Where Are They Now? Scotty 2 Hotty
Scotty 2 Hotty was one of the most popular performers during WWE’s Attitude Era. As one-half of the hip hop duo Too Cool, the breakdancing master had them hanging on his every move as he hopped around the ring, getting ready to attack his unsuspecting foes with The Worm. ( CLASSIC PHOTOS | CURRENT PHOTOS | VIDEO PLAYLIST)
Today, though, Scott Garland will have to cut back on his electric boogaloo as he prepares to begin training for his new career as a firefighter.
It will be a major career change for the man who dreamed of becoming a WWE Superstar since watching his first wrestling show during his childhood in Westbrook, Maine.
“From then on, I was pretty much hooked,” he said. “It was all I ever wanted to do.”
As a teenager, Garland and his friends would hang around the civic center in Portland when WWE came to town, getting to the arena even before the crew that set up the ring for the evening’s events.
“We got to know [the ring crew]. We’d go watch and help them set up the ring,” Garland said. “They would say, ‘OK guys, I’m going to take off for 15 minutes and go get something to eat. I didn’t say you could get in the ring, but I’ll see you in a little while.’ “
That wink-wink from the crew was all the encouragement Scotty and his friends needed to hop in the ring and fool around. In the middle of an arena that would soon be packed with the WWE Universe, they got to act out some of their biggest fantasies.
“Literally, a WWE ring was the first I ever stepped foot in, which is pretty cool,” Garland said.
The fun didn’t last too long, as security would eventually end up removing the teens from the building. However, it was those trips to Portland that set him on the road to becoming a Superstar. A local promoter came by one day to watch how a wrestling ring was set up, and see if he could do the same with a boxing ring he bought. He saw Scotty and his friends in the ring and approached them about competing on his shows.
A few months later, Scotty was in the squared circle for his first match, on Thanksgiving night 1989, in front of a sparse crowd.
“He ran against Survivor Series,” Scotty joked. “It wasn’t a smart move on his part, but it gave us a start.”
From there, he began meeting other wrestlers, who got him spots on shows in New England. One of those connections helped him achieve his dream.
“I met a guy named Phil Apollo, who was working as an extra for WWE at the time,” he said. “One day, he called me and said they were looking for more guys.”
Only a junior in high school, Scotty began appearing on WWE television in 1991 as Scott Taylor. Though he never came out on the winning end of things against Superstars like Yokozuna, The Berzerker and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ( WATCH), the experience was unbelieveable.
“It was awesome,” he exclaimed. “I’d go do TV tapings with Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice and The Undertaker. Then, two days later, I’m sitting back in science class.”
He eventually became one of WWE’s go-to journeymen, joining the ranks of grapplers like The Brooklyn Brawler and Barry Horowitz. WWE officials soon realized that Scotty was a reliable hand, and would ask him to fill in on Live Event tours when Superstars were hurt or couldn’t make a show.
After six years of working at WWE TV tapings, Garland seemed to be on the verge of catching a break in the business, though it wasn’t where he expected it to be.
“Either Tazz or Tommy Dreamer called and said they wanted to give me a tryout in ECW,” he said.
He went to the tryout, wrestling Tazz twice that weekend, and was invited to join the extreme outfit, but checked in with WWE a few days later.
“WWE offered me a job and let me know that they were trying to put together a Light Heavyweight division,” he said.
With two job offers on the table in the same week, Garland went with WWE and never looked back. Still, he struggled to find his place in the beginning of his tenure as a WWE Superstar, making it to the semifinals of the Light Heavyweight Title Tournament before an attack by Kane forced him to forfeit the match. ( WATCH)
Garland was on the sidelines for several months until he was called to take part in WrestleMania XIV as Brian Christopher’s partner in a Tag Team Battle Royal. A chance meeting with WWE’s Chairman at Boston’s FleetCenter led to the formation of one of WWE’s most popular tag team.
“We were both getting coffee and I thanked him for having me on the show,” Scotty explained. “I told him Brian wrestles as “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher and said that when I was on the independents, I was Scott “Too Hot” Taylor. I just threw that at him.”
“Sure enough, the next week, we were together, ‘Too Sexy’ and ‘Too Hot,’ the team Too Much.”
He and Christopher, sporting bright neon tights and strutting down the aisle, competed in WWE’s explosive tag team division, but didn’t find much success until 1999, when they ditched the neon and embraced hip-hop culture. Too Cool was born.
An injury just after their May 1999 re-christening ( WATCH) forced Christopher, now known as Grandmaster Sexay, out of action for five months, leaving the newly-dubbed Scotty 2 Hotty to play around with his persona on WWE Live Events. He dug into his childhood, where breakdancing was one of his hobbies, to put together one of the most popular moves in sports-entertainment history.
“In the middle of matches, I’d stop and do The Worm, just the dance move itself,” he said. “I could feel the buzz and the reaction, I knew I had something, but I just had to figure out what to do with it.”
He’d get that chance once his partner was healed up and they returned to WWE television.
