Anyone who was a fan of wrestling in the 1980s and 90s will have their own opinion about whether Owen – Hart of Gold should have seen the light of day.
That’s not to say that Owen Hart is undeserving of the WWE bio treatment; as an in-ring performer he was very, very good and arguably better than anyone watching at home at the time realised/gave him credit for. It’s just that the manner of his death and the years of back and forth legal wrangles between his family and the WWE have meant that this was a set some thought we might never see. When it was erroneously reported that this set had her blessing, Owen’s widow Martha was quick to put the record straight. She did not “condone” this release.
We’ll all have our opinion on that (for the record, as far as I’m concerned Martha has the moral right to do as she sees fit) but does the set do justice to the legacy of Owen Hart? For the most part it does.
The main feature is an hour or so documentary that differs slightly from the usual WWE formula. Rather than a straight look at his career, highlights from his in ring exploits are interspersed with “Owen Tales” as former colleagues give us an insight into Owen’s now legendary impish and prank filled character.
As you’d expect, the Hart family feature prominently throughout and the love they have for Owen clearly shines through. Contemporaries of Owen such as Chris Jericho, Edge and Mick Foley add their own reminiscences as well. Owen really does seem to be one of those rare people about whom no-one has a bad word to say.
Clips of Owen in Stampede show just how good Owen was almost from the start. This follows through to his initial stint in the WWE as the Blue Blazer, where clips show just how ahead of his time Owen was.
A brief WCW stint was the bridge to his WWE return under his own name, with tag team work alongside Jim Neidhart and Koko B Ware. A common theme emerges that Owen never took anything too seriously and always made the most of whatever he was given to work with.
His singles run against Bret is covered, as are the subsequent tag teams with Yokozuna and Davey Boy Smith and then 1997’s Hart Foundation faction. The post Montreal career is covered as is the return of the Blue Blazer. His death can’t be ignored but is glossed over slightly, with Bret calling it an accident that was no one’s fault.
The documentary is hardly all encompassing but any fans of Owen will enjoy it, not least the archive interview/home video footage of Owen. Its strange (but in a good way) to hear his voice in this way after all these years. Newer fans who don’t particularly know Owen will get a decent idea of why he is so revered all these years later but would perhaps be left wanting more.
The DVD adds over 25 outtakes/stories from the documentary, many detailing more of Owen’s pranks as well as newer wrestlers like Beth Phoenix and Kevin Owens detailing the influence Owen had on them. There’s also nearly 20 matches, taking in not only his WWE career but Stampede Wrestling and WCW too.
The best include the awesome WrestleMania X opener against brother Bret, the relatively unheralded European Title tournament final match against Davey Boy and the superb 10 man match from Canadian Stampede. There’s not really too many hidden gems and you wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a match compilation dedicated to Owen at some point.
The Bluray adds two more matches (including a 20 minute house show match between Blue Blazer and Terry Taylor) plus all the tributes to Owen made by wrestlers on the Raw special following his death. As heartfelt as most of these are, its very difficult to watch them in one sitting without the emotion becoming just too much.
Whilst you would be hard pressed to say that this was a definitive Owen Hart tribute it will be a wonderful trip down memory lane for his fans and a good primer for younger fans who missed his glory days. One thing is for certain, there will never be another quite like Owen Hart.
Photos courtesy: Fetch, Fremantle Media
Format reviewed: Blu-Ray
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Owen – Hart of Gold, which is available on DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK on Monday 7th December 2015. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.