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25 years since Owen Hart


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Was thinking it must be the anniversary to Owens passing today - then realised it's actually 25 years! Quarter of a century ago!!
 

Honestly doesn't feel like that long. 
 

Forever one of the darkest days in wrestling history.

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13 minutes ago, DavidB6937 said:

You remember what date it happened? I can barely remember what day it is today.

Some of us have a weird memory for dates when it comes to wrestling. I do, and in some cases places too. I’ll never forget that Mania IX was 3rd April 1993 at Caesar’s Palace in Paradise NV - said to be Las Vegas but really a suburb thereof, just as the AllState is in Rosemont - but the year after it was two weeks earlier, on 20th March.

Im sure the ability to recall that the fifth In Your House took place 17th December 95 in Hershey PA will come in handy one day.

18 minutes ago, DavidB6937 said:

May 19th on the other hand..

Goddamn it, I had a thread planned and forgot.

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1 hour ago, air_raid said:

 I’ll never forget that Mania IX was 3rd April 1993 at Caesar’s Palace

It was April 4th matey.  I always tell my wife I remember her birthday coz it’s the day after Wrestlemania 9… she never seems impressed 

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My exes birthday is March 23rd and I only ever remember that as its the anniversary of Stone Cold and Bret at Mania, and I watch it every year. She's always well impressed when I remember as I have a dreadful memory :)

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12 hours ago, TibBo said:

It was April 4th matey.  I always tell my wife I remember her birthday coz it’s the day after Wrestlemania 9… she never seems impressed 

Not sure how I got that one wrong given that I retain that VIII was on the 5th and 93 wasn't a leap year so the corresponding Sunday was definitely 4th... a maths fail, my most hated. I can never forget that Mania 14 was the 29th and 15 the 28th. But that's largely due to remembering that the 23rd March 1998 Nitro hosted the Sting vs DDP title match which was long one of my favourites matches. People think their one from April 99 is better but I disagree, I think its overblown and with too many similar spots to the first (including the finish) - it feels more like a Snyder cut of the first match rather than a different match.

11 hours ago, SuperBacon said:

My exes birthday is March 23rd and I only ever remember that as its the anniversary of Stone Cold and Bret at Mania, and I watch it every year. She's always well impressed when I remember as I have a dreadful memory :)

One of my childhood birthdays coincided with one of the shows on which one of my heroes won one of the titles. I'd share which, but I don't want to make the identity theft too easy. Good luck stealing all my money, fellas, I don't have any.

Regarding Owen's death... I don't remember whether this was the first PPV I stayed up to watch live on a college night but at least it was one of the first. The disbelief was stronger than sadness at the time and for several days and I was a total zombie that day. My parents, despite not being wrestling fans, understood how shook up I was considering it was my hero's little brother, my dad in particular having seen up close on 3 live shows how much I loved the Harts and Bulldog. My best mate and I couldn't believe we'd lost Owen so soon after Brian Pillman. I did actually keep the "taped off Sky" broadcast of the show, morbid as that sounds, because I knew it would never get a home video release, and... I dunno, completionism? The WWF title did change hands so for some reason that justified keeping it even though I didn't watch it probably more than once or twice thereafter and once the shock wore off I realized what an own goal it was that they carried on with the show. I ended up making a 3 hour "video tribute to Owen Hart" show where I copied a load of Coliseum and TV matches onto a tape, leaving just enough time to add the open, tribute clips and Austin closure from the Raw tribute at the end.

Owen Hart was a fantastic wrestler, and by 1995 he was already my 2nd or 3rd favourite wrestler depending what day it was, with he and Smithers jostling for the spot behind Bret. And I mean in the "I love this bloke and want him to win every match" sense, the one that matters, not the "I love watching this wrestler's wrestling performances because of workrate and moves and stuff" that took me over for a spell later on. Yes, it helped that he was my hero's little brother, but he was also fantastic. I first saw him in High Energy losing to the Headshrinkers at Survivors 92 among my first 4 watches of any wrestling on Silver Vision and immediately saw flashes of the same "Excellence Of Execution" but with a bit more flash... like a Bret if Bret moonlighted as one of The Rockers. True to that, the match him and Anvil had with The Orient Express at Rumble 92 was a fine sequel to Rockers/Orients at Rumble 91 - Owen doing his fancy flips and dives in a way that nobody else on the roster was doing. The family feud broke my heart a little but over time I softened to wanting Owen to break out and earn success of his own. Bret vs Owen was my first in person main event on the post Mania tour, and by King of the Ring I was rooting for Owen all the way. Without the smarkiness I'd have today, I didn't know that Owen was the logical King winner to make himself stronger for challenging Bret ; I was convinced Razor would win since he'd lost the Intercontinental title but was still clearly a huge hero. When Owen won I was over the moon and hoped he might propel himself to winning the belt off the back like Bret had... as long as it wasn't Bret he beat! Of course, I'd have to make do with him winning the tag belts at Mania XI which I loved (the Gunns were naff) and fast forward to 1996, I've not loved a tag team since Bret & Jim, as much that I did Owen and our David Boy. They were a hoot, and they kept on winning. The Harts coming back together as a big heel band in 1997 was one of my favourite times ever, and kept me tuning in even when the nWo and Sting were testing my "loyalty." A lot of my favourite memories of being a pro wrestling fan are connected to Owen, and possibly my favourite part of Canadian Stampede is the pop his old/best/High Energy intro gets when he comes out, clearly having the time of his life, the hero.

