NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 06:  Former professional wrestler Steve Austin arrives at the 2012 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
The Injury That Led To The End Of Owen Hart And Steve Austin's Friendship
The IC title match between Owen Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at WWF SummerSlam 1997 is remembered for the severe injury Austin suffered when Hart hit him with a reverse Tombstone Piledriver. Instead of using the double knee drop to protect his opponent, Hart sat down, resulting in Austin landing directly on his head and lying on the mat for several seconds in pain.
Austin finished the match in visible discomfort, and it was later found that he had suffered temporary paralysis and a bruised spinal cord, which left him off TV for the foreseeable future and greatly impacted the show's momentum. Following the injury, Austin was upset with Hart, noting that he couldn't feel anything from the neck down.
Austin stated, "I was in a world of hurt. And I was confused. I didn't know what was gonna happen to me." However, Owen felt bad about the injury and didn't hide from criticism, revealing how troubled he was by the situation and that he didn't mean for it to happen.
Bret Hart had actually asked his brother to call Austin after the injury, but Owen forgot as he was focusing on his family. Austin was hurt by the lack of concern Owen showed after almost paralyzing him, noting, "He called me only once to apologize while I was in the hospital. If I almost break someone's neck, I'm calling them 25 times to apologize."
Despite the two having immense heat over the situation, Austin would work with Owen two other times, and their last televised match happened during an episode of "WWF Raw" in July 1998, where Austin teamed with The Undertaker to take on Owen and The Rock. Unfortunately, this would be the last time the two faced off in the ring as Owen tragically passed away in 1999.