Please welcome Ricky Rana to the Last Word On Sports Wrestling department. You can follow him on Twitter at @r1ck33
When you think of successful legendary British wrestlers you may think of names such as Big Daddy, William Regal or Wade Barrett. However, Davey Boy Smith will still be remembered as one of the most legendary British wrestlers to step into the squared foot circle and make such an impact spanning nearly four decades. After training and marrying into the iconic Hart family, Davey Boy Smith had a successful stint as the tag team duo, The British Bulldogs alongside the Dynamite Kid. It wasn’t until Davey Boy Smith went solo and in the summer of 1992 at Wembley Stadium in front of a sell out crowd of 80,000 fans witnessed their hero…The British Bulldog defeat Bret the Hitman Hart for the IC title.
Davey Boy Smith went on to work on other great storylines and matches both in the WWE and WCW and further creating history by becoming the first ever WWE European Champion. But the question that remains unanswered is why hasn’t the British Bulldog been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame? Why hasn’t the WWE recognised the legacy and the impact of one of Britain’s finest exports? There is immense support from wrestlers, movie stars and fans across the globe but still year on year we are still left asking the question, when will the British Bulldog be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
To help us answer this question we spoke to Georgia Smith, legendary daughter of the British Bulldog.
1. First and foremost, how does it feel to be the daughter of the legendary British Bulldog and niece to the iconic Hart family?
Well, I always remember my dad as just being my dad, his wrestling character will always be second to that. But, him as the man he was, and him as the wrestler, I deeply miss him everyday. I carry and hold a lot of pride, honour, and respect because of my dad’s, and my family’s legacy, accomplishments, and impact they made in professional wrestling.
2. How does your wrestling family background impact your views on professional wrestling today?
To be honest I don’t watch wrestling today. Growing up watching it, and having it in my family and being so involved, I found a lot more imagination, characters, more fun was in wrestling in the 80’s and 90’s. It seemed to be a lot more enjoyable and better back in the 90’s then it does now. That’s just my opinion.
3. We have seen your brother, Harry, have a successful stint in the WWE and now is doing very well within the independent circuit. Have you ever thought about making the transition into the wrestling industry? After all it’s in your genes.
I’ve never had any interest whatsoever in being a diva or wrestler at all. If I were to ever make the transition, it would be like what Rene Young does with her doing interviews and WWE specials. I did go to college for TV, radio, and broadcasting. I also did internships at TV shows, and radio, so I do have background and experience being involved with TV/media. I don’t think my dad would’ve been too pleased if I went down the wrestling route, especially with him and my family knowing what my dreams and goals are in life, and they don’t involve wrestling. I also have seen a lot of negatives in wrestling in general, that have given me a bad taste. For that reason I have no interest in going down the diva or wrestling route, despite being brought up with it. I saw how much my dad gave for wrestling, and how he literally broke his back for the business, I can’t say I could ever do that for wrestling.
4. What were your memories of the British Bulldog as a wrestler?
My favourite memories of my dad as a wrestler, would be his look for one. He had such a cool look being draped in all the red, white, and blue, Union Jack colours, and having the braids with the Union Jack coloured beads. I also liked, for my dad’s size, he could move like a smaller guy doing nip ups and flips into the ring posts. Of course, you gotta love Matilda the bulldog and Winston that made my dad stand out more, and is memorable to this day. I have many memories of watching my dad wrestle live while I’d be in the audience watching, and having so much fun cheering my dad on with the fans. One thing I remember about my dad outside of wrestling was, he’d never say no to someone for a picture or an autograph, and I remember walking into places and people just being in such awe of him. That was something I’d never forget, would be how much his fans loved him, and how he loved them back.
5. Did you spend much time with your father whilst he was wrestling?
In my earliest years, my dad wasn’t home much. As I got older I understood better why he wasn’t home. I do remember calling random numbers on my parent’s house phone in their room, trying to call my dad, I remember my mom picked the phone up asking what I was doing, and then she realized I was trying to contact Davey. It didn’t work! But I tried. I was lucky to have been able to travel often with my mom and brother though to see my dad wrestle on events. It was also gave me a passion for travelling, since I had been travelling with my mom and Harry often seeing since I was a baby to see my dad wrestle. Growing up and to this day, my brother and I don’t refer to our dad as “dad” he was always Davey to us. Since my dad wasn’t home often, and we only really saw him on TV, the commentator would say “Davey Boy coming from the top rope.” Or “Davey just got tagged in.” For that, we just knew him as “Davey”, and always just referred to Davey as Davey. A lot of people find that weird, but it was what I knew.
6. Growing up did you realise how popular your Dad was?
Oh yes, I did. Everywhere we went my dad would get recognized by people young and old. All the kids in my class all wanted signed pictures of my dad, and some kids would wait with me while I’d be waiting for my parents to come pick me up to see if my dad would be the one to get me. All the magazines, photos, and dolls of my dad I’d see at my house, I always knew my dad was a big deal. I remember going to Disney world with my family when I was about four or five, and I was so excited to see Mickey Mouse there walking outside of the castle, and I remember that Mickey running up to my dad with a notepad and pen asking for my dad’s autograph. I remember thinking “Wow! Mickey Mouse wants Davey’s autograph?!!”
