Thursday, January 29, 2009

Martha Hart. The Little Canadian Chick With HUGE Brass Balls.

I read a book last weekend that is still rattling around in my head.

So much so, that I wanted to tell you about it.

And yes, I've prepared myself for the onslaught of groans ;-)

The book I read was 'Broken Harts' - The Life and Death of Owen Hart (one of Canada's most famous professional Wrestlers) as told by his wife Martha Hart and Eric Francis.

Pic courtesy of

Since the boys have become interested in wrestling, I have picked up a few auto biographies on some of the wrestlers.

I have also read a few of these myself.

I chose the Owen Hart story because both boys, at one point or another over the past year, have said they want to be 'professional wrestlers in the WWE'.

Adam is out on the trampoline e.v.e.r.y. d.a.y with his WWE belt, 'practicing his moves'.



So, although I let them watch it, and buy the merchandise, I'm also constantly throwing little stories out there that depict the 'down' side of wrestling.

Yes, I know it's scripted.

Yes, I know there are 'story lines'.

Yes, I know the outcome and a choreography of the base moves is pre-determined.

I also know, that one wrong move can mean a real injury.

These are still real people.

There's a toll it takes on the men physically, mentally, spiritually ... you name it.

It also takes a toll on their families, because they're on the road so much of the time.

Not only have some men given their lives (souls) over to wrestling, and specifically to the man who has, in part, made it what it is today, Vince McMahon, but the 'sport' itself has taken the lives of others all too soon.

I don't want to scare them. But I want the boys to realize there's a WHOLE lot more to it than just the 'coolness' & hype they see on TV twice a week.

One of the wrestlers we've discussed is Owen Hart,which was why I had selected this particular book.

Owen Hart died in 1999, during a live pay-per-view event in Kansas City.

He was hanging 79ft above the ring, in a harness, preparing to perform an aerial drop from the rafters into the ring.

An allegedly inexperienced Rigger secured the wrestler, in full caped costume, into the harness without a backup safety clip, and a main 'quick release' clip that was meant for releasing sails on boats ... not supporting a dangling 250lb man.

This particular clip, which the (former)WWF had allegedly been advised AGAINST using for obvious safety reasons, only required 6 pounds of pressure to release and was completely inappropriate to be used to secure ... a dangling 250lb man.

But it was cheap, and had a faster release than the 'safer' ones.

Which in turn, was better for 'The Show'.


It is believed that the act of Owen taking a breath, and adjusting his cape was enough pressure to release the clip and send him falling to his death in front of tens of thousands of people.

A tragic end for a good person who still had a lifetime worth of living to do.

I have discovered a common thread in the other wrestler's bios I've read so far.

They all contain some mention of Owen, and describe how they ALL thought of him as a genuinely nice guy. One of the really 'good' guys.

I started Broken Harts thinking it was going to be about two things; wrestling, and 'what happened that night'.

I soon discovered it was so much more.

It was about Owen Hart the person. Not simply Owen Hart the Wrestler.

It was a love story. And yes, I cried a few times.

It touched on the fact that the 'First Family of Canadian Wrestling', the Hart family, Martha's in-laws, were ... dysfunctional ... to say the least.

It was peppered with her disdain for wrestlers and the sport and lifestyle in general.

But, for ME, it was the story of Owen's wife Martha, taking on the 3 billion dollar industry (at the time) that was professional wrestling, and Vince McMahon himself.

There was absolutely no reason her husband should have died. She suspected it, and as a final promise to him, she vowed to prove it.

And she did.

The little Canadian chick, who had little to no support from the most influential wrestling family in Canada, her husband's own family, took on the giant, exposed him for the cheap bastard that he was, and held him responsible.

Yes, I know there are two sides to every story. Especially with stories like these.

This particular story was coming from a woman who never understood or liked the world her husband found himself tied to, who didn't have or want any further ties to the man allegedly indirectly responsible for her husband's death, and through the lawsuit, obtained depositions from qualified sources, regarding the direct cause (release clip) of her husband's death ... I'm leaning towards HER side of THIS story.

However, if you're a 'die-hard' wrestling fan, you will most likely NOT like this book, as Martha Hart clearly describes her dislike and distaste for pretty much everything that is wrestling.

Apparently the book is riddled with inaccuracies regarding things that happened in the WWF, but I really didn't care. I wanted to know what happened to Owen and why, not who was backstabbing who in the WWF almost ten years ago.

If there's a 'something good' that came out of all this, it is The Owen Hart Foundation, established by Martha in his memory in December 2000, with a portion of the proceeds from the trial victory.

" We provide opportunities for hard-working people
who have limited resources and unlimited potential."

---- The Owen Hart Foundation Website

I really enjoyed the book.

And I admit, I have the utmost respect for Martha Hart. The little Canadian chick with HUGE brass Balls.

For standing up and fighting for the truth, and in the end, justice for Owen.



Sue said...

I remember when that happened. Awful. Unbelievable, too. She certainly does have brass ones.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I would NEVER have picked this book up but now might give it a go. Glad you mentioned that it's a love story cuz that's what it sounds like.

I too remember that. So tragic...


Kim's Korner said...

If you decide to pick it up Hallie, you'll have to let me know what you thought of it :-)

Mike said...

Hi Kim,

I was pointed in the direction of this blog post by a friend. I know it is old, but I have a few things to say.

1) I am a huge wrestling fan. This book is hands down the best wrestling book I have ever read. There are very few, if any, inaccuracies about the wrestling business, and if there are, they are inconsequential.

2) Owen Hart was everything that is good about wrestling. Tongue in cheek, entertaining the fans, hanging out with the boys, and providing for a family.

3) Martha's side of the story is the only side of the story. The courts see it that way, and it is fact.

This book is an important read for any 13 year old who loves wrestling, and any paretn who lets their kid watch it.

Kim's Korner said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for taking the time to leave on comment on this post. Old or not ;-)

It's nice to hear that such a huge fan of wrestling, does not slam Martha's book, and side with the McMahons.

I wasn't hanging 79ft above the ring when that clip let go. I don't know 'exactly' what happened. But Martha Hart's account of the event, and whole lifestyle was enough for me to believe HER side of the story on this one.

Glad to hear there are others out there who do so as well!

Unfortunately, my youngest STILL wants to be a wrestler in the WWE when he grows up.


Thankfully I still have a few more years to convince him being a Secret Agent Spy would be MUCH more exciting ... and much less dangerous! ;-)

EasyE1013 said...

I remember when This Tragic event happened. I have this book and also read it. It will touch like no book has ever touched you before. I suggest reading it.

Ian C said...

Hi Kim,

I read the posts regarding the book with interest. I, like Mike, was also a wrestling fan, and remember watching the pay per view where Owen tragically died. I recently found this book, and read it for the first time. It's contents made me realise exactly how strong Martha is, and also how much Bret Hart has been vilified, I now think quite unjustly, by certain elements within the wrestling world. I have read many bios of wrestlers, and this ranks for me as one of the best.