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"Wrestling is not killing Scott Hall. Scott Hall is killing Scott Hall." ~ Eric Bischoff
This is likely to be an unpopular opinion around these parts, for obvious reasons.
This morning (Mar. 18), it was announced that Scott Hall, aka Razor Ramon, had reached his goal on the fundraising website IndieGoGo to fund a hip replacement surgery. I think it was nice that so many people have been able to find it in their hearts to give generously to what seemed like a noble cause.
Hall's been taken under the wing of Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), whose yoga program has spun into a way for him to publicly rehabilitate former star wrestlers-turned-addicts, all while touting the benefits of DDPYoga (formerly Yoga for Real Guys.)
The road is littered with the stories of wrestlers broken down by years of abuse at the hands of the industry and the drugs they take to counter it. Scott Hall’s story is sad, but it is in no way unique. There are hundreds upon hundreds of former wrestlers who wake up every day in excruciating pain. Lots of them probably need the same kind of inpatient surgery and therapy that Scott Hall just got the internet to bankroll.
The first vehicle Page hoped to use to promote his fitness routine was Jake Roberts, whose struggle was initially captured on film in Beyond the Mat. Roberts was moved into an "accountability crib," with Page and related DDPYoga employees for the purpose of documenting Jake’s rehabilitation. Hall has also been moved to the same observation house, following a medically-supervised detox that Kevin Nash correctly postulated would be necessary before Hall could attempt said salvation via yoga.
It’s with this goal in mind, the issue presented itself that before Hall can even attempt yoga, he needs a new hip. According to the IndieGoGo site, at only 54 years old, Hall has "a pacemaker and difibrillator (sic) implanted for his heart, and he can barely walk due to extreme arthritis in his hip."
As an unemployed former professional wrestler, it should come to no surprise to anyone that Hall is without proper medical insurance. Whatever your political ideologies concerning that might be, he was looking at paying out-of-pocket for an incredibly serious inpatient medical procedure to the tune of $80,000.
Of course, why pay for years of your own self-destructive behavior when you can ask people on the internet for pity donations? Which, if you ask me, is what we have here. $80,000 is a lot of money, folks, no matter how you spin it. While you celebrate the accomplishment of reaching the fundraising mountain top, ask yourself, "What’s really at stake here?"
The altruistic nature of what Page is doing comes with the asterisk of it being the best possible promotion for his business venture. What better publicity could there be for a wellness program than being the man who cleaned up Jake Roberts and Scott Hall?
Page has positioned himself in a way that he can’t really lose here. If he fails, he can just say that Hall and Roberts didn’t have what it took to get clean. If he succeeds, it becomes his go-to sales pitch. Page seemed to have a genuine respect and hope for Jake Roberts, but I believe he simply sees dollar signs when he looks at Scott Hall.
As an owner of the DDPYoga program and frequent user, the onus of responsibility for the program is on YOU. It’s spelled out over and over in the materials that come with the DVDs that the only person who can make this program work is YOU. Somehow I think the message has been skewed in Hall’s case.
There is also the angle that should Page succeed here, he’ll be doing what Vince McMahon and WWE could not do: clean up Scott Hall. There is minimal risk with the potential for extremely high reward. DDP is a small business owner, after all. He’ll get to stick it to McMahon and the vaunted Wellness Policy and scoff at the notion the company tries to help its former talent.
Then again, this is chance number 8,465 for Hall, whose problems were so out of control, ESPN ran a story on their investigative news show E:60 chronicling the depths of Hall’s substance abuse issues. It was startling and pathetic, but came as no surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the behavior of Hall. The piece began with the footage of Hall making an appearance at an indie show in such horrible condition that it was disturbing that the promoter went ahead with the match. This of course glosses over the fact that Hall showed up like that to begin with. It also included what comes across as gloating that he totaled "eight Cadillacs" after leaving WWE in 2002.
It is behavior that without some kind of intervention, likely would have killed Hall. However, part of dealing with life-altering issues is confronting the problem and accepting the consequences. He’s been to rehab 11 times. At what point does saying "I’ll go to rehab", become a defense mechanism?
Getting a hip replacement funded by wrestling fans on the internet is going to do nothing for Scott Hall. If anything, it’s a bailout.
While it is very nice that Hall has been sober since being in the same house with DDP and Roberts, the biggest criticism is, "What happens when those two aren’t being babysat by Page?" This is a serious question, because as many of us know, it’s a cold world out here. What happens when there is literally nothing stopping either man from relapse?
Roberts, to his credit, really seems to be trying. He struggles with his demons, but through humor and self-deprecation, he at least comes off as genuine when discussing his past and his struggle to get better. If it was him who needed the hip replacement, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
Hall, on the other hand, is a shell of a human being whose hip replacement surgery will likely cause more harm than good when we close the book on Scott Hall. Remember, this is all just so he can start doing a yoga program with DDP. Hip replacements are life-threatening for completely healthy people who were not sacrificing their bodies on a nightly basis.
In the end, the surgery was funded and Scott Hall will attempt his grandest comeback yet. If it works, I will be the first person to eat these words and say I was wrong. Page can pat himself on the back and Hall can live out the rest of his life one day at a time.
I want to believe. No one wants to see someone who genuinely wants to get better fail. This isn't the first time Hall has been confronted with his demons and said he’d change (remember the 11 trips to rehab?) While I get the feeling this could be his last, I wouldn't bet on that either.
No one likes to see their heroes fall from grace. No one said you had to help them get back up either.