It was May 23, 1999. I remember the day very well. I was getting ready to order the upcoming pay-per-view event as I always did. WWE Over the Edge was going to be great, in my mind.
We were getting The Rock vs. Triple H and The Undertaker vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the WWE title.
Shortly into the event, I recall the cameras wildly circling around the arena as Jim Ross stated they were having problems, technical difficulties, or something to that effect. They cut back and showed some promos from earlier to kill some time, one of them involving The Blue Blazer, who Owen Hart was competing as at the time.
He was set to face The Godfather that night, but it soon became evident that we weren't going to get that match. It started to seem like we weren't going to get any more matches at all, as something was clearly wrong, though they wouldn't say anything on camera.
A savvy WWE viewer knew something had to be up, especially when the Blue Blazer-Godfather match was just scrapped and they ushered out Jeff Jarrett and Debra to face Val Venis and Nicole Bass in a tag-team match.
What had happened? Suddenly, the focus was no longer on the show but what was going on in Kansas City that night. We didn't have to wait long for an answer.
"Ladies and gentlemen, 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 quote directly from Jim Ross at the event (via The Examiner). What? I remember being in utter shock, and even, though some fans thought for sure it was part of the show, I knew it wasn't. I knew we had just been part of the biggest black eye the industry had faced to that point.
The 13th anniversary of Owen Hart's death just passed. As I've done several times over the years, I went back and watched the opening of Monday Night Raw the following night and still, 13 years later, it's both hard to believe and very emotional.
Owen Hart came from one of the greatest wrestling families the business has ever known. It doesn't seem like anyone had anything bad to say about him, and there was no doubting his ability to perform.
I know the wrestling industry has had plenty of sad and tragic events, but this one is the most unfortunate and most tragic to me. It's the one that will stick with me forever.
Owen Hart is truly missed, and we can only hope that he is now in a better place.
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