The WWE has boasted some of the most incredible foreign talent in wrestling history. The prime-time players from wrestling powerhouses including Canada, Japan, and Mexico all seem to make their way into the WWE for an opportunity to become legends of the sport, recognized by wrestling’s biggest market. There are a lot of high-profile wrestlers born in the United States, but the imported talent from other parts of the world help push these performers to maximize their potential while adding new weapons to their arsenal. Among the fantastic foreign performers that the WWE has utilized, The British Bulldog deserves a place among the hallowed greats.
Originally born in England, Davey Boy Smith would move to Canada in his youth, and he would begin his wrestling training with family members who were already in the business. Smith was a natural athlete, and quickly honed his skill in the ring. His impressive physique made him someone to be feared, and fans quickly grew to love the wrestler that he was becoming. He spent time wrestling in foreign promotions before ending up in the WWE in the mid-1980s. From there, his legend in the sport quickly grew, and The British Bulldog would become a household name. He was instrumental in the WWE gaining mass popularity in European markets, and he was a fan favorite.
Sadly, at the young age of 39, The British Bulldog would die of a heart attack. He left behind one of the sport’s most impressive legacies, and his influence can still be felt to this day. Smith may be a household name to wrestling fans, but these little-known facts will give you a better understanding of one of wrestling’s most important performers.
15. He Is Not In The Hall Of Fame
This is perhaps the most egregious entry on this list, but nevertheless it continues to ring true. Despite the legacy that he forged inside of the ring, Davey Boy Smith has yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Whether it be on the WWE’s part or his families, most fans are ready to see The British Bulldog take his place alongside the other greats that have wrestled in the WWE. His accomplishments and body of work are more than enough for induction. In the past, the WWE has inducted performers that, while popular in their time, were hardly considered legends by fans. Koko B. Ware was an excellent midcard wrestler, and his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame was a recent example of a questionable induction.
14. He Never Won The World Title In WWE
Despite the prestige that comes with the name Davey Boy Smith, some fans might not know that The British Bulldog never won the big title while in the WWE. During his runs in the company, Smith held 4 different titles, and had multiple title reigns with 3 of them. The WWE’s questionable booking with performers like Jinder Mahal and The Miz winning the big belt makes this omission of The British Bulldog all the more head-scratching. I get that appealing to a new audience is important, but having a performer of this caliber never win the company’s most prestigious belt is just downright wrong.
While the WWE has kept their biggest belt off of several major superstars in its history, very few names on that list are of the caliber of The British Bulldog. Coupled with the fact that he still isn’t in the Hall of Fame, The British Bulldog just might be the most under-appreciated performer in the company’s history.
13. He Never Won A Title In WCW
During the infamous Monday Night Wars, the WWE and the WCW were flipping the wrestling world on its head, and pushing the business to astonishing heights. Viewers were tuning in by the millions, and house shows were sold out around the world. Each company boasted a wealth of talent who were well-rounded and capable of selling insane amounts of merchandise. The British Bulldog is one of the many performers who has the opportunity to wrestle for both companies during their white-hot peak. Now, he may have never won the big belt in the WWE, but The British Bulldog did win several other prestigious titles. In the WCW, however, The British Bulldog would finish his tenure there having never won a single belt. It may be hard to believe, but it’s true.
Some might say that The British Bulldog had an underwhelming run in the WCW, and I’d have to say that you’re right. However, given the personal politics from the company’s biggest stars, perhaps The British Bulldog just never had a chance.
12. He Won WWE Titles In 3 Separate Decades
For those looking to make a career in the wrestling business, few will ever make it to the biggest promotions in the world, and even fewer will win a world title. Given their intense physical workload, injuries mount up at an alarming rate, and few stars are lucky to have long, fruitful careers. Not only did The British Bulldog make it to the WWE, he also won a multitude of titles, and his longevity in the business saw him win titles in 3 separate decades, which is an incredibly rare feat. In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, The British Bulldog was able to hoist the gold in the biggest wrestling promotion the world has ever seen.
The British Bulldog has an impressively long career that saw him take on the most famous and most talented men in the world. It is no surprise that the level of physical readiness that he kept himself at allowed him to sustain such a long career.
