During a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet, Jonathan Coachman commented on being in attendance at Over the Edge ’99 when Owen Hart passed away, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On being in attendance at Over the Edge: “Yeah. I was in the seventh row. I had just done a three-part series, my station sent me to Florida because wrestling was booming. And it was really going [up]. At that time, the company went from being worth about $80-100 million to be worth like $800 million. This was when The Rock was starting to become huge, Stone Cold, Triple H, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, all of those guys.
“So, they gave me tickets to Over the Edge. And I was in the seventh row, I was behind a doctor and his family. And when the tragedy happened and they were doing CPR, and JR and The King get up from their spots and they run around, it felt like something was wrong. But you got to remember, in wrestling you always feels like it’s part of the show. As so they push Owen Hart out of the building, I’m talking to the doctor. I said, ‘Do you think that’s real?’ And he said — and I’ll never forget his quote. He said, ‘If that’s real, that’s the worst CPR I’ve ever seen.’ They were literally straddling him and doing, giving him CPR as they were pushing him back down the aisle, back through the curtain to the back. So, the show ended about 20 minutes early, because that match never happened.”
On the ‘saving grace’ for those in attendance: “The saving grace to this day — I believe this, Chris — is the fact that the Godfather was doing an interview on screen. So everything was black, it was dark. Then, you just heard this ‘boom!,’ and everything was shaking. And then the lights came up, and unfortunately Owen was laying there. And I believe if the lights would’ve been up and we all would’ve seen it, how much PTSD, whatever you wanna call it, I would still be dealing with today, other people would still be dealing with today.”
On how that incident impacted his career: “Because it ended early, I went back to the station and I left my briefcase. I had a buddy with me. And can you imagine — all of these nuggets I’m telling you right now. If one of these things didn’t happen, would I be sitting here today? I don’t know that. Because I forgot my briefcase, we went back to the station, the place was buzzing. And you gotta remember, sports guys back then didn’t even have cell phones. We had pagers. They didn’t even give us pagers then because they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re sports. Everything is scheduled, you don’t need a pager. There’s nothing that happens that isn’t supposed to happen in sports, so you guys don’t need one.’
“So basically, I went on our 10 o’clock news. I almost got fired that night, because my news director said, ‘I pay you to be a reporter. And you were the only one there, and Vince was holding a press conference at 10 o’clock that night.’ I remember these details like it was yesterday. And I came from the arena, and I could’ve stayed in the arena and done the press conference. It was just a crazy night and it was an unfortunate night, but it’s really the night that kind of shaped my career.”
(h/t – 411 Wrestling)