When you’re on the road close to 300 days a year and you’re hanging out with pretty much the same people every day, life may get stagnant. You have to find a way to cut loose and have fun. Every day should feel like a different adventure.
If you were to decide on who the funniest wrestler may have been, not just in their gimmick, but as a person, many will agree that it was the late great Owen Hart. Even over 16 years after his tragic death, wrestlers still have stories on some hilarious pranks or ‘ribs’ Owen pulled on them. Pulling pranks has been a norm in wrestling for quite some time. When you’re in a stressful environment, sometimes you need to get a good laugh. Owen Hart seemed to make it a point to be that guy who kept others on their toes and give everybody in the locker room a good laugh (or he was just trying to amuse himself). Whatever the case, the youngest Hart played people like a banjo.
With the WWE’s upcoming DVD on Owen coming out, Owen: Hart of Gold, more pranks are bound to be shared with the world, as the master of the rib deserves to have his pranking legacy live on. While Bret Hart has said he has his reservations about the DVD, as he feels it was too watered down to avoid upsetting Owen’s widow, hopefully that doesn’t mean the pranks he pulled are off limits.
What was great about Owen was that his pranks weren’t reserved for the road. Often times, Owen would pull a prank in the middle of a match! Whether it was cartoonishly selling a move, using a popcorn bag as a weapon or purposely putting on a stinker of a match at a house show, Owen always found a way to cut the tension. He still managed to entertain fans, even when he was pulling these antics on his coworkers.
Let’s now take a look at some of the Rocket’s funniest pranks. Maybe you’ll get some ideas to pull on your friends.
15. Owen Pranks The Boss
When it came to pranks, Owen wasn’t afraid of anybody. Back when the WWE was doing an In Your House, with Hunter Hearst Helmsley facing Henry Godwinn in Vince’s great 1995 idea of a Hog Pen match. Owen ensured Vince would pay for booking such a match. When the truck arrived to the arena, filled with barn animals, the driver asked where the animals had to go. Without blinking an eye, Owen offered to show the guy where it all had to go. Owen directed him to Vince’s office, where all the animals were dropped off.
As you can imagine, by the time Vince got back to his office, it smelled like a barn, in need of a major cleanup. Could you imagine anybody trying to pull that on Vince today? When it came to pranks, Owen always reached for the brass ring.
14. Gangrel Finds His Ghost Watch
This story proves Owen’s commitment and patience to pulling off a good prank. While Gangrel was wrestling a match, Owen took Gangrel’s watch out of his bag and put it in his own. When Gangrel came to the back and was unable to find his watch, Owen played the part of a concerned friend and spent an hour looking for the watch with Gangrel. Gangrel finally gave up, thinking he had just lost it.
The next time the WWE went to the same building, months later, the wrestlers set their bags in the locker room. While Gangrel left to go to catering, Owen slipped the watch back into his bag. Owen then sat back and watched as Gangrel looked completely puzzled as to how the watch had ended up back in his bag, in the same arena.
13. Owen Powders His Nose
With Jim Ross as head of talent relations, he was in charge of keeping guys in line. After having a sitdown meeting with a wrestler who had been caught doing drugs, Owen quickly found a way to prank good old JR. The two would have a routine where they would lock up whenever they came across each other. One day, Owen took a bunch of powdered sugar, rubbed it all over his nose and went right up to JR. Unfortunately for Owen, he was unaware of the effects of cocaine, and acted like he was drunk, rather than high. JR quickly realized Owen was ribbing him, with Owen’s goal in mind to make JR go, “oh no, not another one.”
12. ‘Challenging’ Hacksaw Jim Duggan
On just another night on the road, a group of wrestlers were checking into a hotel in Dayton, Ohio. While the roster was checking into the gym, the front desk clerk received a call from Hacksaw Jim Duggan, asking the clerk where the nearest gym was. The clerk then asked the group if they knew where it was. Owen gleefully took the phone and muttered to Duggan, “why don’t you look for it yourself, you lazy bastard.” Hacksaw obviously got peeved, and Owen responded, “if you have a problem with it, come down and do something about it.”
When Duggan said he would, Owen then handed the phone back to the terrified clerk. The clerk pleaded with Owen to tell the truth, but Owen said, not to worry about it and say it was Jim Powers. The clerk presumably told Duggan it was Powers, as Duggan confronted Powers later that night.
