Dark Side of the Ring Season 2 Episode 10 – The Final Days of Owen Hart
May 23 will mark the 21-year anniversary of the death of Owen Hart. At the Over the Edge pay-per-view event in 1999, Hart fell nearly 80 feet to his death as part of an elaborate entrance “stunt” for his Blue Blazer gimmick. Hart’s death, which came weeks after the superstar turned 34, shocked the wrestling industry and left his wife Martha and two children with wounds that would never heal.
Bret Hart is the popular WWE Hall of Famer who first burst into the WWF back in the 1980s. To separate his younger brother, Owen Hart, the company gave him “The Blue Blazer” gimmick in 1988. He would eventually come out of the shadow of his brother in 1994 at WrestleMania X and would no longer don the former gimmick.
As pro wrestling started to see a resurgence of popularity during the latter part of the 90’s due to the heralded Monday Night War between WCW and WWE, Owen Hart was asked to once again don his original gimmick of the Blue Blazer as a response to the popular Sting of rival league World Championship Wrestling in 1999.
The widow of Owen Hart explains the painful death in an interview with CBS Sports, First of all, the stunt itself was so negligent,” Hart said. “They hired hackers they knew would do anything they wanted when they knew that proper riggers they had hired in the past had told them, ‘We won’t do this kind of stunt, it’s not safe.’ Everything about that stunt was done wrong. The entire set-up was wrong. The equipment was wrong — the harness, for example, was meant for dragging people behind a car. It was a stunt harness, but it wasn’t meant to suspend someone 80 feet above the ground.
“What was happening to Owen when he was sitting in that harness is, his circulation was getting cut off and he couldn’t breathe. Then, the snap shackle that they used, that snap shackle is not meant for rigging humans. It’s meant for the sole use of rigging sailboats. It’s a sailboat clip that, by design, is meant to open on load. By the very design of the stunt, it was meant to fail, because the weight of Owen on that clip actually made it more likely it would open spontaneously.
Check out this special documentary on the death of pro wrestling star Owen Hart inside of a ring.
WWE outside legal counsel who oversaw the case responded to CBS Sports stating the following:
“The reality is, we’ve never told our side of the story of what happened — at least not outside of court. We told it in court, but when she talks about the way the lawsuit unfolded over the years, it really isn’t accurate what she’s saying. What she did whenever this happened is, she hired a lawyer in Kansas City who we caught essentially trying to fix the judicial selection process to get a judge that was more to their liking. We caught them and went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. The Missouri Supreme Court said, ‘No, no, no. We’re not going to let that happen.’ They essentially appointed an independent judge to come in from outside of Kansas City to oversee the proceedings. We were basically trying to find out what happened that night. Martha was not even remotely interested in finding out what happened that night; she just wanted to use it as a vehicle to beat up a business that she didn’t like that her husband was in, the wrestling business.”