There are always fights between family members. However, they aren’t typically aired on television. Actually, in 2013 family fights are a staple of your nightly television viewing plans. That may be the case now, but back in the early 1990’s family fights were rather private. There was no longer any privacy for one family… the Hart Family. It all started in November 1993.
Bret Hart and his brothers Keith, Bruce and Owen teamed up to take on a team captained by Shawn Michaels at WWF Survivor Series 1993. The Hart Family was dominating the match and everything was going well. That all changed when Owen accidentally knocked Bret Hart off the apron while running the ropes and the distraction allowed Shawn Michaels to pin Owen. Owen was the only man to be eliminated in the match and he had a temper tantrum as a result.
The loss made Owen’s feelings boil over and he revealed shortly after the event that he was sick and tired of being in Bret’s shadow. Owen claimed he was better at school, wrestling and sports than Bret but yet all everyone ever talked about was Bret Hart. Owen would challenge Bret to a match in December ’93, but Bret made it clear that he would never want to wrestle his brother Owen. It would never happen under and circumstances.
During the holiday season, the brothers appeared to worked their issues out and formed a tag team. Of course, it was clear from the beginning that Owen was making himself to look like the leader and Bret would be taking the backseat to him. Owen said in promos that Bret would be riding his back to the WWF World Tag Team Championships. They would get a tag team title match at the Royal Rumble in January ’94.
After over sixteen minutes of action, the Quebecers were able to retain the titles after the referee stopped the match due to Bret Hart’s knee injury. This didn’t sit well with the fans, but Owen Hart was livid. Owen felt that Bret was stealing the spotlight again by refusing to tag out to him. Owen proceeded to kick Bret’s injured knee and officially started his heel turn. There was no turning back now.
Just to add salt to the wound, Bret Hart would co-win the Royal Rumble later in the night and earned a WWF World Championship match at WrestleMania X. However, before Bret would wrestle for the gold, he would take on his brother Owen at the event in the opening match. They would wrestle for twenty minutes and put on an incredible match that the Madison Square Garden crowd ate up and viewers at home were surely freaking out. Owen Hart was able to pin his brother Bret cleanly. This is a defining moment for Owen Hart and his quest to become a star in the WWF. Actually, he just became a star in the WWF after this match.
Of course, Bret Hart would go on and overcome the odds later on in the show and pinned Yokozuna to regain the WWF World Championship for a second time. While Bret celebrated his victory in the ring with other babyface wrestlers, Owen appeared on the aisle way annoyed and disgusted with the celebration. We’ve got our feud for the summer all setup.
Owen’s summer would start off very well at King of the Ring in June of 1994. At the pay per view, Owen took part in the yearly tournament. In the first round he was able to defeat Tatanka, followed by the 1-2-3 Kid in the second round and in the finals Owen was able to defeat Razor Ramon to become the King of Harts! Just like Bret Hart had done a year earlier, Owen won the King of the Ring tournament.
Earlier in the show, WWF World Champion Bret Hart fought Diesel and loss by disqualification due to Jim Neidhart getting involved. Neidhart would swerve us all as he would help Owen in the King of the Ring finals by attacking Razor Ramon and allowing Owen to pin Ramon.
Their match at SummerSlam took place inside a steel cage on August 29th at SummerSlam. They went at it for over a half hour and put on one of the best matches ever put on in 1994 and probably in the 1990s in general. Owen was desperate to escape the cage and win the championship but ended up losing after Bret was able to hang Owen upside down on the cage and escaped the cage hitting the floor to retain the championship. Afterward, Neidhart attacked Bret and the British Bulldog got physically involved marking his return to the company.
Bret would move on during the winter months and begin a feud with Bob Backlund. Owen would still be a thorn in Bret’s side as he would be with Backlund during a title match between the two at Survivor Series in November ’94. At the event, Bret defended the WWF World Championship against Backlund in a submission match. Backlund was able to surprisingly win the championship after Owen Hart was able to convince his mother to toss in the towel to save Bret from the cross face chicken wing.
They would continue to wrestle on the house show market in early 1995 with Bret beating Owen every single time the met whether it was a singles match or tag team contest. Bret would continually get the best of Owen throughout 1996 as well.
There feud would come to an end in the spring of 1997 when Bret Hart turned heel and formed the Hart Foundation with Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart and Pillman.
The feud between Bret Hart and Owen Hart is without the best feud the WWF had going in late 1993 through the entire year of 1994. Their matches never failed to deliver and the story of a jealous younger brother trying to get out of his older bro’s shadow is completely realistic.
I only wish that Owen was able to win more matches against Bret. The victory at Mania X was enormous and made him a star at a snap of a finger. A lot of people wish that Owen had won the WWF World Championship at SummerSlam ’94 and then proceed to lose the belt back to Bret at Survivor Series ’94 in the submission match instead of Backlund. I actually like that idea, though we would then never get the Diesel WWF World Championship run in ’95!
The only drawback of the feud is that Owen never beat Bret again aside from Mania. Dragging the feud out into ’95 and to a lesser extent ’96 was just overkill. Although the decision at that point was never in doubt, they continued to put on the best matches on the card.
So, because of that I must give the feud a recommendation. I don’t believe there is anything about this feud that people would dislike.
What are your memories of the Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart feud? Feel free to leave your comments below!
Thanks for reading!
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.