User:TrueCRaysball/sandbox/Over the Edge (1999)

Over the Edge (1999)
Information
PromotionWorld Wrestling Federation
DateMay 23 1999[1]
Attendance16,472[2]
VenueKemper Arena[1]
CityKansas City, Missouri[1]
Pay-per-view chronology
No Mercy 1999 UK Over the Edge (1999) King of the Ring 1999
Over the Edge chronology
Over the Edge: In Your House Over the Edge (1999) Final

Over the Edge (1999) was the second and final Over the Edge professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).[3] It took place on May 23 1999 at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.[1]

This event is most remembered for the death of Owen Hart, who was scheduled to face The Godfather for the Intercontinental Championship. Hart was wrestling under his Blue Blazer gimmick and was to make a superhero-like ring entrance, in which he would descend from the arena rafters into the ring. Hart died after falling over seventy feet from the arena rafters, when the harness line malfunctioned and caused Hart to be released prematurely.[4][5] After the event, criticism arose over the WWF's decision to continue the event after Hart had fallen to his death.[6] In court, the Hart family sued the WWF for causing the death of Owen with a poorly planned stunt. As a result, the WWF was ordered in court to pay $18 million dollars to the Hart family.[7][8]

The main event was the encounter of Steve Austin and The Undertaker over the WWF Championship (with Shane McMahon as the special guest referee). The Undertaker defeated Austin via pinfall, after he performed a roll-up, as McMahon intensionally counted the pinfall in a fast manner.[9] The featured match on the undercard was between The Rock and Triple H, where The Rock defeated Triple H via disqualification, after Triple H attacked the referee.[10] The other featured match on the undercard was an eight-man elimination tag team match between The Union (Mankind, Ken Shamrock, Test, and The Big Show) and the Corporate Ministry (Viscera, The Big Bossman, and The Acolytes). The Union won the match after their final member, Mankind, forced The Big Bossman, the final member of the Corporate Ministry, to submit with the Mandible claw.[1][10]

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

 
Steve Austin was the WWF Champion heading into the event.

The main feud heading into the pay-per-view was between Steve Austin and The Undertaker over the WWF Championship.[10] At Backlash, Stephanie McMahon was abducted by The Undertaker, which created a background for the feud between The Undertaker and Austin.[11] The feud officially began on the April 26 1999 episode of Raw, the WWF's flagship program, when Vince McMahon, the WWF chairman and Stephanie's father, agreed to give The Undertaker controlling interest over the WWF, if he safely returned Stephanie.[12][13] The Undertaker agreed, but he ordered Austin to deliver the documents that would have made the agreement official. Later that night, The Undertaker held a wedding ceremony, attempting to wed himself with Stephanie, who was tied and hung on a crucifix symbol raised above the Raw stage entrance. During the ceremony, Ken Shamrock and The Big Show attempted to untie Stephanie, as The Undertaker's stable, the Ministry of Darkness, prevented them from untying her.[12][13] Austin prevailed, however, as he untied Stephanie after he attacked The Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness.[12][13] Later that week on Sunday Night HEAT, Shane McMahon announced a match between Austin and The Undertaker for the WWF Championship, where he would serve as the special guest referee.[14][15] On the May 3 1999 episode of Raw, the feud escalated when The Undertaker cut a promo about his intentions of taking the WWF Championship away from Austin at Over the Edge.[16][17] Later that night, after a Lumberjack match between Austin and The Rock; The Undertaker came down to the ring and attacked Austin up the stage aisle, where he threw Austin off the stage.[16][17] On the May 10 1999 episode of Raw, Austin, Vince McMahon, and The Rock, defeated The Undertaker, Shane McMahon, and Triple H in a six-man tag team match.[18][19] At No Mercy, Austin defeated The Undertaker and Triple H to retain his WWF Championship.[20][21] On the May 17 1999 episode of Raw, The Undertaker attempted to handcuff and strap Austin to a crucifix symbol, although Austin reversed The Undertaker's actions, as he handcuffed and strapped The Undertaker to the crucifix symbol, which was raised above the ring.[22][23]