With my workrate hat on, his matches that are most worth of a rewatch are mostly famous - his Kid match from King of the Ring always gets love but there's an Action Zone/Coliseum match that is longer and as good in a different way. His forgotten Raw match with Mankind is a rewarding heel vs heel match, the European title final with Bulldog is not as lauded as the matches either had with Bret, his fiery underdog performance against Vader at One Night Only isnt talked about enough, and him and Pillman playing it for laughs in their ICT quarter final on Raw, I adored.

Fly high, Rocket.... you were fucking brilliant.

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Posted (edited)

I’m currently going through my usual 2-yearly viewing of 1997 Raw where I’ll stick it on in the background in the house and a few days ago was the Pillman tribute episode, and I’m not sure how I’ve never noticed this but it was particularly eerie hearing commentary talk about being in the Kemper Arena as the camera focuses on Owen mourning his friend’s death.

Edited by Slapnut
Bacon
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Was only around 10 at the time and didn't even have internet in our house. Used to survive on getting video tapes from friends to follow wrestling.

Remember the awful news being on ITV's morning show whatever it was called at the time before going to school and being speechless.

As time has went on I really think it was disgusting that show was allowed to continue.

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Here's Owen and Davey in 1995 doing some PR in Singapore and they're playing a 'truce' as a bluey & heel here are it's brilliant. It's just Owen trying to find little ways of cracking Young David whilst all in character.

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I wasn't watching wrestling at the time - I've talked on here before about how I stopped around 1997, and came back to wrestling in 2000 - and, surprisingly for the height of the Attitude Era, I don't recall many kids at my first secondary school being into it either. It was all South Park and Playstations.

In that first '90s run of childhood fandom, I never really got to a point that I'm now slightly fascinated by - as a kid, when did you first realise that there was such a thing as a "good match", or a "good wrestler", beyond it just being the goodies that won all the time? But my favourites were the Harts, Razor Ramon, and, for some reason, Duke Droese. I don't think me liking the Harts was because I recognised they were great wrestlers, so much as that being from a pretty big family and growing up with brothers, theirs was a dynamic that I recognised, and they also mapped very easily on to my mid-90s ideas of what "cool" looked like, all slicked back hair, leather jackets and mirrored shades. 

I can't remember if it was my dad or my older brother who must have seen in the 'paper or on the news that Owen had died, and mangled trying to tell me, by saying that apparently Bret Hart had died in a wrestling match. They both hated wrestling, never liked me watching it as a kid, and their constant insistence that it was all fake was eventually enough to put me off the whole thing and I moved on to other interests, so I thought it was weird they'd tell me something like that when I honestly didn't care any more. I think at first I probably assumed that it was all a stupid fake wrestling story, and while I did not long after find out what had actually happened, it didn't really impact on me so much as it just being a Thing That Had Happened.

When I got back into wrestling in mid-2000, before long it was a complete obsession, and I bought up everything I could - Mick Foley's first book was one that opened my eyes to a lot of wrestling outside of the WWF and WCW, but it was also the first time I read anything properly reckoning with Owen's death, and it stuck with me a lot more reading that than it had at the time.

A lot of you will remember the internet wrestling landscape of 2000 or so; videos falsely labelled as depicting Owen's death circulated on Limewire, pretty much everyone swallowed the WWF "the show must go on" attitude and version of events and slandered Martha Hart, and nobody really seemed to question any of that. I'm really glad to see that so much more has been done in recent years to expose the WWF's contributions to what happened, to expose their criminal neglect, and question the whole established narrative - though even if I can understand, though disagree with, the WWF's decision to continue the show, I will never understand how they were allowed to given that it should have been treated as an active crime scene. One of the things that I think AEW deserves all the credit in the world for is actually working with Martha Hart and her family, and working to rescue Owen's career and legacy from the company that killed him.

Another early 2000s popular internet argument I used to see a lot was people saying that Owen was better than Bret, and I bought into that for a long time. In 2000, Bret's career was at a low ebb, close to retirement and consistently underused and misused by WCW, while Owen's memory was still fresh, and Owen's slightly faster paced style and flashes of high-flying ability felt a much better fit for the wrestling landscape of the day; that we were robbed of seeing him work with the likes of Angle, Guerrero, and the increased workrate of the early '00s is a real shame, because he would have fit so well in that environment. Having since watched a lot more of Owen's work outside of the WWF, I think he was potentially a better natural athlete than Bret, and a more adaptable worker - Bret had some stinkers in Japan, while Owen had some great matches as a NJPW Junior, but also looked great in Mexico, and could do Attitude Era daft plunder brawls and comedy in ways you couldn't possibly picture Bret doing, but Bret was better than Owen, and perhaps better than anyone, at fine detail work, the little touches and inflections that made his wrestling mean something. They were both exceptional, though.

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