Saturday, May 23, 2015

Remembering Owen Hart

Owen Hart
Courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sixteen years ago tonight, I was sitting in my bedroom watching (actually listening to) the WWF Over the Edge pay-per-view.  I didn't order the show, but back then you could watch on what I called "scramble vision."  The audio was perfectly clear, but the screen was distorted.  It worked for me because Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler painted the picture of what was happening in the ring.

Owen as the Blue Blazer
Courtesy: WWE 
During the show, JR announced there had been an accident involving Owen Hart, who was playing a character called The Blue Blazer.  He was supposed to be lowered from the rafters high above the ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.  But part of the costume got stuck in the rig and Owen plunged into the ring, dying a short time later.

I hopped on AOL Chat and discussed the tragedy with other fans.  This was long before social media so we had to rely on the updates from JR during the show.  It was a horribly sad time, including the next night on Raw when WWF Superstars, Divas and officials memorialized the man known as the King of Harts.  

I saw Owen wrestle a handful of times in person.  The most memorable was Father's Day 1996 at a house show in St. Louis.  My dad and I had floor seats and I'd get up and snap pictures with my point and click camera as the wrestlers made their way to the ring. (I can't find those pics now.) Owen climbed to the apron to a chorus of boos and looked right at me and the portly guy next to me and shouted "Shut up, fat boy."  I had actually been cheering for Owen, because I liked him much more than his opponent that night, Savio Vega.
Bulldog (with a pig mask) & Owen in 1996
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
That fall, the WWF came to Cape Girardeau.  I had pretty good seats that night too when Owen and Davey Boy Smith defended the tag team titles against the Godwins, the Smoking Gunns, and the New Rockers.  Owen and Bulldog won the match.  The two of them were one of my favorite tag teams.  They simply clicked.  I think Owen is in a small class of great tag team wrestlers like Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson.  He was a great partner to no matter who he stepped in the ring with. Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Koko B. Ware, Yokozuna and The Rock all come to mind.

Owen vs. Faarooq
Courtesy: WWE (Drop Toehold website)
Speaking of the Rock, I watched Owen and Rocky Maivia do battle for the Intercontinental title at a house show in St. Louis in February 1997.  Rocky won by DQ. Months later, Owen won back the belt by beating Faarooq at the Badd Blood pay-per-view.  I was there for that one too.

I know Owen is in a better place now, but he left this world way too soon.  Continue to rest in peace. You are still missed today.


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