The secondary feud heading into the event was between Triple H and The Rock.[10] The feud began on the April 26 1999 episode of Raw, where The Rock challenged Steve Austin into a match, Shane McMahon accepted The Rock's challenge instead. Later that night, Shane and The Rock wrestled in a match that resulted in a no-contest, after Triple H interfered in the match and attacked The Rock.[12][13] Later that week on SmackDown!, the Corporate Ministry was formed, when Shane's Corporation, merged with The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.[24][25] Later that night, Austin and The Rock defeated Shane and Triple H in a tag team match.[24][25] The following week on Sunday Night HEAT, Shane announced a match between Triple H and The Rock , which would take place at Over the Edge.[14][15] On the May 3 1999 episode of Raw, Austin and The Rock were scheduled to wrestle in a Lumberjack match, which resulted in a no-contest, after the lumberjacks began a brawl.[16][17] During the brawl, Triple H and The Undertaker threw Austin and The Rock, respectively, off the Raw stage set onto a group of tables.[16][17] The following week on Raw, Austin, The Rock, and Vince McMahon defeated The Undertaker, Shane, and Triple H in a six-man tag team match.[18][19] On the May 17 1999 episode of Raw, The Rock announced that he had injured his arm in the six-man tag team match and was forced to wear a cast. Shane announced that The Rock would be unable to wear the cast during his match against Triple H at Over the Edge.[22][23] Later that night, Triple H aggravated the feud, after he interfered in a Casket match between The Rock and The Undertaker, where he assisted The Undertaker in placing The Rock in the casket.[22][23]

A third feud heading into the event was between The Union and the Corporate Ministry.[10] The feud began on the April 26 1999 episode of Raw, where the match between Faarooq and Ken Shamrock resulted in a no-contest, after Bradshaw interfered on the behalf of Farooq, and Test interfered on Shamrock's behalf, which led to a brawl among the four superstars.[12][13] Later that night, The Big Bossman joined the Corporate Ministry, after Test turned on him during a tag team match against Mankind and The Big Show.[12][26] The Union was then formed on the May 3 1999 episode of Raw when Shane McMahon confronted the Corporate Ministry and announced the formation of The Union, which consisted of Mankind, Shamrock, The Big Show, and Test.[16][17] The feud escalated on the May 10 1999 episode of Raw, where a Lumberjack match between Bradshaw and Faarooq, resulted in a no-contest, after a brawl commenced among the lumberjacks, The Union, and the Corporate Ministry members.[18][19] On the final episode of Raw before Over the Edge, it was announced that The Union would face the Corporate Ministry in an eight-man elimination tag team match.[22][23]

EventEdit

Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, three matches took place live on Sunday Nigh HEAT on the USA Network.[27][28] The first match was Meat versus Brian Christopher, where Meat pinned Christopher for the win. The second match was a tag team between the Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff), and the team of Goldust and The Blue Meanie, where the Hardys won via pinfall, after Jeff pinned the Blue Meanie. The final match was between Vince McMahon and Mideon, in a match that was ruled a no contest.[27][28]

The first match to air as part of the pay-per-view event was a tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship between the team of Mark Henry and D'Lo Brown and the reigning champions, Kane and X-Pac.[10][29] X-Pac and Brown began the match, as both wrestlers fought back and forth, until Henry and Kane were tagged into the match. Henry then fought Kane, with neither wrestler gaining an advantage over the other. Henry then tagged Brown into the match, as X-Pac attempted to perform an aerial attack on Henry, who was outside the ring. Henry caught X-Pac and rammed his back against the steel ring post. This led to a double team attack on X-Pac by Henry and Brown. Kane witnessed the attack and then jumped off the top rope onto Henry and Brown. As the competitors reentered the ring, X-Pac attacked Brown in the ring corner, while Kane performed a chokeslam and pinned Henry, thus retaining the WWF Tag Team Championship.[30][31]

 
Owen Hart, who fell to his death before his Intercontinental Championship match against The Godfather

