Scott Hall Interview
Scott Hall has had one of the most storied careers both inside and outside of the squared circle.
Hall is known for his tenure in WWF during the early nineties as Razor Ramon where he was a four-time Intercontinental Champion and along with Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels and Triple H a member of the KLIQ.
The 54-year-old from St. Mary’s County, Maryland along with Nash went to WCW, joined forces with Hulk Hogan to become the founding members of the NWO. During his time in WCW Hall was a seven-time World Tag Team Champion, two-time United States Champion and a one-time Television Champion.
Hall, Nash and Hogan returned to the WWE in 2002 as the NWO in the build up to WrestleMania X8 where Hall wrestled Stone Cold Steve Austin.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Hall as he has battled addictions with alcohol and drugs, but he seems to be on the right path thanks to Diamond Dallas Page and DDP Yoga.
We caught up with ‘The Bad Guy’ to talk about how DDP Yoga is changing his life, how DDP helped create his wrestling persona, the curtain call incident involving the KLIQ at Madison Square Garden, being a founding member of the NWO and much more.
You have been doing DDP Yoga for a while now, what has it been like for you and how has it changed your life?
I’m staying at the ‘Accountability Crib’ with Dallas in Atlanta, and my son Cody who is 21-years old, Dallas invited him to come and join us here, and he’s just breaking into the wrestling business so that has been great. I’ve known Dallas for a long time, over 20 years, and it’s been great what he’s done for me.
Dallas is a truly unique individual, he legitimately and sincerely cares about other people. He really enjoys helping other people and here at the crib four or five times a week people will come in, we’ll move the furniture out of the way in the living room, spread the yoga mats out and Dally either personally leads a group of people in a workout or they throw one of the DVD’s up on the TV and they workout to one of Dally’s DDP Yoga videos.
He’s not charging anybody anything, he’s not motivated by money, he genuinely gets high, he gets this fix off helping people. It’s really great to be around this positive environment, because for some reason I was just secluding myself and staying in dark places. Now I feel as though I’ve ventured out into the light and working on my tan. I never had any problems professionally, it was personal life that was a problem for me, professionally I couldn’t have scripted a better life.
Do you remember anything of the original phone conversation you had with Dallas before starting the DDP yoga?
I don’t remember it at all, watching the video back I think it was pretty obvious that I was gone bro. I’ve been in some really dark places in the past but I’m pleased to report that today I’m feeling great and doing good and I’m going on seven months alcohol and pill free.
You have been to rehab on a number of occasions how does DDP Yoga compare to the rehab centres you’ve been to in the past?
I’ve been to twelve high dollar in patient rehabs and I’ve been to several out patient clinics, I’ve done one-on-one therapy with psychiatrists. It’s not like I’ve ever been in denial, I was well aware I had problems for a number of years, over 20 years and nothing was working for me, it was always easy to stop, I just couldn’t stay stopped.
I think I was doing it for the wrong reasons, I was doing it because I couldn’t or I shouldn’t, I was doing it because my family was worried, or my friends were concerned and I was trying to hang on to this fat pay cheque I was getting, and none of that was serving me well. I don’t know what changed for me but lately I don’t want to drink, I don’t want to take pills, in the past and even today if I wanted to I would, but I just don’t want to and that’s a wonderful feeling for me.
Are you enjoying interacting with your fans via social media, Twitter and YouTube etc?
I find it is my way of keeping a journal, I’ve always loved words, I was into journalism as a kid and I went to high school in Munich, Germany and was editor of the school newspaper there. For me learning how to use a computer, and I only have an iPad and I’ve only had that for like a couple of months, so all of this social media is new to me.
What did you make of the overwhelming support you received from the fans to raise money for your hip operation?
I’ve got to admit I’m learning about this whole internet age, I’m 54-years-old, most of my life I’ve been a low tech, redneck guy and I didn’t really know anything about it and didn’t really care and therefore had no way of gauging what kind of interest there was from the fans in me.
I always considered it was what I did and not who I was and I thought once you’re gone, you’re gone and people don’t remember, but I was very flattered that people still knew who I was. It still kind of baffles me and I’m waiting for someone one to tell me it’s just a joke.
