X

Full Career Retrospective and Greatest Moments for British Bulldog

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

"The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith was a wrestler's wrestler.

Successful at every level of competition in World Wrestling Entertainment, he was a featured player on the promotion's television programming from his debut in 1985 all the way through his final stint with the company in 2000 (with the exception of a few short stays in WCW).

Debuting during the height of wrestling's first big boom period in the mid-1980s, Smith entered WWE as a member of the British Bulldogs team with partner Dynamite Kid. The former Stampede Wrestling stars wasted little time as they dazzled audiences with a style of wrestling that the crowds had never seen before.

It was a faster-paced style that was more energetic and exciting to watch than the slower, methodical style the New York territory had become accustomed to. This instantly made the Bulldogs one of the most popular teams in wrestling and led to a WWE Tag Team Championship opportunity against the Dream Team at WrestleMania 2.

With manager "Captain" Lou Albano and special celebrity guest Ozzy Osbourne flanking them, the duo took to the squared circle for their match against Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine inside the historic Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

An injury suffered by Dynamite Kid during the bout meant that Smith would be forced to go it alone. That proved not to be an issue as he scored the win, and the titles, for his team.

The Bulldogs would successfully retain the gold in rematches against Beefcake and Valentine before turning their attention to Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. Those two teams toured the country, competing against each other for the tag titles, but the Bulldogs emerged victorious.

Their longtime peers in Stampede Wrestling, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart, would prove too much for Smith and Kid.

On January 26, 1987, the Hart Foundation defeated the Bulldogs to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship following biased officiating from referee Danny Davis. It was a controversial moment that set up a huge six-man tag team match at WrestleMania III.

Smith and Kid partnered with Tito Santana, who had also been wronged by Davis, to take on the crooked referee and the new tag champions.

Thanks to a shot to the back of the head with manager Jimmy Hart's megaphone, Davis was able to pin Smith in what was a humiliating loss.

The Bulldogs would continue to team throughout 1987 and 1988, but the Dynamite Kid's body wore down significantly and his status as a backstage bully did neither he nor Davey Boy many favors.

Smith would leave the promotion in 1988, only to return again two years later.

The Davey Boy Smith fans saw when he returned in 1990 was different than the one that had left earlier. He no longer went by his real name but, instead, adopted the "British Bulldog" moniker and was significantly more muscular.

As a result, his speed was slightly affected and his matches became more based on powerful moves.

His first real feud upon returning was with The Warlord, which resulted in a match at 1991's WrestleMania VII. The two competitors, who seemingly had nothing better to do, would compete against one another in a string of neverending matches that stretched well into the winter months.

Despite being one of the more popular stars on the roster, Bulldog would float aimlessly for most of 1992 before being catapulted into a program against real-life brother-in-law Bret Hart over the Intercontinental Championship.

At SummerSlam '92, in front of over 80,000 fans inside London's Wembley Stadium, Bulldog defeated Hart in a five-star wrestling classic by countering a sunset flip into a pinfall. It was the crowning moment in Bulldog's career to that point and, arguably, the most memorable. The image of him with wife Diana and Hart standing united in the center of the ring to close out one of WWE's signature events is still a powerful one.

His title reign would be short-lived as he lost the strap three months later to Shawn Michaels.

Bulldog would exit WWE late in 1992 amid the steroid scandal that shook Vince McMahon's company. He would resurface in Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, where he was a fairly big star and challenged for the WCW championship on more than one occasion.

At Halloween Havoc '93, he squared off with fellow Englishman "Lord" Steven Regal for the television title.

By August of 1994, however, Bulldog would return to WWE, joining Bret in a war against Owen Hart and Jim Neidhart.

In January of 1995, Bulldog entered the Royal Rumble at No. 2 and lasted all the way to the end. He clotheslined Shawn Michaels over the top rope and appeared to have won the bout, but Michaels was able to keep his feet from touching the ground. Michaels re-entered the ring and knocked Bulldog off the top rope and to the arena floor.

Bulldog would recover, teaming with Lex Luger throughout the summer of 1995 before shocking the world and turning heel for the first time in his career just prior to SummerSlam, attacking Diesel during a tag match against Men on a Mission.

With manager Jim Cornette by his side, Bulldog would suddenly find himself hanging around the main events. He challenged Diesel for the WWE title in October of 1995 at In Your House, then Bret Hart on December's pay-per-view.

After WrestleMania XII, he would return to the title picture, challenging Michaels in consecutive months as part of a storyline in which the champion had repeatedly made advances towards Bulldog's wife Diana.

A tag team with brother-in-law Owen Hart would net Bulldog his second tag team championship reign, but those two Superstars' egos got the best of them. When Bulldog defeated Owen in the finals of the WWF European Championship tournament to capture the newly created title, the latter's jealousy of his partner became obvious.

They bickered and fought and nearly lost their tag titles on several occasions as a result.

When Bret Hart turned heel, however, he brought Bulldog and Owen back together, uniting them and creating a new Hart Foundation.

Bulldog was a central figure of the group, and one of WWE's workhorses at a time when business was down and Vince McMahon needed the absolute best from the stars he had at his disposal.

When the Montreal Screwjob happened and Bret Hart left for WCW, Bulldog opted to join his brother-in-law, leaving McMahon's promotion.

He would return in 1999 but a back injury suffered in WCW severely limited what he was able to do. Despite being nowhere near the level of performer he had previously been, Bulldog was given a fairly impressive push as he competed in the WWE title picture against the likes of Triple H, The Rock and Mankind.

He would leave WWE in 2000 for good.

Unfortunately, Bulldog had his demons. On May 18, 2002, Davey Boy Smith died of a heart attack attributed to his past steroid and substance abuse.

He was only 39.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.