WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall dies, leaving legacy from Razor Ramon to the NWO

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - From left to right, Paul Levesque aka Triple H, Kevin Nash, Michael Shawn Hickenbottom aka Shawn Michaels, 2014 inductee Scott Hall aka Razor Ramon, and Sean Waltman aka X-Pac, are seen at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
From left to right, Paul Levesque aka Triple H, Kevin Nash, Michael Shawn Hickenbottom aka Shawn Michaels, 2014 inductee Scott Hall aka Razor Ramon, and Sean Waltman aka X-Pac, are seen at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5, 2014.

FILE - In this July 6, 1998, file photo, wrestling heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg puts Scott Hall to the mat during a match in Atlanta. Goldberg was seemingly retired, dabbling in acting, and far removed from the days of his reign as undefeated champion in WCW or WrestleMania winner for WWE. The 54-year-old Goldberg returns for his second match of the year when he challenges Bobby Lashley for the WWE title Saturday night, Aug. 21, 2021, at SummerSlam at Allegiant Stadium. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser, File)
In this July 6, 1998, file photo, wrestling heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg puts Scott Hall to the mat during a match in Atlanta. Goldberg was seemingly retired, dabbling in acting, and far removed from the days of his reign as undefeated champion in WCW or WrestleMania winner for WWE. The 54-year-old Goldberg returns for his second match of the year when he challenges Bobby Lashley for the WWE title Saturday night, Aug. 21, 2021, at SummerSlam at Allegiant Stadium.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24:  Wrestlers Jake 'The Snake' Roberts (L) and Scott Hall attend the Music Lodge Hosts MTV Interview Studio on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Clayton Chase/Getty Images for Music Lodge)
Wrestlers Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts (L) and Scott Hall attend the Music Lodge Hosts MTV Interview Studio on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23:  Wrestler Scott Hall from "The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts" poses for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald's McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Wrestler Scott Hall from “The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts” poses for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald’s McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

Wrestler Scott Hall from “The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts” poses for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald’s McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page, Scott Hall and Jake "The Snake" Roberts from "The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts" pose for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald's McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
(L-R) Wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page, Scott Hall and Jake “The Snake” Roberts from “The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts” pose for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald’s McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

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IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - From left to right, Paul Levesque aka Triple H, Kevin Nash, Michael Shawn Hickenbottom aka Shawn Michaels, 2014 inductee Scott Hall aka Razor Ramon, and Sean Waltman aka X-Pac, are seen at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
FILE - In this July 6, 1998, file photo, wrestling heavyweight champion Bill Goldberg puts Scott Hall to the mat during a match in Atlanta. Goldberg was seemingly retired, dabbling in acting, and far removed from the days of his reign as undefeated champion in WCW or WrestleMania winner for WWE. The 54-year-old Goldberg returns for his second match of the year when he challenges Bobby Lashley for the WWE title Saturday night, Aug. 21, 2021, at SummerSlam at Allegiant Stadium. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser, File)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24:  Wrestlers Jake 'The Snake' Roberts (L) and Scott Hall attend the Music Lodge Hosts MTV Interview Studio on January 24, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Clayton Chase/Getty Images for Music Lodge)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23:  Wrestler Scott Hall from "The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts" poses for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald's McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 23:  (L-R) Wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page, Scott Hall and Jake "The Snake" Roberts from "The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts" pose for a portrait at the Village at the Lift Presented by McDonald's McCafe during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2015 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
WTOP's Jason Fraley remembers Scott Hall (Part 1)

In professional wrestling, there are good guys and bad guys, babyfaces and heels.

Scott Hall made heels look so cool that you wanted to root for him in both the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), while pulling the curtain back on the business for more reality-based sports entertainment.

On Monday, the WWE legend died after being taken off life support by his family following a series of heart attacks during complications from hip surgery. He was 63.

“My heart is broken,” longtime friend Kevin Nash posted on Instagram.

Born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, in 1958, Hall entered professional wrestling in various territories, including the NWA, AWA and WCW, wrestling under the name The Diamond Stud, before becoming a household name as Razor Ramon in the WWF in 1992.