I wasn’t comfortable with the whole raising money thing, I’ve never pleaded poverty, I’m just uninsured, I never said I was broke. It was Dallas’ idea and it was great, I’m not insured and the costs would have been huge and all the post op stuff, and I’m really flattered $80,000 was raised in six days, it was just amazing to me, it allowed me to get a first class surgeon, one of the best surgeons available.
I just feel so blessed and to all the fans that contributed thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but I don’t know what else to say. To everyone that invest in the save Scott Hall project, I think you made a good investment and I’m doing to do everything I can to prove that to you.
How did you first get into the sport of professional wrestling?
I feel like I’ve been so blessed, all I ever wanted to do since I was eight-years-old was to be a big time pro wrestler. My father took me and my buddies to a wrestling match for my eighth birthday in Alabama where wrestling was huge. I remember in the main event it was a hair versus hair match, where the loser had to have his hair shaved off. At eight-years-old some of my buddies were saying it was fake, but I was saying it wasn’t fake, I remember running down to the ring and grabbing some of the hair, and it had some of the guys scalp attached where they had shaved it so quickly, I still have the programme from that show at my mothers.
I always thought it was such a cool job, I was attracted to the lifestyle, I loved all the performance aspect but I enjoyed the freedom of it. I guess growing up in army bases and such a rigid and disciplined life, I was attracted to a more carefree kind of life for myself and dreams came true.
Who were some of the wrestlers you enjoyed watching whilst growing up?
When I was 17-years-old, I moved to Orlando, Florida, to be with my buddies and I was a huge fan and it was all I was watching on TV back then was Florida Championship Wrestling. Dusty Rhodes was ‘The Man’ in Florida at the time and he had a huge impact on my life, Dusty started me in wrestling and I always had dusty to go to with questions throughout my career and crossed paths with him several times on the way up.
It was really wonderful for me when the NWO blew up and became such a big deal, Dusty was working for WCW at that time as well, and it was kind of cool to, go look at me now Dusty, you started me and now I’m one of the major players in our industry.
It was great, as I kid I was just scratching at the door trying to get in, to being able to talk to Dusty as peers, so like I said dreams come true.
How did the ‘The Bad Guy’ Razor Ramon image come about?
I remember I was working for a European promoter, a gentleman by the name of Otto Wanz, and his promotion Catch Wrestling Association. I came across a lot of talented guys there and I worked for Otto for three seasons, I hadn’t had any success in the US, I was just working in Europe, Japan and Puerto Rico. Whilst working for Otto I met guys like Fit Finlay and Dave Taylor and they really helped me hone my ring skills.
At that point I had kind of decided that wrestling wasn’t happening for me because I had been in the business for about four years without any real success, making it in the US is kind of the place to make it. I had decided I was going to give up that wrestling dream and get a job working in a warehouse, get married, have kids and have the other riches in life.
I had one more commitment to make, I had to go back to Otto for seven months, by this time I’m married and I have my wife with me, we’re starting a family and when I get back to Florida my wife was seven months pregnant. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have any skills so I called Dally who at the time was managing The Fabulous Freebirds and was play-by-play announcer, and I pitched to him that he was too big to be managing The Freebirds and that he needed someone next to him to make him look small, you need the Diamond Stud, so we did that.
I’ve told this story before but Dally is the kind of guy once you plant a seed in his head he will not sleep, and he called me at 4am. My wife who was pregnant wasn’t best pleased with these late night phone calls, but at 4am Dally was down the phone and he told me I had to have black hair, everybody in the business had blonde hair, then he told me I had to have stubble, and at the time I was rocking this big Village People moustache. I wasn’t quite sure about it, but I was willing to do it and I got a try out and Dusty at the time was the boss, and he liked the new look, my ring skills were always pretty solid but I needed a new look.
Now we fast forward to our first TV taping North Carolina, Diamond Dallas Page and the Diamond Stud and I had my first TV match. After the show Dally and I went to eat at a Waffle House near the arena and we’re paying our tab and there’s a little toothpick dispenser right by the cash register, so Dally said we’ll both have toothpicks as part of our look, my wife was going to be having a baby at anytime and I was just like I’ll do anything, I just need the money.
