This week Throwback Thursday digs deep in the “home video” archives of the WWE Network to look at a true rarity for American wrestling fans when we review Coliseum Home Video’s “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith!
A Silver Vision United Kingdom exclusive, the British Bulldog VHS was supposedly released, according to the Network, 25 years ago today on October 11, 1993. But that’s not actually the case. Finding exact release dates for any Coliseum Home Video these days, though, can be nearly impossible. However, judging by the date listed at the end of the program and a rough idea of the tapes released around the same time as British Bulldog, it’s safe to assume that British Bulldog was released between mid-October and early November 1992. Confusing matters further is the odd way Coliseum Home Video would use the same item number for different tapes in different countries. In this case “WS913” was the British Bulldog VHS in the UK while stateside “WS913” was the WWF Wrestling World Tour VHS that, coincidentally enough, also featured Davey Boy Smith on the cover.
By the time this Coliseum Home Video release hit shelves in the UK Davey Boy Smith, the face of the World Wrestling Federation’s international push into the United Kingdom and Spain in 1991, was unquestionably the hottest name in European wrestling. Smith headlined the classic Battle Royal at the Albert Hall event in October ’91 as well as SummerSlam ’92 in Wembley Stadium, where some 78,000 fans witnessed Davey Boy dethrone Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart in one of the greatest matches in Federation history. It seemed to many as if the “British Bulldog” was destined for a long run at the top of the WWF.
But as UK fans purchased British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith’s run in the WWF was coming to a sudden and unexpected end when it was discovered that Davey Boy (as well as Ultimate Warrior) was receiving shipments of human growth hormone (HGH) from a pharmacy in the United Kingdom. With the WWF and Vince McMahon already under federal investigation for their role in the use and distribution of steroids, Vince McMahon had no choice but to fire both Davey Boy Smith and Ultimate Warrior. Smith’s November 14th title loss to Shawn Michaels at Saturday Night’s Main Event XXXI (the final SNME for 13 years), taped on October 27, 1992, turned out to be Smith’s final televised match in the WWF for nearly two years. Following the November 8, 1992 house show event in Portland, Maine, Davey Boy Smith quietly exited the World Wrestling Federation.
So, after 25 years, let’s hit ‘play’ and see just how well this “British Bulldog” collection holds up!
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (WATCH)
Released: October/November 1992 – Host: Sean Mooney
The program opens with “Rule, Britannia” playing over the classic Coliseum Home Video signature. The music continues as we watch a short montage of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge.
Host Sean Mooney opens the program, saying: “The British Empire has been a powerful force in world history. This nation has bred kings, statesmen, leaders in all fields, including a Superstar in the World Wrestling Federation: ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith.” After a few short words putting Davey over we jump right into the action.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
The Warlord w/Harvey Wippleman vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
Tuesday in Texas • Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas • December 3, 1991
This is a slow match at times but the hot crowd never loses interest. These two had a decent showing at WrestleMania VII but this match, given a bit more time to develop, is (for me, anyways,) a better match than their encounter at WrestleMania. Aside from the commentary muting, silencing all chatter about the other matches on the card, this is a great way to open the tape. Late in the bout “Bulldog” survives a sloppy Warlord full nelson and makes the comeback, hitting an impressing stalling vertical suplex before Warlord blocks the running powerslam for a near-fall. Moments later Davey ducks a Warlord clothesline and cinches in a textbook crucifix for the pinfall victory at 12:49.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Pin, 12:49)
After the match we see replays of the finish as a victorious Davey Boy Smith walks to the back.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
“The Model” Rick Martel vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
WWF WrestleFest ’92 • Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi • March 10, 1992
Whether as singles stars or as part of tag teams Rick Martel and Davey Boy Smith were two of the greatest workers of their era in the WWF. Martel’s timing and great heel psychology coupled with Smith’s selling and athleticism make for a fun match-up here. In the end, after Martel has had his way with Davey, “Bulldog” makes the comeback and attempts a sunset flip when Martel holds the top rope for a near-fall. When Martel pulls his hands from the ropes in protest Davey Boy hooks Martel’s arms, completes the sunset flip, and scores the 1-2-3 at 5:21.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Pin, 5:21)
After the match a smiling Davey Boy shakes hands with ringside fans and heads to the back.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
Shawn Michaels w/Sensation Sherri vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
WWF Prime Time Wrestling taping • SunDome, Tampa, Florida • February 17, 1992
Hearing Gorilla Monsoon razz “Lord” Alfred Hayes about Hayes’ choice in ladies is priceless, as is the talk of the tattoo on Sherri’s breast. At the time this match took place both Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith were top contenders to Roddy Piper’s Intercontinental title, though the commentary track was recorded after Bret Hart won the title at WrestleMania VIII in April. Though the collection is focused on “Bulldog”, Shawn Michaels looks great in this match, displaying all of the traits that would make him a monster star in the coming years. Telling a great story with excellent psychology these two pull off a very good match that, while not as good as their future SNME showdown, is still a fun ride while it lasts. In the end Davey Boy survives HBK’s offense and makes a comeback, crotching Michaels on the top rope. As Davey gains momentum, setting HBK up for the end, Sherri attacks Davey from behind for the DQ at 7:59.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Disqualification, 7:59)
After the match Davey brings Sherri in the ring and lifts her up for the running powerslam when Shawn Michaels rushes in to make the save. Eventually Davey Boy scares both Sherri and HBK off as the referee raises Davey’s hand in victory.
