Dynamite Kid must join The British Bulldog in WWE Hall of Fame

Last autumn, wrestling legend Bret Hart told me he believed The British Bulldog's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame was "long overdue".

The company has announced Bulldog – real name David 'Davey Boy' Smith – will finally be honoured at the 2020 ceremony at WrestleMania 36.

It is something fans have been calling for ever since the ex-Intercontinental Champion's tragic death from a heart attack in 2002, at the age of 39.

I met 'The Hitman' and asked him what he thought about Smith and his former tag team partner, Dynamite Kid Tom Billington, not yet having been granted the honour back in September.

Speaking at an event in Vancouver, Canada, the ring great replied: "It's long overdue, they should have been in already."

Hart added that he wasn't sure if the duo – collectively known as The British Bulldogs – had already been considered for the Hall of Fame, but said "part of the problem was always getting Dynamite to agree to show up for stuff".

Billington died in December 2018, at the age of 60, after battling a number of health issues including a stroke in 2013, following the end of his ring career.

If anyone is qualified to talk about The British Bulldogs, it's Bret Hart, as his career was intertwined with both Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid.

They first came into contact while wrestling for his father, the legendary Stu Hart, and his Stampede Wrestling promotion in Calgary, Alberta, in the early 1980s.

Bret said Dynamite Kid was his opponent for his first ever wrestling match and laughed as he recalled Dynamite breaking his nose, leading to Bret crying out: "This isn't fake!"

They went on to have a number of classic singles bouts in Stampede, including ladder matches long before Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels were on the scene, and even became family when Davey married Bret's sister Diana and Dynamite married the sister of Bret's wife.

Their careers continued to come together when they moved to WWE (then WWF) in 1984. Bret even teamed with Dynamite in his first match with the company.

At WrestleMania 2, The British Bulldogs won the company's tag team titles and it wasn't long before they began a classic tag team rivalry with Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart's pairing, known as The Hart Foundation.

The Hart Foundation eventually defeated The Bulldogs for the tag team titles and anyone who saw them on the house show circuit at the time will say they regularly stole the show. The rivalry culminated with a six-man tag team match in front of a record crowd – at the time – of 89,000 fans at WrestleMania 3 in 1987.

The Bulldogs left the WWE in 1988 after a backstage incident involving Dynamite and The Rougeau Brothers.

Davey Boy was to return less than two years later as a singles talent. In this writer's humble opinion, Davey Boy's solo career was enough to garner induction on his own, although without the iconic Dynamite Kid, it is hard to imagine he would have become as big a star as he did. WWE should induct them both together as a team.

Due to the fact I didn't become a wrestling fan until early 1991, I never had the pleasure of seeing the Dynamite Kid wrestle live, only on video tapes. I did however get to enjoy watching Davey Boy in person on many occasions at UK live events for both WWE and WCW in the 1990s.

Modern wrestling fans may not realise just how over Davey Boy Smith was with fans over in the UK at that time. One of the greatest moments of my entire life to date was being among more than 80,000 fans inside Wembley Stadium at Summerslam 1992 to see him defeat Hart for the Intercontinental title.

This was at a time when the title really meant something and was usually held by the best wrestlers in the company. If there had been a roof on the old stadium, it would have come off that night, as Bret and Davey put on a clinic, with a match that Bret to this day still names as the greatest of his career.

There was barely a dry eye in the house as both men embraced with Diana in the centre of the ring at the finale.

Bret told me how he came up with the entire story for the match. He planned it for months in advance, thinking about it every day and all the spots that made it so great.

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He said he based a lot of it on a match they had for Stampede at the PNE Vancouver in 1983. That was a 59-minute classic, where both men ended up in the emergency room afterwards, Davey needing treatment for broken ribs and a burst eardrum suffered by Bret.

I asked him why Davey Boy didn't receive a proper run with the IC title, having dropped the belt to Shawn Michaels on Saturday Night's Main Event barely two months later, without having had any storylines or feuds as champion.

Bret said the plan was always to have the belt on Shawn and they only put it on Davey because of SummerSlam being held in England. He said WWE didn't like to have two babyfaces holding titles back to back, as "it was supposed to go baby, heel, then baby".

Bret revealed the other contender to host SummerSlam that year was Washington DC, and had the event been held there, he would have dropped the title to Michaels in the first televised WWE ladder match.

Five years later, Davey Boy Smith was part of the new Hart Foundation stable. I was present in the arena when he lost the European title to Shawn Michaels at the UK only PPV 'One Night Only'.

I have never seen a reaction from a live crowd anywhere near to what went down that night. When Shawn won the match I honestly thought there was going to be a riot, as fans were so angry. It was absolutely electric and unforgettable. Pro wrestling at its best.

I am not sure why The British Bulldogs as a pairing are not yet in the WWE Hall of Fame. I know Dynamite Kid left the company on very bad terms in 1988, and remained very bitter about this for the remainder of his life. He was also furious with Davey Boy for going back and continuing with the British Bulldog name.

However, he would not be the first wrestler to be inducted after leaving the company under a dark cloud. Bret himself could not have departed in a worse way, but even he came back to be inducted in 2005, and then again with the Hart Foundation last year.

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