I was still adjusting to this new look, I was pretty comfortable with the other look I had, but I was just going along with it. When we were doing TV Dally was doing all the talking because he was my manager, and his toothpick fell out, I’ve still got mine. I had been around for a few years now, even though this new look made it seem I was brand new, I waited till that red light came on and I flicked my toothpick at the lens and from that day forward I was the guy with the toothpick.
It’s gone on to serve me pretty well bro, I’ve travelled in airports all over the world and when people approach me, they don’t want to talk about wrestling moves or matches they want me to flick the toothpick at them.
What was it like wrestling Shawn Michaels in the ladder match for the Intercontinental title?
Shawn and I have been friends for 25 years, really close friends, we were in a really small territory called Central State Championship Wrestling and we were in the AWA together in Minneapolis and then we ended up in the WWE together, so we were old buddies and we were travelling together anyway. At that time we were both villains and eventually my character kind of became a babyface because of a little angle I did with the 1-2-3 Kid, I never really changed but all of a sudden people liked me more.
Shawn tested positive on some bogus drugs test so he was stripped of his Intercontinental title and he was sitting at home in Texas and Vince called him and said he was positive on the drugs test and told Shawn to send the belt back but he refused.
There was a battle royal to crown a new IC champ and Rick Martel did me a favour and I won, but Shawn still had his belt so when he came back we were riding together in the car everyday and he still has his belt, I still have my belt and we’re wrestling each other almost every night. We showed up at the arena in California, looked at the card and it was a ladder match, neither one of us had ever been in one, we had no idea what to do, how to entertain these people because we think our regular matches were pretty darn good.
We went out about six night in a row and each night it was a ladder match which is hard on your body. We were both thinking whose idea was this because no one would ever mention anything to us we would just arrive at the arena and see ladder match on the card. I was really glad with the way the match turned out at WrestleMania X, there is nothing better than having a great match at an iconic arena like Madison Square Garden with one of your best friends.
To be honest we had some better matches before WrestleMania, that were non televised because sometime the ladder does some cool stuff, or the ladder would just fall the right way and hit the guy right in the crotch or it will bounce off the rope and do something cool. It’s flattering that people still talk about that match all these years later and it did kind of give birth to all this new breed of matches like TLC and Money in the Bank.
What is the story behind the incident involving the KLIQ at Madison Square Garden?
I had already given my notice, I gave 90 days written notice to Vince (McMahon) that I didn’t want my contact to run over. I didn’t say I was leaving, more on the line of lets talk about new terms and then later Kevin Nash gave his, Kev left a week after me. I figured I’m leaving anyway but I’m still wrestling in the semi main event every night, Kev is in the main event.
It was Diesel and Shawn in the main event and I was wrestling Triple H because Goldust was injured, so they moved Triple H up to that slot, he was brand new to the company and was still kind of doing that rich boy thing and we saw he was a really talented guy and we liked him straight away. We snapped him up really quick because we needed a designated driver.
As far as the infamous curtain call it wasn’t planned, I had my match with hunter and it was one of the best matches I had in my career. Pat Patterson was the booker at the time and he pulled me and Hunter aside, gave us some ideas and we followed them and the match was great. There was an intermission when they set up the cage for Kev and Shawn’s match and Vince told me to meet him in his office in Madison Square Garden and when I was in there talking to him Shawn came strolling in and said after the match he wanted Hunter and myself to come out, and Vince went along with it.
We had permission, it wasn’t some kind of outlaw renegade move to hurt the company, which is what everybody seems to say. For me, I felt the responsibility to go out there and say good bye to the fans at MSG, and thank you for supporting me all of these years. That is the last time the four of us have ever been together at one time.
You and Kevin joined WCW, did you know beforehand the third guy joining the NWO at Bash at the Beach was going to be Hulk Hogan?
Talking with Eric Bischoff, the idea was that we wanted Hulk to do it but at that time Hulk had creative control written in his contract, meaning he didn’t have to do anything that he didn’t want too. Hulk having been a hero his whole career we weren’t sure he would embrace becoming a villain and in fact the night of the PPV Kevin and I went to the ring against Macho Man Randy Savage, god rest his soul, Lex Luger and Sting, and Hulk was on his way to the arena on a private jet because he had been in California filming a movie.
