It’s #DaveyBoyWeek, the 21st installment of our (patent-pending) Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. As always, we finish everything off with a Difference of Opinion, where JMS HQ erupts in a running-powerslam fueled civil war.
Dave: Hey, buddy.
Nick: What’s good, blood?
Dave: It’s Friday.
Nick: Beginning and end of list?
Dave: Pretty much.
Nick: So, I have to say, this week’s WotW was kind of a bummer.
Dave: In what sense? …I mean other than the part where the guy died before 40.
Nick: We both love Davey Boy, but him being dead put a real damper on it for me. He’s the first one we’ve done who passed away.
Dave: That’s true! I hadn’t thought of that. It’s almost crazy it took us this long.
Nick: Yeah, our next two — Brian Pillman next week and Owen Hart the week after — are also no longer with us. But having to write an end to a story is way different. I was not expecting to be as bummed out as I was, basically.
Dave: Yeah, we’re a culture built on redemption, so it’s a little harsh to end on “And then his heart exploded from abusing steroids and cocaine.”
Nick: Yeah, and the just constant drug use of the era is something we haven’t *really* touched on either. But Davey Boy was notoriously coming off a crack binge at SummerSlam 92. So you kind of have to bring it up.
Dave: Having read Bret’s book and hearing a lot of the surrounding lore, I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was watching World of Sport clips and seeing his body.
Nick: Or his ridiculous babyface.
Dave: Not to be a jerk, but I took one look at him in World of Sport, then looked at that Royal Rumble ’92 promo we had in EV and said to myself, “Of course you died, you idiot.”
Nick: It’s like he ate Dynamite Kid.
Dave: And gained his strength (through absorption of all the steroids *he* had taken).
Nick: Not to make this the Difference of the Morbid Opinions, but who’s a more tragic figure?
Dave: Well, the nice thing about Dynamite is you don’t have to feel sorry for him, because by all accounts he’s on the all-time Top Ten Assholes list. So I vote Davey.
Nick: That’s the other thing that’s a total bummer: Davey seemed likable and loved by most of the people he worked with. And it makes sense. He was a fun-loving prankster who was a borderline great worker when he wasn’t high or too muscle bound.
Dave: Even Shawn Michaels, who undermined him at several points, said on his DVD that he thought Davey was one of the most talented guys he’d ever worked with; Davey just didn’t care to put out the consistent effort.
Nick: Watching the World of Sport, you really get a sense of how good he could have been if he kept his life together. And that match with Leo Burke is a lot of fun too, because it’s right before he started eating steroids for breakfast.
Dave: Yeah, it’s funny how he went from playing the fresh-faced kid trope immediately into the impossibly strong babyface.
Nick: He, for me, is the all-time “if he wrestled now, he’d probably be fine/borderline great” guys because the culture is just so much different. (Read: less soaked in cocaine)
Dave: Yeah, if he had been protected by himself the way guys are now, he would have been a big star. I mean, we don’t have to look far back in the WOTW archives to see Batista, who was nowhere near as talented as Davey. And he made big, big bucks and was a top 4 guy for a number of years.
Nick: Yeah, but since he wasn’t horrifically addicted to drugs and didn’t get into bar fights with marks, he was pushed exactly the way they wanted to push Bulldog.
Nick: Which brings up my final question: is Bulldog a Hall of Famer? Obviously a “Hall of Fame talent”, but do you think he belongs there? Or is his drug history/depressing/depressingly early death, lack of a truly spectacular resume and relative short run near the top all enough to keep him out?
Dave: Given Summerslam ’92, given his reign as the first European Champion, given his Wrestlemania matches as one of the Bulldogs, and given the fact he was “on the dias” during the Shockmaster intro (seriously one of the most famous moments ever), I think he’s absolutely a hall of famed. If doing drugs or abusing steroids kept you out of a wrestling hall of fame… Well… Uhhhh… I guess I’m saying there’d be no hall of fame.
Nick: It’s just the very biggest of bummers he won’t be there for the induction.
Dave: Without a doubt. Who knows, though, it could be an opportunity for WWE to bring D.H. Smith back into the fold! …What? Nobody’s popping for that..?
Nick: Too soon.