Sunday, April 24, 2011
Mike Mooneyham's Column for 4-24-11: Last Call for Scott Hall?
Here's Mike Mooneyham's latest column, a look at the very sad, tragic condition of Scott Hall. So sad....
Last Call for Scott Hall?
By Mike Mooneyham
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Dana Hall wrote a very public letter 13 years ago to her ex-husband, pro wrestling star Scott Hall, pleading with him to seek help for his substance abuse issues and to mend fences with his family.
Thirteen years later, she now fears time is running out for the man once known as pro wrestling’s “Bad Guy.”
“Nothing has changed since my letter of 13 years ago, except things have gotten worse. Scott is no longer famous; he is infamous,” says Dana Hall, who has crafted a new letter in hopes of saving the father of their two children.
Hall, once regarded as one of pro wrestling’s top attractions, has seen his career — and his life — spiral out of control since his days as WWE’s Razor Ramon and later as a member of The Kliq and The NWO.
The volatility surrounding his professional life has paled in comparison to the often destructive behavior Hall has displayed outside the squared circle. For years his well-documented string of automobile accidents, chemical dependency problems, rehabs and relapses made him the dubious favorite in a macabre dead wrestlers pool.
Numerous attempts to get back into the higher end of the wrestling business have been unsuccessful. Hall was released from TNA last June after he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Hall, 53, has become a tragic figure whose life has been played out in both wrestling angles and real-life situations.
He continues to, in his own words, “chase demons.”
His erratic behavior found its way into the ring recently during an independent show in Massachusetts. Hall was billed as the headline attraction when Top Rope Promotions staged its 30th anniversary pro wrestling show at the Fall River Police Athletic League.
More than 400 fans reportedly were on hand with most tickets being sold in advance. Hall, however, showed up in no condition to perform.
Wrestler Justin Credible (Pete Polaco), who tended to his longtime friend in a backstage area, said he unsuccessfully tried to prevent Hall from going out in his disturbing state.
“He is an adult and is responsible for his actions. I did everything I could to help the situation. It hurts me more than any of you to see him like that. He is very stubborn ... neither me nor the promoter were going to convince Scott to do anything. He was doing what he wanted to and I was simply just trying to keep him safe.”
Sources reported that it took Hall 15 minutes to get to the ring with two people helping him. He had to be escorted and supported wherever he walked. It took about 10 minutes to get him out of the ring at the end of his segment.
The bizarre incident generated considerable traffic on the Internet, with initial reports erroneously claiming that Hall had overdosed.
The promoter of the event, Steve Ricard, said he suspected Hall took a mixture of prescription drugs in doses that exceeded the directions on the bottles. He said that Hall, still wearing a wristband from a hospital stay earlier in the week, arrived in a wheelchair with three bottles of prescription pills in his possession.
Hall’s rep, Geena Jinev Anac, told sources that Hall was being treated for heart-related issues and had been hospitalized in Florida due to extremely low blood pressure. He had a pacemaker implanted in his heart late last year and at one point battled double pneumonia.
But the sad truth of the matter is that it was far from the first time Scott Hall has shown up in no condition to perform.
“Just witnessed the saddest, most embarrassing thing in my career ... How many guys have to die before some guys learn?” wrestler Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland) wrote on his Twitter account.
Ricard says Hall asked for his money within three minutes of his arrival, and was taken to a restaurant where he stumbled around and had to be helped out of the establishment.
“We drew a packed house and a good majority of them were there to see Hall,” said Ricard. “Hall and his people down in Florida had all claimed he was clean and good to go. His flight and hotel were prepaid, and his appearance fee was demanded upon arrival at the airport.”
Ricard, who drew his fair share of criticism for allowing Hall to go onstage despite his questionable health, says the wrestler persisted in appearing on the show. The promoter also was concerned about the possible fan reaction if Hall didn’t make an appearance.
“His heart was in the right place, unfortunately I can’t say the same about his mind or his body,” said Ricard, who added that Hall threatened him.
“Throughout the night he made threats to numerous members of my staff, as well as myself, demanding more money, demanding to go to the ring when he wanted to, etc. He was also threatening to kill me if I screwed him over. I’m 31 years old and I should be, in no circumstances, babysitting someone in their 50’s.”
