Posts Tagged ‘WWE Over The Edge 1999’

Jeff Jarrett became one of Owen Hart’s closest friends before his tragic passing, but Jarrett didn’t realize how his friend’s death affected him so heavily until years later. Double J joined Steve Austin on the latest episode of “Broken Skull Sessions” to talk about the entirety of his pro wrestling journey up until this point. Halfway through the episode, Austin asked Jarrett about those moments surrounding that heartwrenching evening on May 23, 1999.

“I didn’t realize how bad it affected me until 19 years later when I got into the darkest part of my life and it all came out,” Jarrett said to Austin. “When it went down, cause I remember it like it was yesterday, he left his house on a Saturday. We were going to All-State Arena, Chicago live event, sold out … but he got there late.

“We were working against Edge & Christian. I’m dressed, Edge & Christian are dressed, we were supposed to go over the match. And Owen comes in and he hears it, and he says, ‘Jeff, come here.’ We get in a little bathroom stall, and he pulls out of his tights these red noses,” Jarrett said. “He wants to play a rib on these kids and throw this together, and me and him got red noses on.”

Jarrett also recalls Hart having fun with Bradshaw and Steve Blackman that Sunday morning as well. He then goes into detail about a WWE ticket person named Matt Miller, whom Hart was friends with, letting him know that it was time to go up in the rafters. Hart left and Jarrett knew he had about 15 minutes to get ready for his match.

Earlier than expected, Miller came back to tell Jarrett that Hart fell and Jarrett’s time to go out was now. Jarrett initially thought that Hart just hurt his knee, and recalls doing his promo and getting to the ring for his mixed tag match.

“They wheel him back, and Francios is on top of him and there’s a whole mass of people going, and I finish the promo and Owen goes that way with the whole medical scene and they tell us to go this way. We go, Steve, go down the aisle. It’s all a blur, but the one thing I’ll never forget, [I] get up in the ring like we do and feel the ropes, but the top rope’s really loose, and I walk over in that corner and there was the divot, and that’s when the whole kind of thing went into, ‘He didn’t just break his knee.’ Cause I thought Matt Miller said, ‘Hey man, he fell,’ and I immediately go, ‘Oh man, his knee’s screwed up, they had to stop the match.’ I’m not thinking the worst at all,” Jarrett said.

“I come through the curtain and Matt and the police officer were there, and I said, ‘I want to go now,’ and they knew it, and I told the cop, ‘Where are you going to be?’ He said, ‘I’m right there.’ I ran up for whatever reason and grabbed my bag and jumped, and went back into the cop car and we’re hauling ass down the road, and I’m knocking on the plexiglass, ‘Officer,’ and he didn’t want to answer. ‘Hey dude, can you help me? I know you obviously can’t say anything but what am I stepping into here?’ Steve, he looked over his shoulder and that’s when he goes, ‘It’s not good.’”

Jarrett talked about the sadness of going through all the events of the week following Hart’s passing, including “WWE Raw” the night after and Hart’s funeral. All that being said, there was never any time to process the intense emotion of it all.

“In a week’s time, we were kind of all back to work. ‘You okay, Jeff?’ ‘Oh, I’m fine.’ Like, a lot of us, it’s what we did. Well, 19 years later when I get into treatment and they sort of drill down on that, man, a flood of emotions came out. So it affected me in so many ways that I had no idea,” Jarrett stated.

“Knowing Owen and the kind of guy he was, and it affected me for a lot of years that I had no idea. I can’t even imagine. It’s one thing [to Austin], you’re closing the show. There was not a right or wrong decision. I would have hated to be in Vince’s shoes. To be put in those circumstances on so many levels, it was – a night we’d all like to forget.”

On the latest episode of the My World Podcast, Jeff Jarrett recalled the night that his great friend Owen Hart passed away live on a WWE pay-per-view, Over the Edge 1999. Jarrett spoke about Owen, who he was scheduled to follow that night, and described what it was like being rushed out to wrestle his match.

“I knew I was on after Owen,” Jarrett said. “I went down to Gorilla and came back and Owen was taking off with his garb and his outfit and all that and I went into the dressing room and I had boots and tights on but no shirt, no glasses. I could remember this kind of stuff like it was yesterday, Matt [Miller] running up the hall saying ‘Jeff, you’re up, you’re up.’ And I remember saying what, thinking he’s ribbing and he goes ‘No, you’re up.’ [I said] ‘Owen’s back? What are you talking about?’ He goes ‘No, no, no, Owen fell.’

“That convinced me that I’m up, and then I heard several screams. ‘Jeff, Jarrett!’ As I get down there, people in production are like ‘Hey, we’re going to do a promo,’ and I’m thinking do a promo? I can tell you if you’ve ever been to a car wreck or hospitals, the heaviness. I’ve processed this multiple times, but the heaviness of the room, the area. They said you have to do a promo and that’s when I kind of like, he didn’t fall and blow out a knee? This is a lot more than Owen just fell. I just couldn’t fathom, I didn’t have that immediate thought [that he had died], but nothing serious.”

