On what would have been Owen Hart’s 47th Birthday, I decided to reflect back on the tribute show in Owen’s memory.
Raw Is War 5-24-99: Owen Hart was killed in a tragic accident the night before when his entrance from the top of the arena went horribly wrong. As a result, WWE never released the Over the Edge ppv event on VHS or DVD, and the name of the show has since been discontinued.
Raw opens with the superstars gathered on the ramp and stage with Vince, Stephanie, and Linda McMahon standing in front of the pack. Howard Finkel asks everyone for a moment of silence while they toll the bell ten times as they pay respect to the memory of Owen Hart. The crowd cheers like crazy. I see Terry Taylor and Tom Prichard at the top of the stage. They give a video tribute for Owen, as narrated by Vince McMahon. Owen was only thirty-four years old. Vince says their hearts go out to Owen’s family along with their deepest sympathies. Owen’s picture is up on the tron with 1965-1999 underneath it.
JR welcomes us to one of the most unique broadcasts in the genre of sports entertainment. He says the show is a tribute to Owen Hart with ten unique matchups, along with the candid interviews of the WWF Superstars.
Mick Foley talks first. Foley says Owen was his son Dewey’s favorite wrestler. Dewey was proud to look like Owen when he got a crew cut. He says his kids would break out into nugget chants at random times, referring to Owen. Foley says he was proud that his son wanted to look like Owen. He says Owen was the nicest, funniest person that he’s ever met. He says he loved his family and they should know that he talked about them warmly with love and affection. Foley says their is a special place in heaven for Owen Hart and that everybody loved him.
Bradshaw talks about Owen saving money for his wife and kids, spending less in a month than most guys spent in a few days. He says he hopes Owen’s kids know what a great father they had. He says he will miss him a lot.
Jeff Jarrett is out with Debra for a match. Jarrett says for the record, Owen never was a nugget. His opponent is Test. Jarrett hits the facebuster on Test as he gets distracted by Debra and Jarrett then applies the Sharpshooter on Test in memory of Owen. Test taps out.
Mark Henry does a poem and reads from a piece of paper about Owen. He says he couldn’t talk or see when Owen died. He says his heart is heavy and this is why, you get the burn when you cry. Henry struggles to get through the entire peace. It’s very emotional.
Droz talks about knowing Owen for a year and a half. He says Owen is the one person who could liven up a locker room when things weren’t going right. He says he would entertain anybody, even at his own expense. Droz says he was one of the best guys around. Droz says he loved being in the ring and he feels for his family and wife. He hopes they can look back and remember what a great person he was and never forget it.
X-pac was out next to team with Kane to defend their tag titles against the brood. X-pac was probably at the height of his popularity during this time period. The brood was using the freebird rule and deciding on the spot which two of the three would compete in the match. I loved the brood’s theme music. It was Gangrel and Edge teaming up on this night with Christian at ringside. Kane and X-pac work a great match and retain their titles after Kane drops X-pac on top of Christian(who wasn’t even in the match) for the three count.
Chyna talks about Owen making people cry when all he wanted to do was make people laugh. She says he gave them happiness and a lot of good memories. Chyna says they loved him as friends and he meant a lot to them. Triple H can barely hold his composure. He says in the business where you often see the worst of everything, you see the worst of everybody’s personalities. He says they’re like a family and they see the best and worst of one another. He says Owen was always at his best and always up. He says he was never a piece of trash and that he was always there for everybody, to make them laugh or to make you mad or to rib you so bad that you wanted to choke him. He said Owen was the only guy who had the balls enough to school boy and backslide him and not let him out of it during a live pay per view. He says Owen loved his family and talked about them all the time. He says Owen lived for his kids and his wife. He says Owen will always have a place in his heart and he will always be his friend. He tells him he loves him and he’ll never forget him.
Dave Hebner says he’s known Owen for ten years. He says Owen was that special person that could always make you laugh and smile and have a good day. He says Owen cared for everybody and autographed pictures for the kids and met with the fans a lot. He says Owen would tie his shoes together at random times and that they really lost a great person. He says Owen will always be in his heart.
