Today would have been Owen Hart’s 49th birthday (which instantly makes you wonder what he might look like today). But on the night of May 23rd 1999 at WWF Over The Edge, the life of Owen Hart was taken by a tragic accident where he fell 70 feet from a cable that was taking him to the ring. He was just 34 years old. He left behind his wife Martha, two children, and a heartbroken family. What happened that night most of all took away a dad, husband, son, brother, uncle,
Owen still had a great career up to that point, but I often think just how much more he could have accomplished. He surely would have gone on to be WWE champion at some point and who knows, maybe he could have even equalled his brother Bret’s career. That may sound like I’m going a bit too far, but Owen would have had another ten years at least barring injury, so he may just have been even bigger than his brother by time he would have retired. I still remember being a 7 year old boy and watching the Blue Blazer lose to Mr Perfect at WrestleMania IV. And again four years later at WrestleMania VIII where Owen defeated Skinner.
The Owen match that most people say was his best was the one against Bret at SummerSlam 94 in a cage match for the WWF title. But in my opinion Owen’s best match was his match against Bret at WrestleMania X! That for me is the greatest opening match at any WrestleMania in history! Being brothers both guys knew each other so well and put on one of the best in ring matches you would have seen back then,or any other time to be fair. Owen beat his brother that night, and though it wasn’t for any title it was in my opinion the biggest win of Owen’s career that night. But of course Owen had other big matches before he was taken from us. He won the 1994 King of the Ring, after which he proclaimed himself the King of Harts. He would also leave WrestleMania on three different occasions, with three different partners as tag team champion. They were at ‘Manias 11, 13, 15 with Yokozuna, Davey-Boy Smith, and Jeff Jarrett. A record that will likely never be bettered. The last of those Manias was just 2 months before his untimely death.
Owen also had great feuds with guys like The Rock, Stone Cold and of course Shawn Michaels as part of the Hart Foundation. He was just a great, great, great performer who could have went on to such greatness. He had the respect of everyone he came into contact with, which was very clear to see on the Monday Night Raw after he died. The emotion that was going around the arena that night was so heartfelt and touching that it came straight through the television and into the room where you were watching. I will never forget Steve Austin in the ring to end the show, where he went to the corner raised a beer and then left one in the centre of the ring for Owen. That still chokes me up a bit even now after 15 years.
Over the years I’ve heard bad things said about almost every wrestler that’s ever been in the ring, but I’ve never heard one bad word said about the very lovable Owen Hart. In life Owen was a family man who loved to joke around, and loved to perform for all us fans. He was a true champion, not only in WWE, but in real life! If the WWE ever want to make their Hall of Fame really mean something then they will try their utmost with Martha and the Hart Family to get Owen’s two kids up on stage next year at the Hall of Fame ceremony, to see their dad inducted and to also see the massive pop from the crowd in respect of him.
Nothing can ever replace Owen, but it might just help those who loved him most to see just how much Owen was loved as a performer and how great the respect is for the man they called daddy!
There’s nothing anyone can do to bring Owen back, but tonight writing this I say, Owen you really were and still are the King of Harts, and may God bless you…
– By Orion Brownlow
What are some of your favourite memories of Owen? Do you believe Owen should be in the WWE Hall of Fame and do you think that will ever happen? Comment below and share your thoughts.