Owen Hart began his career wrestling in Stampede which was the Western Canada promotion run by his legendary father Stu Hart. He worked his ass off with greats like his brother Bret, the Dynamite Kid, British Bulldog, and others. He went to the WWF in late 1988, and for about 5 years, toiled in the lower mid-card, either in singles matches, or in tag teams. He fought Mr. Perfect in a tough mid-card match at Wrestlemania V, and also worked alongside Koko B. Ware and Jim Neidhart in tag teams.
But the breakthrough moment in his young career came when he started a feud with his brother Bret Hart in late 1993. It may have been the feud of the year in 1994, as the two battled in a classic 20-minute clinic at Wrestlemania X and in a cage match for the WWF World Title at Summerslam in August that year. He would be a multiple tag team champion, and an Intercontinental Champion. He would also have some darker moments, like the Piledriver he delivered to Steve Austin that broke Stone Cold’s neck at Summerslam in 1997.
By 1999 he had been in a successful tag team run with Jeff Jarrett, and was poised to regain the IC Title. It would never happen. The next night on RAW in St. Louis the WWF suspended all storylines and had a tribute night, with straight wrestling matches and comments from co-workers and friends on the great wrestler and man Owen was.
Scott: I was floored when it happened, and when it headlined CNN at 11pm after the show, the sick reality set in. I was never a huge Owen Hart fan, but I did like his work in the ring. He really came out of his shell in late-1993 to start that awesome feud with his brother Bret. 1994 was a banner year for Owen, winning a huge match with Bret at Wrestlemania, winning the King of the Ring, and holding his own in an awesome, psychology-driven cage match at Summerslam.
One of his forgotten moments was the great commentary he gave with Vince and the King at the 1996 King of the Ring, rehabbing his broken wrist. He got the shaft in late-1997 after the Montreal Screw job. He was under contract after other Harts left, and ended up getting buried. His collaboration with Jarrett in 1999 was great, and it was good to see him earn another IC Title shot. This would cast a pall over the WWF, and wrestling in general, over the next few months. I won’t get into whether Vince should have finished the show that night; I don’t feel like getting into that debate.
Let’s just remember the legacy that Owen Hart left, and appreciate what he left in the ring for us every night for almost 15 years. Take this time to go and watch some Owen matches and use the time to really appreciate the entertainment he provided over his career and thank him for all he did in the ring.
Justin: Rest in Peace Owen, you will always be missed and you were one of the all time greats.