WWF.com interview-2/02
Conducted by Seth Mates

MILWAUKEE- Scott Hall is perhaps the most controversial man in the nWo, if not all of sports entertainment. Prior to making his return to the World Wrestling Federation along with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash, Hall sat down with WWF.com for an exclusive in-depth interview, covering a number of topics.

WWF.com: How does it feel to be back?

Hall: It's great. I'm really excited. I haven't been really happy about being in a wrestling environment for some time. It turned into work, which isn't why I got into wrestling. The great thing about this job is that you get paid to do something you love, and it's not like "work work."

WWF.com: How are you feeling physically?

Hall: I feel great. Fantastic. I have my bumps and bruises. I'm not the youngest guy in the locker room, but I'm ready to go. And when you're in front of 20,000 people, you don't feel a thing. It's later in the hotel that catches up with you. (laughs) I don't want to jinx myself, but I feel great physically.

WWF.com: Can you talk about the circumstances that led to your Federation return?

Hall: I had been working in Japan; I have a really good relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling. (So good, in fact, that) they were booking when me I didn't want to be booked. I talked to guys about working internationally because I can only work part-time becuase I'm a single parent with two kids in elementary school. So I was thinking about doing, or maybe just not working at all, and the phone rang, and it's Vince McMahon. He said, "Hey, we're talking to Kev, why can't we work something out? I know you're a stay-home dad, but I think we can work something out." I said, "If we both want to, I know we can." To me, my prayers were answered. I prayed about this. Give me something; steer me the right way. On my own, I wouldn't get it done. And what happened was, when I stopped worrying about everything, it all fell into place.

WWF.com: What do you do with your kids when you're on the road?

Hall: They have a nanny that I've been training for a year, knowing that I was going to work somewhere. I mean, I feel so lucky. I've got such a blessed situation- I get to work with some of the best guys in the world and the best company in the world with friends of mine, and I still get to be a single dad. I could ask for a better deal. There's no way I'm gonna screw this up.

WWF.com: There were some internet reports about your trip to LA, that you made a less-than-impressive first impression with the talent.

Hall: I'm not making excuses. If I hurt anybody's feelings who didn't need to be hurt, I apologize. I went home and went straight to my doctor when I got home from LA. I said, "Man, I got heat." So much of this stuff is so blown up. Really, nothing happened. So I went to my doctor and said, "I can't believe I got heat the first day." And he said, "Good." Good? For 300 bucks an hour, you're supposed to agree with me! He said, "Yeah, because you won't f*** up anymore, will you?" He asked if I had any more of those pills he gave me, and I said yeah, and he said, "Why don't you go ahead and start taking them?" I've gone as far to take anabuse now. It's a medication you take, and if you abuse any alcohol at all- even mouthwash or cologne- it will make you violently ill, and one of hte side effects is death in some instances. I just thought- you know what?- I have such a great opportunity here, I'm not going to let alcohol take it away from me. Now that I'm thinking about it, you know, I'm so glad (what happened in LA) happened on the day I wasn't supposed to do anything but stand there and get scanned for a doll. It ain't gonna happen again. You'll never see me drunk again. I guarantee it, because I take that pill every morning when I know I'm on the road.

WWF.com: How long have you been clean?

Hall: I don't know. I had a couple of beers in LA. Before that I went like 10 months. I don't sweat that; I don't count the days. I haven't drank today, I'll look at it like that.

WWF.com: We interviewed your friend X-Pac, and he said he didn't want to speak for you, but from the reading he got, you were doing a lot better in your personal life. Is that true?

