British Wrestlers: Before They Were Famous
With Wade Barrett's recent victory on NXT, I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the other wrestlers that have made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean from the British Isles to the world of the WCW or WWF/E.
I also thought it would be interesting to take a look them from a time before they were famous.
For some, Chris Adams may be amongst the least-famous of the wrestlers showcased, as his connections with the WWF/E were not on-screen connections.
Some may remember him from a brief two-year stint with the WCW, but his real claim to fame is that he trained Scott Hall in 1984 and Steve Austin in 1989.
He is also famous as the first wrestler to popularize the famous superkick finishing move, which would later be used by dozens of other wrestlers (including Shawn Michaels' "Sweet Chin Music").
The "before he was famous" part?
Here's Chris Adams wrestling in a British promotion, in 1978:
Giant Haystacks debuted in the United States for World Championship Wrestling under the ring name Loch Ness.
He served as a member of the Dungeon of Doom and feuded with Hulk Hogan.
However, the feud was short-lived, ending abruptly when he was diagnosed with cancer and returned to the United Kingdom.
The video below gives us a look at Loch Ness before he was famous. Although having watched the video, I'm not sure that's something we wanted to see...
Thomas Billington: The Dynamite Kid
Thomas Billington: The Dynamite Kid, one half of the British Bulldogs, made his WWF television debut on August 29, 1984, where he and Bret Hart defeated Iron Mike Sharpe and Troy Alexander in a match eventually shown on September 15, 1984 on the Maple Leaf Garden broadcast.
Teaming up again with his cousin, Davey Boy Smith, the Bulldogs are perhaps best remembered for their feuds with real-life friends The Hart Foundation.
Sadly, these days, Billington is disabled and confined to a wheelchair due to his years of drug abuse and the high-impact style of wrestling in which he engaged.
Below is a look at The Dynamite Kid from younger and happier times. Watching the video, it appears in British Wrestling that grandparents were permitted to wrestle in the 1970s and that the championship belt is actually just a normal belt that's worn to keep your pants up.
You can't have one Bulldog without the other so, having included The Dynamite Kid, I felt I had to include his cousin, Young David, or Davey Boy Smith, as he's probably better remembered.
The Bulldogs, along with Smith's brothers-in-law Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, were brought in to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) after Vince McMahon bought out Stampede Wrestling.
Sadly, Smith passed away on May 18th, 2002, after suffering a heart attack while on vacation in Invermere, British Columbia with his girlfriend, Bruce Hart's estranged wife, Andrea Redding. He was 39 years old.
I think Young David was about 12 in the video below (and again, check out the title belt!).
The Nature Boy!
No, not THAT Nature Boy; I mean "Nature Boy" Steve Regal, perhaps better known by his ring names Lord Steven Regal and William Regal, in the WCW and the WWF/E, respectively.
Having started his career wrestling on the carnival circuit in England, Regal moved on to wrestle around the world in countries such as Germany and South Africa, before being called up to World Championship Wrestling in 1993.
In 2000, after being fired from WCW, Regal joined the WWF/E, where he became commissioner. More recently, he has been general manager of Raw and also the 2008 King of the Ring.
In the video below, you'll have to excuse what appears to be some sort of male bonding/mating ritual by the Road Warriors early on, but here's a look at the young Nature Boy, wooo!
Long before Finlay arrived in America as a sprightly 84-year-old with an annoying leprechaun in tow, he could be found wrestling on the British circuits.
Finlay has held 22 championships in various promotions throughout his career, including the WCW World Television Championship and the WWE United States Championship.
In the video below, you can see a much, much younger David "Fit" Finlay, as the Light-Heavyweight champion, in a non-title match. He really hasn't changed a bit.