One of the biggest wrestling stars to come from the UK is “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith.
The Lancashire-born star helped redefine wrestling in the 1980s, with his explosive tag team with Dynamite Kid (confusingly known as “The British Bulldogs”) changing tag team wrestling forever.
He wrestled in both the WWE and WCW in the 1990s, although it was his drug use that would get him fired from the WWE after his final match in the company.
British Bulldog’s Last WWE Match
The British Bulldog’s last match in the WWE was against Steve Blackman in his families hometown.
Despite being one of the most famous British wrestlers ever (after Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks), Davey Boy Smith lived with his wife and son in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Davey Boy Smith married Diana Hart, the sister of WWE legend Bret Hart, after Bulldog moved to Canada to continue his wrestling career.
He returned to the WWE in 1999 for a short run that would end with his match against Steve Blackman on the 27th May, 2000.
Not much is known about the match. We know that The British Bulldog beat Steve Blackman, but other than that, details are scarce.
What we do know is that Davey Boy Smith was off his head on drugs backstage, which led to him being kicked out of the locker room and eventually fired by Jim Ross.
Jim Ross Fired Him After The Match
Following his last match in the WWE, British Bulldog was given an ultimatum by Jim Ross – go to rehab or be fired.
This was the same threat that WWE gave to Jeff Hardy in 2022, which he took gleefully before signing for AEW.
However, Bulldog was much more resistant than Hardy. He knew he had a problem with drugs, but kept trying to put off going to rehab, as the addiction took over his life.
Jim Ross spoke about this on an episode of Grilling Jr, where he talked about firing Davey Boy Smith from the WWE.
“There was no margin for error on this. We had a plan. Vince wanted his potential recurring star to be healthy.” Jim Ross said,
“So that’s why when Davey said “I’ll go after this tour is over,” well no. You’re going to separate from your drugs. You’re not going to take them with you, you’re not going to have them with you.”
“You don’t need to get high for another two or three days, THEN go to rehab. This is it. You’re going tonight or you’re not going.”
“And I think Davey’s sense of family responsibilities became abundantly clear. He knew that now [his] back was against the wall. “I can’t negotiate out of this deal.” I was a little skeptical. I’m not so sure I believed that he was going to say okay. Denial is such a huge part of addiction.”
Jim Ross fired Davey Boy Smith following his final WWE match, something which he admits was necessary: not just to help British Bulldog get clean, but to protect his opponents in the ring.
“[Davey] doesn’t need to stay in the locker room impaired, period. And much less get in the ring with somebody and have their life in his hands while he’s impaired. Makes no sense. So I think I made the only decision I could make that made sense.”
British Bulldog Wrestled Two Matches Before He Died
Davey Boy Smith seemingly retired from wrestling for two years after his WWE release.
However, by 2002 he was getting back into shape and gearing up for a return to the ring.
However, he died on May 18th 2002, following two matches alongside his son the week prior.
The cause of death was a heart attack, which was caused by his enlarged heart from the years of drug and steroid abuse (similar to Eddie Guerrero’s death)
His son went on to wrestle in the WWE as David Hart Smith, and now works on the independent scene as “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith Jr.