Throwing his toothpick at the camera, Ramon imitated Tony Montana’s Cuban-American villain from “Scarface” as the self-proclaimed “bad guy” with his catch phrase, “Hey, yo!”

Of course, there was more to Ramon than just his razor-sharp promos, Chico.

In the ring, he dominated his opponents by lifting them up over his head like a power bomb, spreading their helpless bodies across his back like a crucifix, then planting them hard into the mat for a devastating finishing maneuver known as The Razor’s Edge.

Some of his most memorable moments came putting other wrestlers “over” (losing matches as the script called for), including a stunning upset victory by the undersized 1-2-3 Kid (aka X-Pac) during the inaugural weeks of WWF “Monday Night Raw” in 1993.

Ramon won the Intercontinental Championship four times, famously beating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania X at Madison Square Garden in 1994. The gimmick match has since become commonplace, but the two pioneered creative ladder spots, receiving the first 5-star match in a WWF ring by journalist Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer.

In 1996, Hall and Kevin Nash (aka Diesel) broke character during the infamous “Curtain Call” at Madison Square Garden, hugging their supposed opponents (and backstage buddies in The Kliq) Shawn Michaels and Triple H during a cage match as they left WWF.

Wrestling purists were furious at the foursome for breaking “kayfabe,” the tradition of pretending wrestling was unscripted. Ironically, it gave rise to Stone Cold Steve Austin, who won the King of the Ring tournament in place of Triple H, who was punished by WWF owner Vince McMahon for the incident (Michaels was the champ, so he was untouchable).

As for the departing Hall and Nash, the wily defectors would immediately show up on rival WCW television, playing themselves as the reality-based duo “The Outsiders” invading Ted Turner’s company, taking audiences behind the scenes and into the TV control room.

It all built to “Bash at the Beach” (1996) when Hulk Hogan turned heel to join Hall and Nash, forming the iconic heel group, New World Order (nWo). Its logo was plastered on t-shirts in every school in the United States, rivaling the merchandise sales of “Austin 3:16.”

Together, the trio helped WCW beat the WWF in the television ratings for an impressive 83 weeks during the so-called Monday Night War between WWF’s “Raw” and WCW’s “Nitro.”

Along the way, Hall won the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship twice, first against Roddy Piper, then against Goldberg, Bret Hart and Sid Vicious in a Texas tornado ladder match. He was also a one-time WCW World Television Champion and a nine-time WCW World Tag Team Champion during his tenure as a top star of the company.

Still, he was best remembered for outside-the-ring antics, like dressing as a security guard and “tasing” Goldberg into submission, helping his buddy Nash cheat to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, ending Goldberg’s 173-match unbeaten streak.

Soon, ratings began to fade as nWo membership ballooned, while backstage squabbling ousted the group’s brainchild Eric Bischoff in favor of ex-WWE writer Vince Russo. As Hogan beat Nash with a “Finger Poke of Doom” (yes, really), fans increasingly changed the channel to watch The Rock, Stone Cold, Mick Foley and The Undertaker on WWF.

In 2001, McMahon officially won the Monday Night War and purchased WCW, allowing the nWo to return for WrestleMania 18. The Rock faced Hogan, while Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Hall with Nash in his corner. Hall lost to Austin’s signature Stone Cold Stunner.

The nWo made a surprise return at WrestleMania 31, coming out to help former WCW hero Sting against Triple H with the old warring factions of the nWo and DX at ringside.

His returns were always short-lived as Hall battled drug and alcohol addiction, fueled by PTSD from allegedly killing a man in self defense outside an Orlando nightclub in the 1980s. He was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the charges were dropped. The memories haunted Hall in a checkered pattern of personal-life controversy.

Fans were thrilled to see Hall overcome his proverbial demons with the help of former WCW colleague Diamond Dallas Page, who started DDP Yoga as a detox and healing program for fellow wrestlers (i.e. Jake Roberts) struggling with addiction and depression.

Hall’s rehab was complete when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014, saying, “Hard work pays off, dreams come true, bad times don’t last, but bad guys do.”

Now, it’s time to say good night to the bad guy by throwing up our “Too Sweet” hand signals one last time, proving that Scott Hall remains “nWo 4 Life,” even in death.

WTOP's Jason Fraley remembers Scott Hall (Part 2)

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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