By Mike Mooneyham
June 2, 2002
Few names in the wrestling business have generated more tabloid fodder in recent years than Scott Hall. The controversial performer, appropriately dubbed “The Bad Guy,” has wrecked automobiles, been in and out of drug rehab, and been married and divorced to the same woman twice. He also has been a charter member of two of wrestling’s most infamous groups, the Clique and the NWO, renegade factions that became as noted for flexing their political muscle and creating backstage tension as for their trend-setting impact on the business.
For all the success Hall has achieved in the ring, though, there is an ominous asterisk at the bottom of his resume that tells the story of a tragic figure, a self-destructive soul whose real battle has been with his own personal demons.
Rumors, likewise, have swirled around his ex-wife, Dana Hall, the mother of their two children, Cody, 11, and Cassidy, 7. Many fans have questioned the stability of Mrs. Hall, with some Internet sites even speculating about her mental condition, largely due to the fact that wrestling’s self-proclaimed bad boy presently has principal custody of their children.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]“Where this mentally ill stuff came from I don’t know. The only thing I was crazy’ for was loving Scott Hall and believing he would change,” Dana Hall said last week. “He can be very believable, and I believed him. He worked his con on me, and I fell for it every time.”
The Winter Springs, Fla., resident says she wants to clear the air on a number of issues, particularly those regarding her children. As for Hall being the “primary” parent, Mrs. Hall says she agreed to it by willingly granting him custody and giving him “the chance to try to be a responsible parent.”
The couple filed for their second divorce last May, with the divorce becoming final in August. Up until that time, says Mrs. Hall, she believed there was still a chance for reconciliation.
“Scott told me that he wanted to reconcile, but he changed his mind at the last minute. I gave him custody of the kids and walked away without a penny. I admit it was a dumb thing. I pretty much gave him my head on a platter.”
Exhausted by years of legal wrangling and the exorbitant costs associated with it, Mrs. Hall says she decided to “give in” to her ex-husband, a decision she now regrets.
“I did it because he was threatening me under duress, telling me that he wasn’t going to give me child support and that he was going to keep me in court forever. The threats scared me, and I figured I had better use the opportunity to get some sort of career for myself while giving him a chance to grow up and be responsible. Who has given Scott more chances than he deserves than me? Everybody has given him more chances than he deserved. I made the same mistake that the wrestling business made in giving Scott another chance. But I was wrong. I made a terrible mistake.”
While Hall, 43, who lives in nearby Chuluota, became the “primary residential parent” as part of the shared parental agreement in the divorce decree, Mrs. Hall has visitation rights every other weekend. Mrs. Hall, 39, says she has finally been able to come to terms with a number of mistakes that were made during their ill-fated marriages.
“My worst mistake was loving Scott because I allowed my first children to go live with their father when I first met him so I could be with Scott,” says Mrs. Hall, who has 18-year-old twins from her first marriage. “I let Cody and Cassidy go with him (Scott) because I thought that was the only way to prove to him that I didn’t care about the money, control or power. I just wanted the fighting to stop. I just thought he would see that. I should have walked away in the beginning.”
Since the latest divorce, Mrs. Hall has made an attempt to re-enter the workforce in order to provide for herself and her children. She recently completed 18 weeks of a 28-week course at the police academy at Seminole (Fla.) Community College, where she admits she was “the smallest, the weakest and the oldest” student. She says she put the academy on hold when she became “concerned for the kids,” although she eventually plans to finish the program and pursue a job in law enforcement.
Mrs. Hall claims her fears mounted when Scott was hired by the WWE – then the WWF – earlier this year. Hall’s last three years in WCW, where he enjoyed an annual salary in excess of a million dollars, had read more like a rap sheet than a wrestling portfolio, including a string of arrests ranging from criminal mischief and drunk and disorderly conduct to assault and battery. Once he was arrested at his own children’s custody hearing. The constant turmoil and controversy culminated in his termination.
Meanwhile, his alcohol- and drug-induced behavior had put him atop a number of macabre death pool lists, prompting Dana Hall to make a public plea to promotions and friends to intervene before he became added to the growing list of wrestling casualties.
Many insiders and a number of WWE officials had expressed skepticism over Hall’s hiring in January, some warning that he wasn’t capable of meeting the demands of a full-time wrestling schedule, others arguing that his controversial backstage reputation wasn’t worth risking the company’s locker-room chemistry.
