Throwback Thursday: A WWE Network Birthday Tribute to Owen Hart

May 5, 2016 by Brock Allen

WWE Network Throwback Thursday - Logo

May 23rd, 2016 marks 17 years since the tragic death of Owen Hart.

However, rather than commemorate the death of Owen Hart, Throwback Thursday on turns Throwback Tribute to celebrate what would have been the 51st birthday, this Saturday, of the youngest of Stu and Helen Hart’s 12 children.

WWE - Owen Hart Entrance
WWE - Owen Hart with Canadian Flag

While the tragedy that took Owen’s life was one of the darkest moments in the history of the industry, it does not define Owen’s life and career. So there is no better way, as fans, to celebrate the life and legacy of Owen Hart than by enjoying some of the greatest matches and most notable moments of Owen career as seen, as always, on the WWE Network.

Singles Match (WATCH)
The Blue Blazer vs. Steve Lombardi
WWF on MSG October 24, 1988

Owen’s earliest match on the Network is a dandy. In an era before the internet it’s a true testament to the talent and popularity of Owen Hart that calls of “Owen” and “Let’s Go Owen” can be heard throughout the crowd.

Singles Match (WATCH)
The Blue Blazer vs. Mr. Perfect
WWF WrestleMania VApril 2, 1989

WWE Network - The Blue Blazer (Owen Hart) vs. Mr. Perfect

Hennig, less than 6 months into the “Mr Perfect” gimmick, was still undefeated while Blazer was coming off a high profile loss to Ted DiBiase at SNME XX. This one is an overlooked gem in not only the history of WrestleMania but the careers of both Owen Hart and Curt Hennig.

Tag Team Match (WATCH)
The New Foundation (Owen Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) vs. The New Orient Express (Pat Tanaka & Kato)
WWF Royal Rumble 1992January 19, 1992

After leaving WWF in June of 1989 Owen Hart traveled the world, working various promotions across Europe, Japan, and North America. Upon Bret Hart’s suggestion Owen was brought back to the WWF to team with Neidhart as the short-lived “New Foundation”. This match, one of the best tag team matches in Royal Rumble history, was the lone PPV match for the team before Neidhart was released.

Finals of the 1994 King of the Ring Tournament (WATCH)
“The Rocket” Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon
WWF King of the Ring 1994June 19, 1994

WWE Network - Owen Hart vs. Razor Ramon, King of the Ring Finals

After a solo stint and a forgettable run with Koko B. Ware as “High Energy”, Owen’s big break came in the fall of 1993 with the legendary “brother vs brother” program with Bret Hart. After defeating Bret at WrestleMania X, in one of Mania’s greatest matches, Owen was hellbent on outdoing older brother Bret. This match legitimized Owen and cemented him as a main event player in the WWF.

“No Holds Barred Match” (WATCH)
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
WWF Monday Night RAW #104March 27, 1995 (TAPED: March 13, 1995)

This brawl from the go-home RAW before WrestleMania XI is one of the forgotten classics of the Bret/Owen saga. Part street fight, part technical clinic, this match showcased the greatness of both men who pull off a fresh, original match out of a angle over 16-months old.

WWF Tag Team Championship (WATCH)
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart & “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith w/Clarence Mason vs. The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart)(c) w/Sunny
WWF In Your House 10: Mind Games September 22, 1996

WWE Network - Owen Hart & British Bulldog Tag Team

After several tries Owen finally found the perfect tag team partner in brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith. Owen and Bulldog ended The Gunn’s 3rd and final WWF Tag Title reign at 119 days here and kicked off the longest Tag Title reign (246 days) since Demolition’s historic 478 day reign in 1988.

Finals of the Inaugural WWF European Championship Tournament – “Champion vs. Champion Match” (WATCH)
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart (WWF Tag Team Champion) vs. “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (WWF Tag Team Champion)
WWF Monday Night RAW #199 March 3, 1997 (TAPED: February 26, 1997)

This match may be the greatest match in the history of Monday Night RAW which, like a fine wine, only gets better with age. Bulldog may have walked away with the new European Championship but it’s hard to argue anybody lost in this clinical masterpiece.

Singles Match (WATCH)
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart vs. Vader
WWF One Night Only September 20, 1997

WWE Network - Owen Hart vs. Vader

Often overlooked, this match is vintage Owen Hart and was as close to WCW/Japan Vader as the fans of the WWF ever got. This stiff, wild match lulled the fans in before drawing them to their feet.

“Dungeon Match” (WATCH)
Special Referee: Dan Severn
“The King of Harts” Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock
WWF Fully Loaded: In Your House 23 July 26, 1998

This feud started after Owen turned on Ken Shamrock on the April 27, 1998 edition of RAW to join the Nation of Domination and was kicked into high gear after Shamrock returned on the June 1st RAW. This is as unique a match as WWE has ever done on a PPV, and one with a fair share of subtle (and not so subtle) humorous moments.

Tag Team Match (WATCH)
Jeff Jarrett & The Blue Blazer w/WWF Women’s Champion Debra vs. Val Venis & The Godfather (WWF Intercontinental Champion) w/Hos
WWF Monday Night RAW #312 May 17, 1999 (TAPED: May 11, 1999)

WWE - Owen Hart's Last Match

Taped 4 days after Owen’s 34th birthday this match was to be the set-up for two of the featured matches at Over the Edge ’99, Jarrett and Debra’s eventual loss to Val Venis and Nicole Bass, as well as Owen winning the the Intercontinental title from The Godfather. Though the match is nothing special, the standard fare for WWF TV of the day, it is nonetheless significant for being Owen Hart’s final televised match. Owen would die tragically just 12 days after this match was taped.

Final Thoughts

One of the most underrated workers of the modern era of professional wrestling, Owen (Oje to his family) was a star in every territory and promotion he stepped foot in. A proud husband and father, friend, loving son and brother, and ribber for the ages, Owen was more than a wrestler or entertainer to those who knew and loved him. But, as these ten matches illustrate, Owen was a natural in the ring. Though Owen is gone he is not forgotten. So this Saturday, if you have a moment, lift your eyes to the sky and wish “The Rocket” a happy 51st birthday.

WWE - Owen Hart in King of the Ring Attire
WWE - Owen Hart with Canadian Flag

That’s it for this week’s TBT – thanks again for reading! Are you a WWE Network subscriber yet? If so, check out these classic Owen matches and let us know what you think below.

And we’d be remiss not to give another shoutout here to our friends at delivering some great coverage on the WWE Network: for fans, by fans.

Until next week, see ya at ringside!

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2 Comments left on this article...

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  1. John says:

    Happy birthday Owen! Best wrestler ever!

  2. Ryan Johansson says:

    Happy Birthday Owen. Missed you every day.

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