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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Owen Hart

1965 - 1999

Father, Husband, Champion

Rest in Peace


Special Friday Edition:
The Life and Times of Owen Hart

From the Top Rope...

by Joseph Holt

In Memory of Owen Hart

by Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

The Way I See It...


Volume 4, Issue 467 - May 28, 1999
Editor's Note: I have decided to skip the Thunder Report this week in order to dedicate this edition to the memory of Owen Hart.

There is a movement afoot, which I support, to convince the WWF to award Owen a posthumous WWF Heavyweight Title. You can express your own feelings on this idea by paying the WWF web site a visit at: wwf.com

I would also like to make a correction to Monday night's edition. Greenville is in South Carolina, not North Carolina.


The following comes to us courtesy of the WWF web site:

If you would like to send sympathy and condolence cards to the Hart Family, please mail them to the following address:

The Hart Family has requested that in lieu of flowers or offerings, donations be made directly to:


From the Top Rope...

by Joseph Holt

Goodbye Black Hart

The very first "From the Top Rope" was about Owen Hart. If you can remember back that far, it was a slam on Owen for saying he would quit wrestling because he supposedly hurt Dan Severn with a pile driver. I stated that in wrestling we all know the risks yet still continue to watch and/or participate. Say what you will about the sensationalism of wrestling today but the risks have not really changed that much over the past twenty years or so.

I for one, offer my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Owen Hart for their loss. It was truly a tragic event that should never have happened. Unfortunately though, life is full of tragic events that never should have happened. At one point in the past, I chose to be a police officer. In that career choice I saw many things that I wish I could forget. There are accidents all over the world on a daily basis that claim the lives of someones husband, wife, child, friend, etc. Each one of those cases are different in that a different family is affected. The one thing that remains a constant is the way those families feel. I never heard anyone say "Gee, that accident makes a lot of sense. I can really understand why that happened." What I did hear was a profound "why?" I could never answer that question with any certainty nor can anyone answer this question.

I have heard many people place the blame on everything from the WWF as a whole to the fans themselves. This argument is senseless. To place or accept blame for this terrible tragedy is ludicrous. Im sure that no one planned for this to happen. Im also sure that no fan out there was glad to see a real injury take place in the wrestling ring.

What happened Sunday night was the result of the crap shoot we call life. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. On this night, we all lost.

We are never promised today much less a tomorrow. It is our responsibility to take each moment we are given and make the best of it. Some of us do a better job than others. Owen was one of those people.

How many of us are fortunate enough to say we get to do what we love on a daily basis and get paid for it? Very few.

Sometimes it's the luck of the draw and sometimes it's what we make for ourselves. Owen took advantage of both. The time he spent on this earth, he was in the spotlight of millions of wrestling fans. Wether we were screaming for the King of Harts or chanting "nugget, nugget, nugget" Owen was where he loved to be. In our faces. It takes a special person to be a bad guy and do it well. Most of the time, Owen was that bad guy. I often wonder as I see the heal role played out in the wrestling ring how the wrestler maintains a straight face. I for one would be laughing my brains out. To succeed in making hundreds of thousands of people feel a certain way about you takes a tremedous amount of talent.

Not only talent to convice us we needed to hate him but talent to give us a reason why. We often called him nugget because he deserved it. He deserved our attention. Why? Because he was good. He was a good wrestler who could at any time win a match or even better still, lose a match.

Some of the greatest talents in the world go unnoticed because their talent is to make someone else look better. Most of the time this was his greatest asset. Bret owes Owen big for this one. So does Jeff Jarret and everyone else who ever stepped into the ring with or against him.

A man of great heart who gave all he had to give us what we wanted. A good bad guy that we could trust. Yes, trust. We always knew where we stood with him from a fans point of view. The attitude was never in question.

The only part of Owen that I feel like we missed was the real man. Engulfing us in his ring personality we failed to see the dedication and love for the game that he had. This was more than apparent as the tributes ran tonight on RAW.

Its a sad thing that Owen fell victim to this accident. It would be an even sadder thing for us to dwell on that instead of opening our eyes to see that this man was truly the King of Harts. His career was spent in the shadow of his famous family but he never failed to give all he had. He gave more to us than we can ever imagine.

I'm sorry Owen had to go. I'm sorry for the way he went. I'm also sorry for his family. Most of all, I'm sorry for all of us who will miss him.

Owen's t-shirt was right. It is time for a change. Time to change our finger pointing and judging of the WWF and its decision to continue the show. Time to think about what Owen would have wanted. I think he would have wanted us to see the rest of the show and remember him for always giving us all he had even when he had no more to give.

My thoughts and prayers are with Owens wife , children and entire family as they go on without him.

