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  May 25, 1999

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The Jackyl's No Holds Barred column

By DON 'The Jackyl' CALLIS
Special to SLAM! Sports

Appearing weekly
on SLAM! Wrestling
and in the Winnipeg Sun
and Thunder Bay Chronicle Herald

- Official web site
- Jackyl email
- SLAM! Jackyl bio

Bless you Owen, we'll miss you

By DON 'The Jackyl' CALLIS -- For SLAM! Wrestling
  When I heard the news of Owen Hart's passing last night via telephone, my initial reaction was not to believe it.
 Certainly nobody could imagine something this horrible happening to someone so decent. I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that a good friend and a great human being was gone, the victim of a tragic accident.
 Colleagues and friends are shocked and horrified. The WWF has cancelled all house shows this week out of respect for a man who was well liked by everyone he came in contact with.
 I first met Owen Hart in September of 1997 at Madison Square Garden, and I was struck almost immediately by what a great person he was.
 Being a newcomer in the WWF can be a very intimidating experience. Being a part of the "show" for the first time, with all of the expensive production, not to mention walking around backstage and seeing all of the guys you had watched on television can be overwhelming. Certainly it was for me in 1997 when I made my debut.
 Owen was someone who would go out of his way to try to make a new guy feel comfortable, which he did for me on many occasions, asking me how things were in Winnipeg or just taking the time to chat with me about whatever.
 Although Owen was only three years older, I considered him a mentor of sorts during my time in the WWF. I was lucky enough to get to know him, having travelled with him on a couple of occasions and seeing him at the television tapings every two weeks.
 I remember one night making a four hour trip to Virginia with Owen and Kurrgan. Owen and I made the Giant sit in the back seat, as Owen refused to let him drive the car, based on the stories I had told him of Kurrgan's driving. During that trip we just shot it around, passing the time of the long drive, and Owen imparted some of his knowledge of the business to me for which I was grateful.
 Owen was one of the funniest guys you could ever meet, and he would often crack me up at TV tapings, making some smart remark, with a perfectly straight face. Owen always looked out for his buddies on the crew. Just about every time we would see each other at TV tapings, he would call me over, and hook me up with some first class upgrade coupons, or set me up with a meal at a local Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock or wherever he happened to be going that night.
 Owen Hart epitomized everything that is good about the wrestling business. In the ring he was an incredible performer, as a heel or a babyface. Owen was, without a doubt, one of the best workers of this decade.
 Outside the ring, Owen was always courteous to fans. I remember one early morning autograph session in Halifax where Owen insisted on personalizing every autograph, something I was about three coffees shy of having the patience for.
 Fans worldwide will mourn the loss of Owen Hart the wrestler, but I will miss Owen Hart the person. He was one of the finest people you could ever meet, an incredible performer and an even better friend. God bless you Owen, we'll miss you.

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