Owen Hart was born in Calgary, Alberta
He was the older brother of former WWE Superstar and current TNA Wrestling star known as “Harry” or “DH Smith”.
Hart debuted in 1988 after training with his father Stu Hart in Calgary’s famous Dungeon. For the majority of his career, Owen wrestled for Stampede Wrestling where he became a five-time International Tag Team Champion. His great technical ability and athleticism led him to sign a contract with WWF (now WWE) where he would become a five-time World Tag Team Champion – four times with his brother-in-law The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith – and one time with Jeff Jarrett as well as one run as European Champion. In WWF, Hart also won two Intercontinental Titles, one King of the Ring Tournament, and the Slammy Award for Tag Team of The Year in 1996.
He was a professional wrestler who wrestled for Stampede Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling
He was best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he wrestled under both his name and ring name “The Blue Blazer”. He was widely regarded as one of the industry’s best “pure” technical wrestlers.
His family moved to the United States when he was 12 years old
They lived in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain for four years before moving to the United States where he attended Parkway Public School at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Before entering professional wrestling Hart was an amateur wrestler. He competed at the 1985 Summer Universiade held in Kobe, Japan where he won gold medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman categories.
Hart began his career by training with Stu Hart, eventually making his way to Mid-South Wrestling and the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) where he wrestled his first match in 1985.
In early 1986, Hart began touring in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). During his tours with NJPW, Hart became a 2-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and fought against wrestlers such as Owen Strongbow, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and The Cobra. He would eventually lose the title in 1987 back to Hiro Saito and leave the promotion later that year.
Hart returned to North America following his stint in New Japan and made appearances for Bobby Jaggers’ Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW) under the ring name Owen James. It was during this time when Hart first adopted his Blue Blazer gimmick, a superhero character.
When did Owen Hart die
He died on May 23rd, 1999 at the age of 34 after falling from an entranceway into the ring during his time as part of The World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
After entering the ring from the ceiling, dressed as The Blue Blazer and descending on a cable to parody the appearance of Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man, he was set up for a blind tag by partner Jeff Jarrett. Hart had performed this entrance dozens of times before without incident.
While Hart initially appeared uninjured or even unaware that anything had gone wrong, it became apparent within minutes that something was wrong as Owen slumped over in his corner of the ring while tag team partner Jeff Jarrett worked with him. He then pulled down his singlet strap, covering his face with one hand before collapsing onto his back. After approximately eight minutes of unsuccessful attempts to revive him using CPR and a defibrillator included pulling Hart’s tongue forward to open an airway (which has been noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter as not something that should be done), he was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived at the arena.
He left behind his wife Martha and two children, Oje Edward Hart (born October 6th, 1993) and Athena Christie Hart (born November 30th, 1994). The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith died on 18 July 2002 after years of drug abuse, living under the shadow of early death like so many others who were part of this generation of wrestlers.
While there are conflicting reports about how he fell, it is believed that he may have been wearing a harness which became entangled with the ring ropes and snapped him back towards ringside seats where he landed head first on one of them or fell straight down onto one of them before being pulled up by security personnel who were unaware of what had happened.
His death sparked a series of lawsuits, with the Hart family filing one against the WWF for negligence; it would be quickly settled out of court while Vince McMahon, still emerging from his “terrible” steroid scandal in the early 90s, was forced to take on some responsibility for both Owen’s death and Davey Boy Smith’s overdose after years of claims that neither wrestler had any drug problems. It has been said these unfortunate incidents helped drive wrestling away from its carnival roots where wrestlers fought in tents or small halls before packed audiences who knew very little about them personally towards the more TV-friendly model which sadly often leads to a less intimate relationship between fans and performers.
It is believed that Owen may have been wearing a harness that became entangled with the ring ropes and snapped him back towards ringside seats where he landed head first on one.
Accidents like this and many others that came before and after have led to improvements in the safety and training of professional wrestlers, with deaths and serious injuries becoming less common. One thing we know for sure about how tragedies like these occur is that they are never intentional or done without thought to safety precautions.