Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Ringside Photographer Remembers The Night Owen Hart Fell

The world lost Owen Hart 20 years ago today.

The world lost Owen Hart 20 years ago today. On May 23rd, 1999 Hart fell from the ceiling of the Kemper Arena and lost his life. Tom Buchanan was working as a ringside photographer at the time. He posted a lengthy Facebook post today detailing the rigging setup used for what was supposed to be Owen’s entrance from that night.

The Night Owen Hart Fell

“Twenty years ago today professional wrestler Owen Hart was killed by a poorly rigged stunt during a live pay per view in Kansas City,” Buchanan begins his post. “I was working as a WWF/WWE ringside photographer that night when Owen fell 80 feet from the overhead catwalk and landed just 20 feet away. It was a horrible moment and a painful night that just never seemed to end. And twenty years later, May 23, 1999 remains the worst night of my life.”

Following the PPV, Buchanan photographed the police investigation.

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“I had been working for WWF/WWE for more than ten years and had been a consistent advocate to management about safety issues, and I had photographed several prior accidents during WWF/WWE productions.”

He continued to say the accident should have never happened and the stunt should not have gone through as planned.

“It shocked me that a professional rigger would fly a wrestler with no stunt experience using just a single snap shackle without any back-up. When the rest of our crew learned how the stunt had been rigged they were equally aghast,” he continued. “This accident should never have happened, and probably wouldn’t have happened if any of the WWF/WWE riggers had even a whiff of how Bobby Talbert, a newly hired independent contractor, was planning to rig the stunt.”

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