More than 30 years after she stood in the centre of the ring at WWE SummerSlam 1992 at Wembley, Diana Hart Smith’s memories are as vivid as ever.
This weekend, All Elite Wrestling presents All In at the new version of the national stadium as Wembley braces itself for an 80,000 strong crowd.
Given this is the first event of its kind at the iconic venue since the Twin Towers made way for the unmistakable arch that dominates the London skyline in 2007, it’s natural for wrestling fans to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
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As the proverbial rose between the two thorns of that night’s main event, Hart Smith is beyond uniquely placed to share some incredible recollections.
Sister to Intercontinental champion that night Bret Hart, and wife to Hart’s brother-in-law and challenger The British Bulldog, Diana’s real-life angst played out on screen.
Wanting success for her husband, the hometown hero, while naturally protective of her brother, any nerves she showed on screen were genuine, she says.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Star this week, she remembered getting the call on the night to take her cue.
“I was a nervous wreck, I really was,” she explained.
“It was so incredible. I felt like an ant in Wembley. Honestly, nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was going to be seeing.
“Shane McMahon came up the Royal Box where were sitting and said ‘We’re ready, you need to come down’.
“The walk down there was so long as it was such a gigantic place. It started to hit me that this was live, and it was happening, kind of like a wedding day when all of a sudden it hits you.
“Shane said: ‘Don’t worry, this is live, nothing can go wrong!’
“It just seemed like you were watching it on a tiny television screen but, when you get down there, it was like ‘oh my gosh’ – I couldn’t tell where Harry, Georgia and Davey’s parents were.
“I was lost, it was like being in a sea as I’d never been at ringside for anything before then, although I have since.
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“All of a sudden Sean Mooney was there doing the interview… I couldn’t have spoken more from the heart. I sounded nervous but I was!”
Hart Smith is no stranger to the big stage following a life immersed in professional wrestling as member of the iconic Hart family from Canada.
Nonetheless, Wembley and SummerSlam afforded her a life-changing experience.
“It changed my life and I’ve never been the same since that,” she admitted.
“I have had a different outlook on life. It was terrifying but I was so grateful to have been a part of that.
“It was legitimate to me. It was real. I didn’t know fireworks were going to go off, I don’t know if Davey or Bret knew but maybe they did as it certainly wasn’t their first rodeo.
“They had so much to prove to people who didn’t think they could pull that off and in the main event.
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“To this minute, I have never seen anything in England [to equal it]. There have been fantastic things going on, but the people who put that together… it changed my life, and I had a lot more confidence in myself after.”
While having grown up around pro wrestling, it seems there was nothing that could’ve prepared the Canadian for watching two of her family members go against one another against such an emotional backdrop.
The iconic picture of her stood between Hart and The Bulldog at the conclusion of the match and the Brit’s classic win is one etched in people’s minds.
Quite apart from not being ready for the post-match pyrotechnics, incredibly, she revealed she was never told of the finish of the match – something she accepts may have been deliberate.
“It was pretty rough at times., she went on to say. “I saw Bret kick Davey in the face and saw Davey throw Bret, and the suplex off the top rope was hard to watch because of Davey’s leg.
“The atmosphere, the horns… it was just such a perfect recipe.
“I always wanted Davey to win the match, but I didn’t know how it was going to go – they didn’t tell me anything.
“If they’d told me, maybe [they felt] I’d have told Davey’s parents to put their minds at ease.
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“I didn’t get to speak to Bret much before hand and Davey wanted to get some time in with his family before the show, so I didn’t know how it was going to end.
“I knew when it did end because I knew from watching Bret, Davey and [referee] Joey Marella that it wasn’t going to be some sort of silly finish. It was going to be respectful.
“When it was done, I knew it was done. It was a good finish and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.”
As Wembley readies itself for the madness of professional wrestling again this weekend, Diana says she’ll watch back the 1992 epic – something she’s held off doing for a while.
Son Harry wrestles for PROGRESS Wrestling in London as Davey Boy Smith Jr on the same weekend, leaving his mother in a reflective mood.
“On the day of the show I’m going to watch SummerSlam 1992,” she added.
“We have a nice big screen downstairs, and I haven’t watched SummerSlam on there before, I don’t know why.
“Maybe I’ve been subconsciously holding off for that right time. This time, many years later… I think I’m gonna have a beer and a Guinness and watch that match.
“I’d kind of like to be by myself when I watch it and get lost in it. I don’t want to exaggerate it, but that match was one of the greatest things I’ve been a part of in my life.
“It’s very special to me.”
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