By Mike Mooneyham
Nov. 17, 2002
Scott Hall, whose wrestling career has been in a tailspin over the past several years as a result of his erratic behavior outside the ring, is back in the news again.
Pro wrestling’s self-proclaimed “Bad Guy,” Hall has been no stranger to controversy over the past decade. The volatility surrounding his professional life, however, has paled in comparison to the often destructive behavior Hall has displayed outside the squared circle. His well-documented string of automobile accidents, rehab stints and substance abuse problems have even made him the dubious favorite in a macabre dead wrestlers pool.
Hall, whose record includes numerous arrests for everything from drunk and disorderly conduct to assault, added to his considerable rap sheet when he was ticketed on Sept. 8 near his Chuluota, Fla., home on charges of driving under the influence and driving on a rim. According to police reports, Hall refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. He later pled guilty, with the charge of driving on a rim being dismissed and the DUI reduced to an alcohol-related reckless driving count. Hall also temporarily lost his license and was forced to complete a mandatory driving course.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]The arrest, however, has served as a backdrop to a much more serious situation involving the 44-year-old Hall, ex-wife Dana, and their two children, Cody, 11, and Cassidy, 7.
“Both of the children were left at home alone,” said Ms. Hall, 39, who shares visitation rights with her former husband. “He had told the children he was going out to get a snack.’ The children had been dropped off by a third party at approximately 6 p.m. He was arrested at 6:38. He was obviously drunk when the kids got there. No way he could get that drunk in 38 minutes. He told the kids not to tell me about it, and I didn’t find out until later. It’s scary to think that’s what my children are being exposed to.”
The situation escalated last month, said Ms. Hall, when Cody was involuntarily committed to the psychiatric unit of an Orlando hospital under the state’s Baker Act, which allows for the temporary committal of those who pose a physical threat to themselves or others. The boy told officials there that he felt threatened by his father, who has had primary residential custody of the children over the past year.
Ms. Hall said she had taken her son to the doctor earlier for what was believed to be a strep throat. She said it was soon diagnosed, however, that the problems were much deeper.
“He would be sick every time he came home. He was throwing up, crying and very weepy. He said he was sick of his life. Toward the end he said he wanted to kill himself, and he begged me to get him out of there. Then it all started coming out.”
After suffering a panic attack, Cody was taken to the emergency room and checked into the hospital’s behavioral center. After being held five days at the hospital, Cody was released to voluntary status when he willingly signed a paper stating that he would rather be in the hospital than at home with his father.
According to medical reports, Cody has suffered from a major depressive disorder. The sixth-grader has missed six weeks of school and has lost 13 pounds since October.
Cody refused to speak with his father during a mandated family meeting during his second week at the hospital, Ms. Hall said. Instead, doctors asked the boy to write a letter to Hall. The three-page note indicated that he was fearful of returning to his father’s home, citing Hall’s alcohol use and even threatening suicide if forced to return.
“The lady brought the letter to Scott and told him he needed to read it,” said Ms. Hall. “Scott, of course, said he didn’t believe the letter. He thought that I made him write it, even though I wasn’t in the room. They had to rip Cody’s fingers off the side of the door because he was holding on so tightly. Two people had to literally pull him into the room. He sat with his head down and wouldn’t even look at his father. Scott wouldn’t validate any of his feelings, and told him that he would just have to deal with it. Scott just doesn’t want to get it through his head.”
Cody has now been in the hospital for three weeks, and a guardian ad litem has been called in to determine where the children need to be.
The situation has left Dana Hall, a woman with whom Hall has shared an on-again, off-again relationship for the past 12 years, searching for answers. “It’s so bad that his son would rather be in a hospital than with him,” said Ms. Hall, who was married to the wrestler twice and divorced for the final time in July 2001. “Cody’s also fed up with the drinking and the whole thing.”
Ms. Hall, who has weekend visitation rights, said she reluctantly gave up primary residential rights a year ago. Exhausted by years of legal wrangling and the exorbitant costs associated with it, Ms. Hall said she decided to “give in” to her ex-husband, a decision she now regrets.
“I made the same mistake that the wrestling business made in giving Scott another chance. But I was wrong. I made a terrible mistake.”
Ms. Hall, who despite the many reconciliations in the past with the wrestler, said she now realizes that there can be no future.
“I sucked it up for as long as I could, thinking that God would fix him. I’m not going to do this anymore at the expense of my children’s health and safety. He’s run out of chances with me.”
“I’m sick and tired of hearing that Scott’s a nice guy who is just misunderstood, that he’s trying to get sober,” she added. “How long has be been trying to get sober? We see what’s he doing. He’s self-sabotaging and self-destructive. I just want to get my kids out of there. I’m not backing down this time. I just can’t believe I let him do this to all of us for so long. Ain’t gonna happen again.”
Lost amid his string of arrests and personal setbacks, Hall has enjoyed considerable success in the ring, but in recent years has become a tragic figure whose life has been played out in both wrestling angles and real-life situations.
Hall, who currently works part-time for the Nashville-based NWA-TNA promotion, was released from WCW in the waning days of that company. Even the renegade ECW pulled the plug on the wrestler after just a few weeks. And when the WWE finally relented and gave him a job earlier this year, it led Hall to boast, ” It ain’t gonna happen again. You’ll never see me drunk again. I guarantee it, because I take that pill (anabuse) every morning when I know I’m on the road.”
That experiment lasted a few months, but it also ended with the same predictable results.
“He doesn’t care what his family thinks, he doesn’t care what his church thinks, he doesn’t care what his neighbors or the community thinks, but he idolizes some of his friends in the wrestling business,” said Dana Hall. “Where are all the people that called themselves Scott’s friends now? Maybe they need to tell him what he needs to hear instead of what he wants to hear.”
– Joanie Laurer, the artist formerly known as Chyna, announced her engagement to Sean Waltman (X-Pac) on Fox’s “Best Damn Sports Show” Thursday night. The engagement took place Nov. 1 at a Los Angeles nightclub. The couple celebrated their engagement in Las Vegas.
Laurer is the former longtime girlfriend of Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Paul Levesque). Laurer and Waltman, who is currently going through a divorce, worked together in the WWF when both were members of DX with Triple H.
– George’s Sports Bar, 1300 Savannah Highway, West Ashley, will be airing tonight’s Survivor Series pay-per-view beginning at 8 p.m. Cover charge is $5.