We had never met Hulk, we had never spoken to him over the phone or anything, Bischoff couldn’t reach him because he was in the air, so we weren’t sure if Hulk was even going to do it. We’re in the ring, Hulks not at the building yet and the back up plan was that if Hulk doesn’t come then Sting was going to turn, but I was really happy when Hulks music played because I don’t think it would have been anywhere near as successful without Hulk.
How much fun was it being a part of the NWO for so many years?
I’ve got to admit when I left the WWE I didn’t really want to leave I wanted to talk to Vince about the terms in my contact, it wasn’t as much about money more about if I could have some days off. I was working 25 days a month at that time and it wasn’t like five days off in a row, it was like two and a half at a time.
I lived on the east coast in the US, the tour would usually end in California, the night before you might wrestle in Los Angles. The next day you wake up and it’s your day off and you’re in LA, I’ve got to travel all the way across the US to Florida and that’s six hours out of my day off, then you’ve got one day to romance your wife, try to hang out with your kids and the next day your packing ready to go back on the road, so it was kind of brutal. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t like anybody held a gun to my head and forced me to do it, I wanted to do it but I was just hoping that after working hard for several years, then maybe I could have a few more days off but that wasn’t the way Vince saw it at that time, I asked and he said no.
I had no idea the NWO thing was going to work, I knew I was going to be getting good money, and I knew I would be getting days off. I thought creatively it might not be that satisfying, I had no idea all that stuff was going to work, Kev didn’t know, Hulk didn’t know, Bischoff didn’t know, so it was really pleasing that it blew up like that. In my mind when things happen organically they are way better, with the NWO we were making it up, it was live TV every Monday, sometimes we didn’t know what we were going to do till five minutes before we went on air.
What were some of your highlights in WCW?
I’m not asking for any sympathy because I remember a funny line from Bobby Heenan, he said, ‘if you’re looking for sympathy it’s between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.’ So I’m not asking for sympathy but I suffer from a brain deficit, there not sure if it is from the multiple seizures I’ve had in the last ten years, I led a reckless lifestyle for a long time and then I’ve had multiple concussions from where I’ve been hit on the head a lot, it’s a show but you still get your bell rung.
I suffer from a lot of memory loss and I can’t remember a lot of my career, but that is whats so cool about this internet age. People send me pictures and YouTube clips of matches asking if I remember, most of the time I don’t but I’ll watch and think that was pretty cool or that was fun. It’s hard for me to nail down certain things, everyday I see something new on the internet that I was involved in that I don’t remember.
The fake part of my life was going really well, it was the real part, my personal life where I was struggling. I didn’t have any coping skills, developed sometimes failure is hard to deal with, but people don’t realise sometimes success is hard to deal with. I came from a humble background, I didn’t have much education, I never had any money, so when people threw a huge amount of money at me I didn’t really know how to handle it. I just brought a lot of stuff, I brought people a lot of stuff, I blew a lot, I saved a lot, but I didn’t develop any coping skills along the way to act like an adult, I was like a kid inside a grown mans body.
In 2002 you returned to the WWE with Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan as the NWO, what was it like returning to the WWE after so many years?
At that point both of my kids were living with me, I was divorced by then and I had custody of the kids and I was digging being the stay at home dad, we had a nice house out in the country, my daughter was into horses and my son was into paint ball guns.
When Vince called he said he had been talking to Kev and Hulk, and he said he wanted ‘The Bad Guy’, and we worked out a deal where I just worked 10 days a month and I was well compensated. I remember talking to Kev and Hulk before we went there and then we flew up for a meeting with Vince and we all stayed at the same hotel and he had a conversation over dinner that night talking about if we thought Vince was really going to push the NWO thing, because he didn’t create it and that’s basically admitting Eric Bischoff is smarter than him.
Knowing Vince like I did for those years I just never thought that he’s going to use his TV to promote someone else’s idea and sure enough he didn’t. The angle that was given to us when, Kev, Hulk and I walked in with a big meeting with Vince at Titan Towers in Stamford, Connecticut was that at WrestleMania X8 he wanted me to wrestle Stone Cold Steve Austin with Kev on the outside and Hulk was going to wrestle The Rock. He wanted Hulk to pass the torch to The Rock and for me and Kev to screw Stone Cold, sounded great to me.
