WWE announced on the March 24 edition of Monday Night Raw that pro wrestling veteran Scott Hall would be inducted into the Hall of Fame on WrestleMania weekend. The announcement was a long-overdue moment for fans who have been waiting for their favorite to finally receive the public recognition that they have always felt he deserved.
But the curious part of the announcement was that Hall's name was not flashed upon the TV screen. Instead, it was the character that he made famous during his run in WWE: Razor Ramon. And when the moment happened, many were likely of the same opinion that it was indeed the wrong move.
As is usually the case with any decision that it makes, WWE has found a way to justify not using Hall's real name for the Hall of Fame. According to PWInsider Elite (via Wrestlinginc.com), Vince McMahon is supposedly proud of the Razor persona and would actually use Hall's name when Hall and Kevin Nash are inducted as The Outsiders.
On the surface, the decision seems to make perfect sense. After all, the names Hall and Nash will likely forever be linked together for fans. It's only fitting that the two men go into the Hall of Fame at the same time and as the tag team that they will almost certainly be remembered as.
And it's logical that McMahon would be proud of the Razor Ramon gimmick. Hall played the role so well that it became very difficult to see where he ended and Razor began. The character got over with the WWE crowd and is still one of the most memorable in the company's history.
But the primary issue with the Hall of Fame announcement is the fact that WWE seems to have missed the point once again.
The fact is that pro wrestling fans are smart, too smart to not understand what they're seeing.
Scott Hall's name is recognized, known throughout the wrestling world. From his time in the AWA, his WWE career, his run in WCW and then back again, fans know Scott Hall's name. The fact that he played a character with a different name makes no difference.
In fact, the Razor character may actually not be as popular with many of the WWE faithful as the man himself truly is. And much of that has to do with his work in WCW.
When Hall and Nash left WWE for WCW, they basically took the Diesel and Razor characters with them. Scott kept the same look and continued using the same voice that he had when working for Vince McMahon.
However, Hall's accent was soon dropped, and fans were left with Scott Hall the man, not the character.
His promos, his matches, the way he worked the crowd—everything that Hall did was very charismatic and entertaining. Scott Hall essentially became Razor Ramon; the character was merely just an extension of who he already was.
Scott didn't need the big gold chains, the razor-themed gear or slick vignettes produced by WWE. All Scott needed was a camera and a microphone. The rest just all fell into place.
In fact, by the time he and Kevin Nash "invaded" WCW and became the hottest act in that company, Scott Hall didn't need the Razor Ramon character at all. He was carving out his own niche, independent of WWE and anything he had done there as Razor.
Of course, it's understandable that WWE would want to induct Hall based upon his work in the company. Scott was reinvented under its banner, he found new fame on its programming. And at the end of the day, it is the WWE Hall of Fame, not WCW's.
But to suggest that a character is worthy of induction right now but not necessarily the man that played it seems like a ridiculous notion. After all, Ric Flair was inducted twice, once as himself and once as the leader of The Four Horsemen.
In both instances, it was Ric's name that was on the marquee, not The Nature Boy. While Flair made his name long before he ever worked for Vince, the fact is that Hall's WCW career rivaled that of his run as Razor in WWE. Flair deserved to be in the Hall under his most popular name, and Scott Hall deserves the same courtesy.
And truth be told, the move does not do much in regards to making fans feel anymore connected to the company that they likely feel has talked down to them in the past.
Even though WWE is a pro wrestling promotion and promotions make it their business to work the audience, the fact is that fans know nonsense when they see it. And when Razor Ramon's name was announced as the next WWE Hall of Fame inductee and not Scott Hall, fans surely saw nonsense from top to bottom.
Scott Hall's career in WCW was just as important, if not more so, than his career in WWE. The fact that WWE seems focused on ignoring that is perhaps one of the worst examples of silly decision-making that fans have seen in quite some time.
But Scott Hall the man will be at the Hall of Fame ceremony. And when he stands on that stage and delivers his patented "hey yo," fans will likely not care about the fact that the Razor Ramon character is the one being inducted. They will just be happy that their hero is finally on that Hall of Fame stage.
And perhaps that is all that matters.