Today is the anniversary of the death of Owen Hart. Owen passed away on May 23, 1999 after a tragic accident at WWE’s Over The Edge pay-per-view. WWE Hall Of Famer Jeff Jarrett honored his friend Owen on the “My World” podcast, available on every streaming app and without ads on adfreeshows.com.
Jarrett was asked what his first impression were of working his first singles match with Owen 1/20/94 in Torrington, CT:
“Getting up to WWE, Owen said, ‘Well, I guarantee our mat is going to be alright, but this ring is going to be harder than hell for you. The rings were drastically different (than the rings in Memphis)…Owen knew how to work. He was smooth, but he was snug. He didn’t mind knocking the hell out of you. He was tight with everything. He could obviously handle himself wrestling. He could get right into the high flying and weave everything together. Owen, it goes without saying, is really talented.”
Jarrett talking about Owen’s ability to save almost every penny he made:
“Getting into a town, Owen is legendary about not renting cars, not checking bags, not getting hotel rooms, very thrifty with his money. Believe me, I was a fan and admired that mentality very much so…Owen would have a mid size bag, a small bag. Tights, boots, shirts, clean underwear, and that’s it. That’s how he traveled. When you would come down baggage claim back in those days, it’s almost as if there’s a group of fans there, there’s people there, and ‘Oh, that person has got to be driving Owen.’ He had people, if you look at the continental 48, and we can include the Canadian Provinces, he had it divided up. I could go down the list of his ‘friends’, he had his ‘drivers’, he figured it out. He would have a ride, and most of the time a meal. He didn’t spend any money. I mean, no money on the road, which is amazing. Conrad Thompson then said, “In Japan, they called them sponsors. Owen had American sponsors.” Jarrett agreed and said, “He had them in Germany. He had them in the U.K. He had them globally. It was quite an amazing feat.”
Jarrett was asked what Owen’s thoughts were on still working for WWE after the Montreal screwjob:
“We didn’t get into the ins and outs of the specifics of the deal. I can remember having conversations with agents and others, and, again, my delusional optimism, but I was really optimistic about Owen’s career, that, ok, this is a real opportunity because no matter how you sliced and diced it, he was the little brother. The story was played out on TV. Naturally, the brother went south, and a lot of controversy. Now, all of a sudden, what a platform. I guess in those days you can say I put on my promoter mentality or booker mentality, and what a great opportunity for Owen.”
Jarrett talking about the day of the death of Owen Hart:
“Prior to today, I’ve never really said some of these things publicly, but this is a part of my story that I didn’t process for so long. I’ve only taken bits and pieces…Matt Miller came and said, ‘Owen, they want you now because you have to go up in the rafters. I knew I was on after Owen. I went down to gorilla and then came back. Owen was taking off with his garb and his outfit. I went into the dressing room and I already had boots and tights on, but no shirt and no glasses…I can remember this kind of stuff, literally like it was yesterday of Matt running up the halls saying, ‘Jeff you’re up. You’re up. You’re up.’
I said, ‘What?’ thinking he was ribbing and he said, ‘Jeff, you’re up.’ I said, ‘Owen is up.’ He said, ‘No, Owen fell.’ That convinced me though that I’m up. Then I heard several screams, ‘Jeff.’ All of a sudden I’m taking off, I go, and as I get down there, people in production said, ‘We’re going to do a promo.’ I thought, ‘Do a promo?” I can tell you if you’ve ever been to a car wreck or even hospitals, the heaviness of the room, of the area, but they said, ‘You have to do a promo.’ That’s when I thought, ‘He didn’t fall or blow out a knee. This is a lot more than Owen fell.’
When they pulled me over, and the interviewer, and where it was at, 30 feet from gorilla, and as they’re going, Francois [Petit], I have a vivid memory, he was a trainer, there is a mass of people and it is a gurney, and Francois is up on top and giving chest compressions. To this day, I’ve never watched any of this event back. I didn’t watch the promo, none of that. But, I vividly remember the feeling of ‘In 3,2,1’ and the promo rolls. I finished it. Off we go. They grabbed me and said, ‘Go right to the ring.’ Walking down that ring, and getting up, and again, these are thoughts I’ve stuffed for 18 years. But, getting up in that ring, and walking around like I do before matches, knowing that if I’m first entrant, second entrance, and going to the place where Owen had fell, and feeling the ring. Again, I guess you can say the luxury of processing things that, to this day, when you hear about, in treatment I was taught about PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, I always thought that was for folks that went to war, but being up in that ring and feeling that, that’s when the heaviness came over.
It’s therapeutic now for me to process the feelings and talk about it, but coming through the curtain and Matt standing there, and I said, ‘Get me a car now.’ He said, ‘We got it for you.’ I ran up and grabbed my bags and came down. Matt said, ‘Over here’, and they had me a cop car…The car took off fast. I immediately start bowing my head and thinking. I asked the officer ‘What do you know?’ No answer. I asked again, nothing. I banged on the partition. I said, ‘Sir, I know you probably can’t tell me a lot. Can you just please give me a head’s up? We have to be getting close.’ Whatever I said, I can remember him looking over the corner of his shoulder and basically just saying, ‘It’s not good Jeff.’ Did I know he had passed? No, but it was a lot different. He pulled in there. Out walks a nurse. Out walks another nurse. That’s when the news broke to me. I can remember them saying, ‘Do you want to go in?’ I immediately said, ‘No. Martha needs to be here, and the family.’ I stood outside. It felt like an eternity. I stood out there, and to this day, I don’t recall who came and got me, but I stood out there and sobbed and wept, and really couldn’t wrap my head around it. The doctor came out and started talking to me. That was a heavy, heavy day.”