Goodbye Blue Blazer. Goodbye King of Harts. Goodbye Black Hart. Goodbye Nugget. We will all miss you. Oh, one more thing...

THANK YOU OWEN.

Joseph Holt is a freelance writer in the Ft. Worth Texas area and a regular contributor to Solie's.


In memory of Owen Hart

by Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

Owen Hart, the name is not as spetacular or as legendary as his father Stu nor is it as known as his brother Bret. Owen, however, was a star in his own right. The youngest of Stu and Helen Hart's 13 children, Owen's career began in 1986 in Canada as he won the Canadian National Amature Championship. He later turned pro that year as part of the Stampede Wrestling area. He was one of the longest reigning North American Champions in that feds history. He held that title for over a year before losing it.

Later, Owen traveled to Japan and won the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. He held the title for 9 months and 21 days, proving to be very versitle against the Japanese style. In 1988, Owen debuted in the World Wrestling Federation as The Blue Blazer. Though the gimmick didn't go over too well in the WWF, it won him international fame, particularly in Mexico (where masked wrestlers are pratically worshiped). During 1991, he had a three month stint in WCW as "The Hurricane" Owen Hart. In fact, I saw him wrestle here in Bluefield, WV on a WCW card against Moondog Rex. Needless to say, Owen won.

In 1992, Owen returned to the WWF as part of two short-lived but potentially successful (had they have been given time to succeed) tag teams. The New Foundation (with brother in law Jim Neidhart)and High Energy (with Koko B. Ware). During 1993, he got involved in the Bret Hart VS. Jerry Lawler feud in the USWA. Ironically, this feud saw Bret become a heel for the first time in years and Owen to turn heel for the first time ever (at least in USWA territories/in WWF territories, Lawler was the heel while Bret and Owen were faces).

In late 1993, Owen began an angle to become a heel for the first time in the WWF when he "turned" against his brother Bret. It began at Survivor Series when Owen blamed Bret for him being pinned during a ten man elimination tag (Owen was the only member on his team to be pinned). The two made up near the end of the year but that reunion would be short lived as Owen turned against Bret at the 1994 Royal Rumble after a tag team title match against then champions The Quebecers.

In March of 1994 at WrestleMania X, he defeated Bret in the opening match. Ironically, Bret would go on later that day to win the WWF World Title for a second time.

Bret and Owen would have many classic battles over the next two years. In that time, Owen won two WWF World Tag Team Titles. Once with Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX (1995) and once with brother in law Davey Boy Smith (1996).

He also won the 1994 King Of The Ring tournament by defeating Tatanka (Chris Chavas), 1-2-3 Kid (X-Pac/Sean Waltman) and Razor Ramon (Scott Hall). In 1997, Owen captured the WWF Intercontental Championship twice. The first time was against a young Duane Johnson (The Rock). He held that title until August 3, 1997 when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin defeated him. In that match, Owen nearly ended the career of "The Rattlesnake" as he executed a "tombstone" piledriver incorrectly, causing severe spinal trama to Austin and leaving him nearly paralized for 60 seconds. Realizing his mistake, Owen taunted the crowd until Austin could come over and pin him. It was one of the worst looking endings to a wrestling match but it did show the big heart of Owen (as well as show the courage of Steve Austin).

Owen's next I-C title would come in early October with a win over Faarooq in the finals of the I-C title tournament. Owen then lost it the next month to Austin again in Austin's first PPV match since the neck injury in August.

Over the next year, Owen would win the WWF European Title and have on/off feuds with former UFC Champions Ken Shamrock and Dan "The Beast" Severn. At the beginning of this year, Owen won a third WWF Tag Team Championship with Jeff Jarret. The two would prevail as champs until this past April when X-Pac (Sean Waltman) and Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeated them.

At WWF Over The Edge, Owen was set to challenge The Godfather (a man that he defeated once for the USWA strap in 1993), as the Blue Blazer again, for the WWF I-C belt that he held twice before. However, a tragic accident while entering the ring via the ceiling cost this young star his life.

Now, here is a comprehensive list of titles and awards from Solie correspondant Matt Benaka:

Titles Held:

Owen Hart spent 5 years 1 month 10 days of his life as a champion in wrestling.

Best Opponents:

Awards Won:

MATT'S THOUGHTS OF OWEN: I only saw Owen compete once. He teamed with Davey Boy Smith against The Legion of Doom during RAW in Kansas City's Kemper Arena the night that Brian Pillman's passing was mourned. I have a few snapshots of the match, but it really wasn't anything spectacular. That's the oddest thing about Owen's tragic death; he was never really spectacular. That's not a put down either. Owen never seemed to crave the spotlight as much as other wrestlers. That is probably the single most memorable thing about Owen: he was content with putting on one hell of a show in the mid-card.