— Singles Match (WATCH)
Earthquake w/Jimmy Hart vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith w/Andre the Giant & Winston
WWF on Tele5 • Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain • October 5, 1991
A spring tour of Europe in 1991, marked by the WWF’s debut in Ireland, was highlighted by the European Rampage ’91 event in London, in which Davey Boy was a featured performer. When the WWF returned to Europe in October ’91 Davey went from supporting act to the main draw. Davey won the classic Battle Royal at the Albert Hall and went on to either main event or co-main the remainder of the short tour against Earthquake and in battle royals. This match with Earthquake, just two days after the big Battle Royal at the Albert Hall event, marked the WWF’s live debut in Spain. Recovering from knee surgery, Andre the Giant would make just two more appearances for the WWF, the next night in Brussels (October 6th) and October 9th in Paris before leaving the WWF for good.
The match, meanwhile, is great and the fans are hot for this classic tale of size against strength. Earthquake survives “Bulldog’s” early flurry before taking over with a bear hug. Eventually, after a massive powerslam, Earthquake ignores Davey and attacks Andre’s bad knee on the floor. Back in the ring Earthquake goes for his big Earthquake Splash when Andre clips Earthquake with his crutch allowing “Bulldog” to land a massive bodyslam for the pinfall victory at 8:16.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Pin, 8:16)
After the match Davey celebrates with the hurting Andre before we see replays of the finish.
— “Non-Title Match” (WATCH)
WWF World Tag Team Champion “I.R.S.” Irwin R. Schyster w/Jimmy Hart vs. “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
WWF European Rampage Again • Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, England • April 19, 1992
This crowd is hot for this match and for Davey Boy, who gets a Hulk Hogan-like reaction. The main event of the second Rampage event in the U.K. is yet another match in this collection featuring two of the greatest workers of their era. The fans, all but bolted to their seats, are into this match from the start and never let up. Schyster takes over mid-way through and manages to cut Davey off at every turn. Late in the bout “I.R.S.” cuts off a Davey comeback and, as Jimmy Hart distracts the referee, attempts to use his briefcase when Davey blocks the shot. Schyster attempts to block an Irish whip in the corner by hopping over a charging Davey Boy but ends up trapped on “Bulldog’s” shoulder instead. Jimmy tries to save Schyster but the referee kicks their hands apart. Moments later Davey connects with a big running powerslam for the 1-2-3 at 12:50 to a massive pop.
WINNER is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (Pin, 12:50)
After the match we cut back to Sean Mooney who quickly wraps up the program. We see a slow-motion shot of Davey posing in the corner before we get a final look at the Winston stamped Union Jack to close out the tape.
This is a must-watch “tape” for any fan of the “British Bulldog”. Each of the five matches illustrates Davey’s unique style, power, psychology, and pacing—everything that separated Davey Boy from the others in the world. From muscle-heads to big men to pure wrestlers, this collection highlights Davey Boy’s ability to work any style and any kind of match.
If you haven’t yet checked this one out on the Network, seek it out. You will not be disappointed!
Already a subscriber to the WWE Network? Then you can relive this classic Coliseum Home Video release or, for you American fans, see it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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