Owen Hart ‘Wasn’t Afraid’ Of Gimmick That Led To His Death, Says Vince Russo

Owen Hart did not have an issue with the fatal repelling incident that claimed his life on the night of May 23, 1999, in Kansas City, Missouri, at the WWE Over The Edge pay-per-view.

For years, the wrestling rumor mill has claimed that “Owen didn’t want to do it,” and that the show’s then-head writer Vince Russo “killed Owen.” However, Russo opened up about the gimmick and that evening on the September 10 episode of The Ross Report podcast.

Russo began by saying that the same rigging team that repelled Sting into the ring on episodes of Monday Nitro and WCW pay-per-views were going to be available if WWE wanted to use them on that fateful night.

“When the show was originally written, it wasn’t in there,” Russo said of the repelling stunt Owen Hart (as The Blue Blazer) was to attempt. “It was never discussed. By all means, it wasn’t pertinent to the show. Whether we did it or not, it didn’t matter. I was just trying to find a spot … so the WCW guys could show what they could do.”

“That night, I can tell you that prior to the show starting — I remember this like it was yesterday — I saw Owen. He was in an orange jumpsuit because he’d just rehearsed it, and he was getting a cup of coffee. And I said, ‘Owen, how did rehearsal go?’ And Owen said, ‘Vince, no problem, everything was great. I only have one favor to ask.'”

That favor, Russo said, was that Owen Hart could, in Blue Blazer character, repel into the ring first so he didn’t have to mess with the harness release while his opponent that night, The Godfather, was waiting to start the match.

“And I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely Owen, that makes all the sense in the world.’ I said, ‘We’ll switch the entrances,’ and it was as simple as that. But there was never a, ‘Well, Vince, I’m afraid of this, going over rehearsals I felt uncomfortable.’ There was none of that. If Owen would have balked about that at all, it never would have happened. It wasn’t pertinent or important to the show.”

Unfortunately, it’s speculated that Owen may have triggered an early release, thus causing the 78-foot drop where he would hit a turnbuckle and bounce into the ring. Though several attempts were made to revive him, he was pronounced dead later that evening.

Vince Russo was asked about the allegations that he “killed Owen Hart” as a response to a series of tweets from Smith Hart, Owen’s older brother.

“Congratulations @pyroballyhoo [Vince Russo’s Twitter handle] not only did u murder my brother but you’ve successfully killed 2 wrestling companies.I have a challenge for u”

“Maybe u’d like 2 try killing me on ur last failed broadcast I would donate my share 2 Owens foundation, #pleasenopolematches @pyroballyhoo”

“Since I’ve ruffled a few feathers Ill make it clear Id like to challenge Russo to a fight at BFG with the proceeds going to Owens foundation”

“If nothing else good can come of the destruction of TNA, and the loss of jobs, perhaps raising money for a worthy cause would be.”

Do you think Vince Russo should bear any of the blame for what happened to Owen Hart 15 years ago?

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