Tomorrow night ESPN will highlight the depressing fall of Scott Hall on their E:60 show at 8 PM ET. While I have only seen ESPN's preview of the show, I will be watching closely to see how the mainstream media reports the story. While clearly Hall will be shown as an addict that has hit the lowest of lows, will the blame end there or are we going to get the jaded picture painted by most mainstream media outlets?
I make no apologies for the fact I believe in personal responsibility. I don't want to sound like I'm defending Vince McMahon, WWE, Dixie Carter or TNA Impact Wrestling. However, I feel to place blame on an organization rather than the person when it comes to personal choices is ridiculous.
I remember reading Ring of Hell by Matthew Randazzo V where he highlights "The Story of Chris Benoit & The Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry," placing the blame on everyone but Benoit and completely demonizing Vince McMahon. I'll never forget the troubling national TV coverage during the Benoit Family Tragedy in 2007 where Nancy Grace went on the air and said Benoit was upset over a demotion from the Four Horsemen prior to the crimes he committed.
During my 12 career in this business, I've had the unfortunate responsibility of covering far too many stories of a wrestler dying way too young. The stories are troubling, depressing and a part of this business I hate. However, I still believe how an individual chooses to live their life is up to them and not to their employer or their occupation.
Some want to blame life on the road while others want to say it's just the "pro wrestling life" but I call bunk on both accounts. The life of a pro wrestler is not easy, no one ever said it was. However, to say working as a professional wrestler causes you to be a drug addict, pain pill junkie or steroid freak is ridiculous. The mainstream media usually paints the picture that it's the business that causes the problems yet Hollywood is covered as glamorous and we see just as many if not more stories of addiction, overdoses and drug abuse.
The horrifying stories of Scott Hall and more recently Matt Hardy and Tomko are a result of bad lifestyle choices. Regardless if you work 300
days a year on the road as a wrestler or a standard 9-5, there are certain choices you are faced with. The choices with how you choose to live your life will result in what happens with your life and what becomes of your body. Working as pro wrestler isn't easy on your body but there are plenty of jobs out there that are equally as crippling (coal mining is the first that comes to mind).
Working as a professional wrestler and making it to WWE is a privilege not a right. It's a privilege that gives very few an opportunity to make millions of dollars and solidify fame throughout their entire life. The choices the individual makes will determine how far up or how far down they go, however, it starts and stops with those choices. The people that get into these situations are always looking to put the blame on anyone but themselves. Take a quote from the ESPN preview from Scott Hall as an example:
It's a family disease...
A family disease? His problems were caused by a family disease? The disease that forces you to go into a bar, sit down and get plastered? A disease that forces you to quadruple the amount of medication prescribed ? A disease that forces you to take drugs that are knowingly dangerous and made illegal as a result?
These people need help, there's no question. However, there needs to be less finger pointing and searching for a scapegoat and more looking in the mirror and finding a solution. No occupation, industry or family disease put people like Hall in the situations they're in. Scott Hall put Scott Hall where he was at his peak and back where he is today. If Hall, or anyone else dies young because of addiction and drug abuse, it will be their own doing. I'm sick and tired of all the blame with no responsibility. If you choose to abuse drugs and alcohol you're choosing to deal with the consequences.
I don't know how ESPN will paint this picture but at the end of the day the blame needs to be 100% on Scott Hall.