When a friend called to tell me that Owen had plummeted from the ceiling of Kemper, I thought he was pulling my leg. As I switched over to KC news and heard the facts for myself, I was dumbstruck. I'd like to borrow the refrain from Kansas' song "Wayward Son" which I think best describes how wrestling fans should try to cope with Owen's life and death: "Carry on my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don't you cry no more." Owen, wherever you are, I know that you are feeling no more pain. Only after you were gone did I realize how much I had missed out on by not appreciating you more when you were alive. It's been four days since the accident and I still feel at a loss for words.

When I think of Owen falling to the ring, I remember the myth of Icarus. He had a pair of wings held together with wax, flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he fell to his death in the sea below him. Owen didn't have wings, but he was personifying The Blue Blazer, and his harness served the purpose of wings. Perhaps the wrestling industry forced Owen to fly too close to the sun. Perhaps it was the fans that asked him to climb a few feet higher. Regardless, he was forced closer and closer to that sun until his wings melted and wrestling lost a true class act. May you rest in peace Owen James Hart.

Al Isaacs at scoopscentral.com has announced that an EMAIL drive is under way to help make Owen Hart an Honorary WWF Champion. It was the only title that Owen never held, yet so richly deserved. It would help the memory of Owen Hart and make it that much more legendary. You can email: wwffans@wwf.com and request that Owen be made an honorary champion.

ERVIN'S THOUGHTS OF OWEN: Strangely, I think of the opening moments of a cartoon movie that I saw recently called "BatMan Beyond". In that opening part, after Bruce Wayne had his last adventure, he hung up the cape and cowl and spoke the words "never again" as he turned out the lights in the batcave. Unlike that cartoon, however, we will never see Owen Hart again but what he accomplished in the ring, as well as the man that he was outside of the ring, should never be dishonored. My two fondest memories of the man was March 1991 at a WCW card here in Bluefield, WV (I was 16 at the time). His opponent was Moondog Rex. He seemed very genuine and very friendly in his entrance, during the match (which he won), and afterwards. I now wished I could've met him afterwards at the time. The other was the WrestleMania X encounter with his brother Bret "The Hitman" Hart. It still stands as one of the great bouts of all WrestleMania's (not to mention the best opening match at any WrestleMania or any supercard for that matter). Both men brought out the best in each other. As great as Shawn Michaels and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin were against Bret, Owen's matches with his brother are on par with Bret's matches against either of those two. If I make it to heaven after my time is up here on earth, one of the people I would like to meet up there is Owen. Owen, here is to you. To take a title from a song by The Artist (formerly known as Prince), "I Wish You Heaven." Goodbye Owen and God bless you.

Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.

Matt Benaka is the originator of Solie's Title Histories section and a regular contributer to the newsletter.


The Way I See It...

I was realizing yesterday that, whenever I talked about Owen Hart in my TV reports, I always referred to him simply as "Owen". Not "Owen Hart" or "Hart" - "Owen". I am not sure why I always did that...

Maybe it was because I sensed in him something that marked him as the essential wrestler. There are a few other to whom I accord this treatment. Arn Anderson is always just "Arn" - Rey Mistero, Jr. is almost always just "Rey". With Rey and Arn it might have had to do with the uniqueness or the lengths of their names - a desire to use shorthand - but I don't think so, really.

I think it is because Arn and Rey, and Owen all project that feeling that you "know" this person - that they are somehow more familiar then other wrestlers and show business personalities. Even Owen's brother Bret Hart, whom I have more respect for then almost any other wrestler, only rarely is referred to as "Bret" - more often he is "Hart" or "the Hitman" in my reports.

During the heartfelt tributes to Owen the other night on RAW, we learned that he was most remembered as a prankster. A guy who would go out of his way to play a practical joke on his friends. Somehow, this was not surprising to me...and again I am at a loss to explain why. Certainly, this was not a quality that would be ascribed to any of the characters Owen portrayed during his career. The prankster (unless he is a sociopathic personality) is almost always someone who is confident about where he stands in his friends esteem - he knows that he can "get away with" poking fun at his associates because they are always aware that it is "just a joke" and isn't meant to be harmful or hurtful. The practical joker is frequently also known as a warm, caring person whom people are proud to call their friend.

I am sure that this is the way Owen's friends and associates saw him and somehow, that quality projected itself out through the television screen and into our livingrooms. It must be that because I can not figure out any other way that I would have been prompted to treat him so familiarly as I always did.

I was talking to a friend about Owen Monday night and he pointed out something that hadn't occurred to me. Owen's life work was wrestling. He lived to entertain the crowd. It was all he ever did in his adult life. Owen was doing a job on Sunday when his life was cut short. By continuing on with the show, the people he left behind honored Owen by finishing the job he had started.

I am sure, because I feel that I knew Owen, that he would have wanted it that way.

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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