|Due to the unfortunate event that occurred on the pay per view
event, Over the Edge will not be reviewed. Instead Mad Phat Wrestling dedicates this Raw
report to Owen Hart. We would like to give to his family, his wife and two children all
our strength, our support and sympathies.
Please keep in mind that though Mad Phat Wrestling takes a
satirical view of professional wrestling, we never shy away from stating how much we enjoy
this form of entertainment. It's in goofing on the genre and it's players that we show our
truest respect and admiration because this is how we show our love to each other. 'BC' and
I are best friends and it's through this tight bond, close knit relationship, mutual
respect and love that we are able to be relaxed with each other and leave our insecurities
at the back door in order to fully enjoy what we have in our lives. Insecurities stand in
the way of honesty and without honesty, there are no true relationships and no true love.
Satire, unfortunately, is a path some take to get away from the harshness that is reality
because it is in laughing that we are able to forget our sorrows.
On May 23rd, 1999, Owen Hart, as the Blue Blazer, was scheduled
to wrestle against Godfather for the Intercontinental Title. Promos were shown with Owen,
as the Blue Blazer, talking about how the wrestling world needed a super hero. He was in
fine form portraying this persona, telling the kids to take their vitamins and drink their
milk and closed it with his trademark, 'WHOOOO!'
Suddenly the footage cut to Jim Ross as he spoke candidly to us,
the viewing audience, and informs us that something very serious has occurred. There had
been an accident and Owen Hart had been hurt.
Obviously, in the soap opera/ comic book world of professional
wrestling, many questioned whether this was part of the script. We questioned it as well
but the seriousness of JR's face plus the fact that Jerry Lawler wasn't at his announcer's
position led us to the horrible idea that indeed, this was not an angle. The fact that the
cameras didn't film the medics tending to Owen also sealed the fact.
About fifteen minutes had passed and Jerry Lawler had returned to
the announcer's table. JR reaffirmed that this was not part of the storyline and Lawler
could only reply by saying, 'No... it doesn't look good.'
The show did continue after Owen was taken out of the ring. The
audience is heard clapping, thinking that he would just go to the hospital to be tended to
and to eventually heal.
The next match was to be Jarrett with Debra vs. Val Venis with
Nicole Bass. But in Jarrett and Debra's pre-interview, Debra's contorted expression of
grief was all too real. It wasn't just a bad fall from the ring to the ground, it wasn't a
wrestler suffering a wrestling move gone wrong. Owen had fallen approximately 50 feet from
the ceiling, his head hitting a turnbuckle. He was to be lowered from the ceiling via
cable but he fell, perhaps lost his footing and accidentally pulled the release chord.
The show continued however and it wasn't revealed what his
condition was. Almost one hour later, JR stated again that Owen Hart had fallen from the
ceiling and had been taken to the hospital. But JR had the unfortunate responsibility of
telling us, 'Owen Hart has died.' We were all in shock. We were perhaps expecting to hear
that he would be recovering, that he's alright and he'll take a long time to fully heal,
that perhaps his career as a wrestler may end but the finality of death was not what we
were expecting to hear.
This was a huge smack of reality hitting us in the face, in this
wrestling world of storylines and fantasy. We remained in shock for the rest of the show.
We were basically silent, in disbelief.
Next day, on Raw, they dedicated their 2 hour show to Owen Hart.
I knew I would shed tears but I didn't know to what extent. Since the wrestlers dropped
their characters for the evening, I would do the same for this Raw report as we dedicate
this to Owen Hart.
|All the wrestlers filled the ramp. Mankind, HHH, Chyna,
Godfather, the McMahon family, Patterson, Brisco, Al Snow, Mosh, Terri Runnels,
Jacqueline, Goldust, Blue Meanie, Earl Hebner, Taka Michinoku, Sho Funaki, Mable, Hardy
Boys, Dok Hendrix, Billy Gunn, Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown, Ivory, Tori, Road Dogg, Rock, Paul
Bearer, Steve Blackman, Christian, Edge, Scott Taylor, Farooq, Bradshaw, Austin, Wight and
many others. This showed the obvious impact that the often under-rated wrestler, Owen
Hart, had in the world of professional wrestling.
There was a ten bell salute and I couldn't help but to be annoyed
at some of the audience members, waving to the camera and not being able to share in a
moment of silence for someone who had dedicated his life to entertaining them.
||I do not claim to be a big Owen Hart fan and I did not have the
privilege of knowing him but I thank the WWF for showing the world what a great person he
was to the people who knew him. In between the no-angles-no-storyline matches, wrestlers
shared their memories of Owen with the fans. All revealed what a prankster he was, how he
loved to rib others and was even willing to rib himself in order to get a laugh. This
makes us wonder if perhaps he would have appreciated Mad Phat and it's goofiness in
'ribbing' people and ourselves.
