Mike Chioda has discussed the tragic passing of Owen Hart in May 1999, saying that he was on the scene within seconds of Hart’s accident.
On the 23rd of May 1999 at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, Hart was due to face The Godfather at the Over The Edge pay-per-view. Coming to the ring from the ceiling as The Blue Blazer, Hart’s harness failed and he fell almost 80ft to the ring below.
The tragedy was the subject of an episode of season two of the documentary series Dark Side Of The Ring. Hart’s wife Martha as well as his children spoke candidly about losing Owen at only 34 years of age.
Speaking on his Mailbag with Mike show [available on AdFreeShows.com], former WWE referee Mike Chioda recalled his experience on that horrendous night.
Chioda started by discussing the Dark Side Of The Ring episode on Hart:
“Me and my wife we watched that show. The way Dark Side Of The Ring – they put that together very well. They put together every episode well with a lot of facts and everybody telling the true story. [Owen’s] wife telling the story about the clip [on Hart’s harness] and everything.”
Chioda then shared his memories of the event itself:
“I was in there maybe, could’ve been thirty to forty-five seconds right after it happened. I ran in, I remember running in and then looking at Jimmy Korderas. He had his hands over his head, he was just going ‘oh my god, oh my god,’ like, he was just freaking out. Him knowing Owen so well, being from Canada and so forth.”
“It was a sad day. I looked at Owen and he turning colours already. He had like a big split on his arm at his elbow and there was no blood coming out, really there was just very little blood coming out of somewhere else. Somebody said you know I don’t think his blood was pumping, his heart was pumping because there was no blood coming out.”
“We were hoping he was alive and there was a chance because immediately they got – medics came and everything and took him asap as fast as they could to the hospital. And then the show still went on so I mean we were trying to focus on Owen and trying to still focus on the show. We couldn’t believe the show was still going on. But we went through with the show and everything and got the bad results a little while later.”
Mike Chioda then recalled taking the ring down with fellow referee Jimmy Korderas after the show:
“I remember taking the ring down and Jimmy Korderas hit it right on the nose. We were taking the ring down and the boards were broken. They were like these thick plank boards that were 20 feet long and they were like 3 or 4 inches thick. I mean it was hard to snap that board in the middle but in the corner, there were like 2 or 3 of them that were cracked. That’s because it was high velocity [impact].”
Chioda then finished, giving his thoughts on Owen Hart as a person:
“God bless his heart, Owen was a great guy. He was a great family man, a great worker, a great wrestler and he was the best at ribbing. He threw a lot of laughs on the road, on the buses, in the locker rooms. Owen was a huge family man just like his brother Bret was. It was hard to see at that time because that happened in ’99 and that was two years after Bret got screwed. So I’m sure [Owen] didn’t wanna be there. And he was doing that whole kind of gimmick character. Sting was doing that kind of thing, coming down in WCW. I didn’t think he was too fond of the Blue Blazer. Sad to lose another good person like that in the wrestling business.”