Ten Best Tag Teams of All Time: Number 8
Made up of real-life cousins Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid (Tom Billington), the British Bulldogs would become one of the great tag teams in a very short period of time. Their run was cut short due to career-ending injuries to Dynamite Kid.
The cousins began wrestling in the 1970s in England before being recruited to Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling promotion by Bruce Hart. Initially the two began a feud with each other that would extend to New Japan Pro Wrestling. After the feud ended, they would beign teaming up as the British Bulldogs through March 1984 when Stampede Wrestling was sold to World Wrestling Federation.
With the buyout, the Bulldogs joined WWF along with Smith’s brother-in-law Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart (the Hart Foundation). The two former Stampede Wrestling teams began feuding with each other, and put together some very epic matches. The Bulldogs then began a feud with the “Dream Team” of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake that lasted close to a year. The feud ended at Wrestlemania 2, with the British Bulldogs winning the WWF TagTeam Championships.
They would then continue to occasionally face the Dream Team, as well as have a feud with the team of Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. In December 1986, Dynamite Kid suffered a back injury during a match in Hamilton, Ontario that caused to miss a long period of time. On January 26, 1987, the British Bulldogs lost the tag titles to the Hart Foundation in a match that saw Dynamite Kid so debilitated that Smith needed to carry him to the ring for the match. Kid would not have much of a role in the match. The Bulldogs would be given time off to recover physically.
Upon their return, they would resume their rivalry with the Hart Foundation when “evil” referee Danny Davis helped the Hart Foundation cheat and win the tag titles over the Bulldogs. This led to a six-man tag match at Wrestlemania 3 that pitted the Hart Foundation and Danny Davis versus the British Bulldogs and Tito Santana.
When the Bulldogs returned, WWF decided to give them a bulldog named Matilda for them to enter the ring with. Matilda played a big role in their rivalry with The Islanders when they “dognapped” her. Due to an altercation with the Rogeaus that erupted from a series of pranks between the two teams the Bulldogs would leave WWF. Their final pay-per-view appearance was the 1988 Survivor Series, as part of a ten team elimination match. In that match, Mr. Fuji attacked Demolition and joined the Powers of Pain who would win the match by eliminating heel team Los Conquistadores.
Upon leaving WWF, the Bulldogs would return to Stampede Wrestling and also toured All Japan Pro Wrestling to moderate success. In 1990, Davey Boy Smith would sign to return to WWF and abruplty withdrew the team form AJPW’s annual World’s Strongest Team Determination League. Since Smith had trademarked the “British Bulldog” moniker during their time in WWF, he would return as the British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith. He would go as far as warning promoters with legal action if they used the moniker when promoting appearances by Dynamite Kid.
Kid would instead team up with Johnny Smith in the World’s Strongest Team Determination League tournament as the British Bruisers. They were able to capture AJPW’s All-Asia Tag Team titles but it was short-lived. On December 6, 1991, years of steroid abuse, cocaine use, and high-impact style of wrestling caught up with Dynamite Kid Thomas Billington as he suddenly announced his retirement.
Davey Boy Smith would suffer a career-ending back injury while in WCW and become addicted to pain killers. Smith died on May 18, 2002. Dynamite Kid is forced to use a wheelchair to this day. Because their action figures are so rare to find, British Bulldogs’ action figures go for hundreds of dollars.