Charleston Post & Courier – May 8, 2011 – Mike Mooneyham – Sometimes it’s better just to let go.
Dana Hall, ex-wife of pro wrestling star Scott Hall, says she’s finally come to the stark realization that closure doesn’t come to all.
She recently made what she called a last-ditch effort to reach out to Hall, who has battled substance abuse for a number of years, in an attempt to reconnect Hall with their two teen-aged children.
Hall, 53, has been hospitalized several times in recent months, and last year had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted in his heart.
She has publicly pleaded with friends and family to intervene on Hall’s behalf.
But in light of recent events, she says, nothing short of a miracle will “save” the wrestler.
“I know now my prayers will not be answered as I had hoped,” she says.
Dana Hall, 49, said a recent phone call from her ex-husband gave her a brief glimmer of hope. That hope, however, was short-lived.
“I could barely understand him, but finally heard him say he was sorry for his behavior, and after wrapping his head around it, he knew he was going to die, didn’t have much time left, and wanted me and the kids to be with him in the end.”
She says Hall, however, hung up when she started to talk and would not answer when she called him back. Not knowing what his condition might be, she says she called 911 to meet her at Hall’s home 10 miles away in case he needed help.
“He sounded like he might be dying,” she says. “I was freaking out because he sounded really bad.”
Emergency medical technicians were already on the scene and climbing through a bedroom window when she arrived.
When she got to the front porch, she says, Hall was pushing an EMT out of the door.
“It was nothing short of a scene from ‘One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ meets ‘The Shining.’ This is no exaggeration … I wish it was,” she says.
When he saw her, she says, Hall “went into a rampage against me, telling them to get this (expletive) off his property.”
“He was threatening to beat them all up, doing the crotch chop thing to them, making a fool of himself, ranting and raving like a crazed mental person,” she says.
She claims Hall, who was wearing a T-shirt and boxers, spat in her face as he yelled obscenities.
“I had my hands out to him and was crying, and he could have cared less. He just went on with his ranting,” she says. “He at one point held his hand up to strike me, and they moved me away. There were like eight paramedics and six officers. I told him goodbye. This would be the last time I would come see him.”
Now in hindsight, she says, she feels foolish after years of trying to mend fences and help her ex-husband.
“I feel like such a fool for falling for it again. There was nothing behind his eyes but hate and evil. He made his bed … now he has to lie in it.”
The incident was just the latest chapter in the sad saga of a one-time pro wrestling superstar whose fall from grace has been dramatic and painful to watch.
“Scott’s condition is obviously a very sad one that is played out all too often in our society,” says Murray. “He is seriously trapped by his addiction, and it is going to kill him unless he makes a 180-degree change soon.”
The difference, says Murray, is that Hall is a very public sports figure, and his drama is being played out for all to see.
“This probably makes it even more difficult for him to recover and more painful for his family.”
Hall was one of the highest-paid performers in the wrestling business during the ‘90s when he headlined as Razor Ramon and later as a member of WWE’s Kliq (with Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Triple H and Sean Waltman) and WCW’s NWO (with Nash and Hulk Hogan). But his professional and personal life spiraled out of control due to a string of drug-related incidents, and the self-proclaimed “Bad Guy” became a problem child and liability that lost favor in the business.
“A very long nightmare” is how Dana Hall describes their rocky relationship.
The two had been acquaintances and had first met at a bar where they both worked when she was only 17 years old. But they went their separate ways and didn’t meet again until nearly eight years later at another Orlando-area nightclub.
By then Dana was divorced with 5-year-old twin boys. The two dated and lived together for about two years before marrying in February 1990 in Winter Park, Fla., where Hall was based while working for Dusty Rhodes in small towns throughout the Southeast.
“We had a very strong attraction to each other, and pretty much that was the basis of our relationship for the entire time,” she says.
Things were different in the beginning, she says, as the two traveled together during a two-year stint in Germany and the Caribbean.
“We used to go to the gym twice a day and train together, go on bike rides, beach, sun. We used to joke and say we were living the ‘Muscle and Fitness’ lifestyle.”
She says she never envisioned that their lives would take such a dramatic turn.
“There were many red flags in the beginning which never really stopped, and I guess I chose to ignore them. I was ‘in love’ and thought I could change him like a lot of woman make the mistake of doing. I thought the attraction would get us through.”
She says she never thought Hall would achieve the success he later did in the business.
“He was working for Otto Wanz those first two years, and we traveled to Germany and Austria for months at a time, and lived in little caravans behind the building. Martha and Owen Hart were our neighbors.
“I never even thought he would get famous. We’d watch WWF on TV, and Scott would say that he was going to be like that one day. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen, but little did I know that it would become our worst nightmare.
“It wasn’t until Scott started with the first alter ego, The Diamond Studd, then Razor Ramon, that things started to go really bad, and it hasn’t stopped. The more fame, the more out of control he was. And the more our marriage and family crumbled. All I can say is that whatever good memories there might have been, they are now overshadowed by more bad ones. His dream to become a pro wrestler became our nightmare.”
Dana says Hall at first denied his drug abuse and tried to hide his addiction. Perhaps it would have been better had he chosen another line of work, she says, but he always loved the wrestling business.
“He was just sucked into this fantasy life,” she says. “He probably would have still been addicted, but I don’t think it would have gotten this far out of control. He wouldn’t have been able to do some of the things he has done and gotten away with as much.”
The two divorced in May 1998 after eight years of marriage, tied the knot again in March 1999, and divorced for the final time in October 2001. They have separated and gotten back together several times since then.