7. What’s your favourite British Bulldog match and why?
I would have to say my favourite match of my dad’s would have to be his Summerslam 92 match at Wembley stadium, against my uncle Bret for the intercontinental championship belt. Just the build up to that match, the characters that were involved, the story, the moves, the fans. The whole energy of that match, I’ve never experienced at another WWF/WWE match/event like that ever. That match was the best of the best, and my dad and Bret created history and magic with that match.
8. How does it make you feel that many fans still remember your Dad and have high regard for his work within the wrestling industry?
It’s always nice and refreshing when people tell me my dad’s a legend or tweet me, tag me in pictures of my dad saying how much they enjoyed his matches. It’s important to me, and my family for my dad to be recognized and remembered for the legacy he left, and what he contributed to the wrestling world. When I’m having a bad day or miss my dad, and people tweet me videos or pictures of my dad it turns my whole day around.
9. Do you feel that British Bulldog paved the way for some of the current British wrestlers in the industry today; including Wade Barrett, Paige, Drew McIntyre and Rockstar Spudd?
I do believe with my dad and dynamite crossing over the pond working for WWF, that really changed the game of British wrestling, and showed that people from the UK could cross over to North America and become big stars. I know Wade Barrett is a big fan of my dad’s, and idolised Davey. They’re both also from up north in England. When my dad was going to be doing a tour in the UK back in the fall of 2002, I heard Wade Barrett was going to be on those shows as well, and was so looking forward to meeting his hero. Sadly that didn’t happen, but I believe my dad had a big influence on Wade Barrett, and others.
10. Bret and Vince decided to bury the hatchet and now both parties maintain a cordial albeit professional relationship. Do you feel this will make it more easier for the British Bulldog to be recognised and inducted into the Hall of Fame?
I don’t think it has any kind of influence really. The WWE do what they want when they want. My dad also never had any bad blood or ill feelings towards Vince or the WWE, of vice versa. My dad did wrestle for WWE even after Bret was gone, so I can’t say Bret burying the hatchet with Vince has made it easier for my dad to get inducted, when it really has/had no effect. But I was with Bret last night, and he was saying he didn’t understand why Davey and Owen aren’t in the HOF yet? Bret said they deserve to be in it, including Jim Neidhart, Dynamite and Brian Pillman over a lot of guys who have been previously inducted.
11. What would it mean to the Hart and the Smith family for the British Bulldog to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
It’s important first and foremost for my brother and I to be able to see my dad get the honour and be awarded with the WWE Hall of Fame, which has been long awaited, and rightfully deserved. I hope my dad’s dad will still be alive and at the ceremony when the induction happens.
12. Do you feel your father should be inducted as the British Bulldog or part of the tag team duo of the British Bulldogs?
I feel that yes, my dad and Dynamite were a legendary tag team. They were one of the top three best tag teams, and the first UK guys to cross over to North America and really take the wrestling world by storm with how amazing they were with their technical ability, power, look, etc. However, my dad’s and Dynamite’s tag team, and their team work together in the WWE was short lived. My dad on the other hand had a long successful singles career in the WWE. Including winning the battle royal at Royal Albert Hall in 91, beating Bret at Summerslam 92, becoming the first European champion in 97, and him and Owen becoming tag team champions.
We saw my uncle Bret being inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame back in 06, without his main and first tag team partner Jim Neidhart, and Shawn Michaels was inducted into the WWE hall of fame without Marty Janetty.
Also, my earliest memories I have of wrestling was my dad in his singles career. I don’t have any memories really of The British Bulldogs together, until I watch their matches on YouTube.
So, I think it’s important for my brother and I to have my dad be inducted in his singles career. But I do believe that dynamite should be inducted as well alone for what he sacrificed, like his family, his health, and has influenced a huge amount of wrestlers along the years. My dad and Bret have also said Dynamite was the greatest wrestler that ever lived.
13. Do you think the WWE owe it to your family by inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame?
I think they owe it to Harry, myself, my mom, along with my dad’s family in England. I think for everything my dad did for WWE, and the big of star he was, I think it’s been long overdue. But again, WWE do things the way they want and when they want.
14. Mick Foley has recently gone on record and actively promoted the British Bulldog being inducted into the Hall of Fame, are other wrestlers as supportive?
Yes, all the wrestlers who have been asked to help have been very supportive, and have been urging fans to get involved with Davey being inducted. Also, celebrities like David Hasselhoff have joined the petition campaign to help raise awareness for the cause.
15. Who do you feel would be the best person to induct him into the Hall of Fame?
I think my brother Harry would be the best person to do that along with my Mom, as it was hard for her with Davey gone so much with two children. And let’s not forget that my Mom had a huge part in some of Davey’s storylines from 95 through to 97, she was on the road a lot too working with him, and so she deserves to be on that stage along with Harry if/when the time comes.
16. If the British Bulldog was to be remembered for one match or for one standout moment, how would you like for him to be remembered?
Davey on the top turnbuckle holding his Intercontinental belt, pointing his finger to the sky, and looking over at the over 80,0000 UK fans that were in attendance that night. That’s the image I see in my head, and I actually have a painting of it.
17. Is there a petition available for fans to sign to further raise awareness?
Yes, there is a petition that’s been created by a an English gentleman named Michael Finney who’s gathered close to 5000 signatures in recent months, trying to get WWE’s attention to put Davey into the WWE Hall of Fame. Michael, along with many others are working hard everyday to get my dad closer into the Hall of Fame. The website is www.teamdaveyboysmith.com where people can sign the petition, and there is also a link here from change.org where people can sign the petition as well.
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