That was months prior, the night before the PPV we are summoned to Vince’s hotel suite and he wants to discus finishes for the show the following day. I was thinking I already knew the finish, but now he said he wanted Hulk to pass the torch to Rock and he now wanted Steve to go over, he asked if I minded and I said absolutely not.
At that point I had been being a good boy as well, I wasn’t drinking because I thought it was a great opportunity and at that point I remember looking at Kev and Hulkster and said I’ll meet them in the bar. My kids were living with me, but I didn’t have a female in my life that I really cared about and I was just so frustrated and so lost and again no coping skills, here comes a stressful situation and I’m disappointed and I don’t know how to act. At the time I was like f**k this I’m so out of here and Kev was going at least turn up for the show, at least go to the show, I was going to go and produce the best match I could but I wasn’t going to hang around any longer than that, Kev said we’ll see what happens but it was just downhill from there.
If my fake life isn’t pleasing for me and my personal life is a struggle then why am I travelling all over the world, I might as well be at home in Florida fishing. That’s what happened there, it was a great opportunity but I’ve never been just all about the money, if I’m creatively not satisfied then I don’t want to play.
What was it like working with Steve Austin in the build up to that WrestleMania match?
Steve is one of the biggest stars to ever come along in wrestling history, great guy in and out of the ring. Wrestling Steve was a pleasure, he was so popular and was so much fun and we did great business, every town we went to leading up to WrestleMania we had matches together because we had never wrestled each other before so we began to feel out each other’s timing and see what we wanted to take to WrestleMania.
We wrestled about six or seven times before we got to Mania and when we were added to the card at various towns around the US we sold an additional $100,000 worth of tickets. So that was great and we delivered our part, we gave the people good matches and interviews and entertaining segments, I really enjoyed working with Steve, I just didn’t like being told one thing and having it changed at the last minute.
How would you compare Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff as bosses?
It’s no secret that Vince McMahon comes from a long line of wrestling promoters, his grandfather was a promoter, his father was a promoter and Vince is a promoter, his children are involved in the business, his son in law Triple H is basically running the day-to-day operations of the WWE now and I think he deserves to.
The way I’ll express it is Vince is like your boss, Eric Bischoff is younger, he’s a different kind of cat and he was really hungry at the time when we met him because WCW had not been successful before. He took a gamble laid down some big money and got us in and it worked, then he was able to have more leverage, make more decisions and grow his empire, it was kind of mismanaged in the long run but at the time it was great.
To me Eric is like a guy, he’s like a dude, where as Vince is the boss. I’ve had many ‘f**k you’ conversations with Eric, he was just like one of the guys he wasn’t like a boss.
Do you think we’ll ever see the original members of the NWO inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
I look at it like this, I never really cared that much about any individual accolades, you’ve got to remember it’s not like the fans decide. It’s not based on television ratings or ticket sales or anything like that, it’s a couple of guys sitting around an office in Stamford, Connecticut who determine who goes in the Hall of Fame and who doesn’t.
It doesn’t have that much weight to me, it doesn’t hold a significance for me, it’s not like when this guy was on television the ratings were good, or when he was at house shows he sold this amount of tickets, or when he headlined a PPV it generated this many buys. It’s not anything concrete, it’s just a couple of guys around a table in Connecticut drinking coffee, it’s a popularity contest. It doesn’t really matter to me, I learned early on in the wrestling industry, I never really cared about being popular in the locker-room, I always knew it wasn’t show friends it’s show business.
You’ve had a few spells with TNA, what were your experiences of TNA like?
I was on the very first TNA PPV ever, which was from Birmingham, Alabama and at that time Jeff Jarretts dad Jerry Jarrett was the owner and the boss and I have known Jerry from early on in my wrestling career and I had worked for his wrestling promotion in Tennessee, I have a lot of respect for Jerry Jarrett, he is a really smart guy and I like being around smart people. I jumped at the chance to be near Jerry Jarrett and it was real fun, I only signed a short term contract, something like three shows.
The company then changed hands and I only went back a few times after that to do some stuff with Kev and Sean Waltman. I know Dixie carter who runs TNA now is a wonderful lady and she is passionate about wrestling and I hear that Hulk and Eric have more control over the company now which I think is a good thing because those two guys are proven winners.
You have also wrestled over in Japan what were those experiences like?
