Date: late April 1995
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
Source: Ring of Honor’s Straight Shootin
The fight between Road Warrior Hawk and Too Cold Scorpio is unique in that the heat was actually between two other people, and it translated over to those two. It’s also a rare case of Hawk coming out on the losing end of a fight.
Too Cold Scorpio was a talented, exciting wrestler in Mexico, Europe, and Japan, largely “discovered” by fellow Colorado resident Big Van Vader. His big break in the US was when he was brought in as Ron Simmons’s mystery partner at the November ’92 Clash of the Champions. He got over immediately with his spectacular 450 splash finisher, and Bill Watts (who was running WCW at the time) gave him a push in his never-ending quest to find an African American star to replicate the success he had with the Junkyard Dog in Mid-South Wrestling.
When Watts was fired, Scorpio became a mid-card mainstay as a tag team partner of Marcus Bagwell (before his Buff Bagwell days). He has blamed Ric Flair for his losing his job with WCW in 1994, and his heat with Flair was still strong in early 1995 when the incident with Hawk took place.
The government of North Korea held an entertainment event in April of 1995, one of the feature attractions was professional wrestling. It was a two-day event, with over 150,000 people attending each day. While it sounds impressive, the truth is that the government largely forced its citizens to attend. They were not pro wrestling fans, and everyone who did the tour has talked about what a frightening experience it was.
WCW was involved with the show, as was New Japan. As such, Flair was in the main event (against Antonio Inoki) while Scorpio, with his ties with New Japan, was on the show as well. Other wrestlers on the card included Hawk, Chris Benoit, the Steiner Brothers, Scott Norton, and New Japan regulars like Inoki, Yuji Nagata, Masa Chono, Shinya Hashimoto, Hiro Hase, Kensuke Sasaki, and others.
Scorpio had such intense heat with Flair that he told New Japan officials he was going to “beat his motherf*ckin’ ass” in North Korea. New Japan begged him not to do anything to Flair, as they were invited guests of the North Korean government. They told him he could do whatever he wanted to him in America, but not here in North Korea. Scorpio begrudgingly agreed.
The Confrontation – Part 1
Before going any further, it’s important to note two things. #1, we couldn’t find any record of Hawk or anyone else confirming this version of the story. It definitely happened, but we’re only hearing Scorpio’s version, and Hawk is no longer here to defend himself. As such, this is told from Scorpio’s point of view, and in most cases, stories told by only one side are usually partially inaccurate. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter did confirm that Scorpio won the fight, but no other details are confirmed beyond that.
#2, Hawk was on medication for hepatitis C, and it made him far weaker than he was known for in his career. Hawk blamed that same medication for some of his weakness in his later fights with Randy Savage (one of which he still won, and the other of which he was sucker punched). And Scorpio did point this out while recounting the story.
On their first day in North Korea (they were there for almost a week), all the wrestlers could’ve chosen to ride in a Mercedes or a bus, and all the boys chose the bus. Flair, of course, chose the Mercedes. Hawk went with him, and the next day bragged about it to Scorpio, saying he and Flair were really close. Scorpio said that was cool, but he still chose to ride on the bus with the rest of the boys.
Later, Hawk decided to ride on the bus. As all the guys were waiting on the bus, Flair came out of the doorway, doing his usual Flair mannerisms like combing his hair and checking his Rolex. He started looking around as if he was looking for someone, and Hawk said maybe he was looking for him since he had been riding with him in the Mercedes. Maybe, Hawk said, he wanted to ride with Hawk again.
Scorpio blurted out, “F*ck that p*ssy, let him ride by himself!”
Hawk replied, “What did you say?”
Scorpio reiterated, “You heard me! F*ck that p*ssy, let him ride by himself!”
Scorpio alleged that he and Hawk exchanged a few more words on the bus before Hawk said, “F*ck you, n*gger.” Again, this is Scorpio’s version and hasn’t been confirmed.
Hawk apparently took a swing, but missed. Scorpio claimed he was on Hawk “like white on rice, tattooin’ his ass like he ain’t never been tattooed before.” He claimed to have hit Hawk three times for every one swing Hawk took, and by the time it was over he had “tagged” him about twenty times. He also tried to pull Hawk’s eye out, and Hawk was bleeding from the eye (remember, he had hepatitis C). Scorpio did this partially because Hawk had always bragged to the other wrestlers about how he had taken a guy’s eye out in a bar fight once.
The Japanese wrestlers on the bus pulled Scorpio off. Hawk then jumped on top of him, and at this point they’re in the middle of the bus seats. Hawk was swinging everywhere, and even though Scorpio was being held down, he was still able to dodge most of the punches.
