Dynamite and Davey: The Explosive Lives of the British Bulldogs by Steven Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dynamite and Davey chronicles the rise and fall of The Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith, the British Bulldogs.
I've watched wrestling on and off for my entire life and the first tag team that ever caught my eye was the British Bulldogs. When this ARC fell into my lap, I took it like a superplex.
Steven Bell put in the work on this. The book has a more scholarly tone than most wrestling books. While I was reading it, I suspected he did a ridiculous amount of research. The sources cited in the back proved me right. Dynamite and Davey contains more verified facts than a lot of wrestling books.
I've read and/or watched a lot of what transpired in the book but it was still like watching two trains getting closer and closer to a junction on the same track and seeing debris fly in all directions. Tom Billington's early life is chronicled from his early days in England to training to ending up in Calgary, wrestling for the Hart family. Davey, Tom's cousin, gets the same treatment as Tom and also winds up in Calgary. They don't team together for a while but when they do...
It seems like Tom's career had already peaked when The British Bulldogs formed and Davey's still hadn't hit its apex yet. Already, drugs were a huge part of both men's lives. Like I said, I knew what was coming but the WWF run and the sad decline of the Dynamite Kid were still painful to read at times. People say the ambush by Jacques Rougeau was the beginning of the end for Dynamite but he was already sliding downhill before then.
Not surprising, Davey's story is also sad, sometimes sadder because Davey seems like he was a nice guy, not the hateful shithead the Dynamite Kid seemed to be a lot of the time. Drugs, injuries, drugs, injuries, and drugs did him in. He got to share the ring with his son, at least.
I really like that Bell ended the book with an account of Dynamite's sons trying to follow in his footsteps as the Billington Bulldogs. Always send the crowd home happy, as one huckster is wont to say.
I've read or heard the stories before but Steven Bell tells them well and sieves out a lot of the bullshit. Five out of five stars.
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