Last night, ESPN ran the highly anticipated mini-documentary "Scott Hall: The Wrestler."
And once you get past their obvious lack of in-depth understanding and condescending attitude about pro wrestling...
"Scott Hall was bigger than Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant in the 1990's."
"Today's wrestlers are more addicted to PlayStation 2 than anything else"
(They still violate the WWE Wellness Policy like it's a going out of style. Most recently, Sin Cara Azul, Heath Slater, Darren Young and even referee Mike Chioda.)
"It's interesting because it's fake, yet this story's real."
(Yes, that was a necessary comment, for sure.)
...you actually get to one of the most saddening and shocking displays of what pro wrestling can do to an athlete possibly ever recorded.
This article is going to take a look at the eight most eye-opening revelations of that documentary, in no particular order.
We read the articles, and some of us read the books, about how life on the road was for the veterans of this sport and the repercussions that follow. But this is probably one of the most gut-wrenching forms ever presented from one of the saddest falls in all of sports.
Let's have a look...
What immediately grabbed my attention were the events that occurred on January 15, 1983 in Orlando, Florida.
As a bartender at the "Thee Original Doll House," a gentleman's club, Scott Hall got into an altercation with a man over a woman at the club.
The man would go outside and smash Scott Hall's car windows and windshield in and leave. Scott would follow the man and punch him in the face, prompting the man to go for a gun.
Scott Hall struggled for control of the weapon, stripped it from the man and then shot him in the head, killing him.
Scott would be charged with second-degree murder, but would not be found guilty because of a lack of evidence.
Even Scott himself said that he probably should've sought counseling for this moment in his life, but didn't.
This act can immediately explain why Scott Hall started on the path that he did. Taking another man's life can lead to all sorts of mental disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), something many of our soldiers struggle with.
That disorder causes people to fall into a cycle of self-destruction due to guilt, as well as destroying their relationships and using alcohol and drugs to escape the mental torture that follows the traumatic event.
Combine that with Scott Hall's family heritage of alcoholism, and it's like lighting a propane tank on fire.
Chances are it will explode and destroy everything around it.
One of the more saddening revelations of the show was Scott Hall's ex-wife, Dana Lee Burgio, showing ESPN the letters of Cody and Cassidy that she would implore them to write and send to Scott Hall to try and save their own father.
Shown were the phrases: "Please get help daddy, please," "I want you to be in my life" and "I miss you."
I can't even imagine the kind of pain Scott must have felt reading that, the kind of pain Dana had to feel asking her children to write that, and the emotional distress it must have put on Cody and Cassidy Hall to have to write that to their father.
It was a saddening insight to what addiction and the wrestling business can do to a family, especially the children.
Last night, Stephanie McMahon was a part of the show and exposed that the WWE has spent over six figures trying to get Scott Hall the help he needs.
It was the most they have ever spent on a single athlete in their rehabilitation program.
Scott Hall has been to rehab a whopping 10 times.
I think that's a clear sign that rehab, as it is being presented to him, is ineffective and perhaps they should seek out alternative methods, like Christian counseling. It worked for hard cases like Lex Luger, Vader and Shawn Michaels.
Perhaps even sending him to a counselor that deals with soldiers who struggle with PTSD would be helpful, as well.
But this is just my personal opinion.
Another shocking revelation was Scott Hall's description of nights on the road he would spend with Shawn Michaels. Scott gave the following example:
"I shared hotel rooms with Shawn Michaels. On more than one occasion we'd lay there and go:
'Your heart still beatin'?'
'Wait a minute...yeah.'
'Here, take half of this.'"
As I have said in two of my previous articles, I too, have struggled with severe addictions. I would also get high out of my mind with friends, doing everything from cocaine and opium, to marijuana and prescription pills.
One thing we never said to each other was: "Hey, let's get high until our hearts stop beating."
That's not addiction anymore. That's attempting suicide.