Jarrett recalls seeing one of WWE’s trainers giving Owen chest compressions before he walked out for his match. He also talked about the trauma he experienced while walking to the ring and realizing that the boards under the ring were broken from Owens fall.

“Francois, I have a vivid memory, he was a trainer, chiropractor, there is a mass of people and it is a gurney and Francois is up on top and giving chest compressions,” Jarrett said. “He’s doing that and just the mass of people, to this day I’ve never watched any of this event back, but I vividly remember the feeling of ‘Oh’, and 3-2-1, the promo rolls. I finished it, they grabbed me and said ‘Go right to the ring.’ Walking down that ring and getting up in that ring and walking around like I do before matches and going to the place where Owen had fallen and feeling the ring. In treatment I was taught PTSD, I always thought that was for folks that went to war but being up in the ring and feeling that, that’s when the heaviness came over.

“Coming through the curtain and Matt [Miller] standing there, I said ‘Get me a car, now.’ Whatever came over me, I grabbed my bags and came down and Matt said over here and they had me a cop car. When I think back over it now and what was known and wasn’t known, how Matt took care of me and had the cop, they put me in the car and the car takes off fast. I immediately started bowing my head and just thinking, I asked the officer ‘What do you know?’ No answer. I banged on the window, ‘Sir, I know you probably can’t tell me a lot, can you please give me a heads up? We got to be getting close.’ And whatever I said, I can remember him looking over the corner of his shoulder and saying ‘It’s not good Jeff.’ And that’s when I basically was just like wow.”

Jarrett described what happened when he got to the hospital that night. He also explained what happened after he left the hospital and how he and Road Dogg were together in a room trying to process what had just transpired.

“Did I know he had passed? No,” Jarrett said. “We pulled in there, out walks a nurse, out walks another nurse and that’s when the news broke to me. I can remember them saying ‘Do you want to go in?’ And I immediately said no, Martha needs to be here and family. I just stood outside and that felt like an eternity and I just sort of sat out there and to this day I don’t recall who came and got me. I stood out there and sobbed and weeped and couldn’t really wrap my head around it, and then the doctor came out and sort of talked to me and that was a heavy heavy day.”

“We go back to the hotel, and I could remember Road Dogg sitting across from me on a twin bed with the phone. And him getting on the phone with my wife and him telling her ‘Yeah, he’s good, we’re good.’ You think about me and Brian James trying to console one another, what a train wreck that is to think about. We tried to process it but I’ll say we didn’t.”

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The final episode of Vice’s second season of Dark Side of the Ring aired last night, centred around the tragic accident which claimed the life of Owen Hart at 1999’s Over the Edge pay-per-view.

Hart, 34, fell to his death when his harness failed whilst being lowered to the ring as part of his entrance. He’d previously expressed his anxiety over the unnecessary stunt, and the rigger originally contacted to coordinate it, Joe Branam, refused to be involved.

Undeterred, WWE brought in Bobby Talbert, who hooked Owen into his harness with a quick-release clip that’d give way with a mere six pounds of pressure. It was this piece of equipment which ultimately led to Hart’s fall.

During the documentary, Owen’s widow Martha, who has retained artifacts of his passing used as evidence in the ensuring legal trial, showed the actual clip used on the night. She demonstrated how easily the piece of rigging, designed to unfurl sailing boat masts on load, could be unhooked. It’s patently clear to anyone just how irresponsible using such equipment to suspend a man in the rafters was.

“When I first saw the clip, I gasped,” said Martha. “I was so upset. It was just appalling.”

After Owen’s death was confirmed by the on-site medical team, WWE made the controversial decision to proceed with the PPV. The documentary also revealed the feed commentator Jim Ross received from producer Kevin Dunn shortly after Owen had been pronounced dead. The grim reality had yet to filter to the commentary desk, and Ross asked Dunn what the situation was.

He responded, “He’s dead. And you’re back in 10, 9…”

Seconds after learning about the death of his colleague and friend, Ross had to announce the news to the watching world. “That was the result of ten seconds of preparation,” recounts JR. “I didn’t know what to say.”

The event then continued, concluding with a man called The Undertaker raising the company’s top title.

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Martha Hart was recently a guest on Talk is Jericho where she talked in detail about her late husband Owen Hart, including opening up about him remaining with WWE after the infamous Montreal Screwjob.

“That was a really difficult time for Owen, because even though he didn’t share the same philosophy as Bret, as far as wrestling goes, he knew that was really crushing for Bret, what happened with Vince and everything,” Martha explained. “He felt bad for his brother, of course. But he was also beholding to a contract at that time.”

The Montreal Screwjob happened at Survivor Series on November 9, 1997 during the show’s main event, where Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Vince McMahon infamously ordered referee Earl Hebner to call for the bell, even though Hart had not tapped. Shawn won the title in 12:19 when Hart was led to believe he would be going over in the match. Bret was furious and felt betrayed.

