This was written today before I learned about the passing of Larry Sweeney. My heart breaks over his passing and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.
On the off-chance that by some miracle you ever read this, Mr. Hall, please understand that I am a huge fan of yours. You were an integral part of wrestling when I first started watching. You were “The Bad Guy.” You were Razor Ramon with the golden chain and the toothpick and lots of chest hair. There was something about you. I always cheered you. You had some legendary matches: Wrestlemania X, Summerslam ’95, the crybaby match with 1-2-3 Kid (Ok, not so much legendary for me, but really fun).
And then there was the night that you changed wrestling history. You walked through the crowd on Memorial Day during the Mike Enos-Steve Doll match, took the mic and challenged WCW to a war. Kevin Nash showed up soon and thus was born the nWo. This was big. And then there was the Bash at the Beach where Hogan came out and joined the nWo. You went from being “The Bad Guy” I cheered to being the bad guy who I hated. I watched you spray paint everybody. I remember when Kevin Nash threw Rey like a dart. I remember fake Sting. I remember having to sit through TNT’s awful Robin Hood so I could see what happened during the Hogan-Giant match.
And yet you had a certain charm. You began every promo with a legendary “Hey, yo.” And then you did your survey. Those things were legendary. I do think you were one of the best talkers of your era.
But you have some demons. We know this. You know this. I’m not breaking any ground here. I know that I don’t know you. I’ve never met you. All I know is Razor Ramon and the nWo guy. I’m not going to talk to you about what could have been. I’m going to talk to you about what you, from a wrestling fan’s perspective, mean to me. Scott, you were a hero of mine. I know you never asked to be, but wrestling fans get attached to their wrestlers. You’re part of my weekly routine, and whether you like it or not, you are a part of my life. When I see you self-destructing, IT HURTS ME. You mean a lot to me, and when I see you showing up too drunk to walk to the ring by yourself, it hurts me. When I see you being too intoxicated to know you’re in New England, not England, it hurts me. This is not what I would have wished for you. Ever.
My nearly 2-year-old daughter likes going through the tub that has my old action figures. Some Ninja Turtles, Starting Lineups, even some old Star Wars figures. One thing breaks my heart. When she goes through the wrestlers, very quickly it hits me about how the people I have there are no longer with us. Curt Hennig, Test, Brian Pillman, Chris Candido, Mike Awesome, Steve Williams, Chris Benoit, Big Bubba, Road Warrior Hawk, Khris Kanyun. That’s a lot of names there. Granted, not all of those were drug-related. But I’m tired of losing these guys. I’m tired of having to tell my mom that Crash Holly died, or that Lance Cade who we saw a few months ago had died. I’m tired of a wrestler dying, and then responding in my head with “Who now?’ rather than “That is so awful.”
As a wrestling fan, I genuinely care about you. As a human being, I hate to see anybody suffer addiction the way you are experiencing it. I don’t know you well enough to tell you this, but as a wrestling fan and as a human being, you need to get help. I’m not judging, and I’m just one man offering an opinion. But from what I see, it looks like you need help.
If there are any wrestlers who are going through similar issues, please go out and seek help.
Promoters, you need to stop enabling these wrestlers by having wrestlers on your shows appear with levels of intoxication. I have never been in the ring, but I know that you need your opponent at the top of their game. Wrestling somebody intoxicated or impaired should be a criminal offense. Promoters, if you provide alcoholic or drug-induced behavior to your fans, you should probably have your licenses taken away, and you will most likely not have repeat business.
Fans, we need to expect more for our wrestlers and promoters. If somebody showed up like Scott Hall did, I would not walk through their doors again. If I want to watch a trainwreck, I can turn to TMZ or MTV and watch something like Charlie Sheen or Jersey Shore. Wrestling is wrestling. It shouldn’t be where I go to watch people self-destruct.