recently-fired Ultimate Warrior).

While Flair left for WCW in January 1993, Hall received a WWF Title shot at Bret Hart at the Royal Rumble. Though he was unsuccessful, his performance solidified him as a star in the eyes of the fans, and after he shockingly lost to The Lightning Kid (Sean Waltman) on May 17 edition of Monday Night Raw, the seeds were sewn for a babyface run, which began with a defeat of Ted DiBiase at Summerslam.

After jointly winning a battle royal with "The Model" Rick Martel in October, Ramon won his first major singles gold by defeating the former AWA World Heavyweight champion on the following weekís edition of Raw. He then feuded with IRS, whom he defeated at the Royal Rumble, and then Shawn Michaels, who claimed that he was the real Intercontinental champion, having been stripped of the title for a drugs offence the previous year.

This set up one of the most famous match in modern WWF history, Wrestlemania Xís Ladder contest, the first match of its kind on WWF pay-per-view. Considered an outstanding match at the time, Hallís win was soon overshadowed by Michaelsí interference in a TV taping defence against Diesel (Kevin Nash), which caused him to drop the title.

After losing to Owen Hart in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament in June, Hall regained the Intercontinental Title from Diesel at Summerslam, during which he had the late football star Walter Payton in his corner. Hall held the strap until 1995ís Royal Rumble, where he lost to Jeff Jarrett. He then took the title from, and lost it back to, Jarrett within a three-day period in May, at which point there seemed to be few natural programs for him to be involved in. This turned into an advantage, however, when he was re-matched with Michaels, again in a Ladder match, at Summerslam in August. The re-match has stood the test of time much more effectively than its predecessor, and even in defeat, remains probably the best bout of Hallís entire career.

After a short-lived feud with Dean Douglas (Shane Douglas), during which he won the Intercontinental Title for a fourth time in October, Hallís attention turned to Goldust (Dustin Runnels), whose controversial gimmick saw him act like he had a crush on "The Bad Guy". At 1996ís Royal Rumble, Goldust defeated Hall for the IC Title, with a little help from the newly-turned heel 1-2-3 Kid.

Shortly afterwards, Hall gave his six-week notice to the company, informing them that he intended to take up an offer from WCW. Contentiously, he was then handed a drug suspension, and was not seen until In Your House 7, where he lost to Vader. His last noteworthy appearance for the company was at a house show at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1996, where he, Nash, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H broke character and celebrated together in the ring after Michaels had defeated Nash.

Despite all of the success in the WWF, Hall will likely be best remembered among wrestling fans for his work with the NWO (New World Order) faction in WCW. This began with Hall appearing unannounced on Monday Nitro on May 27, talking on the microphone in a manner which led some viewers to believe that he was representing the WWF in a turf war with WCW. He was then joined in the following weeks by Kevin Nash, and in July by Hulk Hogan, who turned heel for the first time since his meteoric rise to WWF prominence during the main event tag team match at Bash at the Beach.

Hall and Nash (using their real names in their WCW tenure) defeated Harlem Heat for their first WCW Tag Team Championship at Halloween Havoc, and it was a title that they would hold a further four times, as new NWO power-broker Eric Bischoff would return the belts to the team after defeats to the likes of the Steiner Brothers (January 1997) and Lex Luger & The Giant (February 1997).

With Nash and Syxx (Sean Waltman) injured in the latter half of 1997, Hall wrestled predominantly in singles competition, losing to Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc. He did, however, rebound to win the World War 3 battle royal in November, which belatedly earned him a shot at the WCW World Title in March 1998, although he lost to Sting.

After the bout with Sting, Hall took a hiatus from WCW, thought to be an attempt to help him clean up the drug and alcohol addictions that had begun to take a hold of him since joining WCW. During this time, the NWO had split into the Black & White and Wolfpac factions, with Nash leading the latter, and even though Hall had been away from the promotion for several months, he and Nash remained the Tag Team champions. That all changed, however, at Slamboree 1998, when Hall turned on Nash. "Big Sexy" was fooled again on the July 13 edition of Nitro, when Hall wrestled Hollywood Hogan, only to side once again with the Black & White when Nash interfered against Hogan.

After winning the Tag Team Titles for a fourth time (this time with the Giant) one week later, Hall wasnít around to drop the title, due to more addiction problems. Sadly, real-life and storyline soon became entangled, as WCW aired vignettes showing an "inebriated" Hall, while in October, Hallís real-life ex-wife Dana wrote an open letter of appeal to give her husband the help that he needed.

Hall wrestled Nash at Halloween Havoc 1998, with the interesting finish that after two Jackknife powerbombs, Nash walked away from the match, losing via count-out, apparently as a an act of mercy for his former friend. Hall was soon kicked out of the Black & White, but when he threatened to get revenge by taking on Scott Steiner and Horace Hogan by his lonesome, Nash emerged to fill the void, helping the reunited duo to win the match.

Nash was then the catalyst for Nash to end Goldbergís undefeated streak at Starrcade 1998, as he used a stun-gun to subdue the former NFL footballer before Nash grabbed the pinfall. In January 1999, Goldberg got his revenge at the Souled Out PPV in a Ladder Taser match, but then at Superbrawl, Hall defeated Roddy Piper to claim the United States title. He was forced to rescind the title, however, when a foot injury kept him out of the picture for eight months. When he did return, however, he defeated Goldberg, Bret Hart, and Sid Vicious to win back that same U.S Title.

Two weeks later, he won the Television title from Rick Steiner, when Steiner was unable to defend the title due to injury. In a baffling decision, Hall claimed he had no interest in the TV title, and when he unsuccessfully tried to give it to Kevin Nash, he threw it in the trash instead.

With a further injury, this time a knee problem, Hall was stripped of the U.S Title, which was then taken up by Chris Benoit. When Hall did return, in December, he teamed with Nash once again to win the Tag Team Titles, this time from Bret Hart and Goldberg, but this didnít last long, as incredibly, Hall was stripped of the title yet again, because of his addiction issues. After Superbrawl X, in which Hall and Jeff Jarrett lost a three-way match to Sid Vicious, he did not return to WCW television.

After lacklustre stints in Extreme Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Dusty Rhodesí short-lived Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, Hall rebounded somewhat when the NWO returned, this time in the WWF, in 2002. At No Way Out, in February, the NWO cost "Stone Cold" Steve Austin the Undisputed Heavyweight championship against Chris Jericho, and subsequently, Hall lost to Austin at Wrestlemania. After feuding with Bradshaw (later JBL), he was released from his contract after the infamous "flight from hell", after which Curt Hennig was also fired.

Since 2002, Hall was appeared fleetingly with TNA Wrestling, including competing on their first pay-per-view event. After seemingly cleaning up his personal issues, he no-showed the TNA Turning Point PPV in 2007, which again brought up questions as to his attitude and personal demons. Hall was also shown prominently in the crowd at the same event the following year, but he was later asked to leave the ringside area, as he was distracting fans from the ongoing matches.

-- compiled by Brian Elliott

SCOTT HALL STORIES

  • Oct. 16, 2013: Family now comes first for a sober Scott Hall
  • May 4, 2012: Charges dropped against Scott Hall
  • Oct. 18, 2011: Scott Hall documentary gets remarkable access
  • May 12, 2002: Hall, Hennig and F are out
  • Feb 22, 2002: WWF return a test for Hall
  • Jan. 17, 2002: Jim Ross on Hogan, Nash & Hall, brand split
  • Jan. 11, 2002: Jim Ross on Hall & Nash rumours
  • Feb 23, 2001: Hall to return in Japan
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