Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
flyonthewall2983

Dark Side of the Ring: Viceland docu-series

Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, MoS said:

Martha is clearly the best of the Harts 

Deserves to be repeated. It's rare that I find someone involved in wrestling even peripherally that I admire on that level. There are lots of people in wrestling that I respect, or that I see good qualities in, but not really in a way where I see their good qualities as transcending this hobby most of the time. Martha Hart is an inspiration to me as a parent -- the idea that no matter what happens, good or bad, you want your children to be smarter, kinder and better off than you ever were. She had the respect for them even as small children to tell them the truth and relentlessly pursue the truth that they couldn't access. It's powerful. It's a ray of hope in an otherwise terrible story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martha Hart has my admiration and respect. This strong woman fought relentlessly to have justice served for her husband and the father of their children. It's sad that some wrestlers, fans, and even family members can't look outside the bubble and realize that there are more important things to focus on than wrestling legacy or a HOF induction. Negligence was at play that night, let's focus on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was tough to watch, as expected. Hopefully now Martha Hart will stop being vilified by idiotic wrestling fans, as she, Oje, and Athena handled themselves with such grace and class, and were 100% in the right. 

The Hart Family came across, both then and now, as completely dysfunctional and stuck in the wrestling bubble.

Vince McMahon (in archival footage) was operating right out of the Trump playbook when he chided a reporter on his "tone" and "sarcasm." I wonder if he learned that from Trump or vice versa. 

21 hours ago, NintendoLogic said:

Hopefully, they'll have someone from the Kansas City police department on to explain why they didn't immediately order the show to be shut down. By allowing it to continue, they were allowing a crime scene to be tampered with.

This was mentioned on the show, and it's something I've rarely seen brought up. There were thankfully no keystone kops as talking heads though. After the Snuka episode, I'm glad, because that likely would've been frustrating to watch. It seems pretty clear that Martha basically had to do her own investigation.

 I read Martha Hart's book years ago, and it's probably still the saddest book I've ever read. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, C.S. said:

Vince McMahon (in archival footage) was operating right out of the Trump playbook when he chided a reporter on his "tone" and "sarcasm." I wonder if he learned that from Trump or vice versa. 

They are from the same ilk. The putrid kind.

If there's another Dark Side of the Ring to be done, it's actually on Vince himself. A whole season, to expose what piece of trash this guy really is. From the covering up of murder to exploiting a widow for ratings to suing Martha Hart after taking no responsibility for the death of Owen to honoring the memory of an homophobic hate speaker and making it a "charity is the new PR" symbol to doing propaganda for a criminal regime to mass firing employ independent contractors during a pandemic etc etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really funny how Mark Henry is all "Owen's son deserves to see his dad be inducted in our hall of fame" and we see his son saying "Actually, nah, sure he's a great wrestler but he was so much more."

Martha Hart started dating Owen when she was 15, and even after more than 20 years since his tragic death, she has not remarried. Her loyalty to Owen is incredible, and the fact that the Hart family undermined her is disgusting. I know Bret helped her throughout the lawsuit, and they had a falling out later, but Bret needs to make peace with the fact that for Owen, unlike Bret himself, wrestling was not the be-all and end-all. He got into wrestling because of his dad and remained there because of his brothers. That itself should have shown them how important family was to him, unlike a Hall of Fame induction from a company that never appreciated him when he was alive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, MoS said:

Really funny how Mark Henry is all "Owen's son deserves to see his dad be inducted in our hall of fame"

Wait, he actually said that ? Mark Henry really need to shut the fuck up now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, El-P said:

Wait, he actually said that ? Mark Henry really need to shut the fuck up now.

He said something along the lines of it was Oje's "birthright" to see Owen inducted in the HOF, which even if there wasn't the whole matter of him being killed by negligence, is a pretty "encased in a bubble made of steel" thing to believe. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, El-P said:

They are from the same ilk. The putrid kind.

