Scott Hall left an indelible mark on the professional wrestling business.
The legendary co-founder of the nWo died on Monday at the age of 63, after suffering several heart attacks over the weekend following complications from hip surgery, WWE announced.
“WWE extends its condolences to Hall’s family, friends and fans,” the company said in a statement.
Hall came up through the regional territory system in the late 1980s and early 90s, wrestling for the NWA, Jim Crockett Promotions, the AWA and elsewhere.
He eventually got to the WWE (then the WWF) in 1992, and gained national prominence wrestling under the name Razor Ramon with a “bad guy” Cuban gimmick partially inspired by Al Pacino’s character from “Scarface”.
In a 2017 interview, Hall recalled that Vince McMahon originally pitched a military gimmick as Hall’s father had been in the Army, but Hall countered with the Razor Ramon gimmick — which had some similarities to his “Diamond Stud” persona from WCW — and McMahon signed off on it despite allegedly never having seen “Scarface”.
Hall got a quick push with the company and ultimately became the four-time Intercontinental champion, a title that has historically been won by wrestlers as a stepping stone to superstardom.
Perhaps the most significant moment in Hall’s initial WWF run was his ladder match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X in 1994, which is considered by many observers of the business to be one of the greatest wrestling matches of all-time.
Hall was part of one of wrestling’s most infamous moments — the “Curtain Call” — when he, Michaels, Triple H and Kevin Nash broke kayfabe and hugged each other in the ring after a show at Madison Square Garden in May 1996 with Hall and Nash on the verge of making the jump to WCW .
On May 27, 1996 Hall would begin one of the most legendary angles in the history of pro wrestling, interrupting a random match on “WCW Monday Nitro” between The Mauler and Steve Doll and saying, “You people know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here.”
Hall promised WCW commentators Bobby Heenan and Eric Bischoff — who, in the surreal world of wrestling, was also in charge of the show and signing Hall away from WWF — a war.
Nash followed Hall onto the program two weeks later, and they became known as The Outsiders. For the Bash at the Beach pay-per-view in the summer of 1996, they promised a mystery partner in their match against Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Sting and Lex Luger. The third man was Hulk Hogan, who to the astonishment of everyone in the audience had turned heel, and the New World Order was born.
The piping-hot nWo angle propelled Nitro to a 83 consecutive weeks of victory in the television ratings over the WWF’s “Monday Night Raw” during the fabled “Monday Night Wars.” It lasted until combination of ego, excess and the Time Warner-AOL merger on WCW’s side and cutting edge performances from wrestlers like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and a number of others during WWF’s “Attitude Era” turned the scales back.
Hall was respected by other wrestlers as having a great mind for the business. He planted the seed for Sting’s crow persona that led to a huge WCW angle between The Icon and the nWo in 1997. Hall was also a savvy political operator. He was a member of the infamous ‘kliq’ with Nash, Michaels, Triple H (Paul Levesque) and X-Pac (Sean Waltman), a group of close friends said to wield political clout backstage.
Hall, like many larger-than-life performers both inside and outside the wrestling industry in the 20th Century, lived a hard, fast lifestyle in his heyday. He publicly battled drug and alcohol addiction, and health issues that arose after the toll that substances and the pro wrestling business took on his body. Hall turned his life around in 2013 with the help of friend Diamond Dallas Page in 2013. He is two-time WWE Hall of Famer, having been inducted individually and later as a member of the nWo.
“He wasn’t perfect but as he always said ‘The last perfect person to walk the planet they nailed to a cross,’” his close friend Kevin Nash wrote on Instagram early Monday.
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