Martha Hart is the wife of the late, great WWE superstar Owen Hart, who passed away in May 1999 at age 34 when he fell from the rafters during the Over the Limit 1999 pay-per-view. Next Tuesday on the season 2 finale of Dark Side of the Ring on Vice TV, there will be a documentary about Owen featuring interviews from Martha along with Owen’s son Oje, daughter Athena and other friends of Owen in the wrestling business. For most of the last 20 years, Martha hasn’t talked about Owen’s life and death and there have also been lawsuits.
Here’s the trailer for the Owen Hart episode of Dark Side of the Ring.
Martha is a guest on the Talk is Jericho podcast hosted by Chris Jericho that was posted today. Jericho is also the narrator of the Dark Side of the Ring series in season two. During the podcast, they talked about Owen’s life, his career and many other interesting stories.
Here are some interview highlights with thanks to WrestlingNews.co for the transcript.
Martha commented on how things were like for Owen in WWE after brother Bret left the company following Survivor Series 1997.
“That was a really difficult time for Owen. Even though he didn’t sort of share the same philosophy as Bret as far as wrestling would go, he knew that was really crushing for Bret what had happened with Vince and everything and he felt bad for his brother but he was also beholden to a contract at that time. WWE had just introduced a few years before that — contracts where you were locked in for 5 years. Owen was locked into his contract. So he requested that he be let go when everything happened with his brother and they said now that they weren’t gonna let him go.”
“Emotionally, it was difficult for him to see his brother so upset and betrayed and yet have to stay and fulfill his commitment that he made to the company so it was a hard time. He preferred to leave but they wouldn’t let him go.”
It was noted during the discussion that Owen also got more money from WWE after that because they wanted to try to keep him happy.
Martha spoke about how she had no relationship with the Hart Family, but she has forgiven them.
“Unfortunately I don’t and that’s really unfortunate. I don’t know if people are aware of everything that transpired with my lawsuit. The family weren’t that supportive of my lawsuit against WWE and the worst part of it was that some of the family actively worked against me and other ones just remained silent and that was almost as hard as the ones that worked against me so when you break the trust and I felt really betrayed and sort of left alone without any support. I’ve forgiven them and I’m totally past that and I wish them well. My life hasn’t been easy and I certainly wouldn’t wish harm on anybody. I hope life has been kind to all of them. The damage is done and you just can’t repair it and that’s one of the unfortunate casualties of war. The damage is irreparable and it can’t be repaired and I let it go and I wish them well, I really do.”
Owen was always known for his sense of humor and pranks, so Martha shared a funny story about that while noting their son Oje has Owen’s sense of humor.
“One thing that he did to me that just drove me crazy [was] he knew that I was afraid of mice…you know how you have your tea and it’s hooked to the bag and hooked on a string. So he would take it and he would tape it into the cupboard so when I would open the cupboard door it would swing out at me. Just silly harmless things like that. It would just be like ‘oh my god’ just little pranks all the time, you know.”
“Oje has a lot of the same sort of humor and characteristics that his dad does. What used to kind of annoy me with Owen I kind of find it endearing in Oje. I like that it’s like ‘oh, okay you got that trait from your dad.'”
If you’re wondering about the name Oje for Owen’s son, Martha noted that it was Owen’s nickname because it was “Owen James Hart” so people would call him Oje a lot.
Martha spoke about how Owen had some plans to get out of the wrestling business within a few years after he died because he wanted to be home for his kids, who were very young when he died. Martha shared stories about what Owen wanted to do after wrestling.
“He tried for a long time to get out of the business and he applied to the fire department every year for years and at that time, it was really hard to get on the fire department.”
“He also applied to be a customs agent because he thought it would be ideal because he lived in Calgary. That was another job that he tried to apply for and he always regretted that he didn’t finish his education because he was actually a really bright guy and he could have done it, but life picks you up and then we got married.”
When Jericho brought up New Japan and Owen’s history there, Martha seemed open to the idea of appearing there to honor Owen if there was ever an offer for it.
“Never thought about it that way. I was just gonna go back as a tourist. You know what, I guess if I got an invite then I would definitely entertain it but I haven’t to this day. It’s not like I turned anything down. Nobody has ever approached me about something like that and I never really gave it much thought but you never know. Never say never.”
They did not talk about the WWE Hall of Fame at all. Perhaps it will be addressed on the Dark Side of the Ring episode next week.
You can listen to Jericho’s interview with Martha at the link below or wherever you get your podcasts like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and other places.
The photo at the top of this post is from the Owen Hart Foundation Facebook page that was posted when they did the Dark Side of the Ring documentary.
TJR Thoughts: It was an interesting episode. I highly recommend it because I haven’t heard much from Martha Hart in the last two decades and it was nice to get her perspective on things. Jericho also grew up a huge Owen Hart fan that dreamed of being a tag team partner with him, so there are a lot of cool stories in here. I’m looking forward to this Dark Side of the Ring episode and I will probably write about it as well.