Second-generation performers are nothing new to pro wrestling, but few have embraced their family lineage as much as Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Born Harry Smith, the son of the late “British Bulldog” and member of the celebrated Hart wrestling family, he adopted the name of his famous dad in 2014. He sometimes wears kneepads with paws printed on them and has even been known to carry a canine friend to the ring with him, as his father once did.
“It’s always been an honor to go out there and honor my family’s name and tradition,” said Smith, 33, who expects to have his family on his side when he comes to Long Island City on Thursday as part of Major League Wrestling’s “Never Say Never” event.
Smith, the nephew of Bret “Hitman” Hart, Owen Hart (who tragically fell to his death during a pay-per-view event in 1999), and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, has resurrected the Hart Foundation in MLW with his cousin Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman Jr.
“I do want to become my own person, but there are aspects of what my dad was or what Bret was or what Owen Hart was or what Jim was that I want to kind of cultivate and create in myself,” said Smith, who still seeks out video of rare matches involving his dad. The original “British Bulldog” died in 2002, when Smith was 16. “It’s always great to see stuff like that. It doesn’t make me feel sad or uncomfortable at all.”
It was Smith's discomfort with his career progress that led to him earlier this year parting ways with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where he worked for five years, and joining MLW. Headed by wrestling podcast guru Court Bauer, MLW has raised its profile in recent years with a weekly television program on the beIN Sports network. Smith first met Bauer when the two briefly worked together in WWE years ago.
“We’re really creeping up," Smith said. "MLW is just going to keep getting more successful, and they’re going to be part of the competition really soon between AEW [All Elite Wrestling] and WWE. I really believe that. The nice thing about MLW is that there’s a certain level of freedom there and flexibility, which is really cool. I think that what’s really nice is that Court actually listens to me. And I do know what I’m talking about.”
Tickets are available for Thursday's "Never Say Never" event, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens, at www.MLWTickets.com.