Today, almost 16 years since Owen Hart tragically fell to his death in front of a packed out WWF audience in Kansas City, eldest Hart brother, Smith, has opened up about the settlement battle that ensued.
Speaking in an interview with Hannibal TV, Smith Hart spoke candidly about the whole situation - revealing the staggering offer first put to the Hart family by Vince McMahon in the aftermath of Owen's passing.
According to Smith, McMahon and the WWE were keen to settle up out of court, and quickly, and as such offered $93 million. It was only after Bret Hart's intervention that the family turned down this offer in the hope of securing a bigger payoff through the courts.
"Vince apparently offered my father $93 million for the entire settlement; without court, without delay, without adverse publicity," - Smith Hart on WWE settlement.
"At the funeral when Bret saw my dad talking to Vince and shaking hands with Vince, he and the lawyer and Martha (Owen's widow) and Keith came running up saying 'you don't talk to him, you talk to these lawyers.' And they, through Bret, convinced my parents that they should not take the settlement."
Smith Hart went on to reveal that Bret was of the belief that the family could get far more money out of the WWE if they took the legal route - and was particularly keen to "bury Vince" in the process if the truth could come out concerning Owen Hart's death.
You can see the entire three-minute long interview below...
In the end the Hart family received only $2 million, and, after having to pay their own legal fees despite prior promises to the contrary, this total was further reduced.
Another interesting note from the interview concerns other aspects of Vince McMahon's original deal.
According to Smith Hart, the WWE were prepared to buy up his father Stu's acreage and possibly his "mansion to" with the prospect of turning it into a shrine-come-museum to the deceased Owen Hart.
When negotiations took a turn clearly this idea fell by the wayside.
The eldest Hart brother didn't place any blame on Bret for what was ultimately a significant shortcoming in terms of the financial payout. He did though admit that the family has suffered financially since and perhaps the former wrestling star had failed to recognize this.
"Martha and Bret, they're the affluent ones in the family...I don't dislike Bret but I don't know if he realizes how needy some of us are, and how much we could contribute to the wrestling industry."
What do you think WWE fans? Was Vince McMahon trying to do right by Owen Hart, or simply trying to avoid public scrutiny? And was Bret right to take it to court? Let us know in the comments section below...
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