WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2014 Profiles: Razor Ramon
Jay Shannon looks at one of the most interesting characters to work in wrestling. This was a character that was actually “played by two actors”.
The WWE did something a little odd with their latest induction into the Hall of Fame. They have inducted a “character” more than a person. Scott Hall had a stellar career under his own name and as the Diamond Studd before taking on the role of “The Bad Guy”. He also had a legendary career as Scott Hall of the n.W.o. On Monday, it was announced that “Razor Ramon”, not Scott Hall, was going into the Hall of Fame. My e-mail almost exploded with comments and questions about why the WWE would focus on only one section of Hall’s long and storied career. I don’t have any answers for that. Since the WWE has decided to focus only on the Razor Era, so will I.
The Birth of Da Bad Guy:
The first person to portray Razor Ramon was, of course, Scott Hall. Hall had worked in the AWA and WCW before showing up in the then-WWF, in 1992. According to a documentary that is currently on the ESPN On Demand service, Scott created the character while having an early meeting with Vince McMahon. Scott asked Vince if he had seen the movie “Scarface”. Vince wasn’t familiar with the drama starring Al Pacino. Scott then mimicked the main character’s trademark “Say Hello to my little friend” catch phrase and then modified it to “Say Hello to Razor Ramon” with a thick accent. Vince was sold almost immediately and plans were put into place to create the outrageous character. They set Razor’s hometown as Miami (again a lift from Scarface). It also played off the real-life face that Miami had a huge Puerto Rican population and the Razor character was supposedly Puerto Rican.
Hall worked closely with McMahon and Pat Patterson to bring the new character to life. Several vignettes were filmed that were quite similar to scenes in “Scarface”, with Razor being incredibly rude and arrogant. The reaction from the fans was instant acceptance. Razor began, as was the style in the late 80s and early 90s, with a series of squash matches to build his character. His Razor’s Edge finisher was unique and never failed to bring a decent pop from the crowd.
The Rise of Razor:
Razor made his actual WWF debut on August 8, 1992. It was on an episode of Superstars as he destroyed Paul Van Dow. Razor continued with his bullying ways with ringside attendants by threatening them that if something happened to his gold chains then something would happen to them.
Razor’s first feud in the company was against Randy Savage. To help build the Razor character, Ric Flair and Ultimate Warrior were added to the mix. That all changed when Ultimate Warrior suddenly left the company. “Mr. Perfect” (Curt Hennig) took Warrior’s place as he turned on Flair. The new quartet had a massive battle at Survivor Series, which Razor and flair lost, due to disqualification.
Razor then took Ultimate Warrior’s “spot” in a title feud against Bret Hart. They squared off at the Royal Rumble. Hart forced Razor to submit to the Sharpshooter. Razor then faced Bob Backlund at Wrestlemania IX. He easily defeated the former World Champion with a Roll Up. Fans were disappointed that Razor didn’t use the Razor’s Edge but Hall was concerned that Bob could not take the move.
Razor took a Face Turn, shortly after Mania. On the May 17th episode of Raw, Razor suffered a stunning upset loss to The Kid (Sean Waltman). “The Kid” was renamed the 1-2-3 Kid and began to earn Razor’s respect. Razor actually came to the aid of 1-2-3 Kid when he was being beaten down by Ted DiBiase (Sr.). That launched a brief feud with DiBiase. Their feud came to an end at SummerSlam. Razor defeated DiBiase in what would ultimately be Ted’s final WWF match.
Gold Belts added to the Gold Chains:
The Intercontinental title was vacant and a new champion was needed. A Battle Royal was set up and the two finalists would have a secondary (1-on-1) battle to determine the new champ. Razor Ramon and Rick Martel got the two valued spots. On October 11, 1993, Razor used the Razor’s Edge to defeat The Model and win his first I-C title. Razor then feuded with IRS (Mike Rotunda). It started at Survivor Series and finished up at Royal Rumble. IRS never took the Intercontinental title from Razor.
