There’s a lot that has been said about The King Of Harts Owen Hart. A lot that has been thought about since his death. So many opinions on how things have been handled, not just by Vince McMahon and the WWE, but by the Hart Family, by the fans and by the wrestling world itself. Could things have been done differently? Absolutely. If Owen Hart had refused to take part in the stunt that would end his life, it would be safe to say that he would still be here today.
But his death is not what I’m here to discuss today. It’s been an opinion of this writer that ever since the tragic loss of Owen, Bret and family have been extremely bitter toward professional wrestling. His older brother Bret’s storied career is almost overshadowed by the events that occurred that night in Kansas City. The Kemper Arena and Over The Edge are forever etched into the brain of every wrestling fan and Owen’s last promo could pretty much be said word for word by anyone watching that night.
The happenings since then have been nothing short of what could be expected. Martha, Owen’s widow, has done everything in her power to ensure that the memory of her husband is kept within the immediate family. Hart Family members have been at odds, most notably with Martha and Bret being essentially not on speaking terms unless it is to tarnish each other’s reputations with the media.
Truthfully. who can blame them. The result was senseless and needless and it caused years of bitterness and years of resentment for all parties involved. Settlement’s were reached, but let’s be honest here, what amount of money can replace a life? The answer is simple. None.
I can’t begin to tell you how Martha and her family feel and to be honest, I wouldn’t hazard a guess. I CAN tell you however that up until recently the disappointment in myself at how the entire situation has been handled was high. I felt that through the hurt and the pain that Martha was depriving his many fans of having the opportunity to see him be honored as he should be. But then I thought, how selfish of me to feel this way. Owen is gone, and who was I, who AM I to tell the Harts, especially Martha and her children how to grieve? Who am I to tell them how to handle the situation. Everyone can tell you the story of Owen’s last day. If they are a wrestling fan, they can most likely tell you where they were, and even what they were doing, if they were not watching the pay per view at the time.
Has Martha handled the situation the right way? I can’t say. All I can do is say what I feel. For awhile I was upset and felt deprived because I felt that Owen’s career should be celebrated. That his matches should be watched and that fans should be gifted with a collection of his matches. Not just his matches in WWE, but in Japan, in Stampede Wrestling and beyond. But we all know that thus far, that is not to be.
No one has really looked at it from the view of Owen’s family. With the exception of the Dark Side of ring episode, no one has really touched on it. As far as I know, Martha has not had any interest in speaking to the press or going back to speak about that difficult day, up until the producers of that program were able to have her open up about it. Keeping in mind that she probably had not spoken about it in any great detail, nor wanted to speak about it for quite some time.
In recent weeks, Martha has made the decision it seems to allow her husband’s memory to come to the forefront.
Perhaps its due to her children being much older, perhaps they want to see and truly understand the depth of their father’s fans love. I myself don’t know the family personally so I can only hazard a guess as to why now she has opened up to the possibility of allowing fans back in. She has just recently released a line of Owen Hart shirts and hoodies, and upon seeing them, it is something that I would not only like, but I would be proud to wear one.
You can find countless matches and pieces of merchandise of Bret’s , but very, very few pieces of Owen. So the fact that she has licensed this limited amount of official T-Shirts, I think is amazing.
This isn’t being done for the WWE, and I don’t even think it’s being done because of anything to do with professional wrestling. I think it has to do with giving something back to the fans.
The King of Harts was known to be a great practical joker during his time in the squared circle, and back in the locker room. He was also known to be a very kind and generous human being. I was fortunate enough to get to see Owen in action at least three times in my life, and those memories are ones that I will hold dear to my heart.
Martha Hart, has also done something that I never thought she would do and that is that she has earned my respect. Truth be told, it was selfishness that kept me from understanding her side of things. My thought was that after Owen died, she took away everything about him that had anything to do with professional wrestling and in doing so took it away from the world, and most of all his fans. This resulted in my treating Martha with disdain. It lead me to develop a dislike for her after everything that I heard about her in the press.
I failed to be understanding. I failed to realize that a wife had lost a husband, children had lost a father. Where does wrestling fall into that equation during that time? It doesn’t. But at 14, I did not understand that. Nor did I want to.
The episode that aired on Dark Side of the Ring shed so much more light on what happened, how it happened and the events leading up to that fateful evening. They did all this in a tasteful and respectful way. A way that allowed for Mrs. Hart and her family to really open up and talk about things in an environment that I believe they felt comfortable in. So kudos to the producers for creating that type of atmosphere for them.
There’s no doubt about the fact that Martha has had it rough. From losing her husband, to having to deal with the press, to lawsuits, to issues with the WWE, to more lawsuits all the way down to family turning against her. Imagine if you will how hard that must be.
The fact that she has spearheaded the Owen Hart Foundation is an amazing thing. In fact, I believe a set of the shirts are directly linked to the OHF, and that part of the proceeds or all of the proceeds go toward these shirts. Should you wish to look at purchasing one, you can do so here. https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/4503457-owen-hart
What are your thoughts on this topic? Or more specifically, what are your thoughts on looking at things from Martha’s point of view? Her kids point? Are you like I was in that you are of the notion that Martha is being selfish by keeping her husband’s body of work away from fans and for herself? Or do you feel that she is well within her right to handle things the way that she has? Or, further still, are you indifferent?
We’ll call this entry, thought provoking, but short and sweet. Please feel free to email or leave a comment. I would love to know your thoughts.
Look out next week as I delve into the differences between this generations’ crop of superstars, vs those of the past. If you go back and you look at 80s wrestling, and even further back, it seemed that everyone had a spot. Everyone knew their position on the card… Moreso, they knew how to GET THEMSELVES OVER… This, plus more on the next epic piece, straight From The Magnificent Mind.