Hall: I've spent a ton of money and time, and been in two high-dollar rehab houses, voluntarily. I went to an outpatient thing. I seen an addiction specialist now because I don't want to live my life that way. I would do some things, and probably didn't make some good decisions. I want to move past that now, and that's one of the reasons why I really wanted to come back to wrestling. I've been blessed. I've been well compensated throughout my career; I don't really have to wrestle. That's why I chose to wrestle in Japan- to see if I even wanted to wrestle anymore. And I found out after one day that yes, I do. And after a couple of days, I went, yeah, I'm pretty good! And that's why I was really excited that this opportunity came about. Just being able to wrestle and be a part of the biggest company in the world- I wanted to put a positive spin on my career. If I retire, I want it to be on a positive note. I've never been a choirboy; I'm not one to tell people not to drink. I loved to drink; I drank tons of beer and had a lot of fun doing it. But what I've learned now is that I can still have fun without drinking. The good thing about taking this pill is, when I'm sitting at home with my kids, I'm not being bombarded with that stimulus of drinking. Now I can do whatever I want to do, but alcohol's not in the equation, and that makes my life way easier. I don't want to jinx myself by saying I've got it licked, because if you anything about addiction, you know it's an ongoing thing. But I didn't drink today.

WWF.com: How are you fitting in to the locker room so far?

Hall: I don't know. This is only the second time I've been in the arena. I woulod prefer to get along with everybody, but I know that's impossible. This is a business, and I hope I'm a good enough performer that whether anyone wants to have dinner with me or travel with me, that's one thing, but guys who watch me wrestle would respect me or want to wrestle me.

WWF.com: There has been a lot of talk that you guys create too many problems in the locker room, based on rumors about the last time you were here and your tenure in WCW.

Hall: I've heard that talk too. When I wasn't wrestling, I didn't watch any American wrestling, because I wanted to keep fresh. I think if you're too in tune with what everybody else thinks, then it distorts what you feel. The people can talk and say what they want, but if you look at the numbers and everything, we were pretty successful. I'm not really worried about having a date with one of the guys, but I'm hoping that they want to work with me. We're not gonna travel together or have dinner together, but get out there and wrestle me. I never heard anybody knocking our work. I remember one time in Long Beach, California, Vince called me and Shawn Michaels into his office, and he said, "The perception is you guys have a lot of heat in the locker room." And the first thing I said was, "I think it's Shawn." (laughs) And Vince said, "Oh no, it's you." For me, being so happy to be here, if people said, "How are you doing?" I'd go, "Better than you!" It was my schtick. It was a joke. And Vince went, "Oh God, don't say that!" I think sometimes that's kinda good if people think that the guys really don't like each other. Fans think, "Oh, those guys are pricks." As long as they're talking, right? The worst thing that can happen is they don't say anything.

WWF.com: The perception back in the mid-90s was that the Kliq really ran the Federation locker room.

Hall: I think it was Lex and Bam Bam (Bigelow) and some guys that started calling us the Kliq. But there was another whole pack of guys too- guys like Undertaker, and Yokozuna and Junior (Rikishi). We were friends. And we were all in good spots- we were all working at the top or near the top. The thing about our business is that fans decide who gets the push as much as people sitting around the office. They decide who's going to be featured and who's not going to be featured. It's not like some other athletic event where the guy with the God-given abilities- the fastest runner or the highest jumper- (gets all the attention). This is all a story. So there's jealousy in guys going, "How come it's not me? Haven't you got enough money? Why don't you go home? It's my turn." I can remember being a young guy in the locker room too.

WWF.com: People said you guys were complainers back then, late all the time, etc.

Hall: OK, we were probably late. But I think maybe our "bitching" was confused for passion. Wrestlers are the biggest fans of all, the biggest marks of all. I love this more than anybody in this building. I'm willing to go out there, bounce around, risk getting hurt just to hear the people scream. I can remember being in the ring with Shawn Michaels in Europe one time where the people were so good that we would look at each other and go, "Don't tell Vince, but I would do this for free." (laughs) The people are just screaming, and you got goosebumps- look at me, I got goosebumps right now just thinking about it. Thinking back, I guess when I was a young kid looking for a break, I was jealous of the old guys, critical and stuff. I used to hate the guys that did comedy, because I wanted my stuff to look real, and I was stiff. And now, I got turned into one of those guys I hate. But you have to do what the audience wants you to do.