11. The Inaugural WWE European Champion
The WWE is always looking to capitalize on global markets in an effort to further solidify their brand as a global force. Currently, the WWE’s attempt to capture the wrestling market in India has led them to putting their most prestigious title around the waist of Jinder Mahal. Whether or not he deserved to skyrocket to the top of the company may be questionable at best, but it just goes to show you that the WWE will do whatever it takes to continue to expand their brand. In the 1990s, the WWE was looking to push their brand into European markets, and the company established a European Championship. After a tournament was held to find their inaugural champion, The British Bulldog emerged victorious, and will forever hold this prestigious honor.
Sure, crowning The British Bulldog the inaugural European Championship title holder might have seemed predictable, but there is no doubt that he had the talent and the pedigree to hold the belt. This fact is another reason why I find it shocking that he isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
10. A Spinal Infection He Got From A Match Nearly Paralyzed Him
Professional wrestling is a physically demanding business that is meant for those who can endure severe punishment to their bodies on a regular basis. Yes, wrestling is scripted, but there is nothing fake about being thrown off of a 20-foot steel cage through a table. The performers do death-defying maneuvers that can lead to permanent injuries, or even death. It is important that in-ring adversaries look out for one another’s well-being, but accidents happen, and one night back in 1998, The British Bulldog almost lost his wrestling career.
While wrestling in a tag team match, The British Bulldog landed in an uncomfortable way on his back, but continued the match. Performers always wrestle through pain, and this wasn’t any different. What The British Bulldog didn’t realize was that he would develop a spinal infection that almost crippled him. Not only did he almost lose the ability to walk, but he also spent 6 months in the hospital afterwards.
9. Fired By WCW While Recovering From A Major Injury
After sustaining a spinal infection that nearly caused him to be paralyzed, The British bulldog would spend 6 months in the hospital recovering from his brutal injury. The injury occurred during a match in WCW, and the company was in a volatile state to say the least. The WWE was slowly starting to pull away in terms of popularity, and the WCW was running into massive problems with absurd booking decisions. Sadly, the company had no issues with being brutal with its talent, and Bulldog was served his walking papers while recovering from the injury that he sustained in the promotion. It remains one of the coldest acts in wrestling history, and Bulldog would never return to the company.
After making his recovery, however, The British Bulldog would make his return to the WWE, giving fans everywhere something to cheer about. Bulldog had been gone since the Montreal Screwjob, and seeing him in a WWE ring again just felt right.
8. Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Match Of The Year (1992)
If you end up winning the coveted Match of the Year honor, then you must be doing something right. Back in 1992, The British Bulldog would lock horns with Bret Hart in a match that is still heralded as a classic to this day. Taking place at SummerSlam, the red-hot British Bulldog took on The Hitman in the greatest match of his career. The match between the two legends headlined the card which took place in London, England. Bulldog’s appeal to the European market made him a no-brainer to headline the card to take on the Canadian powerhouse.
In the end, The British Bulldog would emerge victorious, claiming the Intercontinental Title for the first time in his illustrious career. His title reign may have been short, but The British Bulldog would still be a major player in the company. The match is readily available on the WWE Network, and never fails to disappoint.
7. He Left The WWF After The Montreal Screwjob
Any professional wrestling fan is no doubt well informed on the Montreal Screwjob. For those uncultured heathens who don’t follow wrestling, allow me if you will to paint a picture of what may be professional wrestling’s most infamous moment. You see, wrestling is scripted, and at Survivor Series in 1997, the company decided to flip the script on one performer, having him lose without his knowledge or consent. The match was between bitter rivals Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, with Hart being the uninformed party. Hart thought that he was winning the match, but collusion changed all of that. Michaels locked in Hart’s signature submission hold on him, and the referee called the match. Hart never tapped, and Michaels walked away with his belt. It is one of the most shocking moments in wrestling history, and its ripple effects could be felt throughout the industry.
So, what did The British Bulldog have to do with any of this? Well, in real life, Bulldog was married to Hart’s sister, and when his brother in law was screwed over, Bulldog bolted to WCW along with Hart and a few others. It was a moment that caused a huge divide in the industry, and The British Bulldog was caught right in the middle of it.
6. His Son Won The Tag Team Title 24 Years After His Did
Second generation performers are nothing new in professional wrestling, and some families just can’t get away from the sport that they love so much. Generation after generation will make their way into the ring to entertain fans around the world. Some families are up to their 3rd generation of talent to compete in the WWE. The British Bulldog forged an amazing legacy in the WWE, and when given the chance, his son picked up right where his father left off. When The British Bulldog first broke into the WWE, his tag team work was what put him on the map, and him winning the World Tag Team Championship was a major accomplishment. 24 years later, his son would carry on that legacy and win the same title as his father.
