The heart of a Bulldog
by Blaine Meller
If you’ll excuse the pun, David Hart Smith comes from an incredible pedigree. The Calgary native, a superstar with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), is the son of The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith, a former WWE Intercontinental, European and Tag-Team Champion. His uncle, Calgary’s own Bret Hart, is regarded as one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time and held multiple Intercontinental, tag- team and world titles. Smith and the WWE were in Calgary Oct. 18 with their television trucks for Monday Night Raw, which, since its debut in 1993, is promoted by the company as the longest running weekly episodic television show in American history.
“I’m always excited to come back to Canada to wrestle, especially Calgary being my hometown,” he said during an Oct. 14 telephone interview. With the pedigree comes expectations and pressure, both from himself and those around him. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure, and I put a lot of it on myself. That sort of pressure is what makes me strive to work and train harder, and to (be) the best I can be,” Smith said. In pursuit of that goal, Smith is working on striking and submission skills with former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. These skills, in particular the ones being acquired through Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu, are improving his overall conditioning and his ability to move around the ring, he said. The extra training is also because he wants to “be the best.”
“If you wrestle a match, even just 10 minutes, it is very physically demanding, and this sort of cross-training really helps with that. I’m also wanting to learn more suplexes and different throws and submissions,” said Smith, who at six-foot-five and 258 pounds, is already an imposing figure.
Smith broke into the WWE in 2007, having honed his abilities here in Calgary at the famous Hart Dungeon and with Stampede Wrestling. He remembers his first match, a win over second-generation star Carlito, pinning his opponent after using his father’s famed running powerslam. Since then, Smith has been focused on tag-team competition, and on April 26 of this year, he and partner Tyson Kidd, collectively known as The Hart Dynasty, captured the WWE tag-team championship at an event in Richmond, B.C.
“We grew up together and it’s really allowed us to grow as a tag team. We just have this kind of continuity where we just seem to know where each other will be,” said Smith. Being one of the younger stars in the WWE, Smith hasn’t been shy about seeking advice and guidance from the company’s established superstars, such as John Cena, Randy Orton, Finlay and The Undertaker.
“I really have a lot of respect for these guys. They go out night after night, work their butts off and always put in the best effort they can,” he said. “That’s what I need to do to get to where they are. I have to work hard and put in 110 per cent effort.” As for what the future holds, that remains a secret. But Smith is ready for whatever path is put before him. “I’m always excited about what is going to happen.”