Upon signing for the World Wrestling Federation in 1992, Scott Hall pitched an idea to Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson for a new character. It was a gimmick-heavy WWF and Hall knew he needed something that would stand out. However, the idea he pitched was actually intended as a joke. Basing his ‘suggestion’ on the Tony Montana character from Scarface, he spoke with a Cuban accent and talked about vignettes based on the film. It later transpired that neither McMahon or Patterson had seen the film, believing Hall’s suggestions to be original. Hilarity aside, once the character was settled upon, and name – determined to be Razor Ramon – plans were set in motion for the character to debut.
To be inducted by: Kevin Nash (w/tribute from the Kliq)
Following a series of introductory vignettes, and the obligatory series of squash match victories, Razor entered WWF storylines in a big way in September 1992 when he cost Randy Savage the WWF Championship in his match with Ric Flair. The feud culminated at Survivor Series later that year when Savage and Mr Perfect beat Ramon and Flair by DQ. Things would continue to look up for Razor though, as he challenged Bret Hart for the WWF Championship at the 1993 Royal Rumble. And though he lost clean, Hall put forward a good effort and held his own against Hart. The following April saw Razor make his WrestleMania debut, defeating Bob Backlund at WM9. Another loss to Hart saw Ramon drop out of the King of the Ring tournament at the quarter final stage, though again his performance made many take notice, as he was performing to a consistent level and was quickly becoming an established midcard performer. After a largely encouraging first eight months in the WWF, the decision was made to start a slow babyface turn for Ramon, the catalyst of which was the famous upset loss to the 1-2-3 Kid (Hall’s real-life friend Sean Waltman). The angle was booked masterfully, with Kid gaining support week after week, and the slow-burn payoff of Ramon gaining respect for the underdog Kid and therefore earning cheers from the fans. The face turn was complete when Ted DiBiase mocked Ramon for losing to the Kid, culminating in Ramon beating DiBiase at SummerSlam.
With Ramon now firmly on the good side of the fence, it was time to move up the card, with the next logical step being the Intercontinental Championship, which was vacant following Shawn Michaels’ suspension. On October 11 1993, one week after being one of the last two men in a battle royal, Razor beat Rick Martel to win the title. He quickly moved into a short rivalry with IRS, with the two clashing for the IC Title at the 1994 Royal Rumble. Following a successful title defence, Ramon moved onto a feud that would become synonymous with his career, tangling with the former IC champion – and real-life friend – Shawn Michaels. The two would settle their rivalry in the classic and groundbreaking Ladder match at WrestleMania X, with Ramon coming out on top as the undisputed Intercontinental champion. His rivalry with Michaels did not end there, however, as the two continued to battle, also bringing Michaels’ bodyguard Diesel (Kevin Nash) into the fray. And it was Diesel who ended Ramon’s Intercontinental Championship reign on an episode of Superstars in April of that year following help from Michaels. Ramon drifted around the midcard for the next few months, losing to Owen Hart in the final of the King of the Ring, before getting his rematch with Diesel at SummerSlam. An errant superkick from Michaels led to Razor getting the win and the title, drawing a line under their rivalry and allowing the new champion to move on to a new opponent. That opponent being Jeff Jarrett, who Ramon began his rivalry with at the 1994 Survivor Series. The feud lasted into 1995, with Jarrett beating Ramon to win the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble, and then suffering a DQ loss to Razor at WrestleMania XI. A house show back-and-forth saw the IC belt switch between the two in May, before Ramon formed a tag-team with Savio Vega for the next few months. Ramon entered the last quarter of 1995 back in the Intercontinental Title picture, losing a Ladder rematch to Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam, before claiming the belt for a record fourth time by defeating Dean Douglas at In Your House 4. At this point it started to become clear that despite his continued popularity, Razor was destined to remain in the upper midcard with the IC Title being the zenith of his championship aim. The 1996 Royal Rumble marked the third year in succession that Razor would enter that event with the championship. Observers note these kind of things and it didn’t take long to realise that Ramon would never climb higher than that level. It was almost no surprise that Razor lost the Intercontinental Title to Goldust at Rumble, with Goldust in the midst of a sustained push. There would be no chase to reclaim the title, with a scheduled WrestleMania XII nixed when Scott Hall was suspended for drug use.
Of course, no Ramon piece can be complete without mention of the infamous Kliq. Formed backstage with Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman and Paul ‘Hunter Hearst Helmsley’ Levesque, the group run rampant during the mid-90s, with various stories of their antics already heavily documented by those around the group at the time. Fellow wrestlers complained of being mistreated and having their careers sabotaged if they weren’t liked by the five men. Their most controversial incident came in May 1996, with the infamous Curtain Call in Madison Square Garden. With Hall and Nash due to depart the WWF for the uprising WCW, the MSG card had Michaels booked to face Diesel in the main event, with Razor defeating Hunter underneath. Following the main event, all four men met in the ring and embraced. This brought a major scandal upon the WWF as at the time kayfabe was still being maintained, so for heels and faces to be openly friendly in arguably the biggest arena in the world (and the WWF mainstay) was something that could not be tolerated. This did not matter to Hall of course, who was off to WCW to start a new chapter in his career that would change the face of professional wrestling forever.
On April 5, one of the WWF’s best character creations will finally be recognised and immortalised as Razor Ramon takes his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.