Former WWE Referee Jimmy Korderas Recalls Owen Hart's Fatal Accident in the Ring

Tragic event reshapes a referee's life and career.

by Atia Mukhtar
Former WWE Referee Jimmy Korderas Recalls Owen Hart's Fatal Accident in the Ring
© Fight Network/YouTube

On May 23, 1999, a heart-wrenching tragedy unfolded at the WWE's Over The Edge pay-per-view when Owen Hart, a celebrated wrestler, fell to his death during a stunt gone wrong. The incident, now etched in the annals of wrestling history, profoundly impacted those present, including referee Jimmy Korderas, who was in the ring waiting for Hart's match to begin.

In a poignant recount to Wrestling Inc., Korderas shared his firsthand experience of that fateful night. As he prepared for the upcoming bout, Korderas was clearing debris from a prior hardcore match. Amid the din of the arena, a scream pierced the air—a sound he initially dismissed due to the crowded venue.

Moments later, something brushed against his head and shoulder. "I had my hand on the top rope, and suddenly, it snapped away, jarring my fingers," Korderas recalled. Turning around, he was met with a sight that would haunt him: Owen Hart, lying motionless in the ring corner.

Shock and Despair

The confusion and horror of the moment left Korderas in a state of shock. Despite his frantic calls, Hart remained unresponsive, his eyes open yet devoid of life. The gravity of the situation only deepened as Korderas screamed for medical assistance, the reality of the catastrophe slowly setting in.

Following the accident, Korderas found himself in a whirlwind of emotional turmoil. He was taken to the same hospital where Hart was pronounced dead—a moment that brought the tragedy into stark relief. In the days that followed, WWE moved on to St.

Louis for 'Raw,' but for Korderas, the journey was a blur, overshadowed by the lingering shock. At 'Raw,' the wrestling community rallied around him. WWE legends like The Undertaker and Triple H, along with Jim Ross, WWE's head of talent relations, offered support.

Ross even suggested Korderas take some time away, but the referee chose to stay, feeling a communal need to grieve with his colleagues. This decision was reinforced by a chilling revelation from Jerry Lawler, Ross's commentary partner, who disclosed that he had witnessed the final moments of Hart's fall, noting that Hart nearly landed on Korderas.

This information overwhelmed Korderas, yet in the shared mourning, he found a semblance of comfort. The tragedy of Owen Hart's death remains a somber chapter in WWE history, not just for its suddenness but for the profound impact it had on those like Jimmy Korderas, who were closest to the calamity.

As the wrestling world continues to remember Hart, stories like Korderas's offer a deeply personal glimpse into the indelible scars left behind.

Jimmy Korderas Owen Hart