Skip to comments.Wrestling's "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith dead at 39
Posted on 05/19/2002 9:44:08 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
By MELISSA RIDGEN -- Calgary Sun
Davey Boy Smith -- the British Bulldog of professional wrestling fame -- is dead at age 39.
He died early yesterday morning while vacationing in Invermere, B.C., with girlfriend Andrea Hart, the wife of Bruce Hart who is Smith's ex-brother-in-law.
Many members of the Hart family gathered last night to mourn at the home of Stu Hart, patriarch of the wrestling family.
"We're all quite saddened and shocked," said Ross Hart, of Stampede Wrestling fame, whose sister Diana was married to the British Bulldog and together had two children Harry, 16, and Georgia, 14.
"He had quite a positive relationship with most everyone in our family.
"We've had a lot of tragedies in the past while and it doesn't seem to end," he said referring to among other things, the death of Owen Hart in a wrestling stunt gone wrong in 1999 and the Nov. 4 death of the Hart matriarch Helen -- the wife of Stu and mother of the 12 Hart children, who passed way due to diabetes complications.
Diana and her children were at the Hart house last night.
"They're all quite upset. We're still waiting to hear the exact circumstances surrounding his death. We haven't been able to get a lot of details from the medical examiner or RCMP."
The Invermere RCMP would not comment on the matter last night but reports in the wrestling world indicate Smith died of a heart attack.
Ross Hart said that has not been confirmed.
"That's purely speculative until we hear from police or the medical examiner. We hope to have more information (today)," he said.
Police were reportedly trying to contact Smith's father and sister in England yesterday.
RECENTLY ATTENDED DINNER
The British Bulldog was at the Hart house for dinner just two weeks ago before he travelled to Winnipeg where he and his son wrestled in a tag-team match.
"I know that was something he looked forward to was to wrestle with his son and I'm glad he had that opportunity," Ross Hart said.
He was the first ever WWF European Champion and also won the WWF's Intercontinental, Hardcore, and Tag Team Titles during his career there.
Posted By Ashish on 05.16.02
Former ECW star Alex "Big Dick Dudley" Rizzo was found dead in his apartment earlier today. He was only 34 years old. The cause of death is not yet known.
Ok, someone needs to explain this one in depth. I seem to be missing something here. Or was he really dating the wife of his brother-in-law?
Davey Boy Smith enjoyed life with the Hart Family in Calgary so much that he up and married Stu and Helen's youngest daughter Diana. And so another member was added to the Hart Foundation.
Davey Boy got into wrestling at a young age. He followed his friend Tom Billington, aka The Dynamite Kid, to Calgary at the urgings of Bruce Hart. In the Stampede territory, both grew into great wrestlers, and tag team partners as The British Bulldogs.
Stampede wasn't big enough to hold either of them. Japan was their first stab at stardom.
Then Stu Hart's Stampede promotion was bought out by the WWF, and the Bulldogs headed for the big show. Despite their success, The Bulldogs only won the WWF tag titles once. They beat The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) on April 7, 1986 and lost to The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) on January 26, 1987.
The constant pounding on Dynamite Kid took its toll on his body, and then a car accident robbed him of his career.
And so Davey Boy Smith struck out on his own, both in WCW and the WWF.
He reigned as Intercontinental Championship from August 29, 1992 to October 27, 1992, winning the belt in 'The Battle of The Brothers-In-Law' from Bret Hart in Wembley Stadium -- a match Bret considers his best ever. He lost the belt to Shawn Michaels.
Next up, Davey Boy teamed with brother-in-law Owen Hart to win the WWF tag titles again. They beat the Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart Gunn) on September 22, 1996 and lost to Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin May 26, 1997. During their reign as champions, the two faced off in the finals of the WWF European championship, with Davey Boy coming out on top. He lost the title -- again -- to Shawn Michaels.
In early 1998, Bulldog followed brother-in-laws Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart to WCW. He hasn't been able to muscle to the top in WCW's crowded roster, and has been teaming with Neidhart.
Part-way through 1998, Bulldog injured his back, and was fired by WCW.
In August 1999, he re-signed with the WWF.
Ok, that explains some of it. Was Andrea still married to Bruce while she was dating Davey? Actually this sounds like my family.
A SUPERSTAR wrestler who battled drug addiction died from a heart defect he could have had for years.
Wigan-born Davey Boy Smith, known as the British Bulldog, was found dead in Canada, where he had made his home, in May last year.
An inquest into his death at Bolton recorded a verdict of natural cases, after hearing he had an enlarged heart.
But Mr Smith's father Sid, who insisted that his son's body should be returned to this country for a post mortem - against the wishes of his son's girlfriend - does not accept his son died from natural causes.
Mr Smith, 39, fought pain-killer addiction towards the end of his career after being prescribed drugs for a back condition, but was poised to make a comeback when he was found dead.
Forensic scientist Julie Evans said she found levels of morphine and steroids in his body, but they were not high enough to kill him.
"The levels found suggest a history of therapeutic use of codeine and morphine, but there is no scientific evidence of abuse," she said.
"There were high levels of testosterone, but many athletes can have a higher level of testosterone than the average person."
Mr Smith shot to fame with World Wrestling Entertainment, formerly the World Wresting Federation, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, after moving to Canada at the age of 18 to pursue his career.
He had married Diana Hart and they had two children, but the marriage broke down and he then formed a relationship with his sister-in-law, Andrea Hart.
He was with Mrs Hart and her five children on holiday at the home of friend Monica Anderson in Fairmont when he died.
In a statement, Mrs Hart said she woke to find him dead in bed beside her on the morning of May 18. "I noticed he wasn't breathing, he was just kind of blue," she said. "I called Monica right away, but it was too late."
She denied Mr Hart had been taking drugs before his death, apart from a muscle relaxant for his back.
Coroner Jennifer Leeming recorded a verdict of natural causes after pathologist John Rutherford said Mr Smith suffered from cardiac arythmia.
But after the inquest, Mr Smith's father, Sid, from Golborne, said: "I believe my son was murdered, he was so fit and healthy, it doesn't make sense.
"He was about to make a comeback.
"I'm so shocked I don't know what to do, but I might go to Canada to try to find out more. We are all devastated, he will never be forgotten."
During his career, Davey Boy Smith won WWF titles including Intercontinental Champion and was twice crowned European Champion.
There seems to be a lot of active wrestlers, however, who die while still in their 20s, 30s, or 40s. The British Bulldog, Curt Henning, Big Dick Dudley, Brian Pillman, and Louie Spicolli come to mind as examples from the past few years. There have been many others during this same period. Steroids and/or other drugs seem to be the culprit in many cases (although the cause of death more often than not is listed as a "heart attack"). If you had active NFL, NHL, or Major League Baseball players dying in similar numbers, there would be a Congressional investigation.
I've watched wrestling for many years, and I've noticed that a lot of wrestlers such as Scott Steiner, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerreo (spelling?) and even Vinnie Mac himself are a lot bigger physically than they were a few years ago. Did they build themselves up "naturally"? Certainly not in the case of Scott Steiner! I suspect that the epidemic of "heart attacks" that have claimed so many wrestlers in recent years is going to continue for the forseeable future.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.