Almost a week ago, I posted an article about Scott Hall’s legacy in this business, it was one of the hardest pieces I ever had to write, but one of my favorites once it was done. This article was written and posted while Scott Hall was on life support and would pass away a few hours later. That night’s Raw featured the standard opening of in tribute that WWE typically does when a legend passes away, but in addition all through the night the wrestlers of today that were fans of Scott Hall growing up and were inspired by him paid tribute to him throughout the night whether it be using his lines or moves during matches. It was clear that he left an impact on the WWE stars of today. AEW didn’t show an opening in tribute on this week’s show, which personally I think was a mistake on AEW’s part because although he never appeared there, he was a legend that made a MAJOR impact on this industry especially on Turner networks. However, Britt Baker paid a wonderful tribute to Scott with her Outsiders inspired gear during the main event this week. Also, some other AEW talent used his lines and moves as tributes to him as well. Impact and MLW both paid tribute this week with opening in memory graphics to open their shows. The NWA did an opening in memory graphic to open their Crockett Cup PPV last night and talent used Scott Hall moves including bringing in the Blue Meanie, who parodied Scott in the bWo, Meanie did his best Scott Hall impersonation and kept pointing up to Scott.
As a whole the industry has been paying tribute to Scott all week and it is a level of outpouring that I have only seen for very few others since I have been a fan for the past 24 years. Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, Roddy Piper and Brodie Lee are the only people that have come to mind as people that have garnered this level of love from not only the fans, but from the wrestlers of today as well. Videos and stories have come out of Scott helping the young guys over the years since he has been clean that I don’t think many people knew about:
It is clear from everything that we have heard and seen since his passing, that Scott Hall loved contributing to this business both inside and outside the ring. This got me thinking about a way to honor Scott Hall in a truly unique way. With AEW doing a tribute tournament to Owen Hart and WWE having done tribute tournaments to Dusty Rhodes and Mae Young and the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, why not something for Scott Hall? Scott loved helping and elevating talent when he was alive both on screen and giving guidance behind the scenes that we really didn’t even know about like with Finn Balor and the students of AIW for example. So, why not have a way for Scott to continue that mission for years to come and to keep his name and legacy alive in a truly unique and special way? Why not honor Scott by making it an annual tradition for the Intercontinental Championship be defended at Wrestlemania (WM) in a ladder match. Scott’s WM 10 ladder match with Shawn Michaels for the IC title is arguably his most well-known and iconic match of his career.
Scott is one of the greatest IC champs of all time in my opinion. The IC title was considered the workhorse title of the WWF during Scott’s time in the company. It is literally a who’s who that have won the IC title and went on to become world champion and for many became HOFamers. Over the years, the IC title has lost a lot of its luster mostly due to horrible booking and there being too many titles in the promotion, which causes them to be devalued if everyone has a belt it loses its prestige, because it is no longer special to be a title holder. As I have detailed before, holding a title should elevate not only the talent, but maintain or add prestige to the title itself. There have been years where the IC title wasn’t even defended at WM, which is unacceptable for a title with such a rich legacy behind it.
From WM 21 to 26, the Money in the Bank (MITB) Ladder match was a signature match on the WM until it was taken off WM and given its own PPV. Side note, yes, I know WWE wants us to call them Premium Live Events now, but they’ll always be PPVs to me. Ladder matches at WN have always given us classic matches and special memorable moments whether it be the original at WM 10 or the triangle or TLC or MITB.
The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, although likely originally conceived to be a massive tribute to the larger than life legend as it was using his signature match he was synonymous with a battle royal. However, it lost its prestige because winning it didn’t propel the talent onto bigger and better things. It should have elevated and propel talents, but it never did and the winners are mostly forgotten, in fact looking up the Andre Battle Royal history I didn’t even remember Matt Hardy won it in 2018. Last year, they didn’t even have it on the actual WM, instead it was on the SD the night before WM Night 1. When you literally have two nights running at least fours hours each now for WM and you cannot find any room for it, you should just retire it.
So, taking this all into consideration, what better way to honor the legacy of Scott Hall, the IC title and create a new signature WM match than to have a memorial Ladder match every year for the IC title. I believe it should be one on one like the original, as the purpose is to steal the show, elevate the IC title and the talent in the match and honor Scott as that’s all that matters. Correct the mistakes of the Andre Battle Royal by making winning this match be a BIG DEAL, as it should be. The IC title and Scott deserve this to matter and WWE benefits by having a guaranteed marquee match to promote every year automatically. This can and should elevate stars to the next level giving you potential future main eventers and world champions if you do this correctly it could be huge.
It makes being in that match a big deal to the young talent that grew up idolizing Scott and puts the emphasis to either being the IC champ going into Mania matter and if you aren’t the champ, you want to be the one challenging for it. From a storyline perspective it puts pressure on the champ as they automatically know they have to defend the title in a ladder match on the grandest stage of them all. No having to be pinned or submitted to lose your title is the most dangerous situation a champion can be in. From a fan perspective this creates a match that the fans should be able to look forward to every year as they anticipate and speculate who will be in it and what will happen before the match even happens.
Bring back the classic design too, WWE has changed the design twice, but the fans have continued to show the preference and love for the old school classic design. Cody Rhodes brought the original back in 2011 and we all know because he was starting AEW in 2019 that WWE pettily decided to change the design that year as well. However, as Wrestling Republic has reported weeks ago, that may not matter anymore as Cody Rhodes is expected to return home soon. So, why not bring back the classic belt that Scott Hall held and is beloved by the fans and re-introduce it in the first ever Scott Hall Memorial Ladder match?
When done right ladder matches can be so much more spot fests, they can be truly special when they are the right performers that make every action mean something. You don’t just do a spot because you can it needs to serve a purpose it is what Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels did and that tradition should continue in this Memorial match as well. The visuals of Miz and Ziggler looking up at the IC title hanging above the ring and the war they put themselves through is a perfect example of what type of passion and style we should be witnessing in this match and a huge reason I think this memorial should be one on one like the original to avoid the spot fest tendency having more than two in a ladder match causes.
Winning the IC title in a ladder match at WM is still one of the biggest highlights of Matt Cardona’s career despite everything the current reigning NWA World Champion has accomplished since that time. That night was extra special for Matt as he was given the opportunity to recreate a childhood photo with his idol Scott Hall. After WM 10, Scott allowed a young Matt Cardona to hold his IC Championship belt for this photo and 22 years later Scott was in the building when Matt won the IC title at WM 32 in a ladder match and took a new picture with Scott, who was now holding Matt’s IC Championship belt. It was a complete full circle moment and a truly special moment that Matt will always treasure.
This is a match that could honor arguably the greatest wrestler to never be world champion and someone that despite his demons and faults always had love and passion for the business, his fans and only wanted to give back to it and them. I could think of no greater or fitting tribute than to continue Scott’s legacy of putting talent over in his career defining signature match for the championship that he helped define and on the grandest stage of them all.
Thanks again Scott for everything you gave us as fans and RIP.
Come on WWE do this one last thing for the Bad Guy!
Photo Credits – WWE, Matt Cardona’s Instagram, BTSportWWE’s Instagram and sunsetflips_superkicks’ Instagram