Owen Hart, 1965-1999
I'll never forget that moment.
I signed onto America Online to find out what was going on during the evening's WWE pay-per-view, Over the Edge, and was immediately messaged by an e-fed acquaintance I hadn't spoken to in some months.
"Are you watching the show?," he asked. When I told him I wasn't, he leveled me with the news.
"Owen Hart is dead."
I couldn't believe what I had just read. As I tried to access any number of wrestling news sites, they all seemed to have trouble dealing with the unexpected traffic.
I finally found out what had happened: as the Blue Blazer, Hart was supposed to be lowered down into the ring like a superhero flying in but a harness broke and he freefell nearly 80 feet, crashing into the turnbuckle which would end up being fatal.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were beside themselves. Jeff Jarrett, a rulebreaker at the time, broke character and told Owen they were praying for him while Debra McMichael couldn't help but break down during the promo.
Vince McMahon was criticized for continuing the show, WWE was sued -- and still is today -- and the already strained relationship between McMahon and the Hart family was dealt another blow.
But beyond all that, wrestling fans lost an enormous talent that night. From everything I've heard and read, his wife Martha and their children lost a loving husband and father. Those who worked with him and cared for him lost a dear friend.
We all miss you, Owen.
After the jump, his cage match against brother Bret at SummerSlam 1994, one of the best matches I've ever seen.