I will never forget…2 Comments
When I was younger, I used to manage to catch every pay per view. Used to be, we’d buy them – back when there weren’t so many of them anyway. Eventually, the PPV schedule got too expensive for regular fans like me, so we’d end up missing PPVs here or there. I’m not sure why, but I somehow wound up watching “WWF: Over The Edge” on May 23, 1999. I may not remember where I watched the show, or how I got to watch it, but I’ll never forget it. It’s stuck in my memory and will never go away.
It’s not that there was a spectacular main event. Without looking it up, I couldn’t even tell you what it was. What I can tell you is that there was a match scheduled featuring the Godfather defending the Intercontinental Championship against the Blue Blazer. If you don’t know what happened at this particular event, it may just sound like another wacky Attitude Era match between a pimp and a superhero. Sadly, the match never took place.
The promo video for the match aired, as it normally would, but instead of coming out of the promo and straight into the entrances, an obviously thrown off JR shoots us to an interview conducted earlier in the day by Kevin Kelly with The Blazer, concluding his statement with “we’ve got big problems out here.”
When the interview was over, a wide shot of the Kemper Arena crowd followed, with the voice of JR.
“Ladies and gentlemen, when you’re doing live television a lot of, uh, things can happen, and sometimes they are not good. The Blue Blazer, who we know is Owen Hart, was gonna make a very spectacular super hero like entrance from the rafters, and something went terribly wrong here,” explained JR. “Certainly, Owen Hart… Blue Blazer – very serious situation here at this point in time, is being attended to by the EMTs. This is not a part of the entertainment here tonight. We are as… This is as real as real can be here. And uh, the EMTs are tending to Owen in the ring now. And we are, again, at a little bit of a loss in this situation. I’ve been doing this for more years than I’d like to admit, and this is the… well, it’s one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen. This is not your typical wrestling storyline. This is a real situation. Owen Hart was to ascend in a super-hero like entrance from the ceiling of this arena, and something terribly, terribly went wrong. I don’t know if the harness broke, or what the malfunction was, and, uh, we are going to keep our cameras on this crowd at this point in time…”
JR continued to reiterate that Owen Hart had an accident, and that it was not a part of the show. He tells us the show will go on, but that the bigger issue is that Owen Hart has been seriously, seriously inured. Jerry Lawler rejoins him at the broadcast booth and says that it “doesn’t look good at all.”
An interview with a very somber Jeff Jarrett and Debra followed. They put over their match, and mentioned that Owen was in their prayers.
In true showbiz fashion, after the EMTs managed to get Owen out of the arena and to a nearby hospital, the WWF’s show went on. Three matches followed Owen’s fall, with very somber performers working them, some of whom – namely Jeff Jarrett, Debra, and The Road Dogg – saying that Owen was in their prayers in their pre-match promos.
Following a tag team elimination match between The Union and The Corporate Ministry, the camera went right back to JR and The King at ringside, with some terrible news.
“Ladies and gentleman,” began JR. “Earlier tonight here in Kansas City, tragedy befell the World Wrestling Federation and all of us. Owen Hart was set to make an entrance from the ceiling and he fell from the ceiling. I have the unfortunate responsibility to let everyone know that Owen Hart has died. Owen Hart has tragically died from that accident here tonight.”
That was a decade ago tonight. It was a very sad night indeed for everybody involved in professional wrestling, be in the performers, the promoters, or, of course, the fans. Allegedly, Owen was supposed to fly in from the rafters, press a quick release trigger on his harness, and fall flat on his face. Apparently, he’d inadvertantly triggered the mechanism, and wound up falling 50 feet (some reports say 78 feet) to his death.
The following night on RAW, the storylines were dropped, the wrestlers weren’t forced to work, and several of them told stories about their fallen friend. They all talked about how much Owen loved his wife and his children, and how he was a legendary prankster backstage. Those are two nights that I’ll never forget for as long as I live. They say only the good die young – Owen was 34. We’ll never forget you, Owen!