Michael Hayes is out next with the Hardy Boyz. They take on Funaki and Taka Michinoku. The Hardys win this one in a quick match.
Bruce Prichard talks about Owen being a practical joker and a great performer in the ring. He says he’ll always remember Owen being a great friend and that he will miss him very much.
Dustin Runnels talks about Owen loving his family and being a real family man. He talks about Owen being a prankster. He tells a story about the guys being at Harley Race’s house and Owen dumping a bottle of hotsauce into his giant homemade chili. He says Harley got so mad that he got a stun gun out and chased Owen around with it. He says everybody will miss Owen.
Ken Shamrock goes one on one with Hardcore Holly. They wrestle for a few minutes and Shamrock wins the match with the ankle lock.
Ron Simmons talks about family life and how the WWE is one big family. Simmons says it hurts a lot and that everyone will miss him a lot.
Test talks about doing two shows in Chicago a few months prior. He says the first show was cancelled and talks about being in the hotel and getting a prank call from Owen involving who had the authority to cancel the second show. Test thanks Owen for all the memories and says God bless him.
Billy Gunn comes out for his match with Mankind. Before the match, he says if you’re not down with Owen, he’s got two words for ya…the crowd explodes with “suck it.” JR tells a story about Owen stealing his hat at three television tapings in a row just before they went on the air. King says this should be a celebration of Owen’s life. Mankind wins the match by countout when he applies the mandible claw with Mr. Socko to Gunn on the apron so he can’t get back in the ring. Mankind says woooooo and says that one was for Owen.
Jeff Jarrett talks about having very few real friends in this business. He says Owen was one of those friends. He’s crying pretty hard through this. He talks about Owen’s personality and the pranks and how he saw Owen on the road more than his wife and his family. He says he looks at it selfishly because he doesn’t have his buddy on the road anymore. He says when you think about Owen’s life, he thinks about integrity because Owen was real and wasn’t selfish or cold and unrealistic. He says Owen was a man’s man and that his wife and kids were three of the luckiest people in the world because he loved them more than anything in the world. He says Owen did what he did to provide for them and he did it with integrity. He says integrity in this business is few and far between. He says the fans got to see a glimpse of Owen, but seeing him all the time on the road Owen was one of the guys who made things entertaining and fun. He says Owen and gets choked up. He says he will do his best to let Owen’s kids know what a great man he was.
Edge says Owen was a leader of their little group called the Canadian Mafia. He says Owen helped him on the road with travel and with matches. He says he smiles when he thinks of Owen. He says he wrestled Owen in his last match, which was in Chicago. He says Owen came out and joked around during that last match and had everybody laughing. He says he got the opportunities to wrestle Owen all over the world. He says they’re going to miss him.
D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry come to the ring with Ivory for a tag team match. They’re facing the Acolytes. Bradshaw accidentally boots Farooq in the face and D’lo rolls up Bradshaw for the win.
Pat Patterson says Owen was very special and was one of the best performers in the business. He says Owen outside of the ring was a marvelous person and a pleasure to be with. He says Owen will be missed by people all over the world. He says he never met anyone who disliked Owen. He thanks Owen for being the person he really was and then gets choked up.
Hardcore Holly says he will always remember Owen. He says no matter what kind of mood you were in, he always made you laugh. He says he was a big ribber. He says he would even rib himself to get somebody laugh. He says three years ago in Mobile, Holly’s hometown, Owen volunteered to put Holly over in the middle of the ring. He says Owen had no enemies and he was the kind of person you could be around all the time. He says the jokes were aggravating sometimes, but he always made you laugh. He says Owen is not forgotten and will always be remembered.
Road Dogg cuts his usual promo to the ring but instead of introducting himself, he says tonight is about Owen. He goes one on one with the Godfather. He brings the Hos to the ring and does the usual pimpin ain’t easy. JR tells another story about Owen chasing him around a swimming pool and pulling his swim trunks down on the shallow end of the pool. Godfather stops before the match starts and offers to go party with Road Dogg. Road Dogg says let’s go burn one and tell some Owen stories. They all leave the ring together.
Paul Bearer says Owen will not grow old like most will. He does a poem and says goodbye old buddy.
Xpac says he thinks everyone will agree that Owen is one of the funniest guys to ever walk the face of the earth. He says Owen is one of the best ever in the ring and one of his favorites to work with. He says he walked into the arena today and everybody’s crying and it’s like a nightmare and can’t believe he’s gone. He says he’s going to miss him. He says he wants to say a prayer for his wife and his two children. Xpac says Owen is one of the best guys he’s met in his entire life and he’s going to miss him.
Al Snow goes one on one with Triple H. Snow misses a moonsault and Triple H nails the pedigree for the victory. Triple H points at the camera and says Owen and then hits his chest.
Road Dogg says he just got to know Owen well the past six months. Road Dogg gets really upset and says Owen was a good man and did the best for his family. Road Dogg says Owen is in a better place and he will be missed and he’s praying for his family.
Gerald Brisco says he had a lot of respect for Owen. He says he could relate to Owen because they were younger brother’s to huge superstars. Gerald says he knows about the drive that Owen had to perform the best he possibly could. He says Owen succeeded every night that he went out to perform for an audience. He says he will always remember Owen as someone who never cut corners and someone you could always share a laugh with. He says Owen had one thing in mind and that was to go out and give the audience a show. He thanks Owen for the memories.
Big Show goes one on one with Goldust, who has Blue Meanie in his corner. It becomes a handicap match and Show chokeslams and pins both of them.
Debra says she wants his kids to see this tribute when they grow up. She says she spent a lot of time with Owen and the world has lost a really great person. She says Owen would always make her laugh no matter what sort of day she was having. He says Owen was always joking around with her. She talks about having autograph sessions scheduled together this week and how life is precious. She says not to talk people for granted and that Owen has touched her life and the time they spent together she will definitely miss him. She loves him as a friend and can’t believe he’s gone and he’s not with them anymore. She says it’s going to be hard to walk out with Jeff and have him not be with them anymore. She says she wants his kids and family to know that he was a great guy and she felt honored to work with him all this time. She says Owen will always be in his memories.
Shane McMahon tells a story about Bret and Shane at a hotel bar when Owen went upstairs to get some sleep. He says they pranked him and tackled him to wake him up. He says the next day Bret’s boots were missing and his stuff ended up in a shower. He says the Hart/McMahon families go back many years and he gets choked up and says Owen will be truly missed.
Val Venis comes out and says everyone here tonight is here to celebrate Owen. The Rock is his opponent and cuts a promo. He says Owen, it’s with great pride that he can come here tonight and entertain him. He says he knows Owen wants him to kick Val’s roody poo candy ass. He says this is Owen’s night, and damnit he loved him like no other. He says it’s his pleasure to dedicate the people’s elbow to him tonight. He beats Val with the people’s elbow.
Jim Ross gets choked up and says he hopes he can be as good a man as Owen so that he can see him again someday.
Jerry Lawler says he went to the ring and held Owen after he fell and he realized that if Owen could have one more moment, he would’ve told his wife and kids he loved them. Lawler says he realized that the one thing that sticks out to him is that you should never leave home without telling the people you love how you feel about them, He cries as he says it.
Stone Cold comes to the ring in jeans and camo shirt. He opens two beers, claps them together and points it at the tron with Owen’s picture. He drinks one beer, and sets the other one down. The show goes off the air with the camera pointed at Owen’s picture. One last toast for Owen.
It’s impossible for me to watch this show without getting emotional, as it is for most anybody. I loved Owen Hart as a performer, and to think that it’s been 13 years this month since he passed is just astonishing. I can’t even begin to speculate what Owen could have accomplished in those thirteen years if he had been around. I can’t imagine what he would have done for this younger generation of stars as it came into this business, and most importantly, I can’t imagine how much better the lives of his family would be if he was around today.
I grew up watching Owen feud with Bret. I loved his rivalry with Shawn Michaels, and his teaming with the Bulldog, and his rivalry with Triple H. I loved the “I’m not a nugget” storyline. I loved all of it, and I loved what Owen did in the ring. My favorite Owen memory is when he pinned Bret at WrestleMania X in the opening match. For all the memories and performances, thank you. Rest in peace, Owen.