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  June 1, 1999



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Harts contemplate legal action


By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling

MARTHA AND BRET Martha Hart and Bret (Hitman) Hart on the Larry King show.
Hours after Owen Hart's funeral, his widow Martha and his brother Bret (Hitman) Hart appeared on Larry King Live hinting at possible legal action against the World Wrestling Federation and its owner, Vince McMahon.

At the beginning of the brief seven minute interview, CNN talk show host Larry King asked Martha Hart what she meant when she said..."The day of reckoning will come" at her husband's funeral.

"I wish I could tell you but I've been advised by counsel not to so I have no comment on that," she answered via satellite from Calgary.

"It's a strong word though...'reckoning'...," replied King.

"It is," said Martha.

Bret agreed saying the entire Hart family wants answers as to what caused the accident which saw his brother fall nine storeys to his death during a failed stunt at last Sunday's WWF Over The Edge pay-per-view at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

Using a harness, Owen was supposed to repel from the ceiling to the ring as the resurrected Blue Blazer - mock superhero character before his Intercontinental Title match against The Godfather. Something went wrong and the 34-year-old father of two children plummeted hitting his head on a turnbuckle as he landed in the ring. Hart was pronounced dead on the way to hospital.

Kansas City police have said that Owen might have accidentally unhooked the harness while he was being lowered from the rafters of the arena.

Towards the end of the segment King asked again if any law suits were pending.

"Well, I don't think it's ever safe to assume anything," said Martha. "I think time will tell and we'll just have to wait and see." Bret echoed her statement.

"I think that what happened here was absolutely awful and should never have happened. Someone certainly should answer for it," commented the World Championship Wrestling superstar, who left the WWF under bad terms two years ago.

An outspoken critic of the WWF's more mature and raunchy storylines, The Hitman also took aim at federation owner Vince McMahon for reviving pro wrestling as acceptable "family viewing" in the eighties and then completely changing the product for the nineties. Hart termed the WWF's approach as "sleazy" insisting Owen didn't approve of McMahon's plans.

"I always thought that it was a shame because I think Vince McMahon almost built his company on the backs of little children," Hart told Larry King. "I wouldn't say he exploited it but he generated a lot of money off kids and their involvement in wrestling and then he took this sorta radical direction that he's taken. He still sells kids these toys but at the same time, the shows are totally unviewable for children."

Bret pointed to the response of WCW Vice-President Eric Bischoff as signifying the difference between the WWF and the Ted Turner-owned promotion he works for. According to Bret, Bischoff met him at the airport in Los Angeles when he learned the news of Owen's death last Sunday night. Bischoff chartered a plane at the company's expense to fly Bret back to Calgary so he could be with his family saying...'Take all the time you need and we'll be waiting for you when you come back'.

"It's situations like that which are sort of unheard of in wrestling," said the Hitman. "I do want Eric Bischoff to know and the people in WCW that I really do appreciate it and my family appreciates it."

Martha said Owen was against the WWF's drastic shift in attitude as he was a respected family man with reputable friends in the community.

"Unfortunately, people in the wrestling world, when they do these angles and different things, people tend to view them that way in real life so I didn't want to mesh the two. I always promoted him to keep that clean, wholesome, kind of image," she said also revealing that contrary to media reports, Owen didn't plan on quitting the WWF when the two years left on his contract expired but that he hoped to stay on by reducing his schedule.

Both Bret and Martha thanked the Kansas City police department and wrestling fans for their support.

"We've had such a tremendous outpouring that I know that my family and Martha in particular, will never forget how kind everyone has been to us through this tragedy," said The Hitman. "I think the important thing that I take pride in is knowing they (the fans) really recognized him (Owen) for what he was. He was a great human being."

WWF owner Vince McMahon is scheduled to be a guest on Larry King Live next Thursday.



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