Jeff Jarrett became one of Owen Hart’s closest friends before his tragic passing, but Jarrett didn’t realize how his friend’s death affected him so heavily until years later. Double J joined Steve Austin on the latest episode of “Broken Skull Sessions” to talk about the entirety of his pro wrestling journey up until this point. Halfway through the episode, Austin asked Jarrett about those moments surrounding that heartwrenching evening on May 23, 1999.
“I didn’t realize how bad it affected me until 19 years later when I got into the darkest part of my life and it all came out,” Jarrett said to Austin. “When it went down, cause I remember it like it was yesterday, he left his house on a Saturday. We were going to All-State Arena, Chicago live event, sold out … but he got there late.
“We were working against Edge & Christian. I’m dressed, Edge & Christian are dressed, we were supposed to go over the match. And Owen comes in and he hears it, and he says, ‘Jeff, come here.’ We get in a little bathroom stall, and he pulls out of his tights these red noses,” Jarrett said. “He wants to play a rib on these kids and throw this together, and me and him got red noses on.”
Jarrett also recalls Hart having fun with Bradshaw and Steve Blackman that Sunday morning as well. He then goes into detail about a WWE ticket person named Matt Miller, whom Hart was friends with, letting him know that it was time to go up in the rafters. Hart left and Jarrett knew he had about 15 minutes to get ready for his match.
Earlier than expected, Miller came back to tell Jarrett that Hart fell and Jarrett’s time to go out was now. Jarrett initially thought that Hart just hurt his knee, and recalls doing his promo and getting to the ring for his mixed tag match.
“They wheel him back, and Francios is on top of him and there’s a whole mass of people going, and I finish the promo and Owen goes that way with the whole medical scene and they tell us to go this way. We go, Steve, go down the aisle. It’s all a blur, but the one thing I’ll never forget, [I] get up in the ring like we do and feel the ropes, but the top rope’s really loose, and I walk over in that corner and there was the divot, and that’s when the whole kind of thing went into, ‘He didn’t just break his knee.’ Cause I thought Matt Miller said, ‘Hey man, he fell,’ and I immediately go, ‘Oh man, his knee’s screwed up, they had to stop the match.’ I’m not thinking the worst at all,” Jarrett said.
“I come through the curtain and Matt and the police officer were there, and I said, ‘I want to go now,’ and they knew it, and I told the cop, ‘Where are you going to be?’ He said, ‘I’m right there.’ I ran up for whatever reason and grabbed my bag and jumped, and went back into the cop car and we’re hauling ass down the road, and I’m knocking on the plexiglass, ‘Officer,’ and he didn’t want to answer. ‘Hey dude, can you help me? I know you obviously can’t say anything but what am I stepping into here?’ Steve, he looked over his shoulder and that’s when he goes, ‘It’s not good.'”
Jarrett talked about the sadness of going through all the events of the week following Hart’s passing, including “WWE Raw” the night after and Hart’s funeral. All that being said, there was never any time to process the intense emotion of it all.
“In a week’s time, we were kind of all back to work. ‘You okay, Jeff?’ ‘Oh, I’m fine.’ Like, a lot of us, it’s what we did. Well, 19 years later when I get into treatment and they sort of drill down on that, man, a flood of emotions came out. So it affected me in so many ways that I had no idea,” Jarrett stated.
“Knowing Owen and the kind of guy he was, and it affected me for a lot of years that I had no idea. I can’t even imagine. It’s one thing [to Austin], you’re closing the show. There was not a right or wrong decision. I would have hated to be in Vince’s shoes. To be put in those circumstances on so many levels, it was – a night we’d all like to forget.”
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