Owen Hart died tragically at Over The Edge in 1999. WWE promised Martha Hart that they would have professional riggers from LA present when telling her about the change to her husband’s entrance. The plan changed because they wanted a quicker release on Owen’s harness.
WWE had previously suspended Owen Hart from the ceiling and there were no issues. The problem was that Vince McMahon thought it looked clumsy. The locking carabiner that was required to safely do the stunt took too long to unhook.
Martha Hart revealed that WWE wanted a “quick release” so Owen could unsnap and be ready to go. Sadly, the “quick release” they used was meant for sailboats. It was also designed to give that “quick release” with about five pounds of pressure.
The riggers’ final instructions to Owen Hart was “as long as you don’t pull this cord you’ll be okay.” Owen never pulled the cord, and he wasn’t okay.
It is unclear if Owen Hart did a practice run on the morning of Over The Edge. Jim Ross remembers that Hart didn’t feel confident about the stunt. Changing the harness carabiner on Owen Hart’s setup would have only saved a couple of seconds if it worked at all.