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Bulldog began as a pup

By MICHAEL WOOD -- Calgary Sun

Long before his reign as a British Bulldog, David Smith was a small lad chasing big dreams across the English countryside.

"He always wanted to be a wrestler, always," Sid Smith, the father of Davey Boy, told the Sun from his England home.

Not quite the 5-ft.-11, 260-lb. grappling machine he would become, Davey Boy was 10 years old when he began wrestling in his home town of Golborne near Warrington, England, where he lived with his parents, a brother and two sisters.

In the years to come he would work his way across England, Wales and Scotland, wrestling wherever he could with his cousin Tom Billington.

It was at the age of 18 he followed Billington to Calgary at the urging of Bruce Hart, then a grappler with Calgary Stampede Wrestling. David Smith became Davey Boy Smith, and Billington would take the moniker of Dynamite Kid.

Together they would form the British Bulldogs, and prove shortly thereafter that Stu Hart's circuit simply wasn't big enough to hold either of them.

In 1985, after several successful stints in Japan and fresh from wedding Stu's daughter Diana, Davey Boy headed for the big show -- then called the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment.)

On April 7, 1986 they beat the Dream Team of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake taking with them the WWF tag title for their one and only time.

They would lose it months later to Jim Neidhart and Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Davey's brother-in-law.

The constant pounding on Dynamite Kid took its toll on his body, and then a car accident robbed him of his career.

The cousins separated in a bitter public display before Davey Boy struck out on his own, both in WCW and the WWF.

He reigned as Intercontinental Championship from Aug. 29, 1992 to Oct. 27, 1992, winning the belt in the legendary 'Battle of The Brothers-In-Law' from Bret Hart in London's Wembley Stadium -- a match Bret said he considered his most memorable.

A sell-out 83,000 tickets flew off the counters in a record-setting 11 hours.

"It's probably one of the best-known matches ever," Davey Boy's estranged wife Diana said yesterday.

"That was his highlight."

He would wrestle on through the '90s, both for WWF and WCW until a twist of events would launch him into a pit of drug addiction and despair that would take years to overcome.

In the ring he suffered a serious blow, after a slam into a metal trap door nearly destroyed his back.

Outside the ring, Davey's sister Tracy lost a battle with liver cancer. Three months later, his mother Joyce would fall to the same disease.

"He was never the same after that" his father said.

To cope with the pain from his back injury, Davey Boy took morphine. Soon, he became an addict, and it was in that time he and Diana separated.

His troubles would follow him to court, where he would find himself facing charges of death threats, first against his estranged wife and her sister Ellie, then Bruce Hart, the estranged husband of Davey's new girlfriend Andrea.

Recently, Davey Boy's life began taking a turn for the better and plans of marriage and moving out to the country were being tossed around, his girlfriend Andrea said yesterday.

And together with his son, Harry, 15, Davey Boy was working hard to restart his stalled career by becoming the first father-son tag team. The duo grappled the first time in Winnipeg eight days ago.

"We had so much planned," Andrea said.

More on The British Bulldog




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