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Friday, August 14, 2015

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What Could've Been: Owen Hart

Ok, we've finally come to that point in EOTR history where I feel confident enough to talk on Owen. Yes, he was a great talent to have in the WWF and his untimely death cut his career short. But, that's not what I'm talking on here. I'm looking at what could've been with Owen's career both had he not died and within the confines of his actual life. It'll be structured a bit differently than my usual What Could've Been articles for the DAR site and SpeedontheBeat.com

What If Owen Lived?

Ok, let's say Owen Hart's entrance went off without a hitch that fateful May evening. He was, by most accounts, booked to win the Intercontinental Championship for a third time. This is, mind you, a time where the second-tier belts still meant something. Storyline-wise, this means that we wouldn't have to deal with Jeff Jarrett winning--and losing--the championship twice, abusing Debra, and that whole clusterfuck regarding Jarrett's last days in WWF. That would've been great. It's also entirely possible, as a Lords of Pain op-ed on the matter suggests, that WCW may've not bleed talent as heavily because of a longer, more convoluted dissection of the matter. But, here's an interesting idea: Owen Hart could've been the man who tried to run Stone Cold down.

Gone's Rikishi's involvement (and his hackneyed "it's because WWF is das racist" gimmick, which was dropped almost as soon as it began) and Triple H's involvement, thankfully. Owen could've more than handled this feud on his own. Why? Well, Owen's the guy who unintentionally broke Austin's neck. There's legit history there that could've been played up. Imagine that: Owen Hart versus Austin in a no-holds-barred match after Austin returns and Owen's said "fuck this Blue Blazer bullshit. I'm Owen Hart, the King of Harts, and I'm here to get my crown and finish something even my brother couldn't: you and your career." It would've been a great feud and probably given Owen the one title he never held: the WWF Championship (if even for a small amount of time).

But, what if Owen still passed away? How could his career have been greater?

Owen Hart was a mid-card genius. He took a shit gimmick and was able to make it work. He put everything he had into his craft. So, what could've been for him, even if he was called home early? Well, Owen Hart was vastly underutilized in his WWF career. He was born into the wrong era in some ways. He was talented and a high-flier. However, the powers that be? They often saw those types as just mid-card talents. 

While Owen won every WWF championship aside from the WWF Title itself, he was still too small for an extended main-event spot, it seemed. I feel that, if given the chance (like he was with Bret at Summerslam 1994), Owen could have and should have been the Daniel Bryan of the 1990s. He was over with just about everyone; he just needed more of a shot to show to the powers that be that smaller athletes in the WWF can kick just as much ass as their taller/bigger counterparts. Note that I say "Daniel Bryan" over, say, CM Punk or even Rey Mysterio because Bryan has been able to stay on the minds of wrestling fans in a way that I feel only Owen can match, dead or alive. 

But, sadly, part of Owen's glory is given to us because of his unfortunate death. It makes us, as wrestling fans and as people, appreciate this young man from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It shows that, even though he's gone, he'll never be forgotten. I, like many of his fans, just wish he was alive today and we got to see him bask in more than just mid-card glory.

Thank you, Owen. May you rest in peace.


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