I’m not going to bother suggesting anything else this week. Over the weekend, news broke that Scott Hall has suffered three heart attacks due to complications after hip replacement surgery. On Monday, Hall was taken off of life support and passed away later that night. Today we are going to be looking at some different parts of Hall’s career and what made him the legend that he is.
We’ll start with the big stuff, and by that I mean what Hall could do in the ring. He was a bigger guy in the Drew McIntyre size range and could work against anyone from Bret Hart or Undertaker, making him a very versatile star. That is the kind of thing that let him do all kinds of things against a variety of opponents and that was the case throughout almost all of his career.
That was on display with the ladder matches against Shawn Michaels, both of which completely paved the way for ladder matches for years to come. Hall and Michaels had some of the most amazing matches ever, with the first being all about a spectacle and the second being more of a traditional ladder match. So many younger wrestlers or future wrestlers looked up at them and were heavily inspired by the matches, which are still talked about today.
Now that being said, the question becomes which one was better. The first and more famous from WrestleMania 10 was about the drama of pulling down the titles, but the second was the usual spot fest that happened to be between a pair of outstanding wrestlers. The Summerslam match might be that much better, but it isn’t like you could go wrong either way. Or just go watch both of them and have a really good forty five minutes or so because both of them are instant classics.
You would think that would be the kind of a pair of matches that would put Hall into the main event scene at some point, but that was never the case. One of the most interesting things about Hall is the fact that he never got to the World Title scene. Outside of maybe a house show or dark match, Hall would have a grand total of three World Title shots in his career: Royal Rumble 1993 against Hart, Uncensored 1998 against Sting and SuperBrawl 2000 against Sid and Jeff Jarrett.
Not only was Hall not a World Title contender, but he was almost never in contention to get a title shot. Believe it or not, Hall was never actually in the Royal Rumble match. Instead, he had the shot at Hart in 1993 and then he was in an Intercontinental Title match from 1994-1996, with no other appearances on the show.
That was one of the interesting things about Hall and it made him seem all the more unique: he was a career midcard/upper midcard guy. For some reason, Hall seemed to be perfectly fine as a tag or midcard wrestler, as he was a big deal in the NWO, but also the first ever four time Intercontinental Champion. He would win a few singles titles in WCW, but seven Tag Team Titles, mainly as part of the Outsiders (we’ll get there). It never would have been a stretch for him to be in the World Title picture and I’m really not sure why he didn’t get there (save for maybe worries about his substance abuse issues).
There is one other match that deserves some attention though and it is not exactly a competitive one. While Hall is known for the moment that really made Monday Nitro feel must see, he did the same thing on Monday Night Raw. Back on May 17, 1993, Hall, as Razor Ramon, was set to squash the Kid, who had lost every match he had been in while changing his name every week (you can see the Kamikaze Kid name on his gear in the match). That kind of squash was the core of Monday Night Raw back in the day so this was nothing out of the ordinary.
Then the Kid hit a moonsault press to pin Ramon out of nowhere in a short match Ramon lost, and he lost 100% clean. That was the spark that Monday Night Raw had been looking for, as it was instantly must see TV and no longer that other show besides Superstars. The buzz was because you saw a big star lose a match that he would never lose, and it made the Kid’s career as a result. It might be the biggest upset in wrestling history (certainly in Monday Night Raw history) and it is the kind of thing that doesn’t get enough credit on Hall’s resume.
Then you have the big moment for Hall, who jumped the barricade on the May 27, 1996 edition of WCW Monday Nitro. You instantly know this was going to be a big deal, as that wasn’t some guy who hadn’t been around in a long time (Yes he was the Diamond Stud in WCW five years earlier, but who in the world remembered/cared about that?). This was Razor Ramon coming into WCW after being a WWF mainstay for so long. That’s a big reason why it worked, but there was one other thing that made it such a success.
In a word, Hall was cool. He was that guy that could make anything work because you believed him. Look back at the original Ramon vignettes of him on the streets of Miami. Not only did you instantly get the idea of the character, but you knew what to expect from him. This was someone who made you pay attention (or commanded your attention rather than demanded it, as Hall said Vince McMahon taught him) and so much of that was the attitude.
The idea of Ramon was that he was dripping with machismo (an idea that I bought into so much that the five year old version of me thought that the razors on RAZOR’S trunks were bricks of machismo, which for some reason I thought was some cheese like substance) and that is exactly how he came off. Hall was the same way in WCW (so much so that it led to a big lawsuit which eventually led to the WWF buying WCW) and you could feel it when you watched him. Hulk Hogan wasn’t going to have it, and that is why Hall was the perfect choice for the first guy to jump.
There were also the little things about Hall that made him feel a little different than most. You could go to that walk of his, the toothpick, the spooky fingers (which I have gotten all kinds of mileage of over the years) or the cool pose to go with the awesome WWF pyro, but there was always something about Hall that made you take notice and want to cheer for him. Is it any surprise that he was never close to anything resembling the bottom of the card after his WWF debut?
Finally, Hall had quite the mind for the business and I was always curious to see what he could have done with some booking authority. He is rumored to have come up with three ideas that were kind of game changers (telling Michaels “just use the kick”, coming up with the Ramon character on the fly, and telling Sting about the movie the Crow, which had a guy in black and white face paint (Hall: “I’m not saying rip off Taker, but rip off Taker.”)). That is the kind of mind that could have been influential backstage, and it is kind of a shame that he never got the chance to prove it.
Maybe it’s the fact that I watched him while I was growing up (or that we have the same last name) but this one hurts a lot. While he was never the top star of any promotion, Hall was one of the bigger names of his era. He was around for some of the most important and influential times in modern wrestling history and it was shocking to see him go. There is a lot of stuff of his to see and some of his good stuff is absolutely exceptional. Hall was a lot of things, but in wrestling, he was certainly not one of the bad guys.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books
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