Seeing his son win the belt that helped kick off his illustrious career was one of the coolest moments in WWE history. In fact, The British Bulldog’s son, Davey Smith Jr., was part of the last tag team that ever held that prestigious title.
5. Wrestling Observer Newsletter Award’s Tag Team Of The Year (1985)
After cutting their teeth in Canadian and Japanese wrestling promotions, The British Bulldogs were ready to take the next step in their careers by heading to the WWE in 1985. Without skipping a beat, the two men wowed fans at house shows, and their in-ring work was as great as any tag team in the last 35 years. They fed off of each other perfectly, acting as perfect complements while destroying their adversaries. After all, if you have Ozzy Osbourne in your corner at WrestleMania, you have to be doing something right. The British Bulldogs were the new breed of tag team action, and their work didn’t go unnoticed by the media.
In 1985, the same year that they debuted in the WWE, The British Bulldogs were awarded the coveted Tag Team of the Year award by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The award helped solidify the duo as one of the company’s brightest properties.
4. He Held The Hardcore Title For Less Than 24 Hours
During the Attitude Era, the Hardcore Championship breathed new life into the WWE, as it allowed for any wrestler to compete for the belt. Falls counted anywhere, and matches could take place at any given moment, which made the Hardcore Championship wildly unpredictable. Because of this, the belt swapped hands at an alarming rate, and it would even change hands multiple times in a single evening. The British Bulldog actually had 2 separate reigns as Hardcore champion, but the unpredictability of being the champion stunted each reign. His shortest reign would last less than 24 hours, hardly making a blip on the radar.
As a kid, I loved the Hardcore Championship. Seeing guys like Raven, Al Snow, and Crash Holly all win the title was a blast. ECW was far edgier than the WWE, and this incorporation would help the WWE attract ECW’s audience. It was wild, unpredictable, and made for some awesome television.
3. Wrestled 3 Tag Team Matches With His Son
Both the British Bulldog and his son made names for themselves in the wrestling industry by working in tag teams that quickly got over with the fans. Their tag team work is revered by fans, but few could have predicted that the two would end up teaming together in a few matches in smaller promotions. Seeing this in person must have been an absolute treat for wrestling fans, as the two generations of Bulldog’s must have put on an amazing show. It is said that the British Bulldog, who had been out of wrestling for some time, was looking at making another bug run, and that his work with his son was just a small step on the road to greatness.
Sadly, the British Bulldog would pass away before he could complete his triumphant return. His son, however, continues to wrestle to this very day, and even performs under the wrestling name that made his father famous.
2. His Middle Name Really Is Boy
While he is best known by his in-ring name of The British Bulldog, many people also know him by his real name Davey Boy Smith. But, did you know that Boy is his actual middle name? Admittedly, I had always assumed that it was a nickname like Johnny Boy, but alas, it is his actual name. Every unique name has a story behind it, and The British Bulldog’s middle name is no exception. Allegedly, when Smith was born, a clerk in the hospital had accidentally written “Boy” in the middle name section instead of the sex section of the certificate, and thus Davey Boy Smith came to be.
It may not be the most normal middle name out there, but it actually flows nicely with his first name. His family decided to keep it as Boy because of this very reason. Whether you refer to him as The British Bulldog or as Davey Boy Smith, he is no doubt one of the best and most unique performers to ever hit the business.
1. His Tag Team Was With His Cousin
The great British Bulldogs tag team that took the world by storm in the 1980s was actually comprised of two cousins who were immensely talented. Davey Boy Smith may be the most famous Bulldog, but his cousin The Dynamite Kid was a true pioneer in his time, and was a massive influence on a young Chris Benoit. Together, The British Bulldogs conquered every promotion that they took part in, and their winning of the Tag Team of the Year award in 1985 solidified them as a mainstream act that was respected. The British Bulldog may have had a larger career than his cousin, but The Dynamite Kid is still highly revered in the business. Injuries have ended his career, but his in-ring work speaks for itself.
Though he has passed, The British Bulldog has left behind a legacy that is reserved for only a few performers in history. His in-ring work, name, and attire are all universally recognized, and Davey Boy Smith will no doubt be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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