Tag Archives: Owen Hart

Pro Wrestling Takes Bite Out Of ABC

Ocala Star-Banner – January 17, 1999
By Richard Burton

For those of you who need more proof of how well pro wrestling has caught on, just look at the bite it took into Monday Night Football’s viewership this past year.

Thanks to the 9.2 million viewers who watched Nitro and Raw on Monday nights during the fourth quarter of 1998, Monday Night Football had to endure the lowest ratings in its 29-year history. Continue reading

Everything’s Fake But The Deaths

The Village Voice – August 8-14, 2001
By Nick Mamatas

Last spring, Vince McMahon appeared both on his own show, the World Wrestling Federation’s ‘RAW IS WAR’ on TNN, and on his competitor’s, World Championship Wrestling’s ‘MONDAY NITRO’ on TNT, and declared himself owner of both. And maybe the number of folding chairs thrown at wrestling matches will decrease now that maverick Extreme Championship Wrestling has itself folded. The wrestling wars of the 1990s have simmered down, but they left behind a body count. Continue reading

Fatal Fall

People – June 7, 1999

Amid the Stagy Violence of Pro Wrestling, Popular Owen Hart Plunges to His Death in a Freak Accident

Hard men with muscled bodies and macho nicknames were rendered powerless, while thousands of fans wondered if the shocking spectacle they had just witnessed was real or part of pro wrestling’s over-the-top melodramatics. And in the ring at the Kansas City, Mo., Kemper Arena, Owen Hart—an athlete, a husband, a father—lay dying.

On May 23, Hart, known as the Blue Blazer, was set to be lowered by cable from high above the ring for a match in an event billed, with unintended prescience, as “Over the Edge.” But Hart, 34, became unhooked from his cable (a release mechanism may have been triggered prematurely) and plummeted some 75 feet, hitting his head on one of the ring’s padded turnbuckles. “A lot of people thought it was a joke, a dummy,” says Dennis Roberts, one of more than 16,000 fans on hand. “It was really sickening.”

Paramedics tried to revive Hart, who was later pronounced dead of internal bleeding. “The wrestlers have taken it very, very hard,” said World Wrestling Federation chairman Vince McMahon, who nevertheless chose not to cancel the pay-per-view event after the accident. The youngest of eight wrestling brothers, Hart took to the mat “from the time he was a toddler,” says his father, ex-wrestler and promoter Stu Hart, 83, who trained his sons out of the basement of his Calgary, Alta., home. “Owen had a great outlook and really enjoyed life.”

But Hart, who signed on with the WWF in 1988, had been building a stock portfolio so he could quit wrestling and spend more time with wife Martha, son Oje, 7, and daughter Athena, 3. On the day he died, Hart donned his mask and told an interviewer, “The Blue Blazer will always triumph over evil forces.” Sadly, he could not survive his sport’s increasingly surreal showbiz excesses.