Owen Hart died in 1999, leaving a large void in the professional wrestling world. WWE was rocked by his tragic death, as yet another member of the Hart Family met an untimely end. The question has been raised a million times since then: what happened at the Over The Edge pay-per-view? How did Owen Hart die?
What Was Owen Hart Doing in WWE at the Time?
The Blue Blazer, Owen Hart’s former superhero character, was revived by WWE. His persona was a parody of a normal superhero. According to Jim Cornette, Owen Hart was not happy with the gimmick, but it didn’t stop him from accepting it, as he had previously declined other gimmicks:
“Owen wasn’t comfortable with it, but he had already turned down a few things that he wasn’t comfortable with, and he didn’t want to be Negative Nancy and be known as the guy who kept saying ‘no,’ so he went along with it, and it didn’t turn out well.”
As part of the role, Vince Russo spoke with WCW officials who had Sting rappel down from the rafters to assault other wrestlers. They wanted to see if there was anything they could do in WWE, so they had Owen Hart rappel down from the rafters.
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How Did Owen Hart Die?
Owen Hart died in front of a live crowd at the Over The Edge pay-per-view in 1999. The firm never broadcast the actual clip of his death, instead switching to a camera shot of Jim Ross, who described the terrible incident for the audience at home.
Hart had done the feat before, and the harness had taken too long to disconnect when he came down. As a result, they used a nautical clip to aid in his rapid escape from the harness during the night.
Unfortunately, Hart was moving around to become comfortable with the strap as he was being lowered. He dropped 78 feet from the rafters, landing chest-first on the ropes, after inadvertently activating an early release. When this happened, the arena went dark and a vignette appeared on the screen. Because of the darkness, neither television viewers nor those in the audience saw it clearly.
There were attempts to resuscitate Owen Hart, but he died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the fall. He died when he was only 34 years old. He died as a result of internal bleeding caused by the blunt force trauma of his fall.
What Happened When Owen Hart Passed Away?
There was complete anarchy when Owen Hart died. Despite the tragedy, Vince McMahon decided that the pay-per-view would go on, and they continued the event. When discussing it, Vince McMahon stated that he believed Owen Hart would have wanted the show to continue:
“Knowing Owen as the performer he was, it is my belief that he would have wanted the show to go on. I didn’t know if it was the right decision. I just guessed that it was what Owen would want.”
Soon after the incident, a match between Triple H and The Rock was set. They learned of Owen Hart’s death just moments before they were to enter the ring.
Saw Owen Hart trending today as it’s the 22nd anniversary of his tragic passing. Owen was so kind to me as an extra, which was rare then. Huge respect to a great man & performer, who was ahead of his time in both capacities as it relates to this biz. pic.twitter.com/C0Z5BaI0Qi
— MATT HARDY (@MATTHARDYBRAND) May 23, 2021
In the end, the pay-per-view went on, with Owen Hart’s death hovering big over the rest of the evening. Backstage, he was well-liked by the other wrestlers and was renowned for pulling pranks and cracking jokes. His death remains one of the most heinous tragedies in professional wrestling history.
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In conclusion, Owen Hart’s sad death in 1999 left a huge vacuum in the professional wrestling world. The circumstances surrounding his death at the Over The Edge pay-per-view sparked a flurry of inquiries and worries. Hart unwillingly adopted the Blue Blazer persona, a superhero spoof, which eventually led to the ill-fated stunt.
The wrestling world was severely devastated by the loss of a beloved and respected man, even though the event continued after his death. Owen Hart’s sudden demise is one of the most heartbreaking tragedies in professional wrestling history.