Scott Hall, pro wrestling villain known as Razor Ramon, dies at 63

Scott Hall, pro wrestling villain known as Razor Ramon, dies at 63

Mr. Hall’s Razor Ramon was a cool, cocky, toothpick-flicking heel based on Al Pacino’s drug lord character Tony Montana, from the 1983 film “Scarface.” After a decade of wrestling for various companies under names such as Diamond Stud and Starship Coyote, Mr. Hall’s newest character made him famous in 1992 after he rejoined WWE, then known as the World Wrestling Federation.

“Say hello to the bad guy,” he would say, in a nod to the “Scarface” line “Say hello to my little friend,” which Montana says before firing his machine gun. In short videos used to promote his character, he drove around South Miami in a convertible and wore a white suit and gold chains, imitating Pacino’s Cuban character from the film. WWE executive Vince McMahon loved the bit, although he had never seen “Scarface” and didn’t realize the character was inspired by the movie, according to Mr. Hall.

“I just started doing that shtick, and he loved it and he thought I was a genius,” Mr. Hall told Canada’s Kingston Whig-Standard in 2016, recalling his audition for WWE. “I’m ripping off the movie and he thinks I’m a genius. Of course I never corrected him about the genius part.”

In WWE, Mr. Hall won the Intercontinental Championship belt four times while battling stars such as Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels in a famous “ladder match” at WrestleMania X. But he couldn’t shake a demon that had been haunting him since 1983.

While working as a bartender at a topless club in Orlando at age 24, Mr. Hall got into a fight with the manager, wrestling a .45-caliber handgun from the man and fatally shooting him, according to an account in the Orlando Sentinel. Mr. Hall was charged with second-degree murder, and while the case was dropped due to lack of evidence, he said he was traumatized by the incident and turned to alcohol and drugs.

“Just pills and booze, it became such a routine,” he said on HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” in 2013. “As soon as I hit that curtain and walked down that aisle, that guy’s life, Razor, doesn’t have any problems. Scott Hall’s life is falling apart. He’s getting divorced. His kids don’t talk to him. But the escape of that fake guy was the only thing keeping me going at that time.”

Mr. Hall joined many of his WWE colleagues in signing with WCW, owned by media mogul Ted Turner, in 1996. Dropping the Razor Ramon moniker, he joined a gang of bad guys called the New World Order with “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash. The group’s storylines became the driving force in WCW’s ratings war with WWE.

As his struggles with substance abuse continued, WCW worked his personal issues into a wrestling storyline, presenting him as a drunk during matches. He bounced between wrestling companies beginning in 2000, landing with WWE for a time after it purchased WCW and later making sporadic appearances at wrestling events.

Scott Oliver Hall was born in St. Mary’s County, Md., on Oct. 20, 1958. His father served in the Army and was later stationed in West Germany, leading Mr. Hall to attend high school in Munich.

Mr. Hall was twice married and divorced to Dana Lee Burgio. A marriage to Jessica Hart also ended in divorce. He had two children with Burgio: a son, Cody, who became a pro wrestler, and a daughter, Cassidy. Information on survivors was not immediately available.

During the filming of “The Resurrection of Jake the Snake,” a 2015 documentary about pro wrestler Jake Roberts, fellow wrestler Diamond Dallas Page and Roberts reached out to Mr. Hall, urging him to get sober.

“I’m dying Jake, I’m dying. I’ve been drinking vodka for breakfast,” Mr. Hall said, according to footage of the phone call. Mr. Hall later moved in with his two longtime friends, doing yoga with Page and Roberts and working toward sobriety. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014 as Razor Ramon and in 2020 as a member of the New World Order.

“Hard work pays off,” he said at his first induction ceremony. “Dreams come true. Bad times don’t last, but bad guys do.”