Summerslam 1992 was the first time the WWF Intercontinental Title was the Main Event at a Pay Per View. It was also the first time a major WWF Event was held in the United Kingdom. Summerslam 1992 will forever be that moment when Englands own British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith defeated his brother-in-law Bret “Hitman” Hart for the Intercontinental Title. Arguably one of the most iconic matches in WWE history. Bret Hart may have lost the title in the storyline, but in reality, he won. That match was the moment the World Wrestling Federation saw that The Hitman could be a major player.
The Build To The Brother in Law Battle
When it was announced that Summerslam 1992 would be at Wembley Stadium in the UK, wrestling fans knew somehow the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith would be involved in a big way. At Summerslam 1991, Bret Hitman Hart defeated Mr. Perfect Curt Hening for the Intercontinental Title. The Hitman’s in-ring ability earned him the name the Excellence of Execution. He defended the title against all challengers. However, that did prove to be Bret’s downfall as The Mountie used questionable tactics to steal the championship, injuring the Hitman.
During his time off, Rowdy Roddy Piper defeated The Mountie earning Piper’s only WWF singles title. When the Hitman returned, the two had a knockdown drag-out fight at WrestleMania VIII, with Bret winning back the title. In the meantime, the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith returned to the WWF. His power was unparalleled. The man had arguably the greatest vertical suplex. The two brothers-in-law were on a crash course. Diana Hart, Bret’s sister, was married to the British Bulldog. It was a family affair. It was also painfully obvious that 83,000 fans would be partial to the British Bulldog since it was his backyard.
Bret Hart, however, was calm, cool, and calculated as ever.
” You know they say that every dog has his day, well Wembley stadium the British Bulldog is not going to have his day. He’s stepping in the ring with the Excellence of Execution, the best technical wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation. Were not going to let any bad blood come into this because we are family, and after SummerSlam, I will be the Intercontinental Champion.
Davey Boy Smith was ready to take the title.
“Bret, you’re looking at your own brother-in-law. Families are divided. Let’s leave the family out of this and keep this between me and you at The Summerslam. I’m coming to win.”
Bret Hart & British Bulldog –
SummerSlam 92: The Hitman and The Bulldog Create A Masterpiece
On television, it looked like Bret and Davey did not see eye to eye; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. These two legends had an opportunity to show the world that a solid technical match could main event. But, instead, they were determined to change the business. On August 31, 1992, Wembley Stadium in London, England, was packed with over 80 000 fans. Yes, as predicted, a lot of them were rooting for their hometown hero Davey Boy.
As one enthusiastic young fan said, “The British Bulldogs going to win whether he wants to or not.”
However, it was noticeable that the Hitman had a major fan base overseas. The crowd was divided, the family was divided; it was time to settle it. Bret Hart walked toward the ring with confidence. He was trying to lean more to an aggressive side so Davey Boy would get that standing ovation both worked so hard to achieve. When the British Bulldog was introduced, the arena exploded. Not to mention he was led to the ring by UK legend Lennox Lewis. The bell rang, and the two traded blows. The Hitman tried to outwrestle the Bulldog, but Davey was too strong.
Bret eventually got the Bulldog on the mat with some headlock takeovers. Hart attempted a leapfrog at one point in the match but was caught and slingshot into the turnbuckle. From there, Smith attacked Bret’s arm, including lifting him high in the air for a few seconds. However, being arguably one of the best technical wrestlers. The Hitman took back control with a boot to the bulldog’s head. After Bret threw Davey to the floor, he slingshot himself onto the Bulldog.
In the WWE Dvd, Bret Hitman Hart, the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, Bret states that the Bulldog was supposed to catch him as he launched himself over the top rope. Instead, he had to try to use the bulldog’s neck as an anchor to avoid them both from getting hurt. He said that quick thinking saved his life. After that, he then bulldogged Davey Boy Smith into the middle of the ring. As Commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan eloquently said,
“He just bulldogged the bulldog.”
As the match progressed, Bret Hart had the Bulldogs number. Hart began to excellently execute his brother in law. However, no pining combination would keep the hometown hero down. Like the ring general he is, Hart always went back to the head of the Bulldog.
The British Bulldog Takes a Bite out of the WWF Intercontinental Title
As the two legends were in the ring giving their all, Bobby Heenan’s commentary was at an all-time high. When the camera would zoom in on the Bulldog, he would say, “Good looking guy, they should put his face on a stamp or stomp on his face.” Bobby Heenan was a comedic genius. Meanwhile, Bret Hart began to get more aggressive. He hit a backbreaker, an elbow off the second turnbuckle, and a few hairs pulls to Davey Boys long braided hair. All this was setting him up for the Sharpshooter. Just to make sure he put the dog to sleep, Hart slapped on a sleeper hold on Davey Boy.
The Bulldog was losing consciousness fast, but at the last minute, he powered out.
After several near-miss clotheslines, the British Bulldog power slammed Bret into the ropes. Now the Bulldog was in control, and he was about to take a bite out of his brother-in-law. He lifted Bret Hart up in a vertical suplex that lasted almost 8 secs and then dropped him to the mat. Still, that wasn’t enough to defeat Bret Hart. The British Bulldog put the Hitman on his shoulder and gave him a running power slam. Bret Hart still kicked out. The reaction of Wembley Stadium was a roller coaster of emotion. A great match does that.
It takes the fans on an emotional ride. No doubt this was a great match. As Bret Hart went to suplex the Bulldog, it was reversed, and Davey sat Bret on the top turnbuckle. With 80,000 plus fans screaming, Davey Boy Smith superplexed The Hitman off the top rope. Still, The Hitman’s heart was beating, and he kicked out of the pin. After a double clothesline, Hart managed to lock in the Sharpshooter on the Bulldog. This would have been the end had he not inched toward the ropes to break the hold. Davey Boy Smith managed to shoot the Hitman off the ropes, but Bret reversed it into a sunset flip.
The British Bulldog turned it into a pin and defeated Bret Hart. In front of 80,000 of his countrymen, the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith won the WWF Intercontinental Championship. After the match, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Diana all celebrated, leaving the family feud behind. The Hitman may have lost, but in reality, everyone won. British Bulldog was the intercontinental champion, The fans witnessed a classic match, and Bret Hitman Hart proved that a good technical match with a solid story can main event in the WWF. He went onto defeat Ric Flair for his first WWF Championship. McMahon said it best as Summerslam went off the air, “What a night, What a SummerSlam, What a family.”
The Hitman reflects on his battle with the Bulldog.
Unfortunately, on May 18, 2002, The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith passed away. He had become an icon in the WWF. In addition to his Intercontinental Championship win, he also won tag team gold with Dynamite Kid and Owen Hart. He was also the first-ever European Champion. He was a member of the 1997 version of the Hart Foundation along with Bret, Owen, Jim Neidhardt, and Brian Pillman. In 2021 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He was one of a kind and will be missed. In 2008 Bret Hart published a book entitled My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling.
In it, he dedicated an entire section to this match. He said that he asked Vince McMahon if he wanted him to run the finish of the match by him. To Bret’s astonishment, he said;
“I don’t know, surprise me.”
According to Hart, he had never said that to anyone. That’s how much confidence he had in this. The Bulldog wasn’t feeling like himself that night. It was Bret that carried the match and made his brother-in-law look like a champion. Bret said that Davey told him he couldn’t remember the match. The Hitman wasn’t going to let anyone down.