Hall also reportedly fell asleep during an autograph session before the show, and apparently didn’t know where he was.
For many of his fans, says Ricard, their childhood icon was “wrecked and ruined.”
“Hall made, at best, an embarrassing performance in the ring and for the fans who came to see him, trashing matches that were on the show before him and addressing the crowd as if we were in England,” said Ricard.
Hall spent several days in a Providence, R.I., hospital before being discharged and heading back to Florida.
Hall, in an interview earlier this year with The Miami Herald, admitted that he was suffering the consequences of bad decisions.
“I made some bad decisions and some bad choices. If you dance with the devil, you got to pay the price,” he said.
Hall attended a WWE-sponsored rehab late last year. And, to his credit, he passed up an opportunity to see Kliq teammate and longtime friend Shawn Michaels inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this month, admitting that the festive atmosphere might have compromised his sobriety.
Kevin Nash, Hall’s closest friend in the business, noted that something was missing when he huddled onstage with Michaels, Triple H and Sean Waltman at the ceremony.
“If you wonder what we were all talking about on the stage with Shawn, it was how incomplete this was without Scott,” Nash posted on a blog. “It was like The Beatles without John. The Kliq is a hand. There is five of us. Cut a finger off your hand and see how hard it is to make a fist,” Nash said.
Hall also hasn’t had much luck seeing his own family.
Ex-wife Dana says Hall has had little contact with 16-year-old daughter Cassidy or 19-year-old son Cody.
“He hasn’t seen Cassidy since August 2010. I don’t think he has seen Cody in almost two years. They may have had one or two brief phone calls since then, but nothing that I know of. He calls inconsistently and texts him, and Cody doesn’t respond.”
Dana, who fears that her children have suffered irreparably from the family dysfunction, says her son won’t communicate with his father “until Scott gets in rehab and away from the enablers he is with.”
“They hold it in,” she says of her children. “They hate to talk about it, but they accept that they don’t have a father or a normal life.”
Dana Hall, 48, says she stopped responding to her ex-husband months ago.
“The last time I talked to him face to face was when I took Cassidy to the hospital to tell him goodbye last August. It was a horrible scene. He had been doing crack cocaine for days and had used all the money in the account he wrote the child support check on and it had bounced.
“I have cut off his contact with me and the kids, and ignore his calls, texts and messages to me, which are 99 percent negative and nasty when he is drunk. At this point, he can have no contact with us unless I know his intentions. Actions speak louder than words.”
Nash said last week that Hall’s problems go beyond substance addiction. His issues, he says, are based on events that happened before his wrestling career, and Hall’s only coping mechanism is turning to drugs and alcohol.
“I can tell you Scott Hall has neither a drug or alcohol addiction ... Scott’s problem is he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Drugs and alcohol aren’t the problem; to Scott they are the solution,” Nash posted on Twitter.
“Please don’t judge Scott on what you just saw. He would give any of you a kidney ... He’s my brother (and) we will get through this.”
Dana Hall believes her ex-husband, though, is running out of options.
“Pretty much, we are done, his brothers are done, his mother is worried sick, feels helpless ... We try to live life as if he is already dead, until he does something really bad, and then it is kind of hard to ignore.”
Some Hall backers have argued that the wrestler doesn’t have a viable support system at home.
Others, like Nash, now believe that family and friends may be Hall’s only hope.
“His ex-wife, Dana, will be the first to tell you that she’s not perfect. For 15 years I thought she was the enemy. As Scott’s condition continued to decline, and people that were willing to help continued to diminish, Dana and I found ourselves as the last two on the wall at the Alamo. I’ve gotten to know her somewhat. She’s a loving, caring mother, and let’s not forget that Scott is the father to her children.
“She fears, much like I do, that Scott may not be here much longer. She’s been on Twitter, and people are saying she’s unstable. She just wants to make sure her children have closure with their father.”
Nash said in a 2009 interview that Hall wouldn’t get better until he was ready to clean up.
“Until he wants to take the steps to be clean, he’s just not going to be clean. There’s plenty of people that love him and want him to do it, it’s just that he’s got to make that decision himself. We can’t do it for him. Nor can Vince (McMahon) or anybody else.”