“I feel so lucky,” Hall said in an interview upon his WWE return. “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 couldn’t ask for a better deal. There’s no way I’m gonna screw this up.”
Hall, though, confirmed everyone’s worst fears on his first day back around WWE performers when he needed to be helped to his hotel room when his drinking got out of hand.
“It ain’t gonna happen again,” Hall told the WWE’s Web site shortly afterward. “You’ll never see me drunk again. I guarantee it, because I take that pill (anabuse, a drug that causes violent allergic reactions to alcohol) every morning when I know I’m on the road.”
But by the end of his abbreviated four-month run, most were convinced that Hall was far from being over the substance abuse problems that had plagued much of his career. Even friends who feared for his safety pushed for him to be sent home. He was released by the company in May.
“I’m even more concerned now,” says Mrs. Hall. “The kids are in a bad position because they need a mom and they need a dad. It doesn’t matter what I think of him. I’m proposing a fair situation that would be equal time with him and equal time with me. Nobody would be the primary parent, and we would equally share the responsibility and time with the kids. That way they would have a balance with him and a balance with me. I’m still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in hopes that he will finally see the light.”
The two were first married in February 1990, divorced in May 1998, remarried in March 1999, and divorced again last August. Exhausted by the emotional tug-of-war that has marked their on-again, off-again relationship over the past 10 years, Dana Hall admits her co-dependency hasn’t helped the situation.
“I eventually came to the conclusion that until I began focusing on God and finding my happiness and fulfillment in Him – not my kids and not in Scott – then God wasn’t going to do anything with my situation. I had always put Scott before God and before my kids. I gave up everything for this man. People still tell me he’s a loser, he’s this and he’s that, but I keep holding on to the dream. But at the same time, I was letting that dream control my whole life and everything I do.
“Whether I’m nice or whether I’m mean doesn’t affect him at all. I lived my whole life because of him, but it finally hit me. I realize that I had to stop. My whole prayer every day was about Scott. I’m sure even God got sick of hearing it. He has no more power over me. I’m not going to run around scared of him anymore. I’m not going to be intimidated or worry that if I say the wrong thing it might hurt his feelings and ruin the chance of our miracle happening. He doesn’t deserve to be loved like I loved him. He’s a destructive, self-sabotaging person, and there’s nothing that me or my love can do to help him or save him. Whatever he’s got to learn isn’t going to be learned from me.”
Mrs. Hall, who lives in a modest home she bought after the two separated for the second time during the second marriage, says she lives off of what is left from a retirement fund she received as a result of their first divorce.
“I have no equitable distribution at all from the second marriage. I could have gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars and more, but I didn’t get a penny because I didn’t ask for it. I walked away. He said I just wanted him for his money and that I couldn’t do anything on my own. It wasn’t for money. How many times did I try to get him fired? If I had wanted his money, I wouldn’t have wanted him to get fired and I wouldn’t have walked away without a penny. I just wanted him to get better.”
Dana Hall, who at one time says she put all her energy into a relentless one-woman crusade to extricate Scott Hall from what she called a bottomless pit, says her only concern now is seeing that her children are raised in as loving an atmosphere as possible. As for her ex-husband, she says the hold he had over her has been broken.
“I tried it every which way,” she says. “I tried to apologize to people, to apologize to Scott. I spoke out about it and apologized about it. It doesn’t matter what he thinks of me. I used to take everything he said so personally to the extent that it would crush me. When he used to tell me that I couldn’t do anything, I would believe it. I guess that was my sickness. I was addicted to him.”
- Police in Manchester, England, have launched an investigation into the death of Davey Boy Smith, according to a British Broadcasting Corporation Web site report. The investigation comes at the request of Smith’s father, Sid, who raised concerns about the circumstances of his son’s May 18 death while vacationing with girlfriend Andrea Hart in British Columbia. Smith, 39, reportedly died of a heart attack.
Sid Smith told police he became concerned after talking with his grandchildren, Georgia, 14, and Harry, 16, Davey’s children by his ex-wife, Diana Hart. “I believe something serious has happened,” Sid is quoted as saying. “Somebody has been telling lies. I want to get to the truth.”
“As a result of concerns raised by the family and at the request of the coroner, we are conducting preliminary inquiries into the circumstances of Mr. Smith’s death,” said a Manchester police spokesman.