If there's another Dark Side of the Ring to be done, it's actually on Vince himself. A whole season, to expose what piece of trash this guy really is. From the covering up of murder to exploiting a widow for ratings to suing Martha Hart after taking no responsibility for the death of Owen to honoring the memory of an homophobic hate speaker and making it a "charity is the new PR" symbol to doing propaganda for a criminal regime to mass firing employ independent contractors during a pandemic etc etc...

Shit.  A doc on all the awful things Vince has done would have to be a 10-part Last Dance-style thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They could do an entire season of Dark Side just on Vince:

Ep 1:  Killing all the Territories

Ep 2: Steroid Trial

Ep 3: Dealing with Saudi Arabia

Ep 4: XFL (both Versions 1 and 2)

Ep 5: The Legal Episode (covering up murders, bribing local officials, sexual harassment cases, independent contractor law)

Ep 6: Weird Family Relations (wanting to do incest angles with Steph, booking himself to make out with Trish in front of zombie Linda, driving Shane into becoming a glorified stuntman to get his father's attention, etc)

Ep 7: The Rasslin' Promoter who Hates Rasslin (all about Vince's verbal quirks and how he doesn't like being seen as a wrestling promoter)

Ep 8:  Destroying the Future (his attempts to kill any other promotions/markets with special focus on how NXT UK squashed an up and coming UK scene)

 

Book it, Vice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, FMKK said:

 https://www.f4wonline.com/wrestling-observer-radio/free-show-wor-dr-martha-hart-311436

Martha did an interview with Dave and Jim Valley that they've put out as a free show

She mentions WWF told all the newspapers at the time that they paid for Owen's funeral, and she stated they never did. So that's something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the episode was very moving.  I absolutely agree that WWE has no business pushing for Owen to be in the Hall of Fame.  I'm sure they'd love for him to be in there, because then they could point at Owen being in the HOF and claim that as proof everything is great with WWE and Owen's family.  Their idiotic booking, ridiculous "creative" and lack of concern for their employees (sorry, Independent Contractors) safety got Owen Hart killed.  I would hate to see anything done that somehow makes it seem like that is just "water under the bridge."  WWE should never be able to squirm out of their culpability for Owen's death, ever.  I don't care how much time passes. I also really liked how Owen's son pointed out that every plaque that goes up from the Owen Hart Foundation helping somebody is much more appropriate tribute to Owen Hart than the pointless WWE HOF could ever hope to be.  I totally admire and agree with Martha's position on Owen being in the HOF.

Having said all that...

I have seen Bret Hart take a lot of heat in different circles online this past week.  Martha has given a number of interviews where she claimed that Bret was supportive of her lawsuit against WWE, but partially because he wanted revenge on them for the Montreal Screwjob.  She has also claimed that Bret was using her lawsuit as a way to attempt to gain ownership of the footage WWE owned of Bret and Owen.  Martha basically inferred that once Bret realized he wasn't going to get ownership for his career library he made peace with Vince.  Look, it's obvious that some of the Hart family (Bruce especially) have serious issues.  It's a documented fact that Smith and Dean (both now passed) had some pretty glaring personality issues as well. The fact that some members of the Hart family actively worked against Martha during the lawsuit is pretty much unconscionable.  But I went to a public speaking engagement Bret Hart did in Toronto years ago, which ended with a fan Q&A.  The question of Martha and Owen came up, and Bret was very open about the situation.  He freely admits that he did support Martha during the lawsuit, partially because he was still angry with Vince over Montreal, but mostly because WWE basically killed Owen.  He also admitted he was hoping to get the rights for footage with he and Owen so he could put out his own career retrospective DVD, as part of the lawsuit.

But there is more to the story, at least if you believe Bret.  Bret claimed that after the lawsuit, Martha told him that her children were members of the Hart family "in name only" and that she also blamed the Hart family's obsession with Pro Wrestling for killing Owen.  Martha also allegedly claimed that nobody in the Hart family would have any contact with her children, that they would grow up having no contact with any of their aunts, uncles or grandparents and Bret even alleges that Martha said some very hurtful things to either Stu or Helen. (I forget which, and I forget if Helen was even still alive by the time this lawsuit was settled.)  During the interview I saw, Bret basically said in the big picture he didn't care about money or even his career footage, he was mainly upset that Martha was blaming the entire Hart family for something only a few of them had done.

I totally understand why Martha would think that way.  I understand why she resents Professional Wrestling and even a lot of members of the Hart Family.  But I also have a lot of nieces and nephews.  God forbid, if one of my brothers died and their widow basically told me I'd never get to see my nieces and nephews, that they were going to grow up not ever knowing their own Uncle...and if the widow said something hurtful to my parents?  I'd be very upset as well.  Bret has already released a statement this week saying that there is a lot more to the story than what Martha has been saying, but he isn't going to talk any further about it.

Not only did that horrible event kill Owen Hart, but it also tore a family apart.  As much sympathy as I have for Martha and her kids, I also have some sympathy for some members (but not all) of the Hart family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to think both Bret and Martha are telling the truth about their falling out. Sometimes, good people have rifts and they are both still good people, and I think that's what this is. They probably both had points of merit, and I hope they reconcile one day, because almost everyone that Bret can share the great memories he has of his life and career with has died, and I'm sure it's a lonely place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a really good comment, @The Thread Killer It's been a while since I read Bret's book, and he definitely loved Owen and his kids. I think Bret, like most Harts, could never divorce pro wrestling from personal life for any of his family members, because of which, fortunately or unfortunately, all his actions have partial wrestling motives behind them - like the career retrospective released under Bret's control for both brothers. Bret needs to understand though that wrestling was not nearly as important to Owen as it is to him, and if trying to highlight Owen's career meant working with the company that killed him, then it would be too high a price to pay for his wife and kids. I don't know where Bret's mind is at right now, but if there ever is a mending of fences, I have no doubt it would be with Martha and Bret. I haven't listened to the Martha interview with Meltzer yet, but having watched her on this episode and heard her on Jericho's podcast, she did seem to like Bret more than the other members. 

That said, it's not fair on her part to say that he helped her because he wanted to get back at them for Montreal. I don't think that hurt, but I don't believe that was close to the main reason. He helped her because he loved Owen. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By listening to her interview on Talk is Jericho, I didn't get the feeling that Martha hates pro wrestling like many people say. She was speaking very fondly about Owen's pre-WWF career with his stints in Japan and Europe and she seemed to genuinely have had a great time with Owen back then. But Owen's tragic death happened and grief can make you say and do some things you can never go back from. As far as the family thing goes, I know that she mentioned that she always told her children to be courteous and respectful when they meet Hart family members and unless I'm mistaken, Oje and Natalya are sometimes in contact with each other (at least, I saw that Nattie is following Oje's Instagram account) so it's really hard to understand what truly is going on.

But like @MoS said, if there are two people who can eventually bury the hatchet with each other, it's Martha and Bret. And I sincerely hope for their peace of mind that they do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

Bret has already released a statement this week saying that there is a lot more to the story than what Martha has been saying, but he isn't going to talk any further about it.

It would make sense that Bret would probably have knowledge that she didn't, and vice versa. There's always some things only a sibling would know and some things only a spouse would. 

I could see how some of the family, being that wrestling is the only thing most of them know, were concerned Martha might possibly fuck up their careers (especially considering how vindictive Vince can be) with the lawsuit. At the same time, I don't see how they seemingly couldn't understand why his widow might not give a shit about their career options if she felt WWF was responsible for killing her husband. 

I get how these situations can be. My wife's uncle was in a serious accident (got t-boned by an 18 wheeler) and was never the same,  eventually passing away. His wife stopped talking to the family at that point and some folks got really upset about that. It was kind of abrupt, and she didn't blame anyone in the family about it, but I understood that losing a spouse way before you expected kind of fucks you up.  People handle it in different ways and sometimes other people aren't going to understand it.

I hope that Martha and Bret can mend fences though. It always seemed like they got along before hand, probably since Bret clearly had a soft spot for his baby bro. I would hope as well that with all the health issues Bret has dealt with he's in the frame of mind where you can go "fuck the petty bullshit" and reconnect.

However I do fear that Bret is on good terms again with WWE there might be pressure on him to come out against what she's saying, especially after Jerry McDevitt's awful attempt at a preemptive strike went about as well as the Hindenburg. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's no one's business to judge what the fuck Martha Hart wanted for her kids after what happened to them. It's not like Hart Family is this great unit of wonderful people either. Lots of fuck ups and crazy-ass lunatics on the wrestling side of things. Considering pro-wrestling was just her husband's job and he died because of it, it's only a miracle she doesn't despise it as a whole and it shows how good and big she is that doesn't. Considering how apparently she was not only not supported but also legit betrayed by some family members, I totally get why she would want to isolate herself from these people (because really, they choose to isolate her at the worst time imaginable). The falling out with Bret seems a little bit more complex since he was supporting her at first, but like it's been said, Bret also came back to WWE eventually. Nothing is simple. Expect that fact Martha and her children lost a husband and father because of WWF negligence. From that point on and again considering what kind of character as a human being she has been displaying, she deserves nothing but respect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The important thing in this story is that in the end, Owen's kids had the life Owen wanted for them. They turned out like he hoped they would. The reason for that is that Martha fought for it and refused to let a terrible tragedy destroy the family they had built. People have referred to Martha as "holding a grudge" but it's very much possible to not hold a grudge while also acknowledging that there cannot be a relationship moving forward because the trust was broken. You can make clear that's unacceptable and has consequences while still moving on with your life, which is what she has done. I can't think of anyone who could navigate something like that without making any mistakes at all, and I'm sure Martha made her share like anyone would, but she had her priorities in order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's pretty clear that it's WWE that Martha hates rather than pro wrestling in general. She happily accepted on Owen's behalf when he was inducted into the Thesz/Tragos Hall of Fame. Also, my recollection is that the bulk of the vitriol directed at her was in the mid-late 00s. That was the period when WWE was releasing DVDs centered around classic matches, expanding their circulation beyond the hardcore tape trader community. At the same time, it was nothing like today where just about anything you'd want to see is available online at the drop of a hat. So if a match wasn't on an official WWE release, it was beyond the reach of most fans. And a lot of fans have been trained to see wrestlers as comic book or video game characters rather than human beings. To them, not being able to watch Owen's matches was akin to not being able to play as Mileena in Mortal Kombat 11. That doesn't justify the way those fans treated Martha by any means, but it makes it maybe 1% more understandable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't even think she hates WWE. She just doesn't any kind of relationship with them. She never goes around knocking them; this is the first time she has spoken publicly in decades. But she doesn't want anything to do with them, and I think where her issue with Bret stems from is that his being canonised and celebrated as a hero in pro wrestling means absolutely nothing to her, while it means much more to Bret. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, sek69 said:

However I do fear that Bret is on good terms again with WWE there might be pressure on him to come out against what she's saying, especially after Jerry McDevitt's awful attempt at a preemptive strike went about as well as the Hindenburg. 

If there is pressure on Bret in that direction, I don't see him succumbing to it. This is a guy who gives no fucks and randomly shows up on an AEW show to present their belt, then back to WWE for the HOF and whatever else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the Owen episode was a great way to end the season. It did a great job of filling in the story from Owen's wife and children's perspective rather than just a "wrestling" one. Martha seems very intelligent and centered, as do her children. She's taken a tragedy and tried to build something good from it. I admire her strength. Hopefully this will quiet the segment of fans who spew vitriol in her direction and try to speak on behalf of Owen's kids, but I doubt it. 

What caused the rift between Bret and Martha? I thought they were on good terms after the suit against WWF. 

My memory is fuzzy, but i seem to remember a story from around that time from either Martha or Bret talking about the rest of the Harts' behavior during that time and it was something along the lines of the family thinking about everything they were doing in terms of a wrestling angle. They could be a "heel" to Martha in the summer, and turn "babyface" again by christmas.

This is another one of those situations where Vince's (and by extension the company's) "circle the wagons" attitude against any enemy either real or perceived drives one crazy. Jeez, even Nixon eventually said "mistakes were made".

I too would like an answer as to why KCPD didn't immediately seal off the arena as a possible crime scene. Maybe like with the Snuka case, cops don't care because it's just rasslin'.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×