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Davey Boy Smith, Dead at 39...
And Other News
May 20, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Some sad news to start off the week...  over the weekend, Davey Boy Smith -- you knew him as "the British Bulldog" -- passed away while vacationing in British Columbia, Canada.  He was 39 years old.

At present, no official cause of death is known, though published reports have suggested either a heart attack or an accidental choking death may be possibilities.  In any case, what is certain is this:  the wrestling world has lost another performer at far too young an age.

Smith, a native of the UK who -- due to his close ties to the Hart wrestling family -- was transplanted to Canada in later years, first came to the attention of wrestling fans in the mid 1980's.  As one half of the British Bulldogs tag team, Smith (along with partner Tom "Dynamite Kid" Billington) helped to revolutionize the in-ring product.  The Bulldogs brought flash, speed, and high risk to a WWF product that was usually more mat-based.  Davey Boy and Dynamite reigned as tag team champions for about 10 months after capturing the titles at WrestleMania 2 (where they were accompanied to the ring by Ozzy Osbourne).

Billington's chronically bad back meant the end of the Bulldogs tag team by 1989 (and eventually landed Billington in a wheelchair).  But Davey Boy Smith bulked up, and made a big splash in the WWF as a singles star as the 1990's began.

Having already proven himself as a tag team star, Smith set out to put himself on the map as a singles wrestler, and did so in spectacular fashion:  wrestling in front of his countrymen at Wembley Stadium, Smith won the WWF IC Title from brother-in-law Bret Hart in the main event of SummerSlam '92.

However, Smith did not stay in the good graces of the Fed, and departed the company by the end of '92.  He wound up resurfacing in the Ted Turner-owned WCW, where he got his first taste of main event status.  He was allied with the likes of Sting against villains such as Big Van Vader.  But his WCW stint wound up being a relatively short one.

When brothers Bret and Owen Hart began feuding in the WWF in 1994, Davey Boy was on hand at ringside along with several other Hart family members.  Of the Hart family spectators, only brothers-in-law Smith and Jim Neidhart wound up getting involved in the action.  Of course, this led to the Bulldog's full-time return to the WWF.

Smith began teaming with Lex Luger in 1995, and was slated to start feuding with Luger when Luger suddenly decided to jump ship to WCW.  It didn't take long before Bulldog's on-air persona turned heel; he enjoyed a run as a top challenger to champ Shawn Michaels before joining up with Owen Hart to win the tag team titles (during the Fall of 1996).  With Owen, Davey once again enjoyed a lengthy tag title reign...  

It was also during this tag title reign that Smith helped launch a new WWF singles title:  during a tour of Germany, Davey Boy actually pinned his brother-in-law and tag partner, Owen Hart, to win the WWF European Title in a tourney final.  The seeds of hostility between the brothers-in-law were allowed to germinate for a while, until older brother Bret Hart stepped in and asked for the whole family to make peace.

This, of course, led to the formation of the Hart Foundation, a stable that included Bret, Owen, Davey Boy, Jim Neidhart, and Brian Pillman.  They battled the likes of Steve Austin, and in doing so, became on of the most hated groups of all time.  But only in the United States.  In a strange turn of events, Hart and his cronies remained babyfaces just about every else in the world, especially in the Hart's native Canada.

In late '97, the infamous "Montreal screwjob" led to the dismantling of the Foundation.  Only Owen remained in the WWF, as Bulldog and Neidhart joined Bret in WCW.  For Smith, the WCW return was not at all memorable.  Or at least, not for the right reasons.  During a match in mid '98, Smith suffered a back injury that left him hospitalized and facing the possibility of paralysis.  Smith was terminated from WCW via a FedEx package received while in the hospital.

Despite the crass firing, Smith did eventually recover.  In fall '99, he made a surprise return to the WWF, where he added the Hardcore Title to his resume (making him one of a handful of four-title winners in the WWF).  He also regained the Euro Title within 2 months of his return, and briefly toyed with returning to the upper echelon of WWF stars.  But it was not to be.

Outside the ring troubles -- including reported substance abuse problems and a rift within the Hart family after Smith was willing to go back to work for the WWF after the accidental death of Owen earlier in '99 -- mounted, and Smith again quickly disappeared from the wrestling scene.

By mid-2000, Smith was only making periodic waves due to these troubles.  He was eventually divorced from Diana Hart as the schism in the Hart clan grew.  At the time of his death, Smith had been vacationing with the ex-wife of Bruce Hart.  [An article in The Sun (a UK tabloid) does report that Smith was scheduled to meet with Vince McMahon in the near future, which raises the issue of whether or not Davey Boy may have been on the brink of yet another comeback.]

However, for fans, it is the revolutionary in-ring performer of the 80's and the bankable star of the 90's that we remember today.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to all of the family, friends, and fans of "the British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith.


