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The Legacy of Scott Hall: A Trendsetting Wrestling Genius
Image: AEW

Wrestling

The Legacy of Scott Hall: A Trendsetting Wrestling Genius

Bad times don’t last, bad guys do.

Remembering the Career of Scott Hall

On March 14th, 2022, the world mourned the death of a true legend of wrestling, Scott Hall. The outpouring of love that followed from the wrestling community, showed exactly why Hall was one of the most influential wrestlers of all time. Whether it was his Razor Ramon gimmick in the WWF, or Scott Hall co-leader of The Outsiders, in WCW, Hall always seemed to be there at the forefront, of wrestling as millions were mesmerized by his simple catchphrase, “Hey Yo!”

Even though the time between Hall and the birth of AEW spans a decade, his influence can constantly be felt. The homages range from the very unsubtle Hall inspired gear like those of FTR and Britt Baker, to the finishing move rebrands like Ethan Page’s, “Ego’s Edge.” The influence can also be very subtle, as Hall helped usher in the modern age of wrestling in the 90s, which shaped the first AEW generation.

Perhaps the most lasting aspect of Hall’s legacy is that he was the first anti-hero in pro wrestling. Before Stone Cold’s “3:16” and The Rock’s “Jabroni,” Razor Ramon’ was the guy you couldn’t help but cheer for. Hall’s (problematic) depiction of a Cuban-American Scarface ripoff, oozed charisma, swag and bravado. It broke the mold and rewrote the definition of what it meant to be a “Bad Guy.” He wasn’t trying to preach for you to eat your vitamins and wasn’t a vaudevillian villain. He was just a gold necklace-wearing dude trying to get chicas and win matches.

Image: AEW

What made his cool factor even more transcendent was his ability to be cool in any gimmick. Whether it was The Diamond Stud, Razor Ramon, or Scott Hall, the original outsider knew how to stay popular. Scott Hall was not only cool, but he was constantly reinventing himself in an industry that needs constant reinvention.

Hall’s influence, post-Monday Night Wars, has never been more important in wrestling as it is in this moment. As AEW, the first legitimate rival promotion to WWE in nearly 20 years, tries to grab a piece of the wrestling pie, Hall’s lessons about reinvention can separate AEW from their competition.

Perfect examples of current AEW wrestlers who fall under this are Adam Cole and Chris Jericho. Even if you’re a staunchly anti-Cole or Jericho, there is no way you can go through an episode of Dynamite without singing along to Judas or going through all the hand motions of Cole’s entrance. Those guys are naturally charismatic.  

I’m sure by now everyone has heard how Scott Hall helped create Sting’s “Crow” gimmick in WCW. While one of the most important gimmick creations in wrestling history, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The modern faction, which was pioneered by Hall, is still modeled after the NWO. We don’t get DX, the Bullet Club, Inner Circle, Team Taz, or any “outlaw” or heel stable. Hall was at the forefront of that. The Outsiders, which later became the New World Order, still is the best wrestling faction of all time. Hall was behind the start of that.

Interconnected with the start of the NWO is the start of the Monday Night Wars. On May 27, 1996, Hall made the biggest of jumps from WWF to WCW in an earth-shattering moment in wrestling. The newly renamed Razor Ramon proclaimed, “You people, know who I am, but you don’t know why I’m here,” as he was still giving off shades of his old gimmick, which officially fired the first bullet in the now legendary wrestling battle for supremacy. Hall was good at evolving with time, creatively and physically. Nobody wrestled quite like Hall as he was proof of the evolution of the big man in wrestling.

Sports are constantly evolving, as it becomes more athletic and demands their athletes to evolve with it. Scott Hall’s technique was the next step in a big man’s evolution. Hall was the equivalent of the first vertical man on the evolutionary chart in the progression of big men. He was fast, agile, and athletic and also fought like a big man when needed. Hall broke the mold as to how a big man could work in the ring.  Standing at a massive 6’7”, if you didn’t know any better, you would think Hall could be 6’2”.

Many of the big men are the next step after Hall. Wardlow, Brody King, Lance Archer, Luchasaurus, Keith Lee, and Powerhouse Hobbs are true hybrid big men who can dazzle you with their athletic ability but can also wow you with their physical prowess.

For all of the good Hall did inside of the ring, there was also bad outside of it. In his iconic WWE Hall of Fame Speech, Hall’s emotion brings to life the struggles that he faced. Hall’s story has become a cautionary tale for the up-and-coming talent on the dos and don’ts of the business. The duality of Hall’s legacy is important, as it tells the story of a man who fell and rose. The redemption of a disgraced legend. Hall was right after all, “…bad times don’t last, but bad guys do,”

But for all of his demons, Hall had a real strong love and passion for the business and the fans. There are countless stories of Hall being a nice person to his fans and other younger wrestlers. Whether it was putting over the 1-2-3 Kid in the now famous 1995 Raw match, or giving out a shout out to a dad’s son after his Uber ride, Hall wanted to leave the business in a better place than where he found it.  In an interview with the Superstar Crossover podcast, Powerhouse Hobbs talks about how he remembered his encounter with Hall as a young kid in San Francisco:

“I remember going to restaurants and I always wanted to put a toothpick in my mouth because of him, I always tried to have that little curl coming down, just like him. I remember, it was the show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, and we stopped to get gas and we saw The Kliq getting gas. So we ran over and gave them a hug and, you know, got some autographs and they were so cool. So in the handful of times, I got to meet Scott Hall. He was super cool,” Hobbs said.

In a viral tweet shared on March 13th, Absolute Intense Wrestling spoke of how Hall treated their young talent.

Scott Hall left behind one of the most unique legacies in professional wrestling. He was an absolute wrestling genius, as he helped create some of the most important ideas and in-ring styles that will transcend generations. On the flip side, Hall had a tumultuous and troubled time outside of the ring that ultimately ended his life. All of it, however, is something left behind for future performers to learn from and try to change the business for the best.

Written By

Abel Loza, a born-again wrestling fan after the emergence of AEW, hails from the land of Oz (Kansas). On his free time, he watches as much wrestling as possible, cheers on his beloved Denver Broncos, chases his daughter around the house and keeps reorganizing his comic books by release date while listening to Turnstile.

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