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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Future Hall of Famers Vol. II: Davey Boy Smith
October 30, 2007 by Steven M.


Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!


In 1972, a British born professional wrestler named Davey Boy Smith made his debut. He worked all over the world and gained his greatest success to date in Canada at Stu Hart's famous Stampede Wrestling. Davey would compete against his cousin Tom Billington for several months before teaming with the man who would be known as The Dynamite Kid. In Stampede Wrestling, they were an awesome team as The British Bulldogs. From then on, Smith and Billington would wrestle select events at Stampede and New Japan when a new adventure was just beyond the horizon.

The year was 1985 and as Vincent Kennedy McMahon was building the empire that would become World Wrestling Entertainment, new fresh faces was what he craved such as Hulk Hogan while enjoying the work of his established stars such as Andre The Giant. McMahon was still looking for more workers and then attempted to work out a deal with Stu Hart to buy Stampede Wrestling and sign their biggest stars in Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and among others, The British Bulldogs. The deal for acquiring Stampede Wrestling fell through so it never happened, but the stars were brought in. Instantly the British Bulldogs became a tag team success, winning the WWF Tag Titles at WrestleMania 2 from Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. After several successful title defenses, the Dynamite Kid suffered a back injury and thus the titles had to come off. The Bulldogs lost the WWF Tag Titles to The Hart Foundation after the Harts "took out" Dynamite Kid before the match and Davey Boy was double teamed and defeated. The Bulldogs took some time off but not nearly enough. The Bulldogs came back and still had success but never regained the WWF Tag Titles after several chances. Problems arose backstage that ranged from Billington's still injured back to legitimate heat with the Rougeau Brothers. In December of 1988, the Bulldogs left the WWF for Stampede Wrestling and won the International Tag Team Titles quickly. They lost the straps soon after and two were imbedded in yet another violent feud. After the spilt, Smith won the North American Heavyweight Championship from Don Muraco in one of his last few matches in Stampede Wrestling. As Davey Boy Smith's time was running out at Stampede, his life nearly came to an end. On July 4, 1989, Davey Boy Smith, Chris Benoit and Jason The Terrible got into a horrific car wreck and while nobody was killed, Smith cracked two vertebrae and needed 100 stitches to close wounds from being tossed through the windshield. However, being one of the tougher men around, Smith was determined to get back in the ring as quick as possible.

After touring Japan and Europe, Smith returned to the WWF as The British Bulldog and was given good success as a singles star. Smith started to open some eyes, defeating The Warlord at WrestleMania 7, hanging in the 1992 Royal Rumble for the WWF Championship and gaining popularity from a world wide crowd. Arguably the greatest moment in Smith's career was at the 1992 Summerslam event in his home country of England. His opponent this night was the Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart. This was the first time ever that the Intercontinental Championship was the main event of a WWF Pay Per View and it was truly a classic. The two battled for over twenty-five minutes when Smith countered a pin attempt by Hart and picked up the victory. The British Bulldog was the new Intercontinental Champion and celebrated with his wife and Hart's sister, Diana along Bret himself. This was by far Smith's biggest moment winning a major singles title in his home country. The Bulldog held the Intercontinental title for several months before dropping it to another future legend in Shawn Michaels. Smith would then take several months off to heal some nagging injuries.

After competing in various independent promotions such as Eastern Championship Wrestling, Smith resurfaced in WCW and would go on to work a program with the WCW Champion Vader. Smith and Vader would compete for several months over the WCW title in a feud that would include wrestlers such as Rick Rude, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Sid Vicious among others. The two would eventually meet at the Clash of the Champions where Vader would get the victory over Smith to not just retain his WCW Title but put an end to Smith's title chase. After competing in a War Games Match, Smith would then challenge Steve Regal for the Television title. Through all of this, there was an ongoing investigation that stemmed from an altercation at a bar. Apparently a man was harassing Smith's wife and when Smith got his hands on him, he placed the man in a hospital for several weeks. His assault would also lead to the individual having permanent brain damage. Smith's contract would be terminated by WCW upon his day in court but he would soon appear again engaged in a family feud.

When Bret Hart and Owen Hart were competing with each other over pride and for the WWF Title, the family battle lines were drawn. At Summerslam 1994, Bret Hart defeated Owen Hart in a classic Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship. After the match, Jim Neidhart and Owen Hart put a beating on Bret until Smith and other family members scaled the cage and made the save. For the next few months we would witness Bret Hart and The British Bulldog vs. Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart. Bret Hart would not be Smith's only partner as he would form a powerhouse tag team with Lex Luger as the Allied Powers. Smith and Luger would be successful against Jacob and Eli Blu at WrestleMania 11. When Lex Luger no showed for a match against Men on a Mission, the WWF Champion Diesel offered his services. It was a setup as Smith and Men on a Mission put a beating on Diesel and Smith would take Jim Cornette as his manager. Smith would get a WWF Title match with Diesel which Smith would win by disqualification. A few months later, Smith got another shot at the WWF Championship against Bret Hart. The buildup to this match was simple. Bulldog felt that if Hart couldn't beat Smith in 1992, he couldn't beat him in 1995. It was another classic match with Bret scoring the pinfall victory this time. For the next year, Smith would get another chance at the strap albeit an unsuccessful one against Shawn Michaels but find success teaming with Owen Hart. Smith and Hart would win the WWF Tag Team titles and while they were champions, they would wind up in a small feud of their own over the newest championship in the WWF, the European Championship. Smith defeated Owen in the Finals in the tournament for the European Title. Smith became the first European Champion and Owen was not too happy. A small series of matches would take place between the two until Bret Hart would interrupt their last one. Bret, who had serious and bloody rivalries with both men, told them that fighting each other was what the American fans wanted. From there Bret would "declare war" on America and reunited with both men to form the Hart Foundation. The group would also consist of Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart. The five were very successful as a unit, gaining a huge win against the team of Ken Shamrock, Goldust, The Legion of Doom and Steve Austin at Canadian Stampede 1997. Smith would eventually lose the European Championship to Shawn Michaels in England, making the "Heart Break Kid" the first ever Grand Slam Champion and leaving Smith crying after the event, believing that he let his country down. Smith would team with Bret Hart for the last time to battle The Patriot and Vader in a Flag Match at Bad Blood and proceeded to leave the WWF with Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart following the infamous "Montreal Screwjob." It is rumored that Smith actually paid $150,000 to get out of his contract.

Smith again resurfaced in WCW but to little success and accumulated pain. Smith suffered a serious injury after taking a bump on a trap door inside the ring designed for The Warrior at Fall Brawl. The injury would become an infection of his spine that required serious rehabilitation. Smith would later be fired by mail from WCW. During this time, the only remaining Hart Family member in the WWF was Owen Hart. McMahon let Bret, Neidhart and Smith leave but he kept Owen, probably to spite them. Smith and Owen actually began to talk on the phone about Smith's possible return to the Federation once he was completely healed. The decision was finalized under the most improbable and tragic of circumstances. The day was the 23rd of May 1999. The WWF was set to put on another tremendous pay per view entitled Over The Edge. The pay per view's name, the arena and the day will never be forgotten. Owen Hart was dressed as The Blue Blazer, a goofy superhero like character that represented Owen's first gimmick in the WWF. He was going to face The Godfather for the Intercontinental Championship. One of the trademarks of The Blue Blazer would be gliding down from the rafters of the arenas and into the ring. On this night, Owen was supposed to glide into the ring and once standing in the ring he would trip and the crowd would mock him. This was supposed to be done for the live crowd only. However as the crowd and the fans at home watched a pre-recorded interview of The Blue Blazer, Owen's harness malfunctioned and he fell from the top of the building into the ring. Owen fell anywhere from 30 to over 100 feet into the ring. The only saving grace was that nobody at home witnessed this. Owen reportedly hit the turnbuckle and was rushed to a nearby hospital. It was too late and Owen had passed away within minutes. Smith then made it his mission to return to the WWF and preserve the memory of his brother-in-law. On the September 9, 1999 edition of SmackDown, Smith defeated The Big Bossman for the Hardcore title and passed it on to Al Snow. Smith would work a few more matches and prepare for a shot at the WWF Title. He turned on The Rock and was thrown into the Six Pac Challenge at Unforgiven to crown an undisputed WWF Champion. Triple H defeated Smith, Kane, The Big Show, The Rock and Mankind to win the Title. Smith would feud with The Rock and Test for a short time and get one last title reign as the European Champion. At Armageddon 1999, Val Venis dethroned him as Champion after defeating both Smith and D-Lo Brown. From that point on, Smith had severe drug issues and couldn't handle rehab. He also had issues keeping his marriage together; ultimately, it wouldn't last.

Sadly in 2002, Davey Boy Smith suffered a heart attack and passed away. Drugs played a role in his death but no matter what we lost a legend on this day. One of the great moments that few saw was Davey and Harry, his son, competing in three tag team matches at a Canadian independent promotion. It was on the October 22 edition of RAW where Harry Smith would make his debut defeating Carlito with a running powerslam, Davey's finishing move. One could only believe, as corny as it might sound, that Davey is watching his son and is incredibly proud of him. The time shall come if nothing fails that "The British Bulldog," Davey Boy Smith will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

by Steven M. (View/Submit your feedback here)..




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