It speaks deeply into the mindset of Scott Hall and also exposes a contradiction in his documentary that I don't even think he is aware of: He said that people claimed he was going to commit suicide and left a suicide note. He scoffed at the notion of killing himself and stated: "I thrive on misery."
Perhaps Hall doesn't realize that opening the documentary with: "I don't care if I die, because, what's left?" and admitting to trying to take enough drugs with HBK on numerous occasions to stop their hearts, is contradictory to the idea that he would never commit suicide.
Perhaps Scott Hall needs to face the fact that guilt over what happened in Orlando, Florida, as well as what his behavior has done to his family, and his seemingly unbreakable addiction, is causing him to seek death, subconsciously.
To follow up on that train of thought, is another shocking detail of the expose: Scott Hall has totaled eight Cadillacs.
I can relate, because I wrecked two Fords and two Toyotas in my drug and drinking days.
The mindset was that I just plain didn't care about hopping behind a wheel and dying while drunk or high. It wasn't something that crossed my mind as I didn't care about or cherish life.
For Scott to get behind the wheel eight different times and total eight different cars speaks to the fact that he has a total disregard for his safety and his life, as well. Not to mention the lives of others.
Fortunately, he no longer drives. He admits that he knows he has no problem with getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.
Nevertheless, totaling eight cars is pretty amazing, for all the wrong reasons.
To me this is the saddest moment of the entire expose, because I know what it really means: Scott Hall's odds of surviving this all are slim to none.
During the expose, Scott Hall showed off the vast array of prescription pills he has to take due to his life of drugs and alcohol.
The documentary exposed that he takes 11 types of medication, and some that he mentioned by name are as follows:
Lexipro: Used for Depression and General Anxiety Disorder
Clonidine: Used for treating high blood pressure as well as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Folic Acid: Used to treat Folic Acid Deficiency and keep red blood cell counts in the body at a tolerable level.
Cardival: An ingredient of Valsartan, which is used to prevent seizures and help with congestive heart failure, where the heart is so clogged that it can't pump enough blood through the body.
Amiodarone: Used to prevent certain types of serious, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (which is an irregular heartbeat and blood flow untreatable with common prescriptions).
Potassium: Used to prevent potassium deficiency which can lead to heart, kidney, muscle, nerve and digestive system failure.
Blood Thinner: Used to prevent blood clots that can lead to heart disease and also move to parts of the body and cause heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and brain aneurysms. (Sudden shut down of the brain leading to instant death.)
Scott also listed another anti-seizure medicine without giving a name to it and mentioned a "Flormiciride," for which I can't find information about.
That's just nine of the 11 medications Scott is currently on. Together, they paint a grim picture about the state of his heart, which also has a pacemaker implanted in it, as well.
Scott's heart is already destroyed. He's basically keeping his body working through medications and frequent trips to the hospital.
As was stated by Sean Waltman in the documentary: "I've been preparing for Scott's death for a year and a half, now." Kevin Nash then said: "I don't know how much longer his heart can take this."
After seeing the list of pills that Scott's taking, I don't think his heart can take much more, either.
My worst fear is that even if Scott does get clean, he's going to face a similar fate as the late Eddie Guerrero, who defeated his demons yet the damage to his heart from years of drug abuse and steroid use was already irreversible and lead to his death in 2005.
This part of the expose really brought a tear to my eye.
We fans hear about it all the time, with examples ranging from Vince McMahon to Jim Cornette, about how hard-driving and ruthless pro wrestling promoters can be.
But last night, in the flesh, ESPN showed us up close how scummy some of them truly are.
Chances are, you've already seen the video of Scott Hall showing up to a Top Rope Promotion event in Fall Springs, Massachusetts, earlier this year. Scott could barely stand, could hardly speak and couldn't even throw a punch correctly.
At the time, Scott was overdosing on opiates and benzodiazepines (which you may better know as Valium or Xanax). In addition to these, he was on 11 heart and seizure medications, as well as Percocet (pain-killers) and Somas (muscle-relaxers).
