Quote Originally Posted by PWI
When you mention the name Owen Hart to most fans today, the first thing that comes to mind is his tragic death at the Over The Edge 99 PPV. This unfortunately ignores a pretty eventful career that often centered around who he was related to, but saw him become a multiple-time champion and somebody that a lot of people consider one of the greatest wrestlers to never win a World Title. However, that career almost didn't happen, as after a very disappointing run in WCW, Owen was ready to quit the business, but Bret convinced him to come back and got him a shot in the WWF. He had worked there before under a mask as the Blue Blazer, but this time around would be working under his real name and would in fact step right into a team with Bret's old tag team partner. Disillusioned Again

Owen made return to the WWF in late 1991, joining with Jim Neidhart as the New Foundation, a play on the Hart Foundation name Neidhart and Bret had used. They feuded with the Beverly Brothers, stemming from the Beverlys attacking Neidhart several months earlier and injuring his knee. The team got off to a promising start, and had as good chemistry as Bret and Neidhart had, but were stylistically different since Owen had more of a high-flying flair as opposed to Bret's technical wrestling. They looked very good and after defeating the Orient Express at Royal Rumble 92, it looked like they would be a surefire shot to be future WWF Tag Team Champions, but then Jim Neidhart abruptly disappeared from the WWF, leaving Owen to fend for himself.

Suddenly Owen was in a tough spot, as the Beverly Brothers feud was dropped after Neidhart's departure, and after a short singles push which was highlighted by a victory over Skinner at Wrestlemania 8, Owen got stuck in a tag team with perennial super jobber Koko B Ware. The duo was called High Energy, but most of that energy was spent laying on their back doing jobs. Though they weren't a full blown Duane Gill/Barry Hardy jobber team and did generally look good in losing, they weren't going anywhere, and by the summer of 1992 were pretty much written off as a second tier team.

Owen was again left alone when Koko left the WWF in early 1993, but this time decided to stick to wrestling singles. Unfortunately, he didn't have much more success than he did when he was teaming with Koko. He showed potential, but lost to anything that moved, including Shawn Michaels, Jerry Lawler, and Papa Shango. Owen blew out his knee in a televised match against Bam Bam Bigelow, and he ended up on the shelf for several months. The injury permanently forced Owen to lay off the high-flying and transition to more of a ground game, and indeed Owen was so disillusioned with the wrestling business that he contemplated just giving it up. However, Owen's career was saved when Bret found out what Owen was thinking and went to Vince McMahon with an idea for an angle that would help get Owen over, and it led to one of the most famous feuds of the 90s.

Shadow

Owen's career started to turn around in the summer of 1993 when Bret became embroiled in a feud with Jerry Lawler. Bret had won the King Of The Ring tournament, and Lawler attacked him afterward, claiming that the tournament win meant nothing since he had been using the King moniker for years. The feud took a turn for the personal when Lawler began verbally attacking the Hart family, including harassing Bret's parents Stu and Helen when they came to New York to attend an episode of Raw, and defeating Owen in a match a few weeks later. Owen and Bruce Hart were in attendance at Summerslam to watch Bret go through first Doink and then Jerry Lawler in consecutive matches, but Bret refused to let Lawler out of the Sharpshooter after Lawler submitted, and the referee reversed the decision.

The feud was not over, and now Bret decided that if Lawler was going to bring his family into it, he ought to let his family get a shot at Lawler themselves, so a match was signed for Survivor Series with Bret, Owen, Bruce, and Keith Hart facing Lawler and his Blue, Red, and Black Knights. Lawler ended up in some legal trouble which resulted in him taking a vacation from the WWF, but the match still went on with Shawn Michaels in his place. In order to give some storyline reason for Shawn being in the match, they did a skit about a week before Survivor Series where Shawn and a short lived announcer named Reo Rogers (Bruce Prichard in a dumb cowboy gimmick) went to “Stu and Helen Hart's house”, where a couple of extras in old people masks posing as Stu and Helen (who were using walkers and wearing Bret Hart sunglasses, which was actually really funny) showed them around their house, which featured a ton of large pictures and memorabilia of Bret, but only one tiny picture of Owen.