“I have been to about nine rehabs,” Hall told The Miami Herald. “They were high dollar and some of the best ones around. Vince (McMahon) has picked up the tab the last couple of times. If you ever work or worked for WWE, if you ever need help, he will give it to you. He is really cool. Thank Vince, his wife Linda, (daughter) Stephanie, (son) Shane and (son-in-law) Paul (“Triple H” Levesque). Thank you for helping me. It’s hard to ask for help. It’s even harder to accept it when people offer it.”
Dana Hall says she also is grateful to the McMahon family.
“I would like to publicly thank everyone who was instrumental in getting Scott any kind of treatment in the past — WWE/Vince/Anne (Gordon). I have never gotten to express how grateful I was that they tried to help him. I am just sorry Scott didn’t help himself and let those many, many opportunities pass.”
“He is not speaking of wanting to go to rehab of any sorts now, so I hold no hope or positive feelings for the future,” she adds. “Sober or not, his health is failing so fast from all of the abuse and his body deteriorating at a fast pace.”
She says she is reaching out to his friends one final time.
“His family and close friends have never attempted a true intervention. I have begged them several times. I am asking Kevin, Sean (Waltman) and other close friends to have one with me and the kids now.”
Nash and Hall’s son, Cody, were able to track down Hall at an Orlando hospital for a brief visit Thursday night.
“He’s lost a lot of weight, but the smile on his face was priceless. Not looking good,” Nash posted afterwards.
“Cody and Kevin found the hospital Scott was in and both went to do an ‘intervention’ of sorts,” says Dana Hall. “I am not sure what exactly was accomplished except for Cody finally seeing his dad after a very long time. They all had a chance to talk.”
She says Hall is currently in the cardiac unit where doctors are waiting for his blood pressure to stabilize.
“He is telling Kevin he is going to stay, but he has told others he is going to leave and possibly thinking about ‘out-patient’ treatment ... which is not ever going to work if the man cannot do ‘in-patient’ treatment. He needs to be in a treatment facility for a very long time. I feel he told Kevin exactly what he wanted to hear to get him off his back.”
She says she’s still grateful that Nash took her son to see Hall.
“I am grateful he got to speak to Cody; half of my objective here was achieved. I have decided to give up the fight, shut my mouth, and Kevin is going to be the last name on the Alamo wall, as he has stated. I just pray I am wrong, but I don’t think I am. I fear the worst for my kids and his family. I tried, plus more, for way too long, way too much.”
She describes her relationship with her ex-husband as “a very long nightmare.”
The two were first married in February 1990, divorced in May 1998, remarried in March 1999, and divorced again in October 2001. They have separated and gotten back together “too many times to count.”
Exhausted by the emotional tug-of-war that has marked their on-again, off-again status over the years, she admits her codependency didn’t help the situation.
“I am sure I have some responsibility in it and was an enabler when I was with him, but I feel I have been more of a lifesaver. I feel I have not enabled his life to this date, but maybe helped prolong it at times.”
She also admits that in hindsight it was a mistake trying to make her marriage work, and that she might have done things differently if given the chance to do it over again.
“I would have made sure he quit wrestling and went to rehab and stayed ... that’s in a perfect world. And I definitely would not have married him a second time.”
Her ex-husband’s biggest enabler, she says, has been the wrestling business itself. She says it’s a business that continues to push him out the curtain despite his failing health.
“I blame wrestling for making it worse. He had these addictions before, but his fame, the money and the major enabling fueled it and escalated it to the out-of-control disaster his life has become. Scott is as addicted to wrestling and his alter-ego as he is to the drugs and alcohol.”
She recalls a letter she wrote in 1998 pleading with Hall to seek help for his issues. She had spent the better part of that year on a relentless one-woman campaign determined to free Scott from the two things she claimed had destroyed his life: drugs and professional wrestling. She felt it was her duty as a wife to extricate Scott from what she called a bottomless pit.
She said she woke up every morning for years hoping — and praying — that her on-and-off husband would see the light.
“Although I divorced him, this was not done because I no longer loved him,” she said at the time. “ It was because I could no longer live his lifestyle, live with his addictions, live with the stranger he had become. Believe me, I tried for a very long time before I threw in the towel. But I could no longer support him as long as he continued to do drugs and drink and hurt himself, or support him in his career, which was only adding to the problem.”
She also noted then that being the wife of a celebrity wasn’t what most people might have imagined.
“What is it like being married to one of these guys? It isn’t all wonderful. We sit home and we take all of this. We do all the work and we get kicked in the butt in the end. My life is just a mess because I was part of that. I don’t want to trash him or anyone else. But the truth is the truth. He’s been taken over by wrestling, and he doesn’t even know right from wrong anymore. He doesn’t even know who he is anymore or how to be a normal person. It steals your whole identity. It steals your life.”
The ensuing years, she says, were not easy for her or her children.
“The kids and I all live in a two-bedroom townhouse in Winter Springs, Fla., about 20 minutes away from Scott. Cody has my room since he has come back from the Air Force, and I have been sleeping on an air mattress on the family room floor downstairs for now until Cody finds a roommate. Our whole house is as big as his master bedroom.”
It’s a far cry from the five-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot home the family once shared on five acres, along with a house on the beach.
That’s when Hall was pulling in a seven-figure salary from Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling and living a lifestyle previously afforded only rock stars and mainstream sports celebrities.
Hall and partner Nash were more celebrated than many of their contemporaries in the “legitimate” sporting world. Kyle Petty was driving an NWO race car. NBA star A.C. Green wore an NWO T-shirt. It was a period when wrestling was on fire, and Hall and Nash were a major reason why.
That, says Dana Hall, seems like a lifetime ago.
She now cleans homes for a living and says she lives “day to day.”
“I have a small business called ‘Your Angel,’ and I clean houses and do miscellaneous errands for people,” she says. “I get $600 a month child support for Cassidy, most of the time late if at all, and Cody gives me money to stay and for food. I make about $500 to $600 a week busting my butt cleaning toilets.”
Her kids, she says, have both tried to make the best out of a bad situation. But she says she’s “scared to death” for her son knowing that “he’s had no positive role model in his life.”
“I am scared to death if he experiments with drugs/alcohol as most kids his age do, that he is playing Russian roulette with his life, being Scott’s son. I strongly believe in genetics and I fear the repercussions of the inevitable future regarding his dad will negatively affect him, as well as Cassidy at some point. It is my worse fear. Cody has never had a positive male role model in his life which is so important. Neither have had a father figure in any positive way at all for a very long time.”
Her daughter, she says, also has missed out on what should have been a major part of her young life.
“Cassidy is a straight-A, honor roll student, wants to be a vet and is a great kid, but she is heartbroken and thinks her dad doesn’t love her more than drugs or wrestling. He forgot her 16th birthday. She was in ER and could have lost her leg in March due to an infection, and he never responded to my text. He never buys them Christmas or birthday gifts, no cards, never ... not for many, many years.”
Hall says she no longer holds out any hope for a relationship between her and her ex-husband, but she does pray that he can make amends with his children. The next binge, she says, could be his last.
“Unfinished business,” she says, “is a killer.”
She fears that Hall may never be able to escape his “demons.”
“He doesn’t want it, or he would have done it by now, and the fact that every time he has even tried, he can’t get over himself enough to be ‘real’ and do the work. He lives his gimmick 24/7 and has become his alter ego ... he doesn’t even know who he is anymore. He still thinks he is Razor, and conducts himself as so all the time. He has a wrestling tape stuck in his head that never shuts off.”
Nash agrees on the gravity of the situation. He says his friend’s condition has worsened to where he fears each phone call could be the last time he hears his voice.
“Scott Hall is in bad shape ... It’s gotten to the point where I save his voice mails, much like I would’ve saved Andrew’s (Test), because I knew sometimes when I heard his message it could be the last,” Nash posted in a blog.
Hall, says Nash, is much more than a friend.
“I have spent more time with Scott Hall in the last 18 years than I have with my wife in the 23 years we’ve been married. We have no secrets between each other.”
They were “The Outsiders.” They were renegades, in every sense of the word, bent on taking over the wrestling world. And all that came with it. They were the outlaws who did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.
For some, like Hall, the fame and fortune came with a price.
