Scott Hall was a wrestling superstar in the early 1990s, his immensely popular character the "Scarface"-like Razor Ramon. Later, he was one of the faces of the faction dubbed the New World Order. Now, at age 52, Hall has a pacemaker and takes about a dozen pills daily to deal with anxiety and pain. He's been arrested several times since his final stint with WWE in 2002 and has publically discussed his struggles with drugs and alcohol.
"There's got to be some reason that I'm still here," Hall told "E:60," which will air a story about him Wednesday. "I should have been dead 100 times. I should have been dead 100 times."
Hall said many of the older wrestlers of his generation are "all dinosaurs now and we're all retired and dead. The young guys coming up now aren't drinking and drugging and stuff I hope as bad as we did.
"I tell my kids this, 'I can't tell you not to drink and do drugs, they are fun. It's fun. They work,'" Hall said. "But what sucks is when you want to quit and you can't, and pretty soon you alienate or you hurt everyone around you. It's a family disease and then you can't keep a promise to anybody. What sucks the most is when you can't even keep a promise to yourself."
Stephanie McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment's executive vice president of creative development and operations, said WWE has sent Hall to rehab multiple times and spent "in the six figures" on efforts to help him get sober.
"It's the most amount of money we've spent on anyone," she said. "I just want Scott to get help and to decide for himself that he needs help. It makes me sad. I don't want anybody to pass away prematurely or otherwise really. Scott was an incredibly talented performer, larger than life, charismatic. He's a father, he's a friend. I'm sure he means a lot to a lot of people and it would be a shame for him to pass away."
Hall's story of drugs and stints in rehab highlights the substance-abuse problems some former wrestlers have faced, and the efforts WWE has undertaken to try to help its ex-stars. It's a problem professional wrestling has faced off and on since it hit the big time 26 years ago. On pay-per-view TV, the world was introduced to a combination of entertainment and celebrity dubbed "Wrestlemania." The main event was Hulk Hogan and Mr. T battling Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff. That day, March 31, 1985, professional wrestling went mainstream. Liberace attended, Cyndi Lauper was a manager and Muhammad Ali was a referee. After all the glitz and glamour, professional wrestling became big over the next decade -- and behind the scenes it was, at times, debauchery.
"Back in that era it was pretty much sex, drugs and rock 'n roll," said Mike Mooneyham, who writes a wrestling column for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier. "I mean it was really the wild, wild west. There were very few rules. These guys were outlaws.
These guys were abusing drugs and there wasn't a lot of drug testing going on at that time."