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Owen Hart
1965-1999

by Pandora

On May 23rd, one of wrestling's brightest lights was blown out permanently. That night, Owen James Hart died an abrupt, gristly death on Pay Per View Television. Instantaneously, he became an object of public mourning, private speculation and national controversy. Every speculate-able detail on the tragedy was related to the world, from his first contact with the mat to the pronouncement of his death. Questions will always be asked, many will be unanswered. Could the tragic death have been avoided? Was it truly necessary that his wife become a widow and his children fatherless?

It is certainly not the way he would have wanted to be remembered.

How, then, would Owen Hart want to be remembered by the wrestling public? In which of his many guises: The Blazer, The King Of Harts, The Slammy Award Winner, one half of the Tag team champions of the world on many consecutive occasions? As a member of The New Foundation, High Energy, NOD, The New Heart Foundation?

Perhaps the matches?: Owen in the ring against his own brother Bret, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Curt Hennig, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Billy Gunn, HHH, and so many others.

I have all kinds of little in-ring memories of Owen; The time I saw him at a card in a small boys and girls club, back in 1994 on the Cape, taking the abuse of the trash-throwing masses with spunk (he flipped off a whole section of troublemakers); His enthusiasm in his role at WrestleMania XI, where he and Yokozuna won the tag team titles. My favorite Owen memory is a card at the Warwick Musical Theater, where he played an (at the time) undefined heel/babyface role about a year and a half ago. But Owen left no room for confusion from the crowd; He came out, played the total babyface, and had the house at his beck and call. I hadn't seen him so happy and never had I seen such a small audience put so much devotion into one person. Owen the wrestler always was a spirited, fun, exciting guy to watch.

I saw Owen the Person twice out-of-the ring, too; once at an autograph session, and once in a hotel. Both times he was polite to a fault and sweet. During WrestleMania XI weekend, he had with him his son and wife, whom he doted on in front of the fans and spent as much time as possible with them. For not one-second that weekend was he in the bar. Trying to see Owen out of the ring was an always-difficult task. He was notoriously shy and had the ability to zoom in and out of elevators, leaving your senses sparking recognition a second behind his exit. But if you cornered him, he was quick with an autograph or a joke. NEVER did I see him turn someone down.
When he did fan functions or you were seated with him at the Slammys or Hall of Fame Dinner (like my friends were one year), it was always a treat. Apparently, he also liked practical jokes; that one time at the Hall of Fame Dinner he emptied an entire shaker or salt onto the food and into a glass of a WWF PR person seated at the same table, shushing my friends not to tell on him.
Perhaps, besides the sweetness of his memory and the legacy of his career and family, Owen Hart leaves this world imparting a sense of purity to it. He came full circle in his WWF persona from the Blue Blazer to being a member of The New Foundation and High Energy, from Bret's Kid Brother to The Rocket to The King of Harts, His tag team with Yokozuna, To The Slammy Award Winner; from The Hart Foundation to The Black Hart to NOD, his tag team with Jeff Jarrett, and once again the Blue Blazer.

Owen Hart, to me, was a reminder that wrestling could be innocent and fun, despite the WWF's attempt to portray the Blazer as a heel with silly values. Maybe Vince should take a closer look at those values.



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