After the tag team match, Michael Cole was shown backstage, where he reported that Vince McMahon had (kayfabe) injured his ankle during his match on Sunday Night HEAT and would be unable to be the second special guest referee in the main event.[30][32] The next match was a hardcore match for the WWF Hardcore Championship, involving Hardcore Holly and the reigning champion, Al Snow.[10][29] Holly and Snow began their bout in the ring, which then proceeded into a fight with foreign objects on the outside of the ring. Afterwards, both wrestlers went over the security barricade, where they fought in the crowd, in the arena's backstage area, and in the arena's concession stands. Snow and Holly then returned to the ring, as they used fire extinguishers against one another. Holly then gained the advantage over Snow after performing a DDT on Snow onto a folding chair. Holly attempted to perform a powerbomb on Snow through a table. Snow, however, acted as if he were unconscious and surprised Holly by countering the maneuver and performing a powerbomb on him through the table. He then pinned Holly to win the match and retain the Hardcore Championship.[1][33]

The next scheduled match was for the WWF Intercontinental Championship between Owen Hart and The Godfather. Hart, however, fell to his death during his ring entrance. (For further information, see below).

The fourth match was a mixed tag-team match between the team of Val Venis and Nicole Bass and the team of Jeff Jarret and Debra.[10] Jarrett gained early advantage over Venis, after he missed an elbow drop from the top turnbuckle. Debra and Bass were then tagged into the match, where Bass attempted to clothesline Debra, though, Debra countered and Bass hit the ring corner. As Jarrett and Venis were tagged into the match, Jarrett gained possession of a guitar and attempted to hit Bass with it. Venis, however, was able to take the guitar away from Jarrett. Venis then earned the victory for his team via pinfall, after he hit a back suplex and a Money Shot on Jarrett.[30][32]


The sixth match was an eight-man elimination tag-team match between The Union and the Corporate Ministry.[10][29] Test was the first member of The Union to be eliminated via pinfall, after Bradshaw performed a clothesline on him.[4][33] Bradshaw was the first Corporate Ministry member eliminated, after he submitted to Ken Shamrock's ankle lock.[30][32] The Union had two members remaining, after Shamrock was eliminated via disqualification due to performing a belly to belly suplex on the referee.[4][30] The Corporate Ministry also had two members remaining, after Farooq was eliminated via pinfall, after The Big Show delivered a chokeslam on him.[33][34] Both stables then decreased to one member each, as Show and Viscera brawled on the outside of the ring and were counted out, as they failed to return into the ring within ten seconds.[4][34] Mankind and Bossman were left to represent their respective stables; Mankind earned the victory for The Union after he forced Bossman to submit to the Mandible Claw.[1][10]

The final undercard match was between Triple H and The Rock.[10][29] To build up the storyline of The Rock's injured arm, footage was shown with The Rock wearing a cast and Triple H targeting and attacking The Rock's arm. Neither man gained a strong advantage during the match, as both wrestlers exchanged control. During the match, Triple H asked Chyna, who was managing him, to retrieve a steel chair. The referee, however, took the chair away from Triple H, which led to an argument between them. During the argument, Triple H pushed the referee down, causing the referee to disqualify Triple H and award the victory to The Rock.[34][33]

The main event was a match for the WWF Championship between The Undertaker and the reigning champion, Steve Austin.[10][29] Due to Vince McMahon being injured early in the event, Pat Patterson replaced McMahon as the special guest referee. Patterson, however, was not able to officiate the entire match, as The Undertaker performed a chokeslam on him.[4] Austin and The Undertaker brawled in and out of the ring throughout the match, until Austin gained the advantage over The Undertaker after he hit him with a steel chair.[30] Gerald Brisco then came down to the ring as the replacement referee and officiated an unsuccessful pinfall attempt made by Austin.[4] Brisco was also not able to officiate the entire match, as he was thrown out of the ring by The Undertaker. The Undertaker then gained the advantage over Austin, as he countered a clothesline from the top rope and a stunner by Austin. Austin performed a successful stunner, as Vince limped down to the ring, to embrace the storyline of his injured ankle, to officiate a pinfall attempt made by Austin. Shane McMahon, however, came down to the ring and threw Vince out of the ring, as The Undertaker rolled Austin into a successful pinfall, and Shane officiated the pinfall in a fast manner.[4][34]

Owen Hart accidentEdit

"This is not part of the entertainment tonight.
This is as real as real can be here."

The third scheduled match was for the WWF Intercontinental Championship between The Godfather and Owen Hart.[10] Heading into the event, Hart was known as The Blue Blazer, a superhero gimmick.[36] In keeping with his gimmick, he was to perform a ring entrance that would have him descend from the arena rafters to the ring.[37] On the November 15 1998 edition of Sunday Night HEAT, Hart successfully performed a similar stunt.[38] During this event, however, as he descended to the ring, a cable was disengaged from the vest he was wearing, which caused him to fall over seventy feet from the rafters onto the ring's padded turnbuckle.[36] During Hart's entrance, a pre-recorded interview video was shown to pay-per-view viewers; when the broadcast returned live, WWF cameras quickly turned away from the ring to the audience, to prevent footage of the incident being shown to the viewers.[5] Soon afterwards, Jim Ross, one of the commentators of the event, informed pay-per-view viewers that Hart had fallen from the rafters while performing the ring entrance and told viewers that the incident was "not a part of the entertainment" and that it was "a real situation".[5] Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) came down to the ring and gave Hart CPR, but Hart did not respond.[39] The EMTs then took Hart to the backstage area of the arena, where they boarded him onto an ambulance, which took him to a nearby hospital.[39]

After the incident, the event was halted for fifteen minutes, until Vince McMahon and WWF management made the decision to continue the event.[1][4] The other professional wrestlers who competed in the event after Hart's fall appeared somber during their matches.[39][40] An hour later, Ross informed pay-per-view viewers that Hart had died at the age of thirty-four at a nearby hospital.

Ladies and gentlemen, earlier tonight here in Kansas City tragedy befell the World Wrestling Federation and all of us. Owen Hart was set to make an entrance from the ceiling and he fell from the ceiling. I have the unfortunate responsibility to let everyone know that Owen Hart has died. Owen Hart has tragically died from that accident here tonight.

— Jim Ross, play-by-play commentator for the event, informing viewers of Owen Hart's death.[4]

AftermathEdit

After the event, in response to the Hart tragedy, the WWF canceled the encore of Over the Edge via pay-per-view and canceled three live events in Canada.[39][41] On May 24 1999, the Monday following this event, a tribute to Owen Hart was held on Raw is War in St. Louis, which the WWF called RAW is Owen.[42] It featured interviews from his fellow wrestlers and highlights of his professional wrestling career.[42][43] Three weeks after the event, the Hart family sued the WWF in court for causing Owen's death with a poorly planned stunt, as the family claimed that the harness system was defective.[44] After over a year and a half, a settlement was reached in the case on November 2 2000, which saw the court order the WWF to give the Hart family $18 million dollars that was distributed among the family.[7][45] The manufacturer of the harness system was also named as a defendant in the case but was dismissed from the case after the settlement was reached.[44][7]

After this event, The Rock engaged in a feud with The Undertaker over the WWF Championship, although The Rock continued his side feud with Triple H. The feud between The Rock and The Undertaker began on the June 7 1999 edition of Raw, when The Undertaker interfered in a match between The Rock and Triple H.[46] On the June 14 1999 episode of Raw, The Rock defeated The Undertaker and Triple H in a triple threat match, to earn a WWF Championship match against The Undertaker at King of the Ring for the WWF Championship.[47] At King of the Ring, The Undertaker defeated The Rock via pinfall, after Triple H interfered in the match.[48][49] The feud between Triple H and The Rock continued at Fully Loaded, where Triple H defeated the Rock to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship.[50][51] At SummerSlam, Mankind defeated Triple H and the defending champion, Steve Austin in a triple threat match to win the WWF Championship.[52][53]

After this event, Steve Austin engaged in a feud with Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and the Corporate Ministry. Austin attempted to earn control over the WWF, but he failed to do so after he lost a handicap ladder match at King of the Ring. During the match, a briefcase, which held documents that would have given control over the WWF to the winner(s), was to be retrieved as it hung above the ring.[48][49] On the June 28 1999 episode of Raw, Shane and Vince cut a promo on their win over Austin at King of the Ring. They then announced a WWF Championship match for later that night between Austin and The Undertaker. Austin defeated The Undertaker via pinfall to win the WWF Championship.[54][55] After winning the WWF Championship, Austin engaged in a feud with Triple H, which began on the July 26 1999 episode of Raw, where Triple H and Austin interfered in a handicap match between the team of Mr. Ass and Chyna against The Rock.[56] Mankind then got involved in the feud after Triple H and Mankind pinned each other simultaneously in a number one contenders match for the WWF Championship, on the August 18 1999 episode of Raw.[57] At SummerSlam, Mankind defeated Austin and Triple H to win the WWF Championship.[58][59]

CriticismEdit

Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation received strong criticism for both designing the stunt and allowing the event to continue after Hart's death. In his weekly column for the Calgary Sun on May 31 1999, Bret Hart blamed McMahon for his brother's death. He "question[ed] if this was really necessary" and said, "Shame on you, Vince McMahon."[60] He also claimed that the tribute show "reeked of disrespect," stating, "Yes, the so-called tribute where afterwards wrestlers point to their crotches and say: 'Suck it!' It makes me nauseous."[61] Other members of the Hart family also blamed McMahon for Owen's death,[62] claiming that the accident was the inevitable outcome of "an obsession for ratings and revenues."[63] While in Calgary, Alberta for Owen's funeral, Hulk Hogan stated, "Hopefully something good will happen. Wrestling's gotten...way too over the top".[64] In reference to McMahon, he added, "I hope he learns a lesson from this horrible accident".[64] Ralph Klein, Alberta's premier at the time, expressed a hope that Owen's death would lead to changes in wrestling, stating, "Maybe the various federations will rethink the gimmickry."[65]

Calgary Sun columnist Eric Francis called McMahon's decision to continue the event "sick, disrespectful and wrong. But what else would you expect from the WWF?"[66] He added, "if there's any justice in this world, McMahon will pay dearly for what his organization has done to further pain the Harts".[66] Some fans were also upset with the decision to carry on with the show. One man, who left the event with his children upon hearing that Owen had died, claimed, "It was disgusting....For kids to see that, for this to be so-called family entertainment, for them to just carry on as if nothing had happened, is just sad."[67]

Martha Hart, Owen's wife, refused to criticize McMahon publicly in the immediate aftermath of her husband's death. She said that McMahon "absolutely should be there" at the funeral.[62] She also stated, "I'm a very forgiving person and I'm not bitter or angry, but there will be a day of reckoning".[61] She later filed a lawsuit blaming the WWF for the accident and was awarded $18 million.[68] Commenting on the WWF's decision to continue the show after her husband's death, Martha stated, "After he lost his fight for life they just scooped him up and ordered the next match out. Where's the humanity? Would he have wanted the show to go on? Absolutely not."[6]

The WWF received some support from people who felt that the company did the right thing by continuing the event. Vince Russo pointed to the fact that Brian Pillman, a family friend of the Harts, died shortly before the Badd Blood: In Your House pay-per-view on which he was scheduled to perform in 1997. After learning of Pillman's death, Owen went ahead with his match on the show. Russo claimed that this showed that "the night he passed away I'm sure Owen would have wanted the same thing."[69]

Vince McMahon refused to comment on Owen's death until he felt sufficient time had passed. When asked if he felt responsible for Owen's death, he replied, "I have a lot to say and I will say it. I promise you that. But this is not the time to do it....Give me a few days. Give me to the end of the week. Then we'll talk."[61] The day after Owen's death, the WWF published a message in the Calgary Sun, one of the major newspapers in Owen's hometown, stating, "We do not have much information as to how it happened and will not know until an investigation is completed. We are all shaken, and to say Owen will be missed is to fall short of a way to fully explain what he meant to us."[70]

ResultsEdit

Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.

  • After the match, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were shown on screen. Ross explained that Hart was supposed to be lowered from the ceiling for his match and told the viewers that Hart had fallen. Ross then said, "And I have the unfortunate responsibility to let everyone know that Owen Hart has died. Owen Hart has tragically died from that accident here tonight."[1][30]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit