Davey Boy Smith | Every (Bull) dog Has Its Day

Davey Boy Smith started wrestling at fifteen years old in  England under the name Young David. Shortly after that, he started a tag team with his cousin Tom Billington aka Dynamite Kid.  After impressing the fans in the UK, Bruce Hart discovered the team and bought them to Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Both Smith and Billington paid their dues in Stu Harts Dungeon. The Dungeon is the training ground where several famous Superstars got their start, including Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhardt, Brian Pillman, Edge, Christian, Val Venis, Lance Storm, and Chris Jericho, just to name a few. Upon entering Stampede Wrestling, Smith and Dynamite began a feud with each other.

______________________

He actually ended up defeating Dynamite for the British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight championship. A few years later, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid went to New Japan Pro Wrestling and started wrestling under the name The British Bulldogs. In 1984 the Bulldogs left New Japan for All Japan Pro wrestling and dominated a tag team tournament. Once again, the Bulldogs caught the attention of another promotion…the World Wrestling Federation.

The British Bulldogs Invade the WWF 

In 1984 no promotion was gaining more popularity than the World Wrestling Federation. Its CEO Vince McMahon Jr. was on a mission to take the WWF to new heights. After WrestleMania I, WWF proved that pro wrestling could get national attention. That was something The British Bulldogs craved. Like Dogs salivating at the sight of a bone, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid pursued the WWF Tag Team Titles. Vince McMahon had also bought out Bret Hart and Jim Neidhardt’s contracts, who became the Bulldogs arch-rivals. The four dungeon graduates put on tag team wrestling clinics in every arena.

Eventually, the Bulldogs won the WWF tag team Championship on April 7th, 1986, at WrestleMania 2, defeating Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. The two English tag team specialists held that title for nine months before being defeated by Bret Hart and Jim Neidhardt, aka The Hart Foundation.

After the loss, The Bulldogs feuded with Bobby Heenan and his Islanders. By this time, the Bulldogs had an actual bulldog mascot named Matilda. Matilda would come to the ring with the duo for every match.   In one notable storyline, Bobby Heenan kidnapped Matilda. The Weasel even bought out one of those invisible dogs on a leash toys to mock the Bulldogs. Don’t worry; they did get Matilda back safe and sound. In 1988 The Bulldogs parted ways with the WWF. 

Back to Stampede 

After leaving the WWF, the British duo returned to Stampede Wrestling in Calgary. They returned with a buzz circling them; however, that buzz soon wore off. The decision was made to break up the Bulldogs. Smith soon found himself feuding with Dynamite again. On July 4, 1989, Davey Boy Smith was in a car accident, where he was thrown 25 feet through a windshield. Thankfully, Davey recovered and reunited with Billington. The British Bulldogs were once again dominating the competition in the ring. However, behind closed doors,  a real feud in the tag team was happening. Davey Boy had enough and returned to the WWF.

Davey Boy Smith – The Bulldog takes a bite out of the WWF.

In 1990 Davey Boy Smith returned to the World Wrestling Federation without Dynamite Kid.  He did, however, have a new mascot named Winston. The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith made his singles debut on October 27, 1990, power slamming The Brooklyn Brawler. For most of 1990 and 1991, Davey Boy was a popular mid-card babyface in the United States, but he had overwhelming popularity in the UK. On the WWF UK Rampage Tour, Davey Boy was often in the Main Event. On one of the most memorable nights, he won the  20 man Battle Royal at Royal  Albert Hall. Due to his overwhelming UK fan base, The World Wrestling Federation decided to host WWF Summerslam 1992 on August 29, 1992, at Wembley Stadium.

https://i1.wp.com/cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/40XO990REPbUVz9bTowOnjGOPCU=/64x0:605x361/1200x800/filters:focal(64x0:605x361)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/37010214/SS-92-15.0.jpg?resize=696%2C464&ssl=1
Photo / WWE

His opponent was non-other than his brother-in-law and current Intercontinental Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart. At the time, Davey was married to Harts’s sister Diana. The Hart family was divided as the two waged war in front of 380,355 screaming fans. Bret “Hitman” Hart was one of the best intercontinental champions of all time, but as one fan put it, “The British Bulldog has to win the title, whether he wants to or not.”  Davey Boy Smith did indeed defeat the Hitman and win the Intercontinental Championship. Thankfully when the match was over, the Hart family reunited.

At Summerslam, 1992 was the first and only time the WWF Intercontinental Championship was the main event. Pro Wrestling Illustrated awarded it 1992 Match of The Year. That night was proof that every dog has his day. The British Bulldogs’ reign with the Intercontinental title lasted only a few months. On November 14, 1992, he lost the title to Shawn Michaels. Shortly after this loss, Smith was released from the WWF.

Davey Boy Smith Joins World Championship Wrestling 

Davey Boy Smith arrived in World Championship Wrestling in 1993. He immediately formed an Alliance with Sting in his fight against Big Van Vader and Sid Viscious. He had several WCW World Heavyweight Title shots against Vader but failed to pick up the victory.  In late 1993 he did come very close to winning the title, but the decision was reversed. Unfortunately, the Bulldog did not become a mainstay in WCW. In July 1993, Davey Boy Smith was involved in an altercation in a bar that resulted in a lawsuit. World Championship Wrestling did not want anything to do with that and let Davey Boy go.  His final match was at Battlebowl in Lethal Lottery Match with Kole vs. Road Warrior Hawk and Rip Rogers. 

Bulldog returns to Even Up a Family Feud.

In the dog days of summer, WWF Champion Bret “Hitman” Hart was involved in a family feud with his brother Owen Hart. Owen had acquired Jim The Anvil Neidhardt’s services to be in his corner for a steel cage match at Summerslam 1994. Davey Boy Smith decided to show up at Summerslam to even the odds. Bret ended up defeating Owen, but after the match, Jim Neidhardt clotheslined Davey Boy and his wife, Diana, over the guard rail. Owen and Neidhardt trapped Bret Hart inside the cage.

https://i2.wp.com/411mania.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Davey-Boy-Smith-645x370.png?resize=645%2C370&ssl=1
Photo / 411Mania / WWE

The British Bulldog climbed the cage and led the rest of the Hart family to rescue the Hitman. This resulted in Davey Boy being in Bret’s corner at Survivor Series 1994. The British Bulldog made an amazing showing at the 1995 Royal Rumble, where he and Shawn Michaels were the final two left. Davey Boy threw HBK over the top rope, but his feet did not hit the floor. Davey celebrated a little too early, and Michaels skinned the cat and threw the Bulldog over the top rope.

Shortly after that, Bulldog started an Alliance with Made in the USA Lex Luger. Together they were known as the Allied Powers.  The Allied Powers did not really find success. This was due to the fact that Lex Luger jumped ship to WCW. On the  August 21, 1995, episode of Monday Night Raw, The British Bulldog tagged with WWF Champion Diesel.   During the match, Davey turned on Big Daddy Cool and humbled him. 

Davey Boy Smith – Camp Cornette

To cement a heel turn, The Bulldog hired James E. Cornette as his manager. He also joined forces with his brother in law Owen Hart and Yokozuna. The trio known as Camp Cornette would cause havoc all over the WWF. On October 22, 1995, at In Your House 4 in Manitoba, CA. The Bulldog got a shot at Diesel for the WWF Championship but won because of a disqualification. At Survivor Series, he was a part of the sole survivors in a wildcard match. At In Your House 5, The British Bulldog challenged WWF Champion Bret Hart in a match that was arguably better than their Summerslam match. The Hitman ended up winning, but Davey definitely made an impact. 

https://i1.wp.com/wrestlingnews.co/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Owen-Hart-Davey-Boy-Smith.jpg?resize=640%2C367&ssl=1
Photo / Wrestling News

At In Your House Beware of Dog on  May 26, 1996, he finally got another shot at the WWF Championship. This time the title was in possession of Shawn Michaels.  Jim Cornette and Davey’s wife Diana claimed that HBK was making “inappropriate advances” to her. Davey Boy Smith was very protective of his wife. The Bulldog lost again. He was awarded a rematch at the 1996 King of the Ring on June 23, 1996, but also could not take the title.

On  In Your House: Mind Games on September 22, 1996, The Bulldog and Owen Hart defeated The Smoking Gunns for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The duo defended their tag titles against all challengers. On February 26, 1997, The British Bulldog became the Inaugural WWF European Champion by defeating none other than his tag team partner Owen Hart. 

Davey Boy Smith – Hart Foundation 1997

After becoming WWF European Champion, Davey Boy Smith and Owen Harts’s tag team comradery fell apart. Owen challenged the Bulldog for his title. On the March 31, 1997, episode of Monday Night Raw, the two brothers-in-law clashed. As the match got out of hand, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart ran into the ring to start a family reunion with his brother and brother-in-law.  Davey, Owen, and Bret added Jim Neidhardt and honorary Hart Family member Brian Pillman. This was the birth of the Hart Foundation. In 1997 WWF was a unique environment. The fans in America hated the Harts; however, international fans always gave them a hero’s welcome.

https://i2-prod.dailystar.co.uk/incoming/article20017509.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/wwe-news-british-bulldog-hall-of-fame-wrestlemania-campaign-davey-boy-smith-1538960
Photo / Daily Star

The fact that these five unbelievable talents were able to pull that off is a testament to how good they actually were. Smith and Owen lost the tag team championship to the unlikely team of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Dude Love. At One Night  Only on September 20, 1997, Davey lost the European Championship to Shawn Michaels in the UK. The European fans were so enraged by this decision that they threw garbage at Michaels. The British Bulldog was a European hero. That was the only time he ever lost a match in the UK.

The Montreal Screwjob

On November 9, 1997, at the Survivor Series, the most infamous night in the history of the business occurred. Known as the Montreal Screwjob, Vince Mcmahon rang the bell when WWF Champion Bret Hart did not submit to Shawn Michaels. The title was awarded to HBK, but Hart did not submit. Before the match, it was known Bret Hart was leaving for WCW, and as a show of solidarity Davey Boy Smith left too. 

WCW Return

Once again, The British Bulldog’s time in WCW was minimal.  Upon his arrival, he started a feud with Steve Mongo McMichael. He also formed a tag team with Jim Neidhardt to take on Curt Henning and Rick Rude. However, shortly after that, he injured his knee.  He returned to the ring, but at Fall Brawl on September 13, 1998, he injured his back when he took a bump on a trap door set up in the middle of the ring. This injury caused a spinal infection that almost paralyzed Davey. While he was recovering, WCW fired him again. 

During this time period, Smith became addicted to painkillers. He was desperately trying to stop the tremendous pain from the injury. It was the WWF that reached out to the British Bulldog to get him the help he needed. 

WWF Return with Attitude 

The British Bulldog made a surprise return to the WWF in 1999. The WWF had changed direction and was now in the middle of the attitude era. To fit this, he wore jeans to the ring and changed his theme music to barking dogs with a rock sound. On the September 7, 1999, episode of Smackdown, he defeated Big Boss Man and won the WWF Hardcore Title. Later in the night, he gave Al Snow the title and made his intentions known of winning the WWF Championship. The Bulldog immediately targeted The Rock and The McMahon family. He turned heel and began assisting HHH in his victories.

He competed at Unforgiven 1999 on September 26, 1999, in the six-pack challenge but came up short. On the October 26, 2000 Episode of SmackDown, the British Bulldog won the European Championship a second time by defeating D’Lo Brown. He lost that title to Val Venis.  The Bulldog bounced back when he defeated Crash Holly for his second Hardcore title in London. A month later, he lost it back to Holly. The British Bulldog’s last match was against another Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero on WWF Sunday Night Heat. He retired from active competition in May 2000.

The Legacy of Davey Boy Smith – The British Bulldog

For the next two years, Davey was training with his son Harry. He was going to come out of retirement and wrestle in tag matches as a father-son tag team. Unfortunately, that never happened. On May 18, 2002, Davey Boy Smith was declared deceased from a heart attack. He was 39 years old.

His legacy continues through his son Harry, wrestling under the name of Davey Smith Jr. Davey Smith Jr has been a WWE tag team champion twice as part of the Hart Dynasty with Tyson Kidd and Natalia Neidhardt. He has also been a part of the Hart Foundation in Major League Wrestling. He has been Resistance Pro Heavyweight Champion and an NWA Tag Team Champion with Lance Archer.  Davey Boy Smith definitely is a proud dad. 

https://i0.wp.com/www.wrestleview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/davey-boy-smith-entering-the-wwe-hall-of-fame.jpg?resize=696%2C392&ssl=1
Photo / WrestleView / WWE

In 2020/ 2021, The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith will take his rightful spot in the WWE Hall Of Fame. He will never be forgotten from being in tag team wars with the Dynamite Kid to being a member of The Hart Foundation. One of the most popular superstars of the ’90s, Smith has left his mark on the business. As his legacy lives on through his son, we are reminded of how great he actually was. A hero in the UK, The British Bulldog, was an icon. It’s an honor to write this tribute as The British Bulldog Davey Smith is inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Every dog has its day. That day is today.