11. Pinching Loaves in Toilets
Sure, it may be a bit of a cliched prank, but how many of you would actually do this? In what was more of a regular occurrence than a one-time prank, Owen would get keys to fellow wrestlers’ hotel rooms, just so he could go into their bathroom and leave them a little parting gift in their toilet. Owen took it a step further, by turning up the heat in the room so that a smell would really be stewing by the time the occupant of the room returned. A classic, executed to perfection.
10. Coke for Cole
A scrawny rookie (wrestling) announcer going into the biggest wrestling company in the world? Owen must have been licking his chops when Michael Cole started working for the WWE in 1997. It didn’t take long for Owen to get Cole. Cole recalls being very nervous and shaky prior to a backstage interview with Owen and Davey Boy Smith. The team decided to loosen Cole up a bit by pouring a liter of Coke down his tuxedo pants, just before the interview went live. Being that he was live, Cole really couldn’t react and had to do the interview with his underpants full of carbonated water and what must have been cold.
9. Brotherly Love
In terms of the way Owen and Bret carried themselves backstage, they were very much opposites in many ways. While Bret was known for being very serious, Owen loved to laugh and have fun. One day, Owen decided to get a good rib in on his big brother. While facing his brother in a match, Owen hid a can of sardines under the ring. During the match, Owen found time to get the can and dig his hand into the smelly sardines. Where did that hand go? Yup, right in Bret’s face. Owen then hightailed it out of the building immediately after the match, making sure his brother wouldn’t get the last word.
8. Enlisting Police Help on a Prank
This isn’t the first time on the list you’ll see Owen and Bulldog pulling a prank on Lex Luger. One night, the two made friends with undercover cops and convinced them to pull a prank on Luger. The cops later pulled Luger over while he was driving, with Owen and Bulldog as passengers. While the cop was walking back to his car, Bulldog yelled out the window, “blow it out your arse!” The cops played along, charging back to the car and demanding for Luger to get out. They then handcuffed Luger, ignoring Luger’s reasoning that he didn’t yell anything. Finally, when Luger really started to get terrified did all parties reveal the joke.
7. Owen Spikes Harley Race’s Chilli
As part of a tradition while in Kansas City, a bunch of wrestlers were invited to Harley Race’s house for a barbecue. One night, Owen decided to spice things up a bit while at Race’s house. When no one was looking, Owen dumped three bottles of mouth burning hot sauce into Harley’s famous chili. By the way, it was in the big pot, a batch for everyone. Owen then politely passed on the chili and watched with glee as one by one, the guys began tasting it. Imagine a room full of 250-pound guys turning red, panting and racing for water. Race soon found out it was Owen, as he stood there, immune to the effects.
Race paid Owen back the next night by congratulating him on a prank well done, shaking his hand with a taser in his palm.
6. Downgrading The British Bulldog
At the end of a long tour, the Harts were set to go back home to Calgary from Niagara Falls. While it appeared Bret and Owen were going to have to catch a later flight, Davey Boy was grinning because he was leaving the show early and was going to catch the last flight that night to Calgary.
Owen and Bret were later on the card so thought they would likely miss the flight, and Bulldog kept rubbing it in. Owen and Bret rushed to the airport after the show, trying to make the 1 AM flight. Luckily for the Hart brothers, the airport clerk was a huge wrestling fan and gave them first class tickets in exchange for some pictures and autographs. She also made it easy for the Harts to zip through security. Owen and Bret then found themselves on an empty plane, alone in first class, with Bulldog way back in coach.
A steward then asked Owen and Bret if they wanted to let their friend into first class. When Owen and Bret realized Davey was alone in back, they told the steward not to, saying he was a ‘wannabe’ wrestler. Owen and Bret said they’d let him up to talk for a bit, but told the steward they’d signal if they wanted him to go back.
Owen then went back and offered a seat in first class to Davey. After a while, Bret gave the signal to the steward to send Davey back to coach. When the steward ordered Davey back, Owen cracked, and Davey blew the steward off. The steward kept pushing it and Davey soon realized he was being pranked. Finally Davey snapped, yelling “f*** you, f*** you and f*** you!” to Bret, Owen and the steward.
