Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mike Mooneyham's column - Scott Hall's son eyes career of his own

Scott Hall's son eyes career of his own

By Mike Mooneyham

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It’s not easy following in the footsteps of a famous — or infamous — father.

Especially if that father is Scott Hall.

Cody Hall, the 20-year-old son of the former pro wrestling superstar, says he wants to pursue a career in the business. At 250 pounds and a shade under 6-9, the strapping youngster has all the physical tools. While he has little ring experience, Hall says wrestling has always been a part of his life.

“Growing up with my dad as a wrestler has given me an extra appreciation for it, and all that it entails, so it has always been in my head as to if I could do it too,” says Hall. “I have yet to have a calling to a certain profession, but if there is one, this would be it. It makes sense to start here. I know I have what it takes, and a whole lot more to bring to the table.”

Hall says he can pinpoint the exact second when he knew he wanted to become a wrestler.

“It was the night that we met Uncle Kev (Kevin Nash) at TGI Friday’s for dinner after a TNA show. While we were eating, fans were coming up and asking for his autograph. Kevin said to them, ‘Do you know who this is?’ and pointed to me. He told them I was Scott Hall’s son, and they wanted mine too. We were sitting beside each other at the table signing autographs and taking pictures together. It was pretty awesome.”

Hall, who boasts only four months of training under his father, says he is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

But he needs help. He needs a mentor who will teach him the ropes, show him how to do things the right way, and maybe even open a door of opportunity in spite of his last name.

“I’m willing to do absolutely whatever it takes to further my abilities to progress as a professional wrestler, in the right place, with the right people. I hope someone can see the potential in me, and be willing to take me under their wing.”

The “right people” part of the equation is important to Hall. Unfortunately, the “right people” probably won’t include his father, whose failing health and battle with drug and alcohol addiction has been well documented.

Cody left home earlier this year to spend time with his father. Footage was shown on a recent ESPN special that profiled Scott Hall’s rise and fall from stardom. Cody, however, left after becoming disillusioned with his father’s lifestyle.

The time he spent with his dad, says Cody, was a last-ditch attempt to give his father a reason to stay sober. It also was an attempt to make his father proud.

“For a long time we have had a non-existent and strained relationship,” he says. “I felt that his time was running out. I didn’t want him to leave with unfinished business or regrets, so I was trying to get to know him the best I could, in the time he has left. I wanted to make him proud of me, too, so I tried to do whatever it took.

“I left because of the anguish of watching my dad kill himself with his addictions. It became too hard for me to witness this every day, and no matter how much I tried to help him, nothing changed. Eventually there came a point where I couldn’t live around it any longer.”

His drive to become a professional wrestler, though, never wavered. His 53-year-old father, who is on a pacemaker and takes about a dozen pills a day to soothe his anxiety and pain, can no longer help him.

“My hopes are that my dad will want to make getting well his full-time job and priority. He can’t help me if he can’t even help himself,” says Hall.

After deep introspection and a lot of soul searching, he wants to do it for himself.

“It’s my desire to be notable, special and remembered. Wrestling seems like a great avenue for those goals.”

Cody’s mother, Dana Hall, isn’t as sold on her son’s career path. She witnessed her two-time ex-husband battle with his demons for years, and claims the wrestling business accentuated the problem. But, she says, her son is his own man and can make his own decisions.

“This isn’t what I want him to do ... it’s not the life I would want for him, or anyone that is in his life,” she says. “I am very worried about all the bad traps he could fall into. I am terrified of him making the same mistakes as Scott.”

She says she prays he will not destroy himself for fame or fortune. “It’s one of my many worst nightmares,” she admits.

Cody has seen, up close and personal, what addiction can to a family. He vows it will be different with him. He also realizes the pitfalls and temptations that go along with the territory.

“I know this is not something my mom really wants me to do ... she wanted me to be a brain surgeon but that’s not going to happen! But I also know I am going to do my best to make better decisions than my dad in anything I do, so she will just have to trust me. I know she is worried. If I choose to make this my future, I know she would not hold me back, and would only be there to help. She only wants me to find the right person/people to help me.”

Even his mother, though, realizes that her son has the tools to succeed in the business.

“As much as I hate to admit it, he would probably be terrific at it. He has all it takes physically, and has the ego and attitude as well.”

But, most importantly, she wants him to do it “the right way.”

“It would be great to see some of his dad’s closest friends and colleagues step up, step in and come alongside Cody, be there for him, and help him accomplish this goal and dream. To do what his father cannot. I know it would mean the world to Cody, for them to pay it forward.”

“I want him to be able to get out on his own, make a life for himself and have what he wants. I would also love to have my bed back someday, and for him to buy his own groceries, as he is eating me out of house and home,” she jokes.

She wonders if her son’s name will be an asset or a liability.

“I pray that the living hell and pain he has seen his father in from what he has done to himself with drugs and alcohol will be enough to scare him straight for his whole life. I know this family has had enough pain, and I can’t bear to lose him too.”

What young Hall doesn’t want to be, however, is a clone of his father. While he respects what he did in the business, he wants to be his own man.

“My dad is far and beyond my favorite wrestler. I can only hope to be something like him in the business, when he was at his best, but I want to leave my own distinct mark, with my own style. He was the innovator of the fall-away slam and the Razor’s Edge, so those are moves I would like to carry on, but I feel its important to separate myself from his character while still being reminiscent.”

That doesn’t mean he will forget his dad. He remembers as far back as Hall’s Razor Ramon days, and Hall taking him on several road trips as a youngster, including a program with Steve Austin. Most of the matches he remembers, though, are on video.

The two, he says, have spent hours just talking about the business, character psychology and key points. Hall has overseen some of his son’s weight-lifting routines and in-ring training.

“My dad has told me on a hundred occasions it was his dream for me to follow in his footsteps and to see me get to the point he was and take it even further, and as long as I can avoid his vices I can have all the success imaginable.

“I want to remember my dad as just a dad, not a wrestler, but the guy who was there when I rode without the training wheels or who waited for me by the bus stop when he was home. As long as I have those memories, that’s how he will always be to me in the end.”

-- A fundraiser for longtime area football coach Phillip Morgan will be held Nov. 20 at Goose Creek High School.

Morgan was paralyzed after suffering a massive stroke a year ago.

The benefit will feature an Old School Championship Wrestling show.

For more information, call 843-743-4800.

Reach Mike Mooneyham at 937-5517.

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