“WWF, they just had introduced a few years before that, contracts, where you were locked in for 5 years. Owen was locked into his contract,” said Martha. “He requested he be let go to when everything happened with his brother. They said no. They weren’t going to let him go. The way the contract worked was that if you don’t work, you can’t work for somebody else. You don’t necessarily have to work, but then you aren’t making any money and you can’t work somewhere else. It was a very onerous contract where it only benefited the company, not the wrestler.

“Owen was really in a tough situation. He didn’t have a choice. You either stay here or go nowhere. It was emotionally difficult to see his brother so upset and betrayed, and yet have to stay and fulfill his commitment that he made to the company.”

Owen remained with WWE until he died at the company’s Over the Edge pay-per-view on May 23, 1999. Since then, Martha has sued WWE twice. Three weeks after Owen’s death, she filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and settled out of court for approximately $18 million in November 2000. In June 2010, she filed another lawsuit against WWE for using Owen’s name and likeness. The suit included WWE using personal photos in the Hart & Soul DVD and failing to make royalty payments. The lawsuit was settled out of court in April 2013 for an undisclosed amount. In her interview with Chris Jericho, Martha spoke on her relationship with the Hart family today.

“Unfortunately, I don’t [have a relationship with them]. I don’t know if people are aware of everything that transpired with my lawsuit. The family, they weren’t that supportive of my lawsuit against WWE,” said Hart. “The worst part of it was that some of the family actively worked against me. Other ones just remained silent. That was almost as hard as the ones that worked against me.

“When you break the trust, and I felt really betrayed and left alone and without any support, then although I’ve forgiven them, I’m totally passive. I wish them well. Trust me, my life hasn’t been easy and I certainly wouldn’t wish harm on anybody, I hope life has been kind to all of them. But, you know, somethings, the damage is done and you just can’t repair it. That’s one of the unfortunate causalities of war. The damage is irreparable and it can’t be repaired, but I let it go and I wish them well. I really do.”

WWE Hall of Fame Jeff Jarrett appeared on Prime Time with Sean Mooney and spoke about Owen Hart, who Jarrett noted had an incredibly mind inside the ring, which tends to get forgotten after his legendary ribbing stories and his tragic passing at the WWE Over the Edge PPV in 1999.

“Owen’s in-ring ability, he was incredibly, athletically gifted, had been around the business, [had great] timing,” Jarrett said. “At WrestleMania X against Bret [Hart], Owen was, man, just really, really super good. A lot of times that gets lost people obviously remember the tragic accident and the ribbing, but his in-ring ability was incredible.”

Jarrett was asked about what his perspective was like at that Over the Edge PPV where Owen fell from the rafters during a stunt where he was to rappel down to the ring as part of his Blue Blazer gimmick. Although multiple attempts were done to revive him, Hart was pass away due to internal bleeding from blunt force trauma.

Jarrett said after the two dressed together, he was quickly called for his segment after being notified Owen had an accident, not knowing at the time how serious it was.

“When I say ‘going through the motions’ that is something that is strictly instinct. Me and Owen dressed [together], it was a small building, every nook and cranny was filled with wrestlers or production crates, and we had found a small locker room,” Jarrett said. “I can remember him walking out of the dressing room and I was on after him. I knew that I had a good 15-20 minutes and it was literally minutes I hear someone screaming, ‘You’re up! You’re up!’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’m not.’ and they’re like, ‘yeah!’ I was essentially ready and I had no idea, I remember walking down the hall and they said he had an accident. Nothing in your wildest dreams, it’s a blown out knee or whatever, something so trivial. You get on set – and I haven’t watched it back – you get on set and all of a sudden a mass of people come through and there’s a gentleman on top of Owen doing CPR and compression.

“I knew something was wrong then, the aura, and the vibe, walking through the curtain after [my] match. The police car they had set up for me, I drove immediately to the hospital and I remember one of the ER people walking out and meeting me and giving me the news. It’s a complete tragedy – in so many ways – but I like to remember Owen on the fond days and the good days.”

Jarrett went on to talk about how he since has dealt with that night and the difficult decision Vince McMahon had to make about continuing (or stopping) the show after the accident, noting that neither was the right answer.

“I’ve been around enough things in my life to know that accidents happen. Could everybody been more careful? Absolutely. On so many levels, but it is truly a tragic situation that happened and everybody that was a part of it was dealt that hand and everybody dealt with it differently,” Jarrett responded. “I chose to deal with it with it by not discussing it, not talking about it, moving on in the most positive light. Always talking glowingly and never wanting to go to that dark side and talk about those kind of issues that happened.

“I still believe this, Vince McMahon – solely Vince – nobody else, not Linda [McMahon], not any of his inner circle at that time. It rests squarely on his shoulders and he had a decision that was wrong, regardless of the decision he made [about continuing the show]. Knowing Vince, he knew that. That’s tough, but he took it and it got into a litigated part of life, but he put his best foot forward and ‘kept on keptin’ on.’ My hats off to him and his family, because it’s truly a tragedy.”