Now, I've been on a combination of PK's, Somas and Zoloft before. You are absolutely no good to anyone for anything. I can only imagine combining that with all of those other medications at levels high enough to overdose and what that would do to you.
Scott said he didn't even know what country he was in and doesn't even remember being there in the documentary. I'm sure that is an understatement. Yet, even though he was clearly out of it, even though he arrived in a wheelchair, this tremendous humanitarian, Steve Ricard, the owner of Top Rope Promotions, decided to put Scott Hall out before the public.
The reason for his decision?
"I made a business decision over a moral one. Scott Hall is not my friend. I met him one day and I'm pretty sure I'll never meet him again."
This was followed up by a Sean Waltman statement that can't be repeated here, but I believe generally encapsulates my exact feelings on Ricard's decision and the reasoning behind it.
Ricard then goes on to say that, "The show must go on, the people wanted Scott Hall and we showed the world who Scott Hall really was."
This incomprehensibly amoral, sorry excuse for a businessman actually tries to sound as though he high-mindedly did the right thing by putting a dying addict in the ring to be humiliated before the world.
Truth is, he simply didn't want to have to refund all the money he was making on Scott Hall's appearance.
I wish you and your promotion the same amount of success as your heart, morals and compassion dictate.
Possibly the only heartwarming, and still, just as tragic moment in this documentary is seeing the reason why Cody Hall, Scott's only son, decided to become a wrestler.
While most people enter the business because they see themselves at the top of the WWE as World Champion, making millions of dollars and staring in bargain-bin WWE feature films, Cody has entered the business because he wants to be close to and possibly save his dad's life.
I don't know if anyone else in the world of professional wrestling has such a motivation right now.
Cody's hope is that by being next to his father, allowing his dad to train him, that he can act as an anchor to keep his dad alive.
The documentary exposed that they had only seen each other three times in the past three years, and this is Cody Hall's way of trying to bridge that gap.
Whether or not Cody ever becomes a big-time wrestler in the WWE or TNA, he's already a champion in my book for that reason alone.
The people at ESPN E:60 made the comparison between Randy "The Ram" Robinson, the character played by Mickey Rourke in "The Wrestler," and Scott Hall. They said it was "Life imitating art imitating life."
And while there are some striking similarities, I see another movie and a real person when watching this documentary: Richard Eklund.
The movie was "The Fighter" starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.
In that movie, (and if you haven't seen it yet, you should probably stop reading), Christian Bale is covered by HBO Sports for his comeback to the world of boxing. However, his drug addiction is so bad, that HBO decides to instead turn his documentary into an expose on the pitfalls of addiction to crack cocaine.
Ecklund, at the same time, begins to rob people for the sake of getting together cash to get his brother, Micky Ward (played by Wahlberg) into full-time training for his boxing career. He gets arrested and thrown into prison, where he is residing when the documentary is finally aired.
As he is watching this documentary in jail with fellow inmates, he sees himself and what he's become, truly for the first time. Furthermore, he sees the toll that his decisions have made on his family and most importantly, his son.
That was Dicky Eklund's moment of clarity. He got out of jail, cut off his addict friends, worked to regain the trust of his family, helped train his brother Mick to become the WBU Light-Heavyweight Champion and stayed sober—to which he is this day.
News making the wires right now, is that Scott Hall is going back to rehab, yet again.
After seeing this documentary, after seeing how far he has fallen and what he's done to his family and his son, Cody, perhaps Scott Hall can pull through this and become another success story like Eklund did.
Perhaps he'll even manage to live longer than his heart should naturally allow. After all, even Hall stated that he should be dead 100 times, by now.
Perhaps he can beat the odds.
One can only pray that he does. That this is his moment of clarity, where the man that Scott Hall has become is dragged into the public square. The moment all of his demons, all of his pains and all of the hurt he has caused others, is exposed for the world to see.
Shame him to save him.
Perhaps that's all that's left.
Hopefully it works this time.