Saturday, July 21, 2012

Raw Memories: #3 RIP Owen Hart

Raw Moment #3
Owen Hart Memorial Show
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

As wrestling fans, most of us tend to get emotionally invested in the men and women involved in the business.  We all have our favorites.  We all have those stars we love to hate.  In May 1999 one of wrestling's greatest tragedies occurred.  Owen Hart fell to his death during a WWF pay per view in Kansas City, Missouri.

The next night Raw was live from St. Louis (my hometown).  I have this show on VHS still, but I've only watched it when it aired live that night.  I have not been able to bring myself to watch it again.  Raw started off with all the superstars (minus the Undertaker) on the ramp and a photo of Owen on the Titan Tron.  There was a 10 bell salute and the tears started flowing from the wrestlers, the fans, and myself.

The night was filled with touching tributes from the men and women who worked with Owen through the years.  Matches were scattered in between the memorials that didn't follow story lines.  The company was simply paying tribute to one of their own and doing so the best way they knew how.

Stone Cold's salute
Toward the end of the show, I remember the King and JR giving a brief memorial to Owen.  Like most of the others it was a heartwarming memory and of course very emotional.  Then Stone Cold Steve Austin came out, held up a beer and toasted the Titan Tron which again featured Owen's picture.  Without saying a word, Austin's actions spoke volumes that night as the show faded to black and fresh tears rolled down my face.  It was a fitting tribute to one of the most respectable men to ever step inside the squared circle.

Honorable mention:
Foley wins the gold
Honorable mention:  Mrs. Foley's baby boy made a giant leap for Mankind in the WWF.  It was January 1999 and Foley was embroiled in a feud with the Rock.  This match is also one that WCW probably wishes they'd never mentioned.

The title bout (and all of Raw for that matter) were pre-recorded.  Internet spoilers were out stating that Foley would win the gold.  But not all fans were online back in 99.  So the geniuses at WCW decided that commentator Tony Schiavone should announce to their viewers that Foley was going to win the title.  He added the snide remark about that "putting butts in seats".  Well it helped viewers make up their mind.  More than 600,000 of them flipped the channel from TNT and Nitro to the USA Network to watch Raw and Foley's epic win.

So there are a couple of reasons this is a memorable moment in the history of the show.  I guess since I didn't get a Friday Fail written yesterday's, Schiavone's bone head move can fill that void too.

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