Owen Hart is one of the most revered and most beloved wrestlers of all time. To former colleagues and fans alike, Hart is known as one of the greatest Superstars to never hold a WWE World Championship. His feud with brother Bret culminated in classic matches at Wrestlemania 10 and SummerSlam 1994. While the pair’s Cage Match at SummerSlam is renowned as one of the best cage matches in history.
During his time in the WWE, then WWF, Hart was a multiple time tag team champion, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion and the 1994 King Of The Ring.
By the spring of 1999 Owen Hart was performing as the Blue Blazer and scheduled to face The Godfather at Over The Edge when tragedy struck. Hart was being lowered from high in the arena down to the ring, and ended up falling 78 feet. Hart sadly passed away as a result of his injuries.
The events of that night have been the subject of much controversy during the intervening years, and were the subject of a recent episode of the Dark Side Of The Ring Series.
Speaking on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, former WWE commentator Jonathan Coachman has shared his own memories of that fateful night. ‘The Coach’ who was in the crowd that evening, remembers medical personnel trying to save Hart’s life.
“When the tragedy happened, and they were doing CPR, and JR and The King got up from their spots and started to run around, it felt like something was wrong. But you got to remember in wrestling, you always feel like it’s part of the show.
So as they push Owen Hart out of the building, I’m talking to the doctor, and I ask, ‘Do you think that’s real?’ And he said, ‘If that’s real, that’s the worst CPR that I’ve ever seen.’ They were literally straddling him and pushing him back down the aisle and back down the curtain to the back. So the show ended about 20 minutes early because that match never happened,” said Coachman.
Coachman went on to explain how the saving grace as far as those were in attendance was concerned, was that the arena was in darkness at the time of the accident, showing an interview on the big screen, meaning people couldn’t see Owen fall.
“The saving grace to this day, and I believe this Chris, that The Godfather was doing this interview up on the screen, and everything was black. It was dark. And then you heard this boom, and then the lights came up, and then, unfortunately, Owen was just lying there. I believe that if the lights would have been up and we all saw it, then how much PTSD… whatever you want to call it, that I would be dealing with today, and everyone else would be dealing with today.”
Jim Ross who was at the commentary booth at the time of the accident, has also spoken in recent months about how emotional he found the events of that night. While in further testament to Hart’s legacy Kevin Owens revealed that he named his son after Owen, and that his own ring name is a nod to ‘The King Of Harts.’