In all the hoopla of life, I totally forgot that today marks the 13th anniversary of one of the most tragic moments (and there have been many) in the history of the pro wrestling business, the death of Owen Hart. For those unfamiliar with wrestling or who are too young to remember, Owen died on a live WWE pay-per-view event in Kansas City on May 23, 1999.
The following words were written earlier today by his brother and WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart: “A most solemn day. It’s so hard not to feel the blood thicken in my heart at the memory of Owen’s passing today. I miss you every day, brother.”
Owen was one of the most talented wrestlers EVER in the history of pro wrestling. From his beginnings in Calgary to his stints in Japan and WWE, Owen was a one of the best workers the sport produced. He was on par with contemporaries like Bret, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Jushin Liger, Ultimo Dragon, Hiroshi Hase, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero when it came to the ability to get a quality match out of any opponent he faced. Dave Metlzer, founder and editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the longest running and most authoritative source of wrestling information on the planet, once remarked Owen was right up there with anyone in history with how quickly he took to wrestling and was as good as any rookie of the last 35 years. That is serious praise indeed.
Though Owen’s remarkable career is often overshadowed by its tragic ending, his legacy is still intact and alive amongst today’s top performers. I’m sure current top performers such as C.M. Punk, Christian, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler would all agree that Owen was one of their inspirations in regards to how they perform in the ring.
I’m challenging every fan reading this to watch at least one match of his this week (particularly his Japanese matches or his classics against Bret). You owe it to yourself to see what an amazing talent he was.