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Editorial: My memories of Owen Hart


By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Wrestling
OWEN HART
Owen Hart: An honest professional
In more than one interview with SLAM! Wrestling, Owen Hart talked about getting out of wrestling and spending more time with his family, and going fishing more often.

Now, tragically, that will not happen.

I remember one interview that I did with him, over a year ago, when he asked to cut the phone call short so he could take one of his children to swimming lessons. That was the kind of man he was.

It took a couple of months, but we finally hooked up to complete the interview. He was always honest, and as revealing as he could be given the secretive nature of pro wrestling.

I met Owen face to face on a number of occasions. My favourite memory was a press conference at SkyDome, when the WWF announced the RAW on TSN deal. He had just gone live on Off The Record, and was joking with the press backstage. It was just after the whole 'Nugget' chants had begun, and we all had a good laugh as Owen walked by the McDonalds' Chicken McNugget concession signs.

He was on the plane with me from Toronto to Philadelphia for WrestleMania XV. He had had a horrendous trip from Calgary to Toronto, and had a four-hour lay-over waiting for the flight to Philly. Obviously bagged and drained, he had a baseball hat drawn over his face, and tried to sleep both in the waiting area and on the plane.

But those are personal memories.

Wrestling-wise, he was at his best in Stampede matched against the likes of Makhan Singh (Mike Shaw) and in Japan, where he flew and flew and flew.

The Blue Blazer character, when he first entered the WWF, annoyed the hell out of me. I couldn't believe how the WWF was wasting this talent.

He hit his stride when he turned heel, and feuded with his older brother Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. As far as I'm concerned, that was the pinnacle of both men's careers.

As a tag team wrestler, he was unsurpassed. He was believable tagging with the monstrous Yokozuna, his brother-in-laws Jim Neidhart or Davey Boy Smith, or most recently with friend Jeff Jarrett.

Without getting preachy, let's just hope that this accident will make ALL the wrestling promotions step back and reconsider what chaos they have wrought. In an effort to top themselves week after week, wrestlers are being asked to put their lives on the line.

No more, I say.

This will be a turning point, I hope. Back to a more traditional style of wrestling, something that the former amateur star Owen Hart always excelled at.

More on Owen Hart