Recently, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin sat down with Scott Hall for the Steve Austin Show – Unleashed! podcast. In the interview, Hall discussed his relationship with Shawn Michaels, the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call, and how working with Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart effected Kevin Nash’s decision to leave WWE for WCW.
On the topic of meeting Michaels for the first time, Hall said that he first crossed paths with Michaels in Kansas City [Missouri]. Hall recalled that Michaels was so good, even in his early days as a professional wrestler, that Michaels would call the matches to the guys going over.
Hall stated that he and Michaels hit it off immediately and have been close friends ever since.
“Well, at that time, I was booked as a heel, so I thought, ‘finally, some little pretty boy that I can toss around and he doesn’t have a problem with it’. A lot of those guys, they don’t want to be bumped or anything and not by me.”
Hall said that prior to the classic WrestleMania X ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, the two were traveling together every night and were also wrestling each other. According to Hall, the Intercontinental Champion would headline houseshows in the so-called ‘B towns’ and Michaels pitched the idea that the main event matches on that tour should be ladder matches.
“We had about 50 of them going into that because once it started working they kept booking it and booking it over and over again,” Hall recalled.
Hall conveyed some skepticism over the use of ladder matches in today’s WWE, in both the logic of having that type of gimmick match and the danger to the performers.
“To me, the only reason it made sense was Shawn had been suspended while being the Intercontinental Champion. They had a battle royal. I went over. They made me the Intercontinental Champion having never beat Shawn. And Shawn came back from the suspension still wearing the belt, so I’m wearing the belt. And it was working because we’d come to the ring and people would be like, ‘well, who’s the real champ?’,” Hall added, “we did it with an 8 foot ladder. Now these guys use 20 foot ladders. No thank you! No thanks!”
Hall claimed that he only bladed a few times throughout his entire professional wrestling career due to timing and the HIV scare.
“When people were getting juice, I was such a young guy in the [professional wrestling] business that I was never asked. Then, when I got on top, when it would have been asked [of me], because of the HIV scare, nobody got it. And then later on, when people knew more about blood diseases and stuff, I was at the point [in my career] that I could go, ‘no, like, no, I’m not doing it every night’ or ‘I’m not doing it.'”
Hall had a match with Triple H the night of the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call. According to Hall, up until the end of the match, the crowd chanted ‘please don’t go’ at Hall. After the match, the crowd began to chant, ‘you sold out’ at him instead.
“I remember pointing because Vince [McMahon] always stood right outside the curtain, I remember I pantomimed. I looked at Vince. I went, ‘you tell him give me the money. I’ll stay right here,'” Hall continued, “So I grabbed the mic, and I said, ‘lets see if this works.’ I went, ‘say, goodbye’ and then everybody with me, ‘to the bad guy’ together. And I just rolled out of there. It was sad for me! I didn’t want to leave!”
Hall said that even though he gave WWE 90-days notice of his decision to leave the company, Vince McMahon did not speak to him about a new contract until the night of the Madison Square Garden Curtain Call.
“I get summoned to Vince’s office in the Garden. I come through [the curtain] just after the match, thanking Hunter and everything. I know it went good and I walk in and [McMahon] goes, ‘damn it, you still work for me! How much did those sons of b—–s offer you?’ I said, ‘Vince, I’m not asking you to match it. We’re kind of passed that point. I told Eric Bischoff that I’m coming down there to work for him tomorrow.’ And he went, ‘oh, damn it. What did they offer you?’ So I told him and he went, ‘ooh!’ He went, ‘that’s pretty good [even] when business is good.’ And business wasn’t that good then. It was sold out that night, but WCW was dead.”
Hall indicated that he really did not want to leave WWE, but the money in WCW was just too good to pass up. Hall said that McMahon remained calm even though two of his biggest draws were about to leave WWE.
“I didn’t want to leave [WWE], but I’ll say this for Vince, he never sold. I mean, the buildings were sold out. Kev [Nash]’s on top and I’m semi main [event] and he’s not selling,” Hall continued, “I really felt like I had sold out. I felt horrible! I remember driving away that night thinking, ‘man, what have I done?’.”
Hall believed that Nash’s decision to leave WWE in favor of WCW came following In Your House 6: Rage In The Cage, where Diesel faced Hart in a steel cage match. Hall stated that the planned finish of the match was that the Undertaker would come up through the bottom of the ring and attack Diesel after Diesel hit Hart with the Jackknife Powerbomb. Essentially, Diesel would have the match won, but outside interference would allow Hart to retain his championship.
“Bret won’t take the powerbomb, so now Kev comes back and goes, ‘screw it. I’m out of here’ because he’s saying, ‘wait a minute – this is what they’re doing with me? When it comes down to a decision this guy booboo faces and they don’t do it?’. So he goes, ‘I’m out of here’,” Hall added, “when it really comes down to it, the guy coming in with the jetpack wins. I mean, yeah, it’s one of those moments where you go, ‘aha!’. I mean, I don’t get it. I’ve never been a guy to b—h about a finish, so I don’t know. But, that’s what happened. It worked out great for me because I knew at least I have one friend there [in WCW].”
At that time, Hall already had his WCW deal in place and told Nash to seek out a better deal since Hall’s ‘favored nations’ clause would require WCW to sweeten Hall’s deal with the company.
Austin and Hall also discussed Hall pitching ‘the Crow’ gimmick to Sting, ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page’s influence over Hall’s Diamond Studd gimmick, and much more. To check out the whole interview, click here.
Source: Steve Austin Show – Unleashed!