Professional wrestler Scott Hall, who was known in the '90s as the villainous character Razor Ramon, was arrested on Friday after police were called to his Florida home on a domestic dispute call. His girlfriend, Lisa Howell, said Scott had been on a drinking binge for days and the two had an argument that escalated. She tried to leave, but the 6'7" wrestler pulled her from her car by the throat. He was arrested after police found marks on Howell's neck, but because he was so intoxicated he had to be taken to a local hospital to be checked out before police could book him.
Hall has had run-ins with the law before, and drugs and alcohol have been an issue for him for years. Unfortunately, this incident led to someone being hurt. Howell has so far refused to press charges.
WWE vice president of operations Stephanie McMahon says the company has spent thousands of dollars in an effort to get Hall clean, the most they have ever spent on anyone.
Hall built a career in a time when drugs and excess were the norm in the industry. More than that, wrestling in those days was about taking absurd risks with the body, jumping off the top rope without a thought to what it might do to the joints later in life, bashing against the turnbuckle in a way that made wrestling look easy but which really took a toll on the guys who did it. It was a true balls-to-the-wall spectacle, and the industry saw a huge boom in popularity in the early '90s because of the wild attitude surrounding it.
Because of the soap-opera like dramatics that go along with it, wrestling is often not viewed as a "real" sport, but those who participate sacrifice their bodies in more ways than one; along with the residual pain that comes from taking hits every day comes the need to dull those aching bones, the inflamed joints. Drugs and alcohol become a way to go on with the show.
Unfortunately, that also means dependence.
"I tell my kids this, 'I can't tell you not to drink and do drugs, they are fun. It's fun. They work,'" Hall said in an interview with ESPN. "But what sucks is when you want to quit and you can't, and pretty soon you alienate or you hurt everyone around you. It's a family disease and then you can't keep a promise to anybody. What sucks the most is when you can't even keep a promise to yourself."
While wrestling is still a dangerous occupation, the new generation of athletes aren't quite so eager to put their bodies in the way of careless harm. Wrestling superstar Terry Bollea--or Hulk Hogan to most of you--says the attitude has definitely changed.
"Wrestlers have been more educated, more up to speed," said Hogan. "I mean before, back in the day, you'd have the match at Madison Square Garden, the Boston Garden, all the wrestlers would see each other down at the Marriott bar. Nowadays, all the guys go up and they go to the room and play video games, or go on their computer."
Hall, who was the subject of a brief documentary on ESPN last year, has been compared to Mickey Rourke's character--Randy "The Ram" Robinson--in the 2008 film "The Wrestler", and it's true there is a striking similarity there. The hope is that Hall won't come to the same fate Randy did.