By Chokee Slam

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. oh002.jpg (13458 bytes)

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. oh001.jpg (18495 bytes)

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.

oh003.jpg (15814 bytes) 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.

oh004.jpg (19259 bytes) 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. oh005.jpg (15376 bytes)
oh009.jpg (16752 bytes) 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. oh006.jpg (11668 bytes)

We recollect on some classic Owen moments.

After his injuring of Dan Severn via the dreaded piledriver, Owen 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 either.

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 perform.

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. oh008.jpg (15032 bytes)

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.

oh007.jpg (12993 bytes) 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.

Email Chokee Slam** or Bostin Crab**
**Please note that any email (hate mail or otherwise) will become the property of
Mad Phat Wrestling, and may be reprinted on this site at any time in the future.