Catching up with the children who Razor Ramon changed forever
Twenty years ago, WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon visited “The Jerry Springer Show” to meet Hydeia Broadbent and Tyler Small, two children living with HIV/AIDS. At the end of Razor’s visit, he bestowed his Intercontinental Title on the duo, declaring them both to be his “champions.” It was, at the time, a groundbreaking show of support, given that the country at large was still unsure of the particulars surrounding the children’s illness.
Now, the visit is resurfacing as part of Scott Hall’s new DVD, “Living on a Razor’s Edge: The Scott Hall Story,” and WWE.com caught up with the now-grown Hydeia and Tyler to find out where life has taken them and what they remember about the best thing “The Bad Guy” ever did.
WWE.COM: What are your memories from Razor Ramon’s visit?
TYLER: We did the show with Jerry Springer and they asked me who some of my idols were. I was a huge wrestling fan and he was one of my favorites, so I said Razor Ramon. I didn’t know he was coming on the show until he showed up, and it was amazing.
HYDEIA: I just remember being surprised. It was more of a surprise for Tyler, but I remember that he embraced both of us and was very kind. Even though he had a bad guy persona at the time, he was really cool and awesome. He really seemed to care about our story, and he genuinely wanted to make us happy.
TYLER: We ended up going to one of the WrestleManias, I believe it was in California, after that, and the family got to meet the wrestlers and hang out with Razor Ramon. It was definitely a life-changing experience. He gave me the title and I brought it right home and showed all my friends. All the people around town came home to see it and I would let them hold it. They would say, “You’re so lucky!”
WWE.COM: Given that a lot of the country didn’t understand what you were going through at the time, what did it mean to have that kind of support from a public figure?
HYDEIA: I think having the support of a public figure that was a big part of such a huge organization set a tone for people to really take the time to educate themselves about HIV/AIDS and to show compassion themselves, especially towards youths. That was really a big step and it was a great move by Razor Ramon for coming out and doing that.
TYLER: You grow up and all the doctors are telling you, telling your parents, “We don’t know if you’re going to live a long life, we don’t know if you’re going to have your dreams come true.” There was no cure, but the type of cure for us as young kids was the hope and friendship that people surrounded you with. Scott Hall taking the time and showing that he cared was another reason to take your 18 pills a day or go through the pains of the medication and side effects. People like him were the reason that you really fought through it. It was our own personal hope. And if not for that, a lot of things would probably be different.
WWE.COM: Hydeia, you’ve become well-known for your activism on behalf of those who are living with HIV/AIDS. Can you talk a little bit about your work?
HYDEIA: Me and Tyler were part of the first generation of children that were born with HIV. I started speaking at the age of six, because there wasn’t a lot of medication and we had to go before Capitol Hill to advocate for funding. There was a lot of discrimination that was thrown around. A lot of families were not public because of discrimination, so the few of us that were banded together to spread as much awareness as possible. I’ve been able to sustain myself doing speeches, and I still do advocacy work to this day.
WWE.COM: Tyler, can you talk about your life today as a father and how it feels to be raising a family?
TYLER: Yeah. I actually have three negative kids, and I’ve been married for about five years now. My son is four years old and like I said, he’s negative and healthy. [My wife’s] healthy. He runs around like me, he wants to wrestle. I got some DVDs and he watches those all the time. He wants to be a wrestler/police officer/firefighter, it changes daily. But the doctors, when you’re younger, tell you this will never happen. So just proving them wrong is a big deal in my eyes.
WWE.COM: Hydeia, what’s something that you think a young person today, WWE fan or otherwise, could take away from your encounter with Razor?
HYDEIA: For one, I would just hope that they gain knowledge. The youth today may not know about HIV/AIDS, so I would encourage them to research the disease and how they can stay safe. Also, the compassion that [Razor] showed from being around us, I hope that if they ever encounter somebody who has HIV/AIDS that they will take his example and not be afraid, be understanding and show some compassion.
WWE.COM: Last question: Where is the title today?
TYLER: I still have the title. My son’s always trying to run around the house with it.
See Scott Hall and Jerry Springer's memories of the visit in "Living on a Razor's Edge: The Scott Hall Story," available now.