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Jim Ross On British Bulldog’s 1995 Main Event Push, Substance Issues Affecting His Career

December 5, 2022 | Posted by Jonathan Hunter
Davey Boy Smith British Bulldog Image Credit: WWE

On a recent edition of Grilling with JR, Jim Ross and co-host Conrad Thompson discussed the career of the “British Bulldog,” Davey Boy Smith. One discussion revolved around the attempt to make Davey Boy a main eventer in mid-90s WWF. Here is some of what JR had to say:

On Vince McMahon not being happy Bulldog vs Diesel in October 1995: “I know [Vince] was pissed off, but I learned from working with him, that when you knew he was in a pissed off mood, you just avoid him. I’d get it from the horse’s head, not the horse’s ass. When Vince was ready to talk about it, he did and he would. I remember him being unhappy. I don’t know if it was because the finish didn’t click, or the match was kind of clumsy. I don’t know. But I do know that he had an issue with the presentation.”

On Bulldog’s substance issues damaging Davey’s career: “I’ve mentioned here that when I was hiring talent, the number one box that had to be checked was realiability. There’s a point in time during Davey’s journey that reliability became an issue. I attribute that not to Davey’s lack of love for the business, or the fact that he’d gotten lazy all of a sudden; I think the substance abuse was really a hindrance. Sometimes talents pick the substances over their career. Davey was spectacular. It’s sad that there wasn’t enough help, there wasn’t enough knowledge of drugs, and how to get clean, things to that nature. There’s so much more information out there on drugs now. It was just a different world back then. He needed in-patient care, in my opinion, earlier than he got it.”

On when Vince lost faith in Davey due to those issues: “I think we’re all just waiting for Davey to kick out of this matter, and address his issues head on. But you gotta set your ego at the door and fess up that you got an issue, but we’re here to help you. Some guys accept the help, and some guys just look at it as a sign of weakness. The one thing that wrestlers don’t want, especially a promoter or booker, to perceive them as week. I think that would have been the case in this situation. Davey was battling two opponents, one in the ring, and one outside the ring. I can’t get mad at him for that. He had an issue. What he needed was to step away from wrestling, go in-patient, and get help. And all those things did not fall into place. A lot of that was somewhat ego-driven. “Well, he’s got a chink in the armor, he likes the pills too much” or something along those lines. It’s hard to embrace Davey when you knew how great he could be, and he was enjoyable as hell to be around, all those ribs and jokes. He was always such a good conversation. It was a hard time for Davey, it was a hard time for Vince, but the bottom line was that Davey needed strong care to help him. And I’m not so sure he ever got that.”

If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling With Jr h/t 411mania for the transcription