A feud over the Intercontinental title came about next. Shawn Michaels had been stripped of his title during a suspension from the company. After serving out the suspension, Shawn returned and said that removing the title form him was bogus. He continued to claim he was the I-C champ and even began to come to the ring wearing a championship belt. The decision was made to have Shawn and Razor square off in a Ladder Match at Wrestlemania X. That battle stole the show and earned the distinction of being “Match of the Year”. Razor prevailed and became the undisputed I-C Champ. Razor continued to feud with Shawn but also with Shawn’s bodyguard, Diesel (Kevin Nash). It was Diesel that ended Razor’s first title run on April 30,1994.
Razor then set his sights on becoming he 1994 King of the Ring. He made it past Bam Bam Bigelow and IRS but fell, in the finals, to Owen Hart. Razor would rebound from that loss to regain the Intercontinental title, from Diesel, at SummerSlam. The loss happened after Shawn Michaels missed Razor and took out Diesel with Sweet Chin Music.
Razor then moved into a feud with Jeff Jarrett, following the 1994 Survivor Series. Jarrett would take the I-C title from Razor at the ’95 Royal Rumble. It was questionable. Jarrett had won the match, at first, by count-out. He demanded that the match be restarted, since the title couldn’t change hands on a count-out. Management agreed and Jarrett eventually used a Small Package to pin Razor and capture the gold. The two went at it at Wrestlemania XI for the IC title. The Roadie (B.G. James/Road Dogg) got involved and Razor won the match (but not the title) by disqualification. Razor would get a bit of revenge at “In Your House”, when he beat Roadie and Jarrett in a Handicap Match.
Razor tried again for the King of the Ring honors. Just prior to the King of the Ring event, Razor beat Jarrett, at a house show, in a Ladder Match to start his third run as I-C Champ. Razor was the first man to win the title three times. 3 wouldn’t be a great number for Razor as he lost the title, back to Jarrett, in only 3 days. He was also injured in that match.
Razor had to pull out of the King of the Ring Tournament due to the rib injury he suffered in a Ladder Match rematch against Jarrett. He then moved into a short-term managing role for Savio Vega. Vega took Razor’s place in the tournament and lost, in the first round, to the eventual winner, Mabel. After recovering, Razor and Vega formed a team that did not do well, at all.
During this time, Shawn Michaels had regained the Intercontinental title. Shawn had to forfeit the strap to Dean (Shane) Douglas. Almost immediately after getting the belt, Douglas lost it to Razor. Razor began his fourth title run (a record, at the time). The fourth run came to an end at Royal Rumble 1996. 1-2-3 Kid turned on his former friend, Razor, and helped Goldust take the title. Razor was set to battle Goldust at Wrestlemania XII but got suspended shortly before the event. Razor returned for one more feud, against Vader, in mid-1996. Scott Hall then signed a lucrative deal with WCW, along with Kevin “Diesel” Nash.
A Tale of Two Razors
Vince McMahon decided that the “Razor Ramon” character was too He decided to hire two others to play Razor Ramon and Diesel. Rick Bognar was brought in to be the new “Razor” and Glenn “Kane” Jacobs took over as “Diesel”. The fans completed rejected the idea and the two characters were pulled after only a few weeks. Bognar left he company and Jacobs was repackaged into the character that he still uses to this day.
Scott Hall would move on to work under his real name as part of the New World Order. A third version of Razor Ramon showed up in Japan as Razor Ramon HG. Comic and pro wrestler, Masaki Sumatani, created a variation of the Razor character. The H-G part of the name stood for “Hard Gay”. Razor HG’s career came to an end after he shattered his left foot during a match. He was wildly popular in the HUSTLE promotion. In addition to Razor Ramon HG, there was also a Razor Ramon RG (Real Gay). That persona was done by Japanese wrestler, Makoto Izubuchi. The two Razors injected a ton of comedy into their tag team. Razor RG went into semi-retirement after his partner, Razor HG was injured as mentioned above. As for Rick Bognar, he left the WWF and did a tour of Japan. He then returned to run a wrestling school, in Calgary, until 2003. He then fully retired from professional wrestling.
While there have been four men to take on the mantle of “Razor Ramon”, it was Scott Hall that took it to the Hall of Fame level. While I would have liked to see them induct the performer, not the character, I’m still happy to see one of the most entertaining performers in recent history get a chance to shine. I can’t wait to watch his acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame.