What if Owen Hart didn’t die?
Owen Hart is one of the most beloved WWE Superstars of all time. His career was cut short because of his tragic death on May 23, 1999, during the WWF’s Over the Edge pay-per-view event. Owen’s death no doubt changed the course of wrestling history. It’s bittersweet to speculate on what might have been. How would his career have turned out? What if Owen Hart didn’t die?
It would’ve changed the course of Bret Hart’s career
Eric Bischoff believes Bret Hart’s motivation was negatively affected by the death of his brother. Although Bret refutes this, it’s not hard to imagine the death of a loved one taking some wind out of your sails. A more motivated Bret might have been in a different position in the company. Also, with no tragedy, there would be no Bret versus Benoit tribute match. The match was a milestone for both competitors and its removal would change the course of both careers. I also like to think removing Owen’s death from history would remove some of the bitterness in Bret’s current shoot interviews.
Owen would’ve retired early
Owen Hart was notoriously frugal. Jim Cornette said, “He could pinch a nickel till the buffalo farted”. Everyone knew Owen was saving his money because he wanted to retire early to spend time with his family. I believe we would have been lucky to see Owen wrestle until his 40th birthday in 2005. I also believe he would be in the WWE for life. He would’ve been around just long enough to wrestle dream matches against the likes of Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero.
He would have won a World title
It’s tough to say that Owen would’ve won the big one because he was firmly entrenched in the mid-card at the time of his death. Also, WWE had headliners like Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H. However, I believe Owen would’ve escaped the mid-card because he had a rich history with all of the top guys. He broke Austin’s neck, was in a faction with the Rock and Triple H was the bane of his career. Also, a rash of injuries in the early 2000s left a lot of opportunities open. The establishment of the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002 would’ve doubled his chances. I believe Owen was too well-liked backstage to not get a couple opportunities before he retired.
Owen would’ve hit Austin with a car
On October 9, 2000 Rikishi was implicated as the person who had run over Steve Austin at the previous year’s Survivor Series. The story was a year-long event, hence the underwhelming reveal was met with disappointed groans from the crowd. This would have been a much better spot for Owen Hart because he already had a history of putting Austin on the shelf. Owen helped cause the very neck injury that made writing Austin off TV necessary in the first place.
He’d be in the WWE Hall of Fame
This is an obvious no brainer because Owen Hart had a Hall of Fame career long before his death. The removal of the only obstacle would give Owen a clear path to the Hall. It seems like impatient fans and friends have grown frustrated that this hasn’t happened already. However, I believe asking Owen’s widow for permission to celebrate Owen’s career is asking her to relive tragic events. I think we should all be patient for now.
He’d host the Slammys ever year
The WWE hasn’t handed out a Slammy award since 2015. I like to think that if Owen Hart didn’t die the Slammys would still be relevant. Having yearly Slammy awards would’ve been a great excuse for the man that made them famous to visit every year. It would’ve been the proper way to indulge the WWE’s addiction for nostalgia.
Owen would have a prank show on the WWE network
Owen Hart was one of the great ribbers in wrestling history. Consequently, the most fun thing I can imagine him doing today is pranking current stars and legends for our amusement. Thoughts of an alternate universe where Owen has a prank show and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan has a podcast is my imaginary happy place.