During the mid-1990s, I defy anyone to show me a better all round performer than Owen Hart. He could do serious, he could talk, he could work rings around pretty much anyone, keep up with anyone, he could sell, and he could do comedy, an underrated quality. He could do it all, and while he never quite made it to the summit of the industry, he certainly had his share of successes. Hart’s career will always be overshadowed by his untimely death, and the bizarre circumstances that led to it, but the retrospective WWE have released, Owen Hart: Hart of Gold is a fitting tribute to his work and the man that he was.
One of the best things about Hart of Gold is the quasi-kayfabe interview they have throughout, one that had certainly been buried in the archives, and acts as a retrospective narration to Owens’ career from his stampede days, through his stints abroad, his original run as the Blue Blazer, his heel turn, run against Bret, tag team championships with Yokozuna and Bulldog, and his latter years as part of the Nation of Domination, and finally his tragic death. This documentary is really thorough, with some excellent input from the Hart family, especially Bret and Jim Neidhart, but also his peers throughout his WWE career. At times it’s perhaps a bit overly complimentary, but given Hart’s death, and his standing within the company as well as his backstage standing, it’s understandable. It’s a touching and moving affair, and really goes to great lengths to show the professionalism and charisma of one of the most amazing performers of the past 3 decades, sadly taken from us all far before his time.
The match selection is one of the biggest highlights of this release. Owen was a proficient mat technician, as well as an accomplished high flyer far ahead of his time. His early matches from Stampede Wrestling show how revolutionary his hybrid American-Japanese technique was, and then his matches against the likes of Bret, Shawn Michaels, Bulldog, Edge, Ken Shamrock, and the like show how adaptable his style was. However, aside from the matches there are also just a series of stories from his contemporaries, showing what a great family man Owen was, and his mischievous side as something of a prankster. This really is a must-see release, chronicling the life and times of one of the greatest of all time, and the most heart-breaking losses to the professional wrestling business.
EXTRAS ★★★★ The extras are a real highlight here, although not an easy watch at times. There are a couple of cracking matches, one featuring the Blue Blazer vs. the Ted Rooster, and another with Owen vs. the 123 Kid from KOTR 1994. However, much of these extras focus on the videos from Raw is Owen the night after he passed away. It’s a real emotional wrench watching his colleagues pay tribute to him, but fascinating nonetheless.