The Opera Cup was competed for throughout the early part of the 20th century before it was discontinued after Stu Hart won it. It was then revived thanks to Stu’s grandson Davey Boy Smith Jr. in MLW.
Smith talked about the history of the Opera Cup when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily.
“It meant a lot to participate but to also win this cup was a huge honor and a feather in the cap. My grandfather Stu Hart was the last person to win the Opera Cup in 1948,” said Smith. “It was a cup for a tournament in Eastern New York that a lot of the catch wrestlers competed in. Stu was the last person to win it and it was sort of forgotten. Stu kept the trophy in the attic and I was able to retrieve it and donate it to MLW to see if they wanted to recreate what was done in the 1940s.
“It came across great and there were some great competitors in it. I had an outstanding match with Low Ki then a tough match with Alex Hammerstone and then Brian Pillman Jr in the Finals. There was also Timothy Hatcher in it and some very reputable wrestlers. It was a great thing for me to showcase my talents and the legacy of Stu Hart and what he did for wrestlers all over North America. So, I’m glad I got to shed some light on that.”
It took a lot of faith on Smith’s part to present his grandfather’s Cup to MLW and hope that they didn’t disrespect it in any way. He talked about the trust he has in MLW and owner Court Bauer in regards to something that’s so important to his family.
“I have a lot of faith in Court Bauer and I knew he would keep the cup in good hands. It was something I trusted MLW with fully so there were no qualms there. I’m glad they were able to showcase in the tournament and it was a lot of fun,” stated Smith.
He added that the finals with Pillman Jr. was a good match and that Pillman stepped up that night.
“It was tough as we all had three matches in one night if we went to the finals. Hopefully Brian has learned something from it and will come away a better performer,” Smith said before talking more about how Pillman has progressed as a performer.
“He is coming along okay. We all need to learn the alphabet properly so he just needs to learn the ABCs and the basics and focus on those. I think he’s getting a lot of in-ring live match experience which is priceless and it’s hard to get that from just practicing. I just wish there was a gym like The Dungeon around so there were proper guys who knew what they were doing. Guys like myself or Tokyo Joe to show him the basics. But he’s willing to learn and has improved over the last year or so.”
Smith added that Pillman has natural charisma and athletic abilities but he just needs more practice and experience.
“As long as he keeps steady improvement then he’ll be on his way to success,” stated Smith.
The Hart Family is arguably the most famous in pro wrestling history and Smith was asked if there’s any more memorabilia like the Opera Cup that could come into play.
“I have a limited amount of stuff but the Cup was something that I could do something with and could donate. I don’t have a whole lot of stuff from Stu’s,” said Smith. “I have one of his old robes that he wore to the ring but it’s not like winning a championship where you win the Stu Hart Robe. A lot of my father’s stuff I just like to keep for myself and have those around as good memories.”
Smith said the Cup was one of the last few things he had around but Owen and Bret have some amateur and pro things laying around.
“Bret has the original North American Heavyweight Title from Stampede and the International Tag Titles but they’re on display at a museum in Calgary. So, there isn’t a whole lot but the Opera Cup was kinda the last thing that we could have done anything with and I’m glad it worked out,” said Smith.
Davey Boy Smith Jr can be seen this Saturday night at MLW Fightland in Philadelphia as he takes on Erik Stevens. For tickets and more information please visit MLW.com. Smith’s full interview with Wrestling Inc. aired as part of today’s episode of our new podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they are released Monday through Friday afternoon: https://apple.co/2NQnHuC. The full interview can be heard via the embedded audio player below: