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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Hart's death fuels review

By MICHAEL PLATT -- Calgary Sun
The death of Calgary wrestling star Owen Hart has triggered a U.S. Senate investigation which could lead to the censorship of matches, the Sun has learned.

Citing growing reliance on sex and gratuitous violence to draw an audience to the staged fights, New York state Senator Guy Velella has ordered his office to gather evidence that could eventually make wrestling a restricted adult event.

"The senator decided it was time to do something, and the death of Owen Hart was a big part of it" John Banville, the senator's legislative director, said yesterday.

"We have been reaching out to Owen Hart's family, hoping they will comment on the state of wrestling -- we believe what was once choreographed entertainment has degenerated into sex and explicit violence."

Banville said the Harts have so far declined to testify, fearing it might jeopardize a lawsuit against the World Wrestling Federation in connection with the death.

But even without the Hart family's help, Banville said a Senate task force will be launched in the next two weeks, and if a connection can be made between wrestling and violence, a censorship bill will follow.

WWF officials argued that the threatened censorship is redundant. "We have taken a proactive stance, and we place a rating on the top of every show," said Jim Byrne, WWF spokesman.

Meanwhile, verbal slams launched by WWF boss Vince McMahon against Bret "The Hitman" Hart Tuesday are being ignored by the former wrestling champion.

More on Owen Hart