Bret Hart, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer that is considered one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time, has responded to Martha Hart, the widow of his later brother Owen Hart. The latest exchange of words started when Bret mentioned that Owen should be in WWE’s Hall of Fame, but Martha has prevented WWE from truly honoring his brother. Martha responded to that with a statement that we ran here last week.
Bret issued a lengthy statement late night on Wednesday that he posted on his Facebook page in response to what Martha said about him.
This past week, I have received multiple requests for comment regarding my recent interview on a podcast and the rebuttal made by Dr. Martha Hart. First of all, I want to express my disappointment in both the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald for running a gossip-style article and making it front page news when there are more pressing issues in the world to highlight. You are better than that. I listened back to the interview in question and I specifically want to address Martha’s comments about my words being “cruel, reckless, irresponsible, and hurtful”.
Stampede Wrestling was an institution in the city of Calgary. Wrestling was our family business. My brothers and I either wrestled for my father Stu or worked behind the scenes. Fans packed the Victoria Pavilion every Friday night for decades. Martha has seemed to have forgotten that she attended those same shows before she met Owen. She was, by definition, a wrestling fan. That same group Martha appears to look down upon and ignore.
Earlier this year, Mark Henry took time during his WWE Hall of Fame induction to specifically address Martha. With tears in his eyes, Henry pleaded with her to allow Owen to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. My nieces and nephews were in the audience with tears in their eyes as he expressed how much he deserved to be there with his peers. Fans have told me they had tears in their eyes when they watched the moment on television. Those same fans Martha sat side-by-side with at Stampede Wrestling and WWE events. Those same fans that donate to the Owen Hart Foundation and helped make it what it is today because they remember the joy he brought to their lives and not by how he died. Those royalty checks she receives from the company she says she doesn’t want any part of? Those are also from those same fans. To her, their tears do not matter. To me, that is cruel and hurtful.
It is true that Martha and I were close at one time. I was right by her side after Owen’s death until she received her settlement from WWE and proclaimed me a “pest”. Martha later declared herself and her children Harts in name only, called us all “black sheep”, and ceased contact with the rest of the Hart family. She further isolated from us when we all came together in 2010 to honour our father Stu being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and participated in a DVD that celebrated our family (Hart & Soul). Owen’s children do not have a relationship with his brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and cousins. One of my nieces, in fact, named her son Owen after him. I do not know Oje and I wouldn’t know Athena if she walked passed me on the street. Owen’s children only know of their father’s family by what is told by their mother, whatever that may be, painting us all with one broad brush. To block Owen’s children from knowing their father’s family, to me, is cruel, reckless, and irresponsible.
Owen’s tragic accident almost 20 years ago changed our family forever. Martha lost her soulmate and her children lost their father. You have to remember, however, that I also lost my brother. My children lost their uncle. My grandchildren will only know him through pictures and stories. His peers lost a close friend who filled them with endless laughter through long periods on the road. The fans lost someone that they lovingly connected to. Martha is not alone in her loss and grief.
The Owen Hart Foundation is a wonderful charity that has raised millions of dollars and has helped many people in its 19 year history. I am not disputing or denying that whatsoever. I disagree, however, that it should be the sole outlet to remember Owen by. This is not just about Owen being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. This is about his wrestling career, his wrestling legacy, his contribution to the business that he loved and honouring that contribution. Owen Hart was a world-renowned professional wrester, and a damn good one. He was part of the foundation that our family name was built on not just in the city of Calgary but all over the world. For Martha to want to rewrite history, to refuse to acknowledge or recognize his great wrestling career, to brush off what he, myself, and my father did as “that fake stuff” is wrong.
Owen Hart was a wrestler. The next generation deserve to know how great he truly was.
I am happy to hear that my brother Owen will be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame on July 28 in Waterloo, Iowa. My father and I are past honourees. While I will not be in attendance, the Hart family will be well-represented with my brothers Ross, Bruce, Keith, sister Diana, and my nephew Harry Smith accepting the honour on his behalf. Thank you to the Board of Directors for recognizing his wrestling career, his contributions to the wrestling business, and his legacy. I’m sure the event will be filled with laughter, tears, and an overall appreciation for the man that he was. I can only hope that this is only the beginning.
Bret Hart x
TJR Thoughts: There’s obviously a lot there and I don’t know if it’s our business to even react to it, but they are putting it out in the public. The saddest part is that Owen’s children Oje (now 26 years old) and Athena (now 22 years old) have no relationship with members of the family on Owen’s side. That does seem to be cruel and harsh on Martha’s part, but it’s also her right as a parent to do what she feels is best.
Owen was one of my favorite wrestlers ever that is obviously deserving of being in WWE’s Hall of Fame. It’s a shame that he is not in and that it may never happen. I don’t know if it does any good to argue about this in public like this, but that’s their right too. I know Owen is one of the best whether he’s in WWE’s Hall of Fame or not, but it definitely would be cool to see him honored like he deserves to be.
Lastly, Owen’s death was 19 years ago and it still bothers me thinking about it because it was such an unnecessary stunt that would have meant nothing in terms of the big picture. The crowd may not have even reacted to him being lowered on a zipline. Why even book it? I hate that it happened.