  • First, an (unpaid) announcement from me:  I've got two Indy 500 tickets available that my family cannot use.  These are sweet seats less than a dozen rows back from the track, and pretty close to the start/finish line.  If you're into the Indy cars, trust me, this is a great way to see the race!
    I'm basically looking to get face value for them (I think they are $85 each), plus S&H if we need to get into last-second FedEx'ing, on a first come, first served basis.  But if you come in with a higher bid, I can always move you to the top of the list, too!
    Let me know ASAP if you are interested, and whether we'll have to be trading FedEx packages, or if you want to pass through Dayton on your way to Indy to make an in-person transaction.
  • Now, onto business...
    Tonight's RAW will give us the answers to a few lingering questions:  namely, what's next for the new Undisputed Champ, the Undertaker?  And:  where does Hulk Hogan surface now that he's back to being limited to only one show?
    And also:  what do the nWo and Ric Flair have planned next for Steve Austin now that he's bested them again (at last night's PPV)?  Or:  will RVD line up to take ANOTHER shot at IC Champ Eddie Guerrero?  I could probably go on...  but you get the idea:  on the day after a PPV, it's more about moving things in new directions and setting the plate for the NEXT PPV.  Which means more questions than answers going into tonight's show.
    The Fed has announced three matches for tonight already:  Trish Stratus vs. Jackie for the women's title...  William Regal vs. Bubba Ray Dudley for the Euro title...  and the Hardy Boyz vs. X-Pac/Big Show.  Hopefully, this'll be a show that sees RAW rebound from being SmackDown!'s bitch for the past few weeks...
    Check it out tonight on TNN (or TSN, or whatever channel you foreign types have to watch)...  or just come on back here to OO for full coverage from CRZ tomorrow.  I promise no more 24 hour delays like last week!
  • Last night's Judgment Day PPV was a hit and miss affair for me.  That parts that hit -- like Edge/Angle, Jericho/HHH, and Eddie/RVD -- hit VERY solidly.  The parts that missed, well, they missed badly.  I STILL don't get Undertaker as the champ, for instance.  "Let's give the title to the least over heel at the top of the card," is that what they're thinking?
    If you somehow missed it, you can get the complete post-PPV recap right here.
  • World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. has repurchased the 2.3 million shares of common stock sold to NBC back when the two companies went partners in the XFL.  WWE bought the stock back at $12 per share, for a total cost of $27.7 million.  
    NBC's purchase two years ago left them with about 3% of all outstanding shares in WWE, stock which now reverts back to WWE itself.
    I'm sure there's a reason for the move, and I'm even more sure that I should know what it is.  I've got my MBA and all.  It's just that it's been 4 years since I've had to -- you know? -- USE it.
    Then again, whatever the reason is, I doubt it will ever, in a million years, have any impact on any of us at the fan level.  How's that for rationalizing my financial-knowledge shortcomings?
  • The final rating for last week's SmackDown! was a 3.6, which is the same number the previous week's show did.  Despite a significant drop in RAW ratings last week, SD! once again performed at a respectable level.
    You can get the full results from last weeks SD! right here, courtesy of the Immolator.
  • Davey Boy Smith's untimely passing was actually the third in a week, last week.  Earlier in the week, Alex "Big Dick Dudley" Rizzo and Erich "Mass Transit" Kulas died.  They were 34 and 22 years of age, respectively.
    As Big Dick Dudley, Rizzo was a regular in ECW for over a year as the Dudley concept was launched in 1995 and '96.  Kulas, on the other hand, wrestled only one match for ECW, though fans who remember the "Mass Transit Incident" will remember it as as a fairly significant one.
    Again, condolences to the friends and family of both men.
  • Some weak rumors are circulating that with the recent injury to Jazz, WWE developmental talent Victoria may now be on a fast track to getting called up to the majors.  She was booked for a couple of house shows this weekend, adding her -- ahem -- unique assets to the Swimsuit Competition skits that already involved Torrie, Stacy, and Ivory.
    Of course, Shannon Moore and Jamie Knoble are also presumed to be on their way, too, and have also made house show appearances on WWE cards, recently.
  • I think that's about it for today....  it's a shame that it's a big load of bad news to start off the week, but hopefully things'll look up soon enough.
    As always, first-hand reports from WWE TV tapings the next two days are encouraged.  Drop me a line, and help me spoil things for all the OO Readers, if you happen to attend the tapings!
    Also, there's now a Live Chat feature functioning here at OnlineOnslaught.com.  I'm not much of an "online chat" kind of guy, but if you see someone using the screen-name "OORick," well, that's me.  But who cares about that?  There are TONS of other OO Readers out there who you can annoy in real time.  Check out the new OO Chat!
    Till Wednesday...


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


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