It's also a shame that it took this loss in order to find out
what a great individual he was, behind the cameras, to his friends and family.
It was noble of the wrestlers to drop their characters and cry in
front of the cameras. During one of Howard Stern's morning shows, one of his staff members
or a caller (this was during one of my many morning snooze sessions so I'm not sure) was
commenting about the show and stated how odd it was to see, 'a bunch of 7 foot guys
crying' and still questioned whether they were acting or not. Thankfully, Robin said
bluntly and intelligently, 'well, someone died...' Thank you, Robin.
Through the tributes, Mark Henry choked through a poem recital.
X-Pac's eye lids were swollen. Jarrett and HHH openly broke down. Others shared their fond
memories while holding back their grief but eventually succumbed to it. Debra still
couldn't believe that Owen is not with them.
||During the matches, the wrestlers dedicated their love, talents,
catch phrases, and their personas to Owen. Al Snow let out a couple of 'whooo's'. Test
succumbed to the Sharpshooter placed on him by Jarrett. Road Dogg said that the evening
wasn't about himself, it was about the King of Harts. Billy Gunn said if we weren't down
with Owen Hart, we could suck it. The Rock, amidst his catch phrases, stated he loves him
like no other. Mankind won his match and said, 'This is for you Owen, WHOOOOO!'
Others expressed their dedications through gestures. Ken Shamrock
tapped his chest and pointed upwards. Paul Wight tapped his black armband, laid a kiss on
his fingers and pointed up to the heavens. X-Pac looked solemn and Kane's body language
expressed his distraught. HHH thumped his fist to his chest, expressing that Owen will
always be in his heart as he was about to break down again.
Throughout, JR and Lawler held themselves together the best they
could and we thank them for still being able to provide some humor for all of us through
this difficult time. Some of the crassness wasn't evident that night but they still are
the best working duo that the entertainment field has to offer. They shared their own Owen
stories. JR remembered when he was in a pool, Owen had dived in and pulled his swimming
trunks down causing JR to have shrinkage.
|As the end of the show neared, JR and Lawler couldn't hold it in
any longer. JR stated that he hopes he could be as good a person as Owen so that he may
once again see him. I believe you will see him again, Jim. Lawler said that he knew if
Owen had one more day, he would wish to tell his family and friends how much he loves
them. They finally broke down at this point and so did I because this brought out our own
fears of mortality and of losing the ones we love. As Debra stated, we do take people for
granted. In this often selfish world, we tend to forget what's more important.
||Steve Austin closed it out by toasting a beer and laying one on
the mat for Owen as his image appeared on the Titantron. It was a perfect closure, it was
a great tribute. As Lawler stated, this was a celebration of Owen's life. This was the
final goodbye and we will miss Owen Hart.
On the day of this Raw, the skies were dark here in New York
City. The weather was foul, overcast and it looked about ready to thunder. But the next
day, the sun came out and things seemed serene. I'd like to think that it symbolized that
our mourning had passed, we had our dark day, we showed how much he affected our lives by
crying, but the sun does come out again. Life continues on again.
|As I looked through some of my old reports, I found that Owen,
though not always involved in the main storylines, was a prominent part of the shows. We
did rib him and goof on him but that obviously shows that Owen did his job as an
entertainer. Whether people boo'd him or cheered him, the fact was he got a reaction. That
is, of course the fun in wrestling. If it enables you to release whatever emotions you've
been harnessing for the past month or so, it has touched your life. Owen was a huge staple
in touching our lives.
We recollect on some classic Owen moments.
After his injuring of Dan Severn via the dreaded
was ridden with guilt and decided to 'retire'. During Judgment Day, Steve Austin was
roaming the back stage area searching for Vince. Steve opened a door to find Owen Hart on
the phone, who was supposed to be retired, and the first words out of Owen's mouth was,
'I'M RETIRED!!' It was a perfect delivery that left us cackling.
Of course this was when the Blue Blazer started making more of
his appearances and there was 'speculation' as to the identity of the Blue Blazer. On a
Raw episode, the mask was finally pulled off him to indeed reveal Owen's classic and
surprised expression. This is an excerpt from the Raw review of December 14, 1998:
|Goldust was about to give Blue his Shattered Dream but Jeff
Jarrett runs in, followed by Blackman. As Goldust is taking care of Jarrett on the
outside, Blackman pulls the mask off Blue Blazer to reveal
OWEN!! AW, we didn't
KNOW!! Judging by the surprised look on Owen's face, he didn't know he was the Blue Blazer
One of the funniest and silliest Owen moments I can remember
was at the Slammy's, Owen rushed up just before the winner was announced, and claimed the
award for himself, even though it was obvious that it was not supposed to be for him.
