Members of the Hart family, Calgary’s pro-wrestling dynasty, are having a public throw-down about why the late Owen Hart hasn’t been added to the WWE Hall of Fame.

Owen Heart, the younger brother of former heavyweight wrestling champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart, died in 1999 when he fell more than eight stories while being lowered into the ring during a wrestling match.

Nearly 20 years later, Hart said on CBS Sports’ In This Corner podcast that his late brother’s widow “has done more to erase my brother Owen’s memory than she ever did to remember him,” putting some of the blame for why Owen hasn’t been entered into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame on his brother’s wife.

“I think it really bothers me that the fans that loved Owen so much didn’t get a chance to remember him. You do these kind of things for people are here, left to remember them,” Hart said, calling his brother’s widow “obtuse” and “square-headed.”

But Martha Hart, Owen’s widow, calls Bret’s comments “reckless, irresponsible, and clearly untrue.”

“Bret’s comments are rooted in the fact that I have steadfastly refused to work with the WWE to exploit Owen’s image for commercial gain,” a statement from Martha reads, adding she knows her late husband still has many fans world-wide.

“But I am firm in my belief that the WWE was responsible for Owen’s death. As a result, I cannot and will not support any efforts by the WWE to profit from Owen’s memory.”

1999 – The Life and Death of Owen Hart, tv special that airs Nov. 16/99. Shown is wrestler Owen Hart who poses with his family. Photo: High Road Productions handout

Martha says her family’s focus is instead on The Owen Hart Foundation, which she says has gathered more than $4 million “toward scholarships, home owner bursaries, and other special projects that have greatly improved the lives of so many in Canada and around the world.”

“Whatever Bret may believe, the fact is that, far from ‘erasing’ Owen’s memory, I have devoted the last 20 years to celebrating his life in a very public way,” she said. “I can think of very few people who have been remembered so glowingly by their spouse.”

– More to come

On Twitter: @RCRumbolt

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