WWF.com: Has anybody come up to you since you've been back and talked about stuff that's happened in the past?

Hall: I don't remember all the bad things happening. What happened? (laughs) Maybe my answer is that I'm not going to sweat everything that happened before, and I hope that people will judge me on how I perform today, how I perform tomorrow and I can perform in the future.

WWF.com: Looking back today, is there anything you would've done different?

Hall: I didn't want to leave here the first time. I wanted to stay. I asked Vince to match the offer, because I wanted to stay here. And when he said no, I sold out. I'll never forget the last time I wrestled in Madison Square Garden. I worked the semi-main event with Triple H. It was sold out. At that time, it was the biggest gate this company had ever done that wasn't a Pay-Per-View. Kev worked with Shawn Michaels in a cage match and I worked with Hunter underneath. All that stuff at the end (the "Curtain Call") was Shawn's idea, and it was never meant in a mean way. I hit Hunter with my finish, but his feet hit (referee) Timmy White, and everyone saw but me. So I went for the cover, no referee, then bam, he hits me with the Pedigree, and the cover, 1-2-3. I laid there forever. The fans started chanting, "You sold out!" They were chanting that in the Garden! "You sold out! You sold out!" Vince always stands at the curtain, and I looked at him and I went like this (rubs his thumb and forefingers together to indicate money, and then points at the curtain toward Vince)- I'll stay right here! Then, I'll never forget- I got on the mic, and was set to do one of my standard signatures- "Say hello to the Bay Guy." And I went, "Say..." and the people went "Goodbye to the Bad Guy." I don't know, man. Would I have done anything different? No. Any guy that ever got hurt and stuff, I would have never done that. I can honestly say that I've never hurt anybody on purpose. I've never set out to hurt people. The way I've done business, I've never been selfish. I've actually gotten in trouble for putting guys over when I wasn't supposed to. Plus, at the same time, I'm trying to go forward. I've made some mistakes. I went through a really painful, really public divorce, and I was in so much pain- I would have rather felt nothing than feel pain. So I used alcohol as a drug, and drank and drank and drank until I didn't feel anything. I was doing it to hurt myself because myself was feeling so low that I didn't think I deserved to be happy. Through a lot of work, I'm out of that now.

WWF.com: A lot of people were under the impression that you were suicidal.

Hall: The way I was drinking, I was slowly killing myself. But I'm too much of a Christian; I don't want to go to hell. I would rather go to the hood and rob a crack dealer and have him kill me. I'm not gonna kill myself.

WWF.com: So what are your goals this time around?

Hall: I've been searching to get in touch with Scott Hall, to find Scott Hall. He got lost in the blur of alcohol and immature decisions. I used to be a happy guy, and I'd like to be that. I went through a lot of pain, and I didn't handle it well I guess. Instead of just seeking help, I thought I could handle it, and I just medicated myself with alcohol. I feel happy that I've moved past that, and now I just want to be me, whoever that is, and he's certainly not perfect. I'm never gonna win any popularity contests in the locker room. I just want to be the best me I can be. I love this business; I love to have fun with it.

WWF.com: Who are you looking forward to working with?

