Gone Too Soon: Owen Hart

Owen Hart was the youngest of the Hart siblings. He wrestled for professionally for 13 years before his untimely death in May of 1999 due to an accident where he was supposed to drop from the rafters with a grapple and harness line, but there was a malfunction. Owen spent a majority of his wrestling career with the WWF/E, but had also wrestled in Canada, Japan, and very briefly in WCW. Owen was a 4 time tag champion, 2 time Intercontinental champion, 1 time European champion, 2 time slammy award winner, and 1994 King of the ring in WWE. He had also held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship. It is rumored that on the night of his death he was scheduled to become the Intercontinental champion for a third time. Owen was a great wrestler in both singles and tag competition. Owen loved the business, but also was thinking about retiring within a couple years to spend more tiem with his kids. In this article we take a look at one of Owen’s famous matches. We will also discuss some possibilities of what might of happened had he lived. This part is complete fantasy booking on my part so it’s just one of many possible outcomes. We will also take a look at the match that never happened, this will be one match that I would of liked to have seen that we didn’t get a chance to see due to Owen’s unfortunate death. We’ll start with  a review of a documentary about Owen.

Review: The Life and Death of Owen Hart
This 40 minute documentary is actually a bonus feature on the 10th anniversary edition of Wrestling with Shadows. The first half is a pretty good look at Owen hart’s early life and a look at his family. They show a lot of old family photos and family videos. The part about Owen’s wrestling career as they pretty much made it sound like Owen wanted nothing to do with the wrestling business, but stuck with it because it was in his Blood and it gave him the money he needed to support his family. They then focus on the failed stunt that lead to Owen’s death and an ongoing lawsuit Martha has filled against WWE. The opinions are pretty one sided and showcase WWE in a bad light. They do show a press conference with Vince offering his condolences. People interviewed include Mick Foley, Honkey Tonk Man, Brian Knobbs, Dave Metzler, and various members of the Hart Family including Bret. This documentary really isn’t a must see, but it is a decent bonus to Wrestling with Shadows DVD.

The Match: Bret vs. Owen
Owen was a family man, and some of his best work came when he was in the ring with his brother Bret, so the featured match looking back at his career will be one where he faced Bret  at Wrestlemania X. This match opened the show and win or lose Bret would go on to face the winner of Yokozuna and Lex Luger for the WWF World title. because he co-won the 1994 Royal Rumble.

This match in my humble opinion solidified Owen as the top heel in WWF at the time. The match opens with some quick chain wrestling, but Owen stalls and works the crowd as much as possible. Owen slaps Bret in the center of the ring then runs away when Bret goes after him, great chickensh*t heel tactics. They take turns working the arm with Owen throwing in a hair pull to keep the advantage. We got a shovefest which Bret turns into a roll up for a two count.  Bret gets a series of two counts and continues to work the arm.

Owen starts working over Bret’s abck and continues to work the crowd. Both wrestlers do such a great job of telling a story  as well as putting on a great match in the ring.  Owen hits a piledriver, but misses a flying headbutt.  Bret hits four of the five moves of doom, but only gets a two count.  Owen hits an enziguri and goes for a sharpshooter, but Bret reverses with Owen escaping. Owen starts working the knee, slamming it into the ringpost. Owen works the leg for about five minutes before locking in the figure four and getting a series of two counts. Eventually rolls over and reverses it, but Owen gets the ropes. Owen goes right back after the knee. Bret regains control and hits a superplex but only gets a two count. Bret goes for a sleeper and Owen hits a low blow back kick, then locks in a sharpshooter. Bret reverses it again, and Owen grabs the ropes. Bret gets on Owen’s shoulders and goes for a roll up, but Owen reverses it and puts all his weight down on Bret to get the three count. Owen celebrates as Bret looks on.

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What could of been…
In an alternate Universe on May 23rd, 1999 Owen lands safely in the ring and wrestles the Godfather defeating him for the Intercontinental championship. He loses the title and the Blue Blazer mask at Summerslam that year in a match against Jeff Jarrett. Owen would feud full force with the Radicalz when they are arrive in January of 2000, mainly feuding with Eddie Guerrero. Owen still not happy with WWE focus on mature themes tells managment that he will not be signing a new contract when his current one expires. The Owen/Eddie feud leads to a Loser leaves town match at Wrestlemania.

The Lost Match: Owen Hart vs. Eddie Guerrero, Loser Leaves Town Wrestlemania 2000
I would of loved the chance to see these two guys work together, I think they would of had great amtches together and this match not only being the blow off to their feud, but Owen thinking it might be his last match, I think we would of gotten a five star classic.

Owen takes time off to spend with his family, but is persuaded to step back into the ring by Jeff Jarret  when TNA opens because of the relaxed schedule only wrestling once a week for the weekly PPVs.  Owen is one of the featured stars of the company and gets a four month run with the NWA World title.Owen stays with TNA through the end of 2004 when he retires.

In early 2006 Owen is chosen to induct his brother Bret into the WWE Hall of Fame. In early 2010 Owen returns to WWE to support his brother Bret in his feud with Vince and Shane McMahon. Owen wrestles Shane McMahon at Elimination chamber 201 to earn Bret a match against Vince at Wrestlemania 26. Owen wins and Bret gets his match which Vince turns into a tag match of Bret & Owen vs. Vince & Shane. Owen and Shane do most of the ring work, but the match is pretty much still a brawl with the ending of Bret locking Vince in the sharpshooter for the win. Owen works a feud with the Miz before returning to retirement and his family.

Of course this is only one possible outcome if Owen lived. feel free to post in the comment below where you think Owen’s career would of gone had he lived.