The British Bulldogs
- For the tag-based game, see British Bulldogs (game). as the British Bulldog. For the Bulldogs, Great Britain's national Australian rules football team, see Great Britain national Australian rules football team.
|The British Bulldogs|
|Members||Davey Boy Smith
1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
|218 kg (481 lb)|
|Billed from||Leeds, England|
The British Bulldogs were the team of cousins Davey Boy Smith and Tom Billington (better known as the Dynamite Kid), professional wrestlers who competed through most of the 1980s in both North America, England, and Japan and are consistently ranked among the top tag teams in history.
Early years (1983-1984)
In the 1970s, Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith both began their careers in England, teaming up because of their family relations. The two were soon invited to join Stampede Wrestling by talent scout Bruce Hart. During their time in Stampede, Dynamite and Davey Boy began a heated feud as Dynamite provoked Smith by saying he was a test-tube baby.
The Dynamite / Davey Boy feud would continue in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they became involved in a three way feud that also involved The Cobra over the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. After they settled the feud, the two started to team as the British Bulldogs both in NJPW and Stampede Wrestling. In March 1984, the Bulldogs would win the Stampede International Tag Team Championship for the first time. In 1984, the Bulldogs left NJPW to go to its bitter rival All Japan Pro Wrestling, effectively severing all ties to New Japan to this day.
World Wrestling Federation (1984-1988)
In 1984, Vince McMahon bought out Stampede Wrestling. The buyout meant that the British Bulldogs joined the World Wrestling Federation along with Smith’s brother-in-law Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart (The Hart Foundation). Initially the Bulldogs still toured with AJPW, but soon after they became WWF-exclusive.
The British Bulldogs' first and probably most well known feud was with the Hart Foundation, whom they knew well from their Stampede days, and thus were able to produce a series of outstanding matches that helped elevate both teams in the WWF. The Bulldogs next major feud was with the then-WWF World Tag Team Champions, "The Dream Team" of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. The Bulldogs wrestled Valentine and Beefcake for close to a year, coming close to but never winning the tag titles. The stage was set for a "final" tag title match at WrestleMania 2. With "Captain" Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne in their corner, the duo won the WWF World Tag-Team titles.
The Bulldogs continued their feud with the Dream Team and also defended regularly against the former championship team of The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff. In December 1986, Dynamite Kid suffered a serious back injury during a match in Hamilton, Ontario, forcing him out of the ring for a longer period of time (during this period Davey Boy Smith would defend the titles with various replacement partners). On January 26, 1987, the British Bulldogs lost the titles to the Hart Foundation in a match that saw Dynamite Kid so debilitated that he was carried to the ring by Davey Boy Smith and saw little physical action. The match would air on February 7 on WWF Superstars of Wrestling.
After being given time off to recuperate, the Bulldogs returned to the ring to continue their feud with the Hart Foundation and “Evil Referee” Danny Davis (who, in the storyline, cheated to help the Hart Foundation win the title). The teams met at WrestleMania III, where the Bulldogs teamed with Tito Santana to take on the trio.
When the Bulldogs returned, they were given a live bulldog named Matilda, who would accompany them to the ring. She was central to the Bulldogs' feud with The Islanders when they “dognapped” her. The Bulldogs' last pay-per-view was the 1988 Survivor Series. They wrestled in a ten-man tag team elimination match where Mr. Fuji attacked Demolition and joined The Powers of Pain, who won the match by eliminating the heel team Los Conquistadores. The Bulldogs left the WWF after backstage pranks and altercations with The Rougeau Brothers led to Jacques Rougeau knocking several of Dynamite's teeth out with a suckerpunch.
Stampede Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling (1988-1990)
After leaving the WWF, the Bulldogs returned to their old “home” in Stampede Wrestling and also resumed touring with All Japan Pro Wrestling, where they had moderate success as a tag team, but it was not as magical seeing these two wrestle there, as years of steroid abuse made them too large, physique-wise, and Dynamite Kid’s back injury from years prior had made his previously exciting moveset more limited. They had feuds with the Cuban Commandos and Karachi Vice in Stampede and won the Stampede International Tag-Team titles for the second time on December 12, 1988.
After losing the titles to Karachi Vice on December 30, 1988, Dynamite Kid turned heel by re-igniting the feud with Davey Boy Smith, joining forces with his former manager J.R. Foley and his future British Bruisers partner Johnny Smith. Despite the split in Stampede, The British Bulldogs remained as a tag team in AJPW, at the request of Giant Baba.
In September 1990, Davey Boy Smith abruptly withdrew the Bulldogs from AJPW's annual World's Strongest Tag Determination League by returning to the WWF, and fabricating to the All-Japan office that Dynamite was in a serious car accident and couldn't compete. Since Davey Boy Smith had trademarked the term "The British Bulldog" during the Bulldogs' previous run in the WWF, he decided to return to the WWF as The British Bulldog and would send people to the United Kingdom to warn the promoter every time a flyer was distributed promoting Dynamite Kid as a "British Bulldog." As a result of these actions, Dynamite passionately despised Smith for a long time. Johnny Smith would end up taking Davey Boy Smith's spot in the World's Strongest Tag Determination League, and the duo (known as The British Bruisers) continued to compete in All-Japan Pro Wrestling. The duo managed to capture the All Asia Tag Team Championship, but the partnership was short-lived; the years of steroid abuse, working a high-impact style and cocaine usage caught up with "the Dynamite Kid" Thomas Billington as he suddenly announced his retirement on December 6, 1991.
The British Bulldogs were made into action figures, first in 1986 during the LJN WWF Wrestling Superstars line and in the mid 2000s Classic Superstars line by Jakks Pacific. They were available separate as well as packaged together. The Classic Superstars double pack even included their bulldog mascot, Matilda. Both versions are highly sought after by collectors and prices can be well over hundreds of dollars in mint condition especially for Billington, as figures of him were not produced as much as Smith, who gained fame in both WWF and WCW after the Bulldogs' split while Billington wrestled primarily overseas, most notably in Japan and whos career was cut short due to injuries. Many collectors who have obtained the figures consider them among their most prized pieces.
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson (2005). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-683-6.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Brian Shields (2006). Main event–WWE in the raging 80s (4th ed.). Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
- "Backstage Heat: Jacques Rougeau & The Dynamite Kid", by Ralph A. Eichenlaud, OnlineWorldofWrestling.com
- Tom Billington and Alison Coleman (1999). Pure Dynamite. Dynamite Kid Co. ISBN 978-0-9537097-0-0.
- Strong Style Wrestling (November 15 – December 12, 1990). "AJPW Strongest Tag League Results (1990)". "9. Dynamite Kid & Johnny Smith "
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.83)
- Mick Foley (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 768. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.