I had the opportunity recently to speak with Diana Hart Smith, member of the famed Hart Wrestling Family. Diana grew up around professional wrestling as the daughter of Stu, sister of Bret and Owen, and eventual wife of Davey Boy Smith. Diana provides a ton of insight about the business, and her experiences. You can also check out her new book Cauliflower Heart: A Romantic Wrestler, at this link.
Enjoy part one of our interview, and stay tuned for part two next week.
How were you approached to be an on-air character in 1996?
"I was quite caught off guard. It was presented to me the afternoon after WrestleMania. They invited Davey into a spotlight position to do a program with Shawn. I thought it was a really good chance for Davey to [work with] Shawn again. And I could have sworn that Shawn was winking at me in the hallway, and I took offense to it. I was a complete nervous wreck, and took the position very seriously. As Stu Hart's daughter, and Davey Boy's wife, how would I react to someone making an advance towards me? Of course I'd be very offended. It was a logical way for me to react. If they had said they wanted me to be really in to Shawn, I don't know if I could have done it. Maybe now I could do something like that, I've loosened up quite a bit.
"It was one of the best times of my life, being on the road with Davey and Owen, and talking on a behind-the scenes basis with Shawn. Seeing how professional everything was and this was how you do it. I didn't really have any experience and they said 'don't worry, we'll take care of you.' I felt really privileged to be on the road with such professionals."
Had you ever been on the road with Davey Boy before?
"I hadn't really. I went on the road a little bit when our son Harry was just born. When Harry was about a month old Davey and Dynamite and Hulk Hogan and a bunch of wrestlers did the A-Team with Mr T, and they flew me and Harry out and we stayed for about ten days or however long he was on the road. He really wanted to see Harry, he was a new father. I think that was the longest string of days, but I was just there as a guest. Then of course me and Davey and Harry's versions of a vacation without Dynamite."
The British Bulldogs as a team were really ahead of their time, and still influence people.
"Oh yeah, I'm still partial to them as my favorite tag team. I thought they innovated, and they kind of revolutionized an era of high flying and power. They a lot of the English, and the Japanese style, and the Calgary style. Their determination to prove they were the best helped. I don't think Jim, Bret, Davey and Dynamite got enough credit at first. Then they got put into programs like working with Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. They were having these good matches, and then it went on with Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff and then the Bolsheviks, and the Hart Foundation. If you threw them into matches now they wouldn't look out of place or like robots. They're timeless."
Have you spoken to Dynamite Kid since the problems with Davey occured?
"I haven't spoken to him, but I have had messages back and forth through my kids who have spoken to him with affection."
What caused the rift between Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid? Tyson Kidd and Natalya recently mentioned that you had the foresight to trademark the British Bulldogs name. How did Dynamite feel about that?
"It had to do with Davey going back to WWF, and Dynamite didn't want to go back. Davey said 'I'm on the verge of losing my house' and Tom wasn't. I did have the wherewithal to trademark the British Bulldogs name and Dynamite didn't want anything to do with it. I told Tom we were doing this, and it would cost this much money. At the time it seemed like a lot, but in hindsight it was well worth it. We would own the name and he didn't want any part of it. As Dynamite said, I was the tail wagging the dog. If he thought of it, he would have just had to do it, but since it was Davey's wife who was trying to implement it, it wasn't good. I don't have any animosity towards Tom, I love Tom. I just don't think he thought I knew what I was doing. I learned a lot from being Helen and Stu Hart's daughter, I wasn't an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. It's nice of Nattie and TJ to give me credit for that, I really appreciate it."
What can fans expect out of your book? It's a wrestling-related novel right?
"Yes. It's a sultry fictional novel about wrestling. It's a three part series. I would love it if people liked it enough to do more. I don't want to give away the ending or anything. I started book one four years ago. It's called Cauliflower Heart: The Romantic Wrestler, a play off of cauliflower ear, about how your heart takes a beating. The story takes place around a wrestling scenario. Book two is Cauliflower Heart: Wrestling With Life, and book three is called Cauliflower Heart: She Laughs Last. They're all based around a boy and a girl who grew up in wrestling, and it's a love story, there's a murder. It goes on and they grow up. At times it may seem like it parallels my life, and I think that's somewhat normal when people write something like this, but it's certainly not biographical. Some people think it is biographical, then ask who Claudine is in the first couple of pages."
I was actually going to ask you if your own personal experiences with relationships in wrestling was something you drew from.
"Yes, I did. I drew from things that I saw with Davey, my brothers and sisters. The relationship that the protagonist Claudine has with her eventual husband Drew are based on my mom and dad, and me and Davey, and other people in my family, and other wrestling couples, and just couples that I've known in all walks of life. I thought that since I grew up in wrestling it made me a little more credible to write about wrestling. I don't want it to sound arrogant when I say that I feel like I'm credible when it comes writing about wrestling. That was something that helped me finally get published. My publisher Kathy with headline books said that I was one of the few females that could write a novel about wrestling. She said if it were someone else submitting a story about wrestling she wouldn't have taken it on, but because of my family and being pretty much a daughter, wife, sister, mother and being a part of it helped. She said there weren't many people with that perspective. I hope people give it a shot. I'm really proud of it. I try to make it appeal to men and women, but it's certainly adult content. Not X-rated or anything, but certainly adult content."
Are all three available at the same time, or will they release separately?
"Independent of each other. The first is available on Amazon and select Barnes and Noble stores, and Cauliflower Heart: Wrestling With Life will be available later this year, and the third one will be available in 2016. It's a trilogy. It took me a long time. I'm not an Ernest Hemingway by any means, but I'm proud of it. I think it's well-written, and I hope it keeps the reader's attention. At times I was crying writing it, because I was really in to the characters and I felt, and that's the truth. I'm not just saying that, I felt for the characters. When one died, or got caught up, I cared about them and how they were portrayed."
Where can fans follow you on social media?
"Oh, I have a few. I have DianaHartAuthor on Twitter and Facebook, DianaHartSmith on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My Diana Hart Facebook is already full, so I had to start a new public page! I also have OfficialDianaHart.com. You can buy my book on there and see what I'm up to. The whole site is a work in progress. I'm an easy person to find."
Don't forget to check out Diana's new novel at this link. We'll have part two of our interview with Diana soon, where she talks about Bret Hart's WWE return, issues between Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy, and much more.