For all the success Scott Hall has achieved in the ring, there is an ominous asterisk at the bottom of his resume that tells the story of a tragic figure, a self-destructive soul whose real battle has been with his own personal demons.
“He will live and die for wrestling,” says Dana Hall.
“He is a fragile and broken human being,” adds Nash. “The media will want to blame wrestling when Scott passes. Scott was broken way before he broke into the ring for the first time.”
“Kevin has always been there for me at least since 2005 in this fight,” says Dana Hall. “I thank him for standing up for me and the kids in all of this sickness. I know Scott is his friend and that it put him in a tough position a lot of times. I just pray that he can do what still needs to be done for the sake of his kids. I pray that he can convince him to stay in treatment and out of wrestling, out of the real world and away from all enablers. I pray in the time he has left he can convince him how badly his kids need a dad and to help him make amends.”
The Scott Hall that Kevin Nash prefers to remember is a caring human being who “never passed a homeless person or someone in need without opening his wallet” and has the first two nickels he ever made.
“He’s not the Bad Guy, he’s not Razor Ramon, he’s Scott Hall.”
And sometimes, says Nash, life just isn’t fair.
“The world is a mess. It seems that life gets harder on a personal level each and every day. Hug and kiss those you love every day. You never know when the tragedies of this world may visit your life.”
An open letter from Dana Hall:
“To Whomever still cares,
I never wanted to have to write a letter like this again, and it definitely deeply saddens me to do so.
This is not a letter to bash Scott, nor wrestling. This is only the sad truth of them both.
So if you can’t handle it, or don’t want to hear it, then please don’t read this. Denial doesn’t help anyone, and will certainly not help Scott Hall at a time like this.
Nothing has changed since my letter of 13 years ago, except things have gotten worse. Scott is no longer famous; he is infamous.
The only difference is now instead of the big wrestling companies enabling Scott, it is the little independent promoters, a whole lot of wannabe wrestlers, marks and other unsavory people in which he has chosen to surround himself with in his sickness. He has so many wrong people in his life, there is no room for the right ones any longer, most importantly his children and family.
You all know who you are, and whom has been a part of dragging him out like a piece of meat to embarrass himself further. You people are only helping him kill himself, and he is doing a bang-up job of it on his own, he needs no more ‘help!’
Scott was in no shape physically, mentally or emotionally after his heart failure and pacemaker last year. He was not sober for any length of time, nor in recovery. Every door should have been closed to him at that time. It should have been over then, because look where we are right now. Anyone who gives a sick man a job who is not capable of being 100 percent sober, responsible or reliable must be a fool, or worse. I vote for worse.
Anyone with half a brain in his head could see he was not well and he should have been seeking help or his family, not engaging in this profession which only fuels the fire of his addictions. It always has.
Scott is hanging by a very thin thread at best.
Our children, myself and Scott’s family have suffered many, many years of ongoing hurt, pain, disappointment, frustration and embarrassment due to his addictions and the consequences which have followed. Scott has chosen to continue drinking, drugging and to self-destruct. Every attempt at rehabilitation, sobriety and recovery has failed. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help himself, and when you do, you are just an enabler and part of the problem.
I am praying anyone still enabling this man will stop now. Anyone telling him what he wants to hear, and not the brutal truth, is not his friend. Anyone aiding in, or giving him an open door/opportunity or participating in any type of wrestling-related event, appearance, video, etc. with him are going to be the last nails in his coffin, and God help you.
He cannot be a part of wrestling at all anymore, and live.
I know the fans love him despite his issues and all of the bad. I know they don’t want to hear this, but I am begging you no matter what you think of me, for the sake of our kids, ‘please let him go.’ Before you have to let him go for good. Our kids need a dad for once, and not a dead wrestler. Let them have what is left of him, in the time he has left.
I pray his true friends will get him to a safe place where he can’t hurt himself anymore. I pray he will get away from the last of the enablers clinging to him. I pray he will devote every second to making amends to his children and making them a priority in this life while he is still here. That is all that matters. My prayer is that Scott would finally realize this before it’s too late. We love you Scott. We do care, we are here, but something’s gotta give, or it is your last call for real.”
— Dana Hall
Reach Mike Mooneyham at 937-5517.