Hall: I would love to wrestle Stone Cold. I would love to wrestle Rock. Up and down the line. I would love to wrestle Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho- there are so many big stars here. And there are so many good tag teams for me and Kev, guys like the Dudleys, the Hardys. There's so much talent here that I can't wait. I look forward to wrestling anybody and everybody. That's one thing we were happy about- we're pretty versatile. I think I'm versatile as a singles, and we know we're a good tag. I've never sweated it out. I look forward to seeing who's across me and who I'm across from. And that's the part that makes it exciting. That's what I love about our business, is you get instant feedback from the audience; you know what works and what doesn't work. And you know right away, because if they don't like it, they will let you know. And if they do like it, they will let you know. I remember I met Ted Betley one time in England- he's the guy who trained Dynamite Kid. I was wrestling for this European promoter and Betley was there. I was just young in the business, and this guy's an old man. I'm thinking, "Who's this old guy hanging around?" And he comes up to me and goes, "Hey kid, some of your stuff looks pretty good. Now what you want to do is- everything that gets a reaction, you want to keep that. And the things that don't get a reaction, leave those out. Pretty soon, everything you do will get a reaction." (laughs) Now I'm sitting here saying that guy was so smart, because I try to be a minimalist- no wasted motion. I don't do moves just because I can do them. But at the time, I thought, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you senile old codger, get outta here." But now I look at it and go, "How profound!" It took me years to realize what he meant. I can remember Dusty Rhodes telling me something when I broke in, and then I'd be riding down a highway somewhere fives years later, and I'd go, "Now I know what he meant!" I always like hanging out with the young guys in our business, so I can feed off their enthusiasm. They're so excited. Instead of riding with the guys who are negative or unhappy- "Why aren't I getting pushed? How come I'm not on top?" I like traveling with the young guys who are just psyched. That's what guys did to me.

WWF.com: I bet you got to see a lot of that when you trained in Cincinnati last week.

Hall: Yeah, I got to see a lot of the guys I worked with in WCW and new guys coming up. See, I've never adjusted to the part where people look at Scott hall in that way. To me, I'm just Scott Hall. It's funny when you meet some guys- and like I said, wrestlers are the biggest fans of all- and then guys come up to you and say, "I've been watching you for 15 years." I used to laugh at Ric Flair. I would walk with Flair in the airports years ago, and grown men would come up with Flair and say, "Ric Flair, I've been watching you since I was 5 years old!" And I used to laugh. And now I get it, and you're like, "Thanks... I think." Like some girl in her 20s, really hot, will come up to you, and go, "You're my mom's favorite wrestler!" (laughs) "Thanks. Tell your mom I said hey."

WWF.com: Your friend Triple H has come quite a long way since the last time you were here.

Hall: He was great then. He was great when he got here. Some guys are just naturals. He was a great performer then- nowhere near the magnitude he is now, but it was easy to tell then that he was going to be something special. I'm happy for him. I'm happy for Chris Jericho, man- he's doing so great. It's cool to see guys who love this business and worked hard and have succeeded. Chris Jericho told me he saw me wrestle in Winnipeg- he was 10- at the matches with his dad back when I was in the AWA. And it's cool, years later, you get the chance to wrestle the guy. When I was in WCW and I perceived to be higher on the totem pole than him, and now I get to come in here where I'm like the new guy, and he's the World Champion. It's just cool. I always learned early on to be nice to everybody, because you never know who they might turn out to be.

WWF.com: Anything else you want to add?

Hall: I don't want to sound like, "Hey man, I was f***ed up, but I'm all cured now." It's an ongoing thing, and I'm doing my best. Don't feel sorry for me. I don't want it to be like, "Poor me." A lot of people have it way worse than me. I'm blessed. I get to do something that I love. I'm so blessed and I'm so lucky. A lot of people out there have trouble a lot worse to wake up to than ma. This is just my little thing going on. I don't want anybody's sympathy. I'm a big boy. I don't want people saying, "Poor Scott. He's really a good guy, he has just got a sickness." I made bad decisions, and I have to deal with the consequences of them. Now I just hope I'll make smarter decisions. And anybody that knows me knows that anything can always happen. And that's my plan. The thing that has been the most rewarding to me is finding out that I can still have fun without drinking. Beacuse there was a time when I thought, "Oh man- I'll never laugh again. This is gonna suck. How am I gonna get laid if I can't hang out in a bar?" Not drinking isn't going to make me more popular in the locker room. But at least whey say, "He's a d**k," and someone says, "Was he drunk?" they say, "No. But he's a d**k though!" I just want to be judged by what I do on the other side of the curtain. Judge me by my talent or my lack of talent, what I do out in the ring. And of course, I have to be professional in the back.

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