Stu Hart’s eldest son Smith has suggested inducting the Hart Foundation into the Hall of Fame in 2014. The method by which he has put forward for doing so would, he claims, bypass any legal problems that inducting Owen as an individual could present.
Owen Hart has long been noted as an absentee from the Hall of Fame. Owen’s widow has had a strained relationship with WWE, blaming them for her husband’s death, and legal issues have restricted WWE and more importantly the fans from truly being able to celebrate Owen’s life and career in the ways we’d all like.
WWE did include Owen in a recent DVD release on the history of the 50 years of WWE (how could they not). This may mean that the ice has thawed somewhat and relationships are more cordial than they once were. If that were the case then I would love nothing more than seeing Owen getting both the honour that his life and career deserve and the immortalisation that his calamitous sacrifice warrants.
That being said, I have a lot of sympathy for Martha. She had her husband and father of her children taken from her in circumstances that were so unavoidable. I cannot even begin to fathom going through all that they and the Hart’s go through to this day.
Smith suggests inducting the 1997 version of the Hart Foundation, a constitution of the faction that lasted less than a year (it seemed to die off after Survivor Series that year for some reason!). This would include Hall of Fame debutants Brian Pillman, Davey Boy Smith aka The British Bulldog and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Bret Hart would be inducted for a second time a la Ric Flair with The Four Horsemen.
I can foresee many fans and even other members of Owen’s family gravitating toward this scenario. After all, Owen would take his place where he belongs alongside the greats of the industry.
After some reflection, I question whether this is what Owen truly deserves. Do we really want Owen bundled in through a loophole in a way that goes against the wishes of his wife? This woman may not be willing to give us what we want but she has felt this loss every single day since it happened, can any of us truly say the same?
Even if we can and we feel that a Hall of Fame induction truly honours the memory, a persuasion I am inclined to lean toward, his widow believes she’s honouring him in another way. We have no choice to accept that.
To me, Owen goes in alone or not at all. The same for Davey Boy Smith and Brian Pillman too. I could understand Jim going in with Bret, as The Hart Foundation as they are an iconic two man tag-team. If somebody was to bring up The British Bulldog to me, I think SummerSlam ’92 for the Intercontinental Title, not the Hart Foundation.
Each of these men deserves to take their place amongst the legends of the industry but this is not the way. If Owen is going in then I want it to be with the blessing of his wife or subsequently his children. I want Owen to take his place alone, on his own merit and credibility, with the respect and agreement of everyone affected by Owen.
Until such time as he is honoured in the way that I find to be the most befitting, I will continue to do as I have always done. That is to remember Owen as I believe he would like to be remembered and that is a prankster that was unequivocally not a nugget!
– By Richard Thompson