After the NWO stuff in WCW I went over to Japan for a while and for me those were some of my happiest times. I did about six or seven tours for NJPW and I really enjoyed that, they were the first ones to ever give me any sort of a break in wrestling and it was kind of cool to go back there all these years later having been successful and being like their boy having turned out to be a big star.
It was great to go back and help the company that helped me and work with some of their young guys, put them over and teach them what I knew about wrestling. The thing I loved the most about Japan aside from being such a beautiful country is that all the drama and political back stabbing and stuff that goes on in the locker-room wasn’t going on over there. Well, it was going on but the Japanese guys were stabbing each other in the back, the locker-room with the foreigners (Americans, Europeans and Mexicans) we were all cool.
I was having a blast, I got my money, was on the road with good people and really enjoyed that, I would wrestle in Japan my whole career if I could do things again.
Your son Cody is following in your footsteps by become a wrestler, what advice have you been giving him?
Well his mother is not to thrilled that he has chosen this career path because she blames wrestling for all the troubles our marriage had and all the problems I’ve had. I’ve never had a real job, I’ve worked at strip clubs and I’ve been a wrestler, so I’ve never had a straight job, I’m not an educated guy, I don’t think college is for everybody.
Cody has no interest in going to college, he’s 6’8″, 268lbs and he’s only 21-years-old, he hasn’t even filled out yet, he’s going to be a monster. He was an amateur wrestler in high school where he was really good, he’s had about seven pro matches, he’s ahead of the curb.
Here at the crib he has got to learn from Jake (Roberts) who is a genius when it comes to wrestling, I didn’t do too badly myself and Dally is the big star. I couldn’t be happier, for me it’s as if I get to live vicariously through Cody now, and it’s going to be so cool to teach him things and watch him travel around the world. I feel like I get to see things again for the first time but through Cody’s eyes, Cody hasn’t ever been to New York City, I can’t wait to roll into New York City with Cody and watch his eyes light up, he’s never been to LA, Chicago, Philly or Boston.
He’s never been anywhere so it’s going to be so cool to travel with Cody, we are already getting a lot of offers where I can go and sign autographs and Cody can wrestle. I’m looking at getting him booked in the UK, Brian Dixon is a big time wrestling promoter in the UK and I’ll like to get Cody ready and then approach Mr. Dixon and we’ll see if he’s interested in taking Cody on. Then we want to hit Japan, get Cody working in Japan and then down the road WWE is obviously every wrestlers goal.
I couldn’t be happier, I have a daughter as well, my daughter Cassidy is 18-years-old and has recently graduated from high school.
Who are some of the current wrestlers that really stand out for you at the moment?
As far a current stars go, I like this kid Fandango, I think he is funny, I think he is a great athlete and I wish him nothing but success. I like the Prime Time Players, particularly Titus O’Neil, the guy is a stud, a great athlete and I expect big things out of him. I’m a Ryback fan, he has the potential to be a huge star, no disrespect to him but at the moment he is a little bit inexperienced, a little bit green is the term we use in the industry.
In my opinion the glare of the spotlight can either make things blossom or that bright light can wilt things, you either blossom or you shrivel up and you die.
I’ve only started watching wrestling again in the last couple of months but I think the business is in good hands, there are some great young hungry guys out there who are going to carry the business forward into the next decade. I know with Triple H running the company he’s a smart guy and he loves the wrestling business, so I think the WWE is in good hands.
Can we expect to see you and Kevin Nash touring doing spoken word shows?
Kev and I have been talking on the phone and he’s already got a lot of stuff lined up because Kev has been hustling the Indy scene while I’ve just been sat at home. We’ve already got some really interesting offers and Kev has talked to some promoters in the UK about lining some things up and were definitely going to do it and we’re going to do it right. Right now the format we’re looking at is kind of like a night with The Outsiders, we’re thinking maybe dinner, followed by a Q&A session, then a photo op and then a signing.
I’m really excited about that because like I said when I’ve spoken to Kev on the phone, I’ll be able to pull my end of the deal. Now that my head is clear I bring a lot to the table and I look forward to meeting fans and I’m just so excited I get another chance for my dreams to come true, I live the kind of life most guys only dream of and I get to do it all over again and I couldn’t be happier.
You can keep up to date with Scott Halls progress on Twitter @SCOTTHALLNWO