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 is by many considered one of 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 real, live Bulldog (Matilda) that would accompany them to the ring and even be the center of the Bulldogs' feud with The Islanders when they “dognapped” it (according to the storyline).The Bulldogs last pay per view was at 1988 Survivor Series. The Bulldogs competed in a 10 tag team match where Mr. Fuji attacked Demolition and joined forces with the Powers of Pain, who won the match by eliminating the heel team Los Conquistadores. The Bulldogs left the WWF after the 1988 Survivor Series, quitting the federation after backstage altercations between Dynamite Kid and Jacques Rougeau.
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 Real World Tag League Tournament 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 Real World Tag League tournament, and the duo (known as The British Bruisers) continued to compete in All-Japan Pro Wrestling. The duo managed to capture the AJPW 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.
Davey Boy Smith died on 18 May 2002, and Dynamite Kid now uses a wheelchair.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards