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5 Best WWE Matches of The British Bulldog

The British Bulldog: Reportedly Hall of Fame-bound in 2020
The British Bulldog: Reportedly Hall of Fame-bound in 2020
Paul Benson
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Rumours are abound that Davey Boy Smith AKA The British Bulldog is set to be inducted into the 2020 WWE Hall of Fame.

If the rumours are true then Bulldog would be one of the most deserving Hall of Fame candidates in years.

Bulldog debuted for WWE way back in 1984 as one half of the tag team The British Bulldogs, with his cousin, Tom "The Dynamite Kid" Billington. The tandem was an instant success, capturing the Tag Team Championship from Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake in a featured match at WrestleMania II.

Bulldog and Kid departed WWE after the 1988 Survivor Series but Bulldog returned as a singles act in October 1990. Bulldog was a big star in the United States but was a sensation in his homeland, the UK.

Such was Bulldog's popularity in the UK, that when business declined in the States, WWE promoted their 1992 edition of SummerSlam from Wembley Stadium in London, England to capitalise on Bulldog's momentum.

The plan was a success. SummerSlam 1992 attracted WWE's largest ever crowd at that point, with a legitimate crowd of over 80,000 in attendance (the WrestleMania III number of 93,000 was an exaggeration, it was closer to 78,000).

The main event saw Bulldog capture the Intercontinental Championship from his brother in law, Bret Hart, in a classic encounter. However, that joy was short lived, when Bulldog was relieved of the belt just two months later by Shawn Michaels and fired for a breach of WWE's drug policy.

Returning at SummerSlam 1994, Bulldog became a fixture in the upper mid card, becoming the first ever European Champion, multi-time Tag Team Champion and perennial contender for the WWE Championship.

Bulldog left the company following the 1997 Survivor Series. After an underwhelming run, beset by injury in WCW, Bulldog returned for a final run in WWE in late 1999. After unsuccessfully challenging for the WWE Championship on several occasions, he won the European Championship for a second time as well as the Hardcore belt before departing the promotion in 2000.

Bulldog died of a massive heart attack on May 18, 2002, while training for a comeback. He was 39 years old.

This slideshow looks back on the five best British Bulldog matches of all time.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

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#5 vs Shawn Michaels - One Night Only (September 3, 1997)

The British Bulldog: Walked into One Night Only as European Champion
The British Bulldog: Walked into One Night Only as European Champion

One of the best matches to ever take place in the UK was one of its most controversial.

Wrestling at a WWE show in England for the first time since his glorious Intercontinental Title winning effort at SummerSlam 1992, The British Bulldog walked into Birmingham, hoping to retain his European Championship versus Shawn Michaels.

That was the original plan. Bulldog had been booked to retain the title but Michaels, in one of many backstage machinations, managed to convince WWE boss, Vince McMahon to change the result.

The idea was, that Michaels would defeat Bulldog at One Night Only, then drop the belt back to him at the next UK pay per view, Mayhem in Manchester in April 1998.

However, that re-match never occurred. Michaels wrestled his final match for four years one week prior to the scheduled Mayhem in Manchester card at WrestleMania XIV after suffering a devastating back injury at Royal Rumble 1998. Bulldog, for his part left the company in November 1997, ensuring that the result of the One Night Only clash leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of many fans over two decades on.

However, despite the controversial result, the match was a fantastic, super-heated collision. The dastardly Michaels repeatedly exploited Bulldog's knee injury and despite dramatic hope spots, eventually earned the victory via Bulldog passing out in the Figure Four leg-lock after succumbing to the boatloads of intereference from D-Generation X.

This battle remains one of the most memorable of Bulldog's career for the right and wrong reasons.

#4 vs Owen Hart - Monday Night Raw (March 3, 1997)

Another one of The British Bulldog's finest matches also took place on European soil,
Another one of The British Bulldog's finest matches also took place on European soil

Another one of The British Bulldog's finest matches also took place on European soil, this time in Berlin, Germany.

This episode of Raw is War saw the crowning of the first ever European Champion in WWE history. It was the battle of the brother in laws and reigning Tag Team Champions, as Bulldog collided with his long time tag team partner, Owen Hart in the finals of a tournament.

Disappointingly, this was one of the least watched Raw's in history, meaning many fans never saw this classic match.

It was a technical battle, which was rarely seen on WWE's flagship show at the time. The storyline was A1 as well as the match called back to previous battles between the pair as well as Owen and Bulldog's previous famous bouts with Bret Hart.

One of the best matches of the 1990s is well worth the hype and is also one of the greatest moments of Bulldog's long career.

With this win, Bulldog became the first and most famous European Champion in history.

#3 vs Shawn Michaels - King of the Ring (June 23, 1996)

The Bulldog challenged Shawn Michaels for the gold in an instant classic
The Bulldog challenged Shawn Michaels for the gold in an instant classic

The British Bulldog and Shawn Michaels had great chemistry together. This was never more evident than in their collision for the WWE Championship at the 1996 edition of King of the Ring.

The pair had collided one month earlier at In Your House: Beware of Dog in a decent battle, albeit one which was better remembered for Michaels' mid-match, real-life tantrums.

Their rematch at King of the Ring suffered from no such issues. It was a barnstorming battle from start to finish.

After exchanging rest holds in the first few minutes, the pace increased dramatically as both men used all of the best moves in their arsenal on each other as they sought the win. They were some stunning false finishes before Michaels eventually hit Sweet Chin Music for the hard earned victory.

Bulldog never did win a World title but he was a credible contender as evidenced in this classic encounter.

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#2 vs Bret "Hitman" Hart - In Your House 5 (December 17, 1995)

Bulldog challenged his brother in law for the WWE Championship
Bulldog challenged his brother in law for the WWE Championship

This battle for the WWE Championship is not as well remembered as Bulldog's Intercontinental Title victory over Bret Hart at SummerSlam but it is every bit as good; some may see this was better.

What is true, is that this is a bonafide classic and a very different type of match from the SummerSlam 1992 encounter.

This was a much more violent brawl rather than a technical encounter and was intensely entertaining for it. Bulldog busted Hart open when he launched him into the steel steps. Hart bled all over the ring canvas.

The pair traded big power moves and exchanged an array of near falls. The finish finally came when Bulldog attempted to cradle Hart as he did in the SummerSlam encounter but Hart reversed it this time with a tight assisted roll-up to steal the win for himself.

Hart remained WWE Champion, but he survived a war with Bulldog to win.

#1 vs Bret "Hitman" Hart - SummerSlam (August 29, 1992)

One of WWE's finest matches of all
One of WWE's finest matches of all time

Davey Boy Smith's finest hour may also have been the greatest performance by his opponent, Bret "Hitman" Hart.

Hart's performance in carrying Bulldog to this masterpiece was recognised by the WWE top brass and they awarded him the WWE Championship just two months later.

For Bulldog's part, this was the pinnacle of his career.

His Intercontinental Title win in front of a massive crowd of 80,000 adoring fans at Wembley Stadium, England was a stunning technical masterclass, boasting counter after counter. It was fitting then that the finish came when Bulldog countered a roll up attempt to pin Hart's shoulders down for the match winning three count.

This bout remains one of the greatest matches in company history, over a quarter of a decade on. Bulldog's title reign, unfortunately was only a short one as he would drop the strap to Shawn Michaels in October before he was fired from the promotion. However, that does not take away from the glory of this moment in time.

Unquestionably the greatest main event in Summerslam history and the best bout in Bulldog's career.

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Edited by Alan John
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