Hawk now had blood on his hand, and during the struggle, Scorpio bit Hawk’s bloody thumb. Hawk pulled his hand back, after which Scorpio broke free and took his jacket off. He then threw a high kick at Hawk’s face, but it’s not clear if it connected or not. Either way, Hawk backed away.
Scorpio then started trash talking, saying how he was going to kick Hawk’s ass. Hawk replied in kind, saying he used to be a Hell’s Angel. Scorpio said, “You ain’t no Hell’s Angel, because they don’t take punks like you.” It was then broken up.
Scorpio realized that they were there on a peace trip, so he later apologized to the Japanese on behalf of everyone. He also apologized to Hawk, saying they don’t need to be fighting like this. Hawk just muttered, “Shut up, get the f*ck away from me, I’m gonna beat your ass after the trip,” etc.
The Confrontation – Part 2
A day or so later, everyone was at a 500-year-old temple. It was part of a group sight-seeing tour all the wrestlers were on. Scorpio again went up to Hawk and said they should cool it. Hawk again replied with, “Get away from me, when we get back to Tokyo I’m gonna beat your ass to a bloody pulp.” Scorpio said that was fine, and that when they get back they will throw down old school style.
Hawk then put his hands in his pockets and turned around. He then turned around again and nailed Scorpio with a right hook. Scorpio, either out loud or in his mind, said, “Is that all you got?? My sister hits harder than that!”
The Japanese crew again broke things up. Back at the hotel, Scorpio wanted revenge and said the fight was on. He went to another wrestler to find out which leg Hawk had an operation on, and found out it was his right knee. In his mind he visualized taking him down in his knee and “beating him down ghetto style.”
Scorpio was now having lunch at the hotel, and Benoit was telling him that he and Hawk are both his friends and that they need to make up and talk to each other. Scorpio thought maybe he was right, but then when he went to the Steiners and Scott Norton for their opinions, they all said Scorpio did the right thing because Hawk called him out.
After lunch, he was walking down the hallway and Hawk was coming down the other way. Finally they were face to face again, one on one, and Scorpio thought it was on. They walk towards each other and Hawk asks if they want to finish it. Scorpio said Yes, but that now isn’t the time, and then when they touch ground in Tokyo, they’re gonna throw. Hawk said, “You’re on,” and they were eye to eye. The elevator then opened up, and Hawk said, “Go ahead, get in.”
Scorpio replied, “Nah, YOU get in.”
Hawk insisted Scorpio go in first, to which he said, “Why, so you can steal on me again??” Scorpio then backed into the elevator slowly, and Hawk stepped in after him. Scorpio was preparing to kick him if needed, but nothing happened. They got down to the group dinner, and there were name tags for all the wrestlers, along with a seating chart. Much to Scorpio’s chagrin, he had to sit across from Hawk, face to face, and he thought to himself, “Damn, I can’t get rid of this mother*cker!”
During the dinner, one of the elected officials (likely Kim Jong Il) was waving to the crowd. During this, and all throughout dinner, Scorpio would drop the stainless steel chopsticks on purpose, and when he went to pick them up, he’d put them in his pocket. He was planning to use them as weapons against Hawk later if he was attacked. After the dinner, he was in his hotel room and sharpened the edges of the chopsticks on the ledge, and taped them together. He carried them with him wherever he went because he knew there would be another confrontation.
Fortunately, a few days before they went back to Tokyo, Scorpio and Hawk finally sat down and talked it out. They buried the hatchet and it was fine after that, although Scorpio always watched his back. When they got back to Tokyo, Scorpio said Hawk even wanted to smoke his weed. Scorpio lied and said he doesn’t smoke anymore, and that just drinks. He said this because he still didn’t trust Hawk. And that was the last of it.
Dave Meltzer reported that Scorpio lost his job with New Japan over this incident. He noted it was unfair because Hawk had started the fight and goaded him on, but that the Japanese didn’t like the idea of a prelim wrestler beating up one of their main eventers. That logic is peculiar, because if this happened under Bill Watts, he would’ve fired Hawk for losing the fight.
Scorpio was working for ECW during this time as well, and continued working there until 1996, when he got a job with the WWF as Flash Funk. He later went back to Japan, working for NOAH before coming back to WWE on their Deep South Wrestling brand. After he was released from there, he went back to the indies, where he has remained ever since.
Hawk went back to WCW, and then the WWF during the Attitude Era before going back to the indie circuit. He passed away in 2003.
Hawk was feared throughout the industry based on his look, perceived toughness, barroom brawls, and locker room scuffles. But Scorpio called him a one-punch fighter, and that if you can survive the first punch and fight back, you’ll take him out every time. He remains the only high profile wrestler to have gotten the better of Hawk, in front of a bus full of wrestlers, no less.