5. Popcorn & Cup Lid Angels
It seemed like Owen’s goal in life was to make the most serious person possible crack a laugh. Owen set his sights high, trying to get Stone Cold to laugh in the middle of a match. Keep in mind this was early on in the Stone Cold character, whose whole gimmick was a no non-sense badass who wouldn’t ever crack a smile in a match. Owen found himself in a match with Mick Foley, with Austin as a guest referee.
Owen and Foley had constantly used weird weapons and one of them was a huge bag of popcorn. With the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer in the audience, the two decided to purposely stink the joint out.
Owen and Foley looked for the hokiest weapons possible to make Stone Cold crack. Foley hit Owen with a huge bag full of soft drink lids (what you would get at fast food joints). Owen sold it like he’d just been shot with his knees buckling, and howling in pain.
The next time around, looking for the hokiest weapon possible, Owen nailed Foley with the huge bag of popcorn. As the kernels started to fly out of the bag, Foley found himself laying in a pool of it and began making snow angels.
What a great tag team Owen and Foley would have made.
4. Dead Weighting Lex Luger
Look at Lex Luger 20 years ago and look at Owen Hart. Certainly, if Luger could bodyslam Yokozuna, he could easily gorilla press slam Owen, right? Well, in wrestling, to do any move like that requires the cooperation of the one taking the bump. So when Luger went to perform the move on Hart, Owen simply made himself as limp as possible, with Luger unable to lift Owen.
Later in the match, Owen teamed up with his co-conspirator and Luger’s tag partner, Davey Boy Smith, who easily press slammed Owen (with his full cooperation of course). Luger looked on, peeved. Davey Boy took it a step further, yelling “I’m the strongest! I’m the strongest!”
3. Val Venis
Owen wasn’t going to let a guy who got over by playing an adult film star go through his career without falling victim to a rib. At a hotel in St. Louis, a fan approached Venis with a huge stack of glossy photos. Venis refused to sign them, knowing the fan would just sell the stack.
Later on, while sleeping in his room, Venis was awoken by a phone call. He answered the call, and heard a disgruntled voice, arguing that Venis had promised to come down and sign a stack of pictures. Venis angrily replied that he promised no such thing and hung up. The phone rang again and the same voice threatened him, saying “you better sign these pictures or else…” Venis then stormed back down to the hotel lobby seeking out the fan. Venis found himself in an empty lobby, only finding Owen and Jarrett. Owen continued sending Venis on a wild goose chase for a couple of hours before Venis finally gave up and went back to his room.
Six months later, right before doing a live interview on TV, Edge revealed to Val that it was Owen all along, with Owen telling Edge to reveal it right then so Val would be steaming right before going to air.
2. The Deadly Napkin
At this point, Edge was still trying to establish himself as a wrestler. He and Christian were still finding themselves as a team, and found themselves in a tag match with Owen and Jeff Jarrett. With Edge being the young pup, he wanted to show respect and sell for the veteran Owen. So during the match, when Edge found himself being brutalized with a foreign object, he dropped to the mat in a heap, selling for the vet, despite not knowing what he was being hit with. Owen kept hiding the object under his armpit whenever Edge turned to see what it was.
Later in the match, the ref had Owen reveal what the deadly object was and it was… a napkin. That dastardly Owen nearly took Edge’s head off with the damn napkin! Well, that’s probably how JR would have called it. Welcome to the show, Edge.
1. Prank Call on his Father
Sometimes when we’re thinking of pranks to pull on people, we’ll draw the line at our friends. Most of us wouldn’t try pulling pranks on our parents. For someone like Owen, no one was off limits for a prank, not even his father Stu.
While Stu was visiting his sons for WrestleMania in Atlantic City, he was relaxing in a hotel room with Bret. When the phone rang, Bret picked it up and thought it was Reggie Parks, a designer of all those great wrestling title belts we all loved (and a friend of Stu’s). Stu got on the phone and started talking to his old friend, but as the conversation went on, Stu started getting ticked off.
From Bret’s account, the other voice on the phone was challenging Stu, saying something along the lines of “you never had the balls to try me Stu,” and kept pushing Stu’s buttons. Finally, Stu snapped and yelled: “Reg, if you wanted to try me, why didn’t you try me?!” After a brief moment of silence, Stu put the phone down, sat down, turned to Bret and said, “that little bastard got me.”
That my friends, is the stuff of legends.
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