Widow slams WWE's 'appalling' act after Owen Hart tragedy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Owen Hart, pictured here in action against Razor Ramon in the WWF in 1995.
Owen Hart (R) in action against Razor Ramon in 1995. (AP PHOTO/Calgary Herald-Larry MacDougal)

WARNING: The following article contains material that some readers may find disturbing.

The widow of WWE legend Owen Hart has slammed the company’s CEO Vince McMahon over his ‘appalling’ actions after her husband’s tragic accident.

Hart, 34, died in 1999 after falling about 25 metres into the ring when an entrance stunt went wrong before a match in Kansas City.

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Hart was supposed to be lowered into the ring from the rafters as part of a gimmick for his ‘Blue Blazer’ character.

However Hart was sent plunging into the ring when a safety harness malfunctioned. He landed on the top turnbuckle before falling into the ring.

He was attended to by doctors in the ring before being transported to hospital where he later died.

The shocking incident is featured in the final episode of Vice TV’s docu-series ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ - airing in the United States on Tuesday.

Martha Hart lashes Vince McMahon

Now, 21 years on, Hart’s widow Martha has opened up about the tragedy and savaged McMahon’s ‘appalling’ decision to continue the show after Hart’s death.

The event was put on hold for about 15 minutes after Hart fell, but matches later continued.

Legendary commentator Jim Ross then announced Hart’s death live on air.

“When Owen died, they scooped him out like a piece of garbage and they paraded wrestlers out to wrestle in a ring that had Owen’s blood, where the boards were broken from Owen’s fall and where the guys could feel the dip in the ring from where he fell,” Martha Hart told CBS Sports.

“Just that disrespect and lack of respect for a human life that had just been lost.”

“The fact that they didn’t stop the show is just appalling. Vince McMahon was a poor leader, and he failed because that talent was looking for leadership and he failed them.”

Owen Hart, pictured here after falling into the ring during a stunt in 1999.
Owen Hart fell to his death during a stunt in 1999. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Todd Feeback)

Martha Hart says WWE officials were negligent

Martha claims the WWE failed her husband by putting ‘hackers’ in charge of his safety.

“He thought for sure they were hiring people that knew what they were doing. He was putting his life in their hands, and they didn’t care,” Martha said.

“They didn’t have any regard for Owen’s life whatsoever. They went outside of qualified riggers that had good experience.”

Martha’s was given $18 million by the WWE in 2000 to settle a wrongful death dispute, a lawsuit which angered some members of the legendary Hart family.

The WWE’s legal council claims Martha wasn’t interested in finding out why her husband died, but rather discrediting the wrestling industry.

“We were basically trying to find out what happened that night,” said Jerry McDevitt.

“Martha was not even remotely interested in finding out what happened that night; she just wanted to use it as a vehicle to beat up a business that she didn't like that her husband was in, the wrestling business.”

But despite the horrifying tragedy, Martha says she doesn’t hold any grudges.

“At the end of it all, I’ve forgiven all of them, really,” Hart told CBS.

“The Hart family, Vince McMahon, I don’t hold any grudges. I hope life has been kind to all of them.

“My life hasn’t been easy, and I certainly wouldn’t wish harm on anyone.”