Scott Hall, the wrestler made famous by the Razor Ramon character, has died at the age of 63.
Hall had been on life support following complications that arose following hip replacement surgery. The former WWE Intercontinental champion suffered three heart attacks at Georgia's Wellstar Kennestone Hospital after his hip surgery.
He rose to prominence in Vince McMahon's then-World Wrestling Federation in the early 90's, with his 1996 defection to rival promotion WCW widely considered to be the first step towards professional wrestling's last boom period of the late-90's/early '00's.
For decades Hall battled with drug and alcohol addiction, but the last few years of his life were among his healthiest and most lucid, following an intervention from fellow ex-wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkinburg).
Hall's professional wrestling career almost never got off the ground, as he was charged with second degree murder in 1983 after shooting an attacker with his own gun. The case was later dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
Foreshadowing his later attachment to Kevin Nash, Hall's first notoriety in the wrestling world came as a tag wrestler - first with Dan Spivey in Florida and North Carolina as part of American Starship.
But it was in the Mid West-based American Wrestling Association (AWA) where Hall would first taste something approaching stardom. It was there he formed a successful tag-team with the future Mr. Perfect - Curt Hennig.
Standing at 6'5" and with a look not unlike that of Tom Selleck, Hall found himself christened "Magnum" Scott Hall in the AWA, and then just the imaginative "Big" Scott Hall.
But by the late-80's the AWA was a sinking ship, and Hall scrambled for the comparatively higher ground of World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Initially dubbed Scott "Gator" Hall, he floundered in an organisation notorious - even by then - for fumbling with the careers of future starts. He'd last little more than a year in WCW, before bouncing around promotions in Japan, Puerto Rico and Germany - where he attended school as a child - before a 1991 return to WCW.
Repackaged as the Diamond Studd, it was here that the groundwork was laid - even if no one knew it at the time - for the most successful period of his career.
It was during this stint that Hall was linked to Diamond Dallas Page, a relationship that would save the former's life two decades down the road. The cocky Diamond Studd persona also saw Hall swap the bushy Selleck moustache for a 5 o'clock shadow, greased back hair and ever-present swagger.
A year later, these attributes would form the basis of 'Razor Ramon' in the then-WWF. It was a character - and accent - which borrowed liberally from the character of Tony Montana in Scarface.
From the jump in his WWF run, Hall was presented as a big deal. He formed a tag team with Ric Flair at the '92 Survivor Series. Despite his heel persona, Hall as Ramon was clicking with fans and he was audibly cheered during a place-holder bout with Bob Backlund at Wrestlemania IX in Las Vegas.
By the end of '93 - and aided by a memorable feud with the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman) - Hall was a strong babyface and the company's Intercontinental champion. He would end up holding the title on four occasions.
During this WWF run, Hall would form the infamous off-screen 'Kliq' along with Waltman, Kevin Nash (then known as Diesel, and Shawn Michaels. Latterly augmented by Paul Levesque (Triple H), their influence on owner Vince McMahon and preference to keep the the main television storylines focused on one another saw them grow unpopular among their fellow performers.
Despite this influence, and protection of his peers, Hall was unable to rise above the Intercontinental scene to the top of McMahon's cards where the big money would be made.
His early 90's WWF run was also where Hall's dependancy on drugs and alcohol took root. With the physical nature of their business, and the gruelling schedule, painkillers were necked by the fistful by performers.
Frustrated by an inability to break into the world title picture, and its accompanying bump in income, Hall handed in his notice with the WWF in the spring of 1996. For his troubles, an old drugs test was unearthed in which he tested positive for marijuana, and he was duly suspended for what would have been his last big payday in the company - Wrestlemania XII.
But two months later, Hall would shake the foundations of the business. His appearance on a May edition of WCW Monday Nitro is now part of wrestling legend, but at the time appeared truly revolutionary.
A denim-clad Hall wandered down through the crowd, interrupted a match in progress and called for a microphone. Still audibly leaning on his Razor Ramon character, he told the watching audience, "You all know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here."
Hall referenced the wrestling war that was well underway between WCW and WWF, with duelling Monday night television shows. Both companies were vying for supremacy, head-to-head, and Hall's jump to WCW prefaced the arrival weeks later of Nash who was also wooed with the promise of a guaranteed money contract.
Portrayed as 'invading' WWF stars, Hall and Nash ran roughshod over the WCW roster and promised the addition of a 'third man' to their group. That third man turned out to be perennial good guy, Hulk Hogan. Together they formed the New World Order, a group of neither face nor heels, but cocky outsiders who were - on-screen- determined to bring about the downfall of WCW.
Their introduction helped catapult WCW's Nitro into an 83-week period of dominance over WWF's Raw in the television, and was one of the identifiable first markers in wrestling's boom period.
The nWo would bloat to ridiculous proportions, but its nucleus was always Hall, Nash and Hogan. However, the more laissez-faire backstage attitudes within WCW only enabled Hall's alcoholism, and he entered rehab in 1998. In one of the most distasteful angles ever portrayed on television, Hall's off-screen issues became part of his character, blurring the lines between fiction and fact and seeing him spiral further out of control.
His personal problems ran parallel with those of WCW who, under the influence of its big contract stars, became untethered from its moorings, leading to a barely coherent television product in its final three years.
When WWE legitimately bought WCW in 2001, it did not acquire the contracts of the likes of Hall, Nash, Hogan, Sting or Bill Goldberg - as they were all signed to separate deals with AOL Time Warner. However, the nWo would return in early 2002 WWE to parrot the 'invading force' angle of '96 in WCW.
It would only be a brief reunion. Hall had been attempting to curb his alcoholism in real life, but it once again became part of a storyline with top WWE star, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. Hall lapsed into his old ways again, and was one of many talents - along with ex-AWA partner Hennig - to be fired after the notorious 'Plane Ride From Hell' in which many stepped beyond the bounds of legal and acceptable behaviour in a flight back from Europe.
Hall would go on to sporadically appear for start-up promotion TNA, but his drug and alcohol problems saw his life spiral downhill. In 2010, he left a rehab facility paid for by WWE and wound up having a defibrillator and a pacemaker implanted in his chest.
He'd be diagnosed with epilepsy, and contracted pneumonia in both lungs. His life had become an ever-unfolding tragedy, as documented by ESPN in their 2011 E:60 feature on Hall.
His life was turned around with the help of Diamond Dallas Page. The ex-WCW star had become a yoga mogul and inspirational speaker. In 2013, he took Hall under his wing and helped him kick his drug and alcohol problems. He arranged crowd-funding drives to fund hip replacement surgery and dental work for the former 'Bad Guy'.
By and large, the last nine years of Hall's life played out in relative serenity. He was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2014 for his portrayal of the Razor Ramon character, and then again as part of the nWo in 2020. He'd appear in nostalgic angles on WWE pay-per-views like the nWo run-in at Wrestlemania 31 in San Francisco, and was a regular on the wrestling convention circuit.
However, as first reported by Wade Keller at the weekend, Hall suffered three heart attacks after further hip replacement surgery in Marieta, Georgia and was placed on life support.
Long-time friend, Kevin Nash confirmed on Instagram on Sunday night, "Once his family is in place they will discontinue life support.
"I'm going to lose the one person on this planet I've spent more of my life with than anyone else. My heart is broken and I'm so very fucking sad.
"I love Scott with all my heart but now I have to prepare my life without him in the present."
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