And such was the beginning of the “Owen Hart is living in Bret's shadow” angle, where Bret was portrayed as having all the success and attention while Owen was forgotten. At Survivor Series, the Harts went through all three Knights, leaving Michaels by himself. Though the advantage seemed insurmountable, Michaels pinned Owen when Owen accidentally ran into Bret and knocked him off the apron and into the guardrail. The distraction allowed Michaels to roll up Owen as the rest of the family was more concerned with making sure Bret was okay. The Harts ended up winning the match when Michaels turned tail and ran (after taking a shot from Stu) and Owen came back to the ring, seemingly to celebrate with his family, but instead yanked Bret off the second rope and tried to pick a fight with him. The situation was calmed down before it got physical, but the seeds of Owen's heel turn had been planted.

Shortly after Survivor Series, Vince McMahon interviewed Owen Hart about whether he felt he was stuck in Bret's shadow, and Owen said he absolutely did and had all his life. He was sick and tired of it, and challenged Bret to a match to prove once and for all that Owen could beat him. Vince caught up with Bret the following week and Bret said that while he was a competitor and never backed down from anybody, he would never fight his own brother.

It was a tense month or so, but the Christmas season seemed to do the Hart family good, as Bret and Owen made up and decided that instead of directing their energy at each other, they'd instead concentrate on challenging the Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Title. They got their shot at Royal Rumble 94 and nobody thought the Quebecers had a shot of beating the Harts, but Bret injured his knee during the match, and at a critical point in the match when Bret could have tagged Owen in, he instead tried to put the Sharpshooter on Pierre. His knee collapsed under him, and the referee called for the bell and awarded the match to the Quebecers by an injury default.

Owen was beside himself, and instead of helping Bret to his feet, he just stood their screaming at him, and when Bret finally made it to his feet under his own power, Owen kicked him in the knee and send Bret crumpling back to the mat. Owen left Bret in the ring and returned to the back, where he was confronted by Todd Pettengill who wanted to know why he left Bret laying like that. Owen responded with the infamous interview where he probably meant to say something like “And that's why I kicked your leg out from under you!” but screwed up his line and said “And that's why I kicked your leg out of your...leg.” He saved himself by also saying that he thought he had the greatest tag team partner he could ever have, his own brother who he trusted more than anyone, but instead Bret screwed everything up by trying to win the match himself and just like always, he had to be a hero and it cost Owen his shot at his first WWF title. In a nice touch, Owen delivered this ranting, accusatory diatribe and the interview appeared on the video screen right in front of Bret as he was being carried to the back.

Bret went on to co-win the Royal Rumble later in the evening with Lex Luger, and both men were granted WWF Title shots at Wrestlemania 10. Bret ended up with the second title shot of the evening, and it was decided that to provide a level playing field with the winner of the first match, he would also have to have a match earlier in the evening, and so he was booked to wrestle Owen. While nobody knew for sure who was coming out of Wrestlemania 10 with the WWF Title, nobody seriously expected Bret to lose to Owen, but in the upset of the year, Owen pinned Bret totally clean when Bret went for a victory roll, but Owen stepped into the move and sat down on top of Bret for the pin. Owen was on top of the world and as Jerry Lawler said on commentary, he not only stepped out of Bret's shadow, but jumped out. Owen had made himself a star with one huge win, but his big moment was spoiled later in the night when Bret once again upstaged him by winning the WWF World Title to close the show. As all the babyfaces came into the ring to celebrate with Bret, Owen came out and stared at the scene in disbelief and mouthed the words “What about me?”

