Razor Ramon. Scott Hall. The Bad Guy. Dripping with extra swagger, the four-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, seven-time WCW Tag-Team Champion and WWE Hall of Fame inductee was as adept at making his opponents look good as he was making himself look good, the mark of a great wrestler.
With TWM joining a whos who of wrestlers, broadcasters and legends as a part of the ‘Say Hello To The Bad Guy’ tour on November 17th, Here are what I consider to be his 5 best matches. However, for the majority of his career I was too young to watch wrestling let alone take any in, so I’ve delved into the archives of the internet to find these. This means that there is a chance that I may have missed an absolute belter of a match or that you, dear reader, have a different top 5. If that is so, I would love to hear your suggestions so I can broaden my knowledge of a superb talent.
5. Scott Hall vs Goldberg (Stun Gun Ladder Match) – WCW Souled Out 1999
Presentation wise the match is really jarring, because of how well-known Michael Buffer is and the whole style of the introductions being akin to a boxing match, which I’m not used to in wrestling shows. However, this is a long match from Goldberg and brilliant work from Scott Hall. Scott shows his cerebral side, going after Goldberg’s injured leg and attempting to incapacitate him before even thinking about getting a ladder to try and win the match. There’s also a lovely call-back to his first ladder match, with Scott Hall kicking the ladder into Goldberg as the latter tried to introduce the ladder to the ring. His character develops through the course of the 18 minute match, from a dominating, arrogant competitor to being fearful when Goldberg had the Stun Gun in hand. It’s a strong match that shows him as the experienced competitor that he was, and showed his brilliant characterization skills.
4. Razor Ramon vs Vader – WWF In Your House 7: Good Friends Better Enemies
Here Razor Ramon was fighting against a man who was physically imposing, which considering the size and physique of Razor Ramon (6 ft 7 inches and 287 lbs), that takes some doing. Vader ran roughshod over the Bad Guy, making the match incredibly difficult for Ramon, and Vader negated a large amount of Ramon’s offense with his size. This early establishing of dominance from Vader makes the side suplex and later the vertical suplex from Ramon look all the more impressive as he is able to lift the 450 lbs man enough to perform both moves.
However, what I find really key in this match is the aftermath of these moves, how Ramon looks physically exhausted from those exertions. It’s this level of detail to his performance that truly draws you in and makes you feel every emotion during his matches. Without this key detail, the failed attempt at the Razor’s Edge finisher wouldn’t feel as significant. In-ring storytelling like that really sets Ramon apart here and shows off how good a wrestler he was.
3. Razor Ramon vs Bret Hart – WWF King Of The Ring 1993
Both pushed each other towards the limit in a really good quarter-final match – it wasn’t even the final, and yet it had the feeling of both competitors giving it their all to win. The crowd was definitely on Bret Hart’s side and riled Ramon with chants of 123 Kid, referring to the previously unheard of talent who unexpectedly beat Ramon. You can see during the match, how Ramon thrived off the lack of support from the crowd.
The match told a story of Bret’s agility vs Ramon’s power. The character work that Ramon shows during this match exemplifies him as a villain, taking shortcuts and making every move with a viciousness unlike any other. Another top quality aspect of this match is Razor’s timing and his ability to kick-out as close to 3 that I was convinced the end of the match had been reached after a top-rope move from Hart. As a show opener, this match really kicked off the show with a bang.
2. Razor Ramon vs Jeff Jarrett – Royal Rumble 1995
Both wrestlers use good psychology, with both wanting the title. Jeff Jarrett showed good ‘bad guy’ work to focus on the knee, where Razor takes a more sympathetic role during the match and shows the effects of this targeted assault. Ramon is still his aggressive self but gets home support which creates an interesting dynamic for the match. This is helped by Razor’s injury and Jeff’s merciless targeting. Further to this, Jarrett has ringside support to tip the balance towards him and away from Razor Ramon. Through the match Jeff manages to out bad guy the Bad Guy.
The laser-like focus on the knee from Jarrett and the effect that Ramon shows it having reaches a peak with the figure-four leglock which seemed to be on forever but in reality was only 90 seconds. The way Ramon made it look, like the most painful experience possible, as if he was going through purgatory and that every one of those seconds was a year of pain. Despite this he shows a lot of heart and this enhances the emotion of the match, taking it to another level.
1. Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels (Ladder Match) – WWF WrestleMania 10
It’s just a masterpiece of a match. A match which set the foundation for years to come. This was the first ladder match in WWF/E, and the first use of said ladder in the match wasn’t to climb up, as I would naively do, instead it was used by HBK as a weapon to kick into Razor Ramon. There were large inventive uses of the ladder throughout the match, including Michaels jumping from the corner onto the ladder to stop Ramon climbing it, and later Michaels using the ladder, to land on Ramon with whilst he was prone near the corner. Some of the really high-risk moves involving ladders that we see the superstars of today use, have their foundations in this match.
Now, the above may come across as praising Michaels as he is largely the one using the ladder inventively, but the role Razor Ramon plays, to give the match its grounding is why the invention looks spectacular. You take Ramon out of this match and replace him with anyone else, and it wouldn’t work as well. He is a vital piece of the workings of this spectacle and he deserves as much praise and adulation as HBK.
This match and the competitors involved are ground-breaking, literally history-making. Without this match would we have had the legacies of the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian going all out in TLC or TLC 2? Would we have had Daniel Bryan winning the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania 32? Would we have had Money in the Bank?
Without Michaels, without Ramon, the rich tapestry that makes the history of WWF/E would be missing. For all the titles that Scott Hall earned in his career, I would like to add the following accolades of, expert story-teller, fantastic wrestler and most importantly, history maker. He has created a magnificent legacy and in his own words ‘Bad times don’t last, but Bad Guys do.’
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