Childhood & Early Life
Owen Hart was born on May 7, 1966 in Alberta, Canada to the Hart wrestling family. His father Stu Hart was a former wrestler and his mother Helen Hart was a house maker. The Hart family was big and Owen grew up with 11 siblings and a few of his brothers went on to make career in wrestling.
The book by Owen’s wife titled ‘Broken Harts’ reveals that Owen wasn’t really keen on making a career in wrestling initially but bent on his father’s wishes and all through the middle and high school, he trained hard to make a career in professional wrestling. His father Stu gave him tips and tricks of succeeding in the ring, this kept Owen going and by the time he was out of High school, he had already transformed into a beast of a wrestler.
Before going for wrestling, Owen tried his hands on several other jobs, but nothing suited him and he gradually accepted his fate and joined Stampede wrestling, which was run by his father.
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Owen Hart started with Stampede, which was failing quickly and didn’t get as much respect from the wrestling community as it did before. Owen and other Hart family members tried their best to renew it, but nothing was working. Owen took it as a practice ground and honed his skills in the ring, eventually winning International tag team titles. His other titles in the first couple of years were the British Commonwealth Mid-heavyweight Title and the North American Heavyweight championship title.
His high flying fighting style and the reliance on technique more than the strength worked well for Owen at the New Japan Pro wrestling in 1987. He ended up defeating big names there and in May 1988, became the first non-Japanese wrestler to get his hands on the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
In the summer of 1988, Hart grabbed WWF’s attention and got introduced in the ring with moniker the Blue Blazer. This was done by WWF to hide his identity as the younger brother of Kevin Hart (his brother and a prolific wrestler by then).
In his early appearances at WWF, Hart went on to perform good enough, but gradually, his style got in the eyes of his opponents, and he faced several defeats. For the next couple of years or so, Owen divided his time between Japan and the USA for different promotions and eventually in October 1991, WWF re-signed him. He was reintroduced with his real name this time without his mask and entered the ring with new set of skills and techniques, earning himself the name ‘The Rocket’.
His big victory came at Wrestlemania 8 in 1992 when he defeated Skinner and then he went on to form a team with Koko B. Ware. The alliance named High Energy was quickly dismantled following a defeat at the hands of ‘The Headshrinkers’ which compelled Hart to embark on his individual career.
At Survivor Series in 1993, Bret Hart assembled a team of brothers, including Owen, against Shawn Michaels and his team of ‘Knights’. However, they lost when Owen accidentally collided with Bret during the match which led to a small time feud between the two brothers.
Soon, they patched up and formed a tag team and in a title match against ‘The Quebecers’ in 1994 Royal Rumble, the brothers again entered in a dispute and as a result of this another feud started. In the Wrestlemania 10 match against his brother, Owen pinned him down to secure a victory. Later in the same evening, Bret went on to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, which enraged Owen and several clashes between the two brothers followed, in form of both tag team matches and singles. At the 1994 SummerSlam, the brothers were face to face again in a steel cage match, which Bret won.
Owen lost the title in several close matches, and the feud between the brothers went uglier when Owen interfered in a title match between Bret and Diesel, which cost Bret his title at Royal Rumble 1995. The rivalry went on for some time, but Owen couldn’t manage to defeat his brother in the ring cleanly, and hence, after a final defeat in a one-on-one match, a few weeks after the Rumble, the brothers put their feud to halt.
At Wrestlemania 11, Owen teamed up with Yokozuna for the Tag team championship match and defeated Shawn Michaels and Diesel for the title victory, a title which they held for half a year after that, before losing it to the same team of Shawn and Diesel. He fought through 1996, in mostly tag team matches and started a rivalry with his brother in law Davey Boy Smith, which lasted on and off for an entire year, before settling down with formation of the new Hart Foundation and Owen quickly won the Intercontinental Championship in the beginning of 1997. Hart lost the title to Stone Cold Steve Austin in August 1997.
His feud with DX, the team of Shawn Michaels and Triple H, took a considerable chunk of his time, and after getting interfered in a match against Shawn Michaels, Owen challenged Triple H for the European Championship and won it. He teamed up with Jeff Jarrett in 1998 and the two went on to participate in several tag team matches together. The team went on fighting side by side before an accident took Owen’s life in May 1999.
During an Over the Edge pay per view match on 23rd May 1999, where Owen Hart was set to fight ‘The Godfather’ for a title match for the Intercontinental Championship, he was supposed to make a superhero entry into the ring, in resonance with his new ‘superhero persona’, to be exhibited to his fans. The move was under-practiced and Hart fell into the ring followed by severe injury to his neck. He was rushed to a Kansas City hospital where many attempts were made to revive him, but to no success. Owen Hart bid his farewell to the world on 23rd May 1999.
Owen Hart met Martha Joan Patterson during High School and they both dated for many years before getting married in July 1989. The couple had two children and Martha said in many interviews that he was a warm man, so much in love with his family and profession.
Owen was exhibited in WWF as a perpetual prankster and was known to irritate several of his opponents with his carefully designed elaborate pranks. Even in his interviews, he showed his eccentric persona and that was a big reason for his mammoth fan following.
In 2002, Owen’s widow Martha Hart wrote a biographical book on Owen Hart, titled ‘Broken Harts’, and expressed the pain of losing her loving husband. The book went to become a bestseller and also explored several unheard details of Owen’s life and career.