The fame, fortune and big homes, she says, didn’t make up for the dysfunction.
“All the money in the world could not make up for all that was lost to gain it,” says Dana Hall, who now cleans other people’s homes for a living. “Scott used to always say he was doing this for us when I would complain about how often he was gone, but what he was doing for us only ultimately destroyed us — and him. How could all the money in the world be worth that? Be careful what you wish for.”
She says her latest attempt to reach out to Hall will be her last.
“I tried like hell. I lost. He is lost. When I was staring into his eyes for the last time, there was nothing in there. I cannot waste any more of my time and tears on Scott Hall. I have to save myself and our kids from any more direct hurt from this man. The indirect hurt is more than enough.”
She says she had been praying that Hall would make amends with his children.
“My last hope was that he would get in a safe place, get his brain cleared out enough to where he could make amends with the kids. But I know that’s not going to happen now. That was my last prayer and dream and wish … that there would be some kind of happy ending … that he could die with his family around him and on good terms with me and the kids.”
Their two children, 16-year-old daughter Cassidy and 19-year-old son Cody, are the real casualties, she says.
“They hold it in. They hate to talk about it, but they accept that they don’t have a father or a normal life.”
Now, she says, any possible reconciliation will have to happen without her.
“That was all I needed to see to convince me. I saw him for the last time as I had wished. It didn’t go as I had planned, but when does it?”
She recently reached out to WWE, which had helped Hall in the past, regarding the company offering Hall another chance at rehab.
She says the organization is looking into the possibility, but is concerned that there are not many facilities that can deal with his level of addiction as well as his mental and heart issues.
Kevin Nash, she says, would be the likely intermediary since Hall has limited his interaction with other friends.
“Kevin and I have both approached Ann Russo-Gordon at WWE about possibly offering more help to him. They have not said yes, nor have they said no. Finding some place that is qualified to deal with Scott’s magnitude of issues is proving to be difficult. They, of course, have been burned by Scott many times in the past and I don’t blame them at all if they completely shut the door at this point. I had to ask for him at least one more time, but after seeing him, I know he doesn’t even want the help.”
If Hall declines this time, she says, that door would probably be “closed for life.”
“As well it should be,” she adds.
Nash said recently that his friend’s problems go beyond substance addiction. Hall’s issues, he claims, are based on events that happened before his wrestling career, and his only coping mechanism has been turning to drugs and alcohol.
“Drugs and alcohol aren’t the problem; to Scott they are the solution,” says Nash.
The problem, both agree, is that Hall, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, doesn’t seem to want the help he desperately needs.
“Scott has made it very clear he does not want help,” says his ex-wife. “Scott made it clear that he does not want his family, nor his kids in his life in the end, more than he wants alcohol, drugs, sickness and his last enablers. He has no intentions of making amends to his children in the time he has left.”
She recently had advocated more drastic measures — a possible staged intervention on Hall’s behalf.
“Scott appears at this point to be unable to monitor and control his actions responsibly, and any attempts at a staged intervention as a last resort need to be extremely carefully planned and executed,” says sports psychologist Murray. “It might be the best hope for him at this stage. His ex-wife needs to do whatever she can to first protect the children and then try to facilitate help for him without endangering herself.”
Dana Hall, however, says she no longer entertains any desire to intervene.
“I am not going to facilitate any more help for Scott or endanger myself. Scott has not had any visitation rights with the kids since before 2004, and he lost parental rights and visitation in 2005.”
She describes her ex-husband as “a train wreck in progress.”
Hall showed up intoxicated at an appearance at an independent show April 8 in Massachusetts. He had to be helped into and out of the ring before being hospitalized for several days in Rhode Island where he was treated for cardiac issues.
“He is oblivious. He doesn’t even realize what he did at that show,” she says. “He doesn’t realize anything that’s happened since then. He has been in and out of the hospital this whole time. He called Kevin one day and suggested opening a wrestling school. He can’t relate to anybody unless it’s about wrestling. He’s completely out of touch with reality.”
She says he hasn’t seen their daughter since last August and, until she convinced her son to go with Nash to visit Hall at the hospital two weeks ago, he hadn’t seen his son in nearly two years. She says she fears her children have suffered irreparably from the family dysfunction.
“As long as he is not in treatment at least trying to get sober, any kind of a relationship concerning our kids is impossible, as they have suffered enough disappointment and hurt in their lives in regards to their father. His mental state is unpredictable and out of control to put it mildly. No one should have to be subjected to what he is spewing … least of all our kids. I could not trust this would not happen after what I witnessed that day. Besides being severely addicted, bipolar and depressed, he seems to be exhibiting multiple personalities, and none of them are nice.”
She says she appreciates Nash’s involvement in attempts to get Hall help, but that even he is feeling the strain of trying to assist someone who apparently doesn’t want it.
“Kevin is the new conductor for this crazy train, for as long as he can take it,” she says. “He is pretty much at his wit’s end as well.”
As for Dana Hall, she says her battle is over.
“I am officially done. That’s the last time that man will hurt me. I’m wrapping all of this up and getting on with it. I guess it was the closure I needed. It was not the closure I had imagined, but the closure the kids and I will have to accept.
“I have tried everything humanly possible to get through to this man for way too long. I have yelled, screamed, begged, pleaded and made enough of an ass out of myself too many times for someone who could care less. You can’t save someone with your love … my bad.
The decision to give up, she says, was not her own in the end.
“I am at peace with letting him go … I have no choice.”
I hope you enjoyed this difficult but important article from the world of clinical and sports psychology.