World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) fans will get new details for the first time related to the darkest day in the company’s history.
The season finale of Vice’s “Dark Side of the Ring” will focus on the death of former WWE performer Owen Hart, who fell nearly 80 feet to his death during a stunt at a 1999 pay-per-view event. Hart’s widow Martha Hart will be prominently featured in the documentary
Dark Side Of The Ring
The “Dark Side of the Ring” series has been a huge success for producer Vice Media, especially given the absence of live sports. Vice Media is a privately held company, but Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) holds a 16% ownership stake.
Martha Hart has blamed WWE for Owen’s death, accusing the company of hiring unqualified stunt professionals to rig the setup for a stunt in which Hart would be lowered to the ring from the rafters of the arena.
“Owen never questioned his safety. He thought for sure they were hiring people that knew what they were doing. He was putting his life in their hands, and they didn't care,” Martha Hart said.
Hart won $18 million in a wrongful death settlement with WWE in 2000.
In a statement, WWE outside legal council Jerry McDevitt told CBS Sports the company told its side of the story in court during the wrongful death lawsuit and has prioritized understanding exactly what happened on the night of Hart’s death.
“Martha was not even remotely interested in finding out what happened that night; she just wanted to use it as a vehicle to beat up a business that she didn't like that her husband was in, the wrestling business,” McDevitt said.
WWE was criticized at the time for resuming the pay-per-view event just 15 minutes after Hart’s deadly fall.
Martha Hart’s animosity toward WWE has continued to this day, and she has refused to allow Hart to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
“There's nothing real or tangible. It's just an event they have to make money,” she said of the WWE Hall of Fame.
“The Final Days of Owen Hart” will air at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.
WWE was months away from trading on the NYSE at the time of Hart's death. The stock now trades around $44 per share with a $3.4 billion market cap.
Photo: 'The Final Days of Owen Hart (Trailer)