WWF Title Contender Though Bret might have had the spotlight at the end of the night, Owen had still scored a clean win over the WWF Champion mere hours before he won the title, giving him a solid claim for a World Title shot. However, instead of a rematch with Owen, Bret instead wound up in a program with Intercontinental Champion Diesel at King Of The Ring 94. Since Diesel had Shawn Michaels in his corner, Bret announced that he would have a family member in his corner to watch his back and make sure Michaels didn't interfere. Bret brought his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart in Neidhart's return to the WWF. Neidhart did his job and made sure Shawn's interference didn't cost Bret the title, and took it one step further by interfering himself, jumping in the ring and nailing Diesel after he gave Bret the Jackknife powerbomb. Bret wass disqualified for Neidhart's flagrant interference, but kept the WWF Title. After nailing Diesel, Neidhart walked out and left Bret alone in the ring to get attacked by Diesel and Shawn. This was a puzzling move by Neidhart, who was apparently there to watch Bret's back, but everything was explained later in the night when he interfered in the finals of the King Of The Ring tournament and helped Owen beat Razor Ramon to become King.

Now the plan became clear, as it turns out that Neidhart and Owen were in cahoots to first make sure that Owen won King Of The Ring, and secondly to make sure that Bret wasn't defeated by Diesel so that Owen could then specifically beat Bret for the title. By winning King Of The Ring, Owen had not only done what Bret had done the year before, but also cemented his status as top contender for the WWF Title. Bret and Owen met for the second time at Summerslam 94 in a cage match, with the angle being that the cage was not only there to keep Bret and Owen in, but also the keep the rest of the family members who were in attendance out. Among those family members was not only Jim Neidhart, but also Bret and Owen's other brother in law Davey Boy Smith, making his first appearance in the WWF in several years. After another great match, Bret emerged victorious and retained the WWF Title, but Neidhart and Owen threw him back in the ring, locked the cage door behind them, and started laying a beating on Bret. The Hart brothers tried getting into the cage to help Bret, but Neidhart and Owen were able to hold them off until Davey Boy got into the cage and ran Owen and Neidhart off.

Now the sides were a little more even, with Bret and Davey Boy against Owen and Neidhart. It was a pretty one sided battle from here on out, with Bret and Davey Boy winning all their tag matches and Owen dropping singles matches to both men. After Owen lost his final shot at Bret for the title on an early episode of the Action Zone, Bret moved on to a feud with Bob Backlund, who had turned heel and attacked him over the summer. The Bret-Backlund match at Survivor Series 94 had a stipulation where the only way either man could lose was if their corner man threw in a towel to signify that their man submitted. Bret had Davey Boy in his corner, and Backlund had...you guessed it, Owen. During the match, Owen and Davey Boy got into a scuffle on the outside and Davey was accidentally knocked out when he fell headfirst into the ring steps. Backlund caught Bret in the crossface chicken wing and took him down to the mat and scissored his body, trapping Bret in the hold with no escape.

Owen saw his brother trapped in the dangerous hold and suddenly seemed remorseful for letting things get to this point. With Davey Boy knocked out, he wouldn't be able to throw in the towel for Bret and save him, so Owen took his parents, who were sitting in the front row, out to ringside and pleaded with them to throw in the towel and save Bret. Stu wouldn't do it, but after several more minutes of watching her son in pain, Helen Hart couldn't take it anymore and grabbed the towel right out of Stu's hands and threw it in the ring. The referee called for the bell and awarded the title to Backlund, and Owen slipped into the ring, but instead of helping his brother, he grabbed the towel his mother had thrown in and ran to the back, where he was confronted by Todd Pettengill. Turns out that Owen had manipulated his parents into throwing the towel in just to cost Bret the WWF Title, and now that Bret was no longer the champion and would be out injured, Owen proclaimed himself the greatest Hart in the WWF.

Bret and Owen did have a couple of matches when Bret returned from the injury, but their feud was pretty much finished. Instead, Owen turned his attention toward finally becoming a champion in the WWF, an opportunity which would come at Wrestlemania 11.
I liked Owen Hart but I kind of found him in the same exact mold as Jericho is now. Mid-Carder at his very best. But can also Main Event when needed.