“One night, I was hopping to get into place and Jerry Lawler said ‘It’s The W-O-R-M!’,” Scotty said. “ I heard the playback and told him that if he could do it a few times, it’ll catch on.”
It did. Fans chanted each letter as Scotty hopped around the ring before slithering across the ring to deliver a big chop to his opponents. The Worm became Scotty 2 Hotty’s trademark.
Another part of Too Cool’s appeal came shortly after their return, when Rikishi joined the dance party. The big man saved the two from a beating. As a sign of thanks, they put a pair of bright yellow glasses on his face, turning the stoic Samoan into a dancing machine. The WWE Universe loved it. ( WATCH)
“It was instant magic,” Scotty recalled. “Once we got in front of the crowd and danced for the first time, we knew we had something.”
The three Superstars skyrocketed in popularity. When all three were in the 2000 Royal Rumble by themselves, they put a stop to the battle and brought Madison Square Garden to its feet with their moves. The sold-out World’s Most Famous Arena clapped in unison as Too Cool and Rikishi got down. ( WATCH)
Later that year, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty reached the peak of sports-entertainment, defeating Edge & Christian for the World Tag Team Titles ( WATCH). To this day, it remains one of Scotty’s crowning achievements.
“It was really cool, especially at that time,” he said “It wasn’t like there were two tag teams. You had 10 teams that could have had them, it was an honor.”
Garland also broke out on his own for a time, capturing the Light Heavyweight Title from Dean Malenko ( WATCH). The two went on to have an acclaimed match at Backlash 2000 ( WATCH). Even though he lost the title back to The Man of 1,000 Holds, Scotty considered that match to be one of his best.
After a successful 2000, 2001 was a big change in direction for Garland. Neck injuries forced him out of action and into the operation room. He went to the same surgeon as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for neck fusion surgery, which he knew would result in at least a year away from the ring.
“I always say it was good and bad,” Scotty said of his injury. “I had just had my daughter and the year before, I had been on the road a lot, hardly home. It was nice [to be home with his family], but it’s the wrestling business, if you’re not there, somebody else is going to take your spot.”
Scotty was back in action in late 2003, joining the SmackDown roster. He re-entered the tag team ranks with one of his closest allies in WWE, Rikishi. Although they were dancing partners, the two never competed much together, outside of six-man tags. Teaming with the Samoan was invaluable for the master of The Worm.
“When it was the two of us, I learned a lot,” Scotty said. “I learned about timing and psychology and what makes matches work and not work. [Rikishi’s] timing was awesome.”
After a spell as WWE Tag Team Champions ( WATCH), the pals went their separate ways and Scotty began competing in the Cruiserweight Division before his release in 2007.
Since then, Scotty has been travelling the globe, meeting his fans and competing on independent shows around the world, though he’s scaled back his schedule to get ready for his next step in life. This February, he will begin training to become a firefighter and EMT in his home state of Florida.
Garland became interested in the job after speaking with people in the line of work. One positive was the schedule, which he described as 24 hours on, 48 hours off. That wasn’t the only plus, though.
“Not only is the schedule appealing, but you’re doing something good,” he told WWE Classics.
When he’s not wrestling or training to become a firefighter, Scotty enjoys spending time with his children, Keagan and Taylor. The former World Tag Team Champion is also a Disney fanatic, and has been to many of their theme parks around the world. ( CURRENT PHOTOS)
“I have a fascination with the whole thing,” he said. “To me, it’s fascinating that Disneyland opened in 1955 and nobody still comes close to them. It’s a lot like WWE, they’re the best at what they do at their form of entertainment and nobody comes close to touching them.”
Though he hadn’t been in a WWE ring in a while, Scotty 2 Hotty showed the WWE Universe that there wasn’t much in the way of ring rust when he made a surprise appearance at WWE NXT over the summer, the company’s developmental organization in Florida.
Scotty was a mystery opponent for Heath Slater, who spent most of the summer calling out any WWE Legend who would take him on ( WATCH). Garland was impressed with what he saw at NXT.
“I was blown away, not only with the talent, but the production,” he explained. “It’s like a miniature Raw.”
Though he was excited to be back in a WWE ring, Scotty admitted he was a little worried before he entered the arena.
“In the back of your mind, you’re like, ’What if they don’t remember me?’” he said. “But then my music hit and it was cool.”
The One Man Band was introduced to The Worm, letting the WWE Universe know that Scotty 2 Hotty could still hang with current competitors. Though he remains focused on becoming a firefighter, the cameo on WWE NXT reinvigorated his passion for sports-entertainment. He’s since stopped in at NXT’s training facility, imparting his 20-plus years of in-ring knowledge on to the next generation.
Above all else, Scotty has one piece of advice that he wants to pass on to the Superstars of today and the future.
“When you’re on the road 250-300 days a year, going 100 miles an hour, it’s hard to appreciate everything,” he said. “I always hope the guys now stop and appreciate it and realize what they’re a part of.”