Two of the greatest to ever up a pair of boots were truly Owen Hart and The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith). These late, great competitors were both amazing singles-wrestlers, Hart Dungeon graduates and proud members of the Hart Family Dynasty (with Davey being Owen’s brother-in-law).
Owen and Bulldog had achieved plenty of tag-team success in WWE prior to joining forces – Owen with Yokozuna, and Davey Boy with The Dynamite Kid – so it was no surprise that the brothers-in-law would achieve great things together. Here are some things people need to remember about Owen Hart and The British Bulldog.
11 Debuted As A Team At WrestleMania 12 As Part Of Camp Cornette
Owen first joined forces with Jim Cornette at WrestleMania 11 when Yokozuna (still managed by Cornette and Mr. Fuji at the time) was revealed as Owen’s mystery partner for their tag title victory against The Smoking Gunns. Davey Boy joined Camp Cornette in late 1995 after turning heel against then-WWE Champion Diesel.
However, it wasn’t until WrestleMania 12 when The Rocket and The Bulldog began teaming together. After being on opposing sides in the Hart Family War throughout 1994, 1996 saw Owen and Davey finally find common ground as part of Camp Cornette. Teaming with Vader, they successfully defeated Yokozuna, Jake Roberts and Ahmed Johnson. Things were off to a good start.
10 Became The Final Team To Beat The Smoking Gunns For The Tag Titles
The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) were a popular and successful team in the mid-nineties, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship three times (for a combined total of 331-days). But Bart and Billy’s days were numbered.
At In Your House: Mind Games, The Smoking Gunns lost the titles for the final time to Davey Boy and Owen. They’d never regain the Tag Team Championship and the Gunns would split up soon after. One tag-team era had ended, another had begun.
9 ECW Invaded The Night They Won The Championship
For several reasons, Mind Games proved to be a memorable edition of In Your House. Mark Henry made his WWE-debut, Shawn Michaels defended the WWE Championship against Mankind, Bulldog & Owen won the Tag Team Titles, and Extreme Championship Wrestling invaded WWE for the first-time.
The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Paul Heyman showed up in the pay-per-view’s opening contest before they were all ejected. It was a shocking thing to see at the time, and also the beginning of a new working relationship between WWE and ECW. Taz would later hop over the guardrail on Raw during a match between Owen & Davey and The Bodydonnas as part of the angle.
8 Davey Boy Often Helped Owen With His Legendary Ribs
Owen was famous for his legendary ribs. Throughout his life, Owen played many pranks on his family, friends and co-workers. But people may not know that Davey was also a prankster in his own right and would often help Owen execute elaborate pranks.
Even before Owen and Davey began teaming together, they were working Lex Luger good and proper. But perhaps the most hilarious rib they did together was when they were staying in a hotel in Boston, and prank-called Sunny pretending to deliver a pizza. The audio of which was released in 2015’s The Old Boys DVD.
7 Went From One Stable To A Manager To Another Stable
Owen Hart and The British Bulldog’s tenure as a tag-team lasted approximately seventeen months. Despite having a relatively short-run, Owen and Bulldog’s team enjoyed an eventful run with many changes.
Although originally part of Camp Cornette, The King Of Harts and The Bulldog quietly split from Jim Cornette when Clarence Mason usurped their services in late 1996. Mason managed the Tag Team Champions until March 1997 when Bulldog fired him for costing them several matches. Davey Boy and Owen would remain by themselves until the end of March when Bret approached them to form a new Hart Foundation.
6 Only Held The WWE World Tag Team Championship Once
Hart and Smith’s run as a tag team produced many great storylines and classic matches, and translated into plenty of championship success. But believe it or not, Owen and The Bulldog only had one reign together as Tag Team Champions.
From September 1996 to May 1997, The Rocket and British Bulldog held onto the WWE Tag Team Titles. Occasionally, they suffered the odd disqualification loss, but no one could take the titles off Owen & Davey until Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels finally beat them.
5 Had The 10th Longest Reign In Original World Tag Team Title History
Long before the 2002 brand split, the original Tag Team Championship (created in 1971) were the only WWE Tag Team Titles. Later, these titles were renamed the World Tag Team Championship and made exclusive to the Raw brand until these titles were unified with SmackDown’s Tag Team Championship in 2009 (the lineage was ultimately decommissioned in August 2010).
Owen and The Bulldog’s reign with the original World Tag Team Championship lasted an almighty 246-days. That’s impressive in itself, but what makes it more so is the fact that it’s actually the tenth-longest-reign in the history of the original WWE World Tag Team Championship.
4 Wrestled Mostly Random Pairings Throughout Their Reign
Even though Hart & Smith did defend the belts against tag teams like The Smoking Gunns, The Headbangers and The Legion Of Doom, Owen and Davey are mostly remembered for facing random pairings like Mankind & Vader, Fake Diesel & Fake Razor Ramon, and Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon.
Ironically, Furnas & LaFon were arguably Bulldog & Owen’s most prominent challengers, resulting in several terrific matches. Bulldog & Owen’s historic title-loss on the May 26, 1997, episode of Raw against the makeshift-team of Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels was also critically-acclaimed as being one of the greatest Raw matches ever.
3 Faced Each Other For The European Title Whilst Tag Team Champions
More history was made on the February 26, 1997 edition of Raw, where in Berlin, Germany, the brothers-in-law met each other in the finals of the tournament to crown the first-ever European Champion. Davey and Owen were still the Tag Team Champions going into the tournament, but only one of them could achieve singles-success on this night.
With the stakes so high, tempers began to fray between Hart and Smith (despite their best attempts to prove otherwise), and ultimately broke down in one of the greatest matches ever in Raw history. Ultimately, the British Bulldog triumphed to become the first-ever European Champion, with Owen slowly beginning to resent Davey for it.
2 They Were Originally Going To Split Until Bret Intervened
The brothers-in-law continued as a tag team despite Bulldog beating Owen for the new European Title. But things were not okay between the Tag Team Champions, and they ultimately exploded when they lost against The Headbangers, with Owen furiously demanding a European Title shot against Davey Boy.
On the March 31, 1997 edition of Raw, The Rocket and The Bulldog fought furiously; to the point where Smith brought a steel chair into the ring. It looked like the team was over for sure, until Bret Hart intervened and demanded that they all make peace. Reasoning that it was America’s fault for craving their conflict, The Hitman had reunited with his family. And a new Hart Foundation had emerged.
1 Both Men Became Dual Champions Whilst Tag Team Champions
Soon after Bret, Owen and Davey had reconciled, Brian Pillman and Jim Neidhart joined them to complete the reborn Hart Foundation. And the family fortunes continued with the British Bulldog and Owen still Tag Team Champions.
With Davey still the European Champion as well, it was now time to Owen to collect his first singles-title. A feat he achieved on April 28 when he defeated Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental Title. Owen and Davey finally had all the gold & family they could ever want.