Monday, May 24th marked the 11th anniversary of the WWE RAW (then called WWF RAW IS WAR) special dedicated to the late Owen Hart(brother of Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart , who was at WCW at the time following the Montreal Screwjob) who passed away in a tragic accident live at the PPV ”WWF Over The Edge” on May 23rd 1999.
The Following live WWF RAW IS WAR was dedicated to him, the show was called RAW IS OWEN.
The Accident at ‘Over the Edge’
Owen Hart , reprising the ‘Blue Blazer’ gimmick was to wrestle the Godfather at ‘Over the Edge’ PPV held in the Kemper Arena in Kansas City for the Intercontinental Title on May 23rd 1999.
Owen was supposed to be making a superhero like entrance from the rafters above descending down to the ring. He Was Supported by Aerial Equipment. Although The Entrance worked successfully on the ”WWF Sunday Night Heat” broadcast held on November 15, 1998, It Didnt that Night.
During his descent at Over the Edge, a cable disengaged from the safety vest he wore, causing him to fall over 70 feet (21 m) from the rafters into the ring. As he fell, he hit his head on one of the ring’s padded turnbuckles.
WWF Over The Edge Broadcast 23 May 1999 : Owen’s Descent wasn’t seen on live television.
The television viewers did not see him fall , a Prerecorded Interview Package was shown to the Viewers as Hart’s Descent to the ring began ( However, on the Spanish dub of the Broadcast, a Loud Thud can be clearly heard during the Video Package, The Thud was Owen’s Head hitting the turnbuckle and landing in the ring)
WWE Interview with Talent from ‘Raw is Owen ‘ Broadcast and Bret Hart’s Comments
WWF/WWE Commentator Jim Ross announcing Owen’s death to the Live Television audience.
He was escorted to the Hospital, he later died on arrival to the hospital. WWF cancelled the encore PPV presentation, and never released ‘Over the Edge’ on DVD or VHS, the Only Recorded evidence of ‘Over the Edge’ was viewers Home Recording that is available on YouTube.com
RAW IS OWEN Tribute
The Following Night, On May 24th, In a Sold out Kiel Center in St.Louis, Missouri, a live tribute to Owen Hart was held. All Rivalries and other scripted Storylines were suspended and Wrestlers were given the option to wrestle or not. The Wrestlers gave ‘shoot Interviews’ that were real.
The show began with all the wrestlers of the WWF (except the Undertaker) standing on the entrance ramp.
Vince, Linda, and Stephanie McMahon were at the front of the ramp. Howard Finkel called for a ten-bell salute. Hart’s former Nation of Domination comrades were emotional, most notably Mark Henry, who read a poem that he wrote in memory of Hart. A tribute video narrated by Vince then played on the Titan Tron.
Throughout the broadcast, personal thoughts on Hart in the form of shoot interviews with various WWF Superstars were played. Before the first commercial break, such thoughts were aired from Mick Foley andBradshaw. Foley noted that Hart was his son’s favorite wrestler and had proudly gotten a haircut like Owen’s, although he also said his son did not quite understand that “nugget” was not a term of endearment.
Bradshaw talked about how Hart spent less money on the road than most wrestlers because he wanted to retire early and spend time with his family. Owen’s friend and Nation of Domination partner The Rock also made a short speech. The broadcast ended with Steve Austin coming out for a special salute to Hart by climbing the turnbuckle and performing his famous beer guzzling routine, and leaving one beer in the ring ‘for Owen’.
The tribute show scored a Nielsen ratings score of 7.2, making it one of the highest rated shows in Raw history. Shawn Michaels, in his Heartbreak and Triumph autobiography, notes that “Owen is the only guy you could have a 2-hour show for, and no-one would say a bad word about him.”
The next day, WWF taped the episode of Raw for May 31, 1999. During that show, Jeff Jarrett defeated The Godfather to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, the title Hart was booked to win at Over the Edge for the third time. Jarrett screamed Hart’s name as the belt was handed to him.