Owen Hart has been dead for thirteen years now. As we all know, he died falling from the ceiling of the Kemper Arena in Kansas City during the Over the Edge pay-per-view before he was scheduled to wrestle the Godfather. To this day, it remains the most senseless and tragic death in a litany of early pro wrestling fatalities that include car crashes, overdoses and suicides. None who died were as revered within the industry as Hart, and none who died were as blameless in their demises as he was.
That being said, I can also see where she is coming from. She lost her husband and her children lost their father because someone in the then-WWF in 1999 thought it was a good idea to have a wrestler rappel down from the ceiling into the ring. Stunts go wrong all the time, but very rarely do they result in death. Even with that being the case, the spectacle of wrestling is dangerous enough without the risk of catastrophic failure. Why add to the danger with something that really was superfluous?
The way that Martha sees it is that no matter what WWE does to honor her late husband, they’ll be making money off it. That is, they’ll be profiting over her loss, and honestly, I’m not sure how anyone could see how that’s at least a little screwed up. The sad thing is that some fans are basically going past the point of disagreement and calling this woman hurtful names, ones that are a bit too extreme to post on a blog like this. I hope those people who disparage her character never have to suffer a loss like hers, because if that’s what it takes for someone to feel empathy, then I really have lost even more faith in humanity than I already have.
That being said, I do think that Hart should be allowed to be honored by his peers. Therefore, I think that a compromise should be made in this arena. However, it has to be on WWE to make the effort to reach out to Martha Hart. What they need to do is reach out to her, make an agreement that if they do honor Owen Hart that they’ll donate any revenue from it to a charity of her choosing and that any depiction of him would not be exploitative. That is to say there would be no use of his name to further an angle in the same way that Randy Orton would tell Rey Mysterio that Eddie Guerrero was in hell in the aftermath of that passing.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.