Later, Owen pulled a prank on Vader, by shoving a waiter with a tray full of water
glasses on him, only to run away like the dickens. Vader, I'm afraid, just couldn't
keep up with Owen. ...B.C.
We thank you again, Owen, for giving us the joy of watching you
In the aftermath of the tragedy, many people questioned the WWF's
decision to continue on with the show, if this accident was a result of ratings wars, why
Debra showed her bra that evening, why didn't Chyna cry, why Undertaker didn't do a
tribute, why wasn't Sable there, why Austin just drank beer... why why why. First of all,
people have different ways of mourning. Second of all, let's keep in mind that these
wrestlers are united as a family, a CLOSE family that we have no part in. Watching their
on-screen personas every week doesn't give us the right to judge them. Watching them on
screen enables us to appreciate what they do for us in the name of entertainment. It was
part of Debra's CHARACTER to remove her top, this is how she entertains the fans. This is
what she dedicated to Owen, her ability to entertain. If she was to do this at the
funeral, then it would be wrong. Though Chyna didn't cry, what she said was heartfelt and
loving. I know it's still difficult to distinguish between the wrestlers' true personas
and characters but next time, just step back and think a little harder.
The Owen Hart accident was what it was.. an accident. Sometimes
the promoters are questionable and how much they may push these performers to strive for
perfection, for them to perform while they're hurting but what happened with Owen Hart was
an unfortunate accident. It would be equivalent to Owen, or any of the other superstars,
walking out of that arena and dieing from a car accident. It was an accident. Accidents
happen on movie sets as well, for example Brandon Lee. Or if a police officer, on duty,
died from a car accident because of an oil slick, it wasn't the fault of his profession.
If we are to preach that it's the fault of the WWF or the fault
of whoever decided he should come flying into the ring, then we would all be afraid to do
anything in our daily lives. No one should get in a car or a plane then. No one should get
into a subway. We shouldn't walk down that specific street. The fact is, people die. These
wrestlers are human beings. They will cease to exist one day. WE will cease to exist one
day, but it doesn't mean that we shouldn't LIVE. This was a tragedy in that he was taken
away from his family so abruptly and he had so much more to give.
The 'descending' from the ceiling stunt has been done many times
before by the likes of Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Sting, the Brood and even the Blue
Blazer. It was an unfortunate accident.
Some debate that the WWF should have ended the show right then
and there. Keep in mind that shock was the huge factor after the incident. The shock we
felt was NOT in close proximity to what they must have felt. We cannot tell if Vince
perhaps regretted his decision, we can't tell anything because we weren't there. None of
us were there at that time of their intense emotions and therefore we have no right to
judge them. It is also easy for anyone to think of the rational choices when they're not
in the thick of the moment. I do understand their decision. They thought that this is what
Owen would have wanted and they knew Owen.
|We at Mad Phat Wrestling have the utmost respect for the players
and are too aware of the efforts they put forth just to entertain us. It seems that the
promoters push them too hard but it could also be the wrestlers' love for this field and
perhaps this is what makes them continue on in spite of their injuries. We have seen many
still wrestle with knee injuries, fractures or even concussions. And we ask ourselves, why
don't they stop? This shows their dedication, their strength, their love for what they do
in order to entertain us savages.
We do perpetually say that we're not worthy for these men and
women to take the risks they do in the ring. I wince when I see Mankind take too many
chair shots or when Jerry Lynn took that nasty fall at Hardcore Heaven and suffered a
concussion. But something within them enables them to continue. And we ask, why? Perhaps
wrestlers are 'conditioned' or it is somehow instilled in their minds that the 'show must
go on', as Mankind has quoted. Sometimes these injuries are career ending, for example, in
the case of Sean Waltman. But in spite of his neck injuries, he returned to wrestle and
perform for us. Again, we ask why. It shows how much they love what they do. We cannot
tell them to NOT wrestle anymore, to NOT do a specific move. They are doing what they love
and we as human beings, tend to be insatiable. There may be a solution, there may not but
for now, we cannot do anything else but continue to echo our appreciation. We thank you
ALL for giving so much to us, the fans.
||And through the eye awakening words of Lawler, I take this final
moment to tell our Mad Phatties, our own families, thank you for being friends, take care
of yourselves and enjoy this life. Thank you, all.
I would like to take this time to make some points,
but all have been so eloquently covered already by Chokee. Please, know that we at
Mad Phat appreciate every one of you, and we want you to remain well and enjoy life to the
best of your ability. ...B.C.