RIP Dynamite Kid

Thomas Billington (5 December 1958 – 5 December 2018 ), best known by the ring name the Dynamite Kid, was a British professional wrestler. He died on his 60th birthday. He competed in the World Wrestling Federation, Stampede Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling in the mid-to-late-1980s. With his cousin Davey Boy Smith, he is also known for having been one half of the tag team The British Bulldogs. He also had notable feuds with Tiger Mask in Japan and Bret Hart in Canada.

Billington had been battling with a multitude of health issues for several years after being left consigned to a wheelchair following the end his career. Billington rose to fame in the 1980s alongside his tag-team partner Davey Boy Smith, who was better known as The British Bulldog. The pair won the WWF Tag Team Championship in 1995 at Wrestlemania 2, where they defeated Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. Billington’s career looked to be over in 1986 when he broke his back in a match against Don Muraco and Bob Orton Jr, the father of Randy Orton. He was told he’d never wrestle again but battled back from his debilitating injury to compete for the WWE in 1988 before joining Stampede Wrestling and All-Japan Pro Wrestling.

His final wrestling match took place on 10 October 1996, at a Michinoku Pro event called These Days. The match was promoted as a “Legends of High-Flying” six-man tag featuring Dynamite paired with Dos Caras and Kuniaki Kobayashi against The Great Sasuke, Mil Máscaras, and Tiger Mask. Dynamite’s body had degenerated to the point where he was “practically skin and bones”, as the bottom portion of his tights were very loose. In the end, Dynamite delivered his trademark tombstone piledriver on Great Sasuke, leading Dos Caras to powerbomb Sasuke for the pin. While at the airport to return home on the next day, Dynamite had a second seizure (the first one was in 1987) and was sent to the hospital immediately.

In 1991, he was divorced from his first wife Michelle Smadu (the sister of Bret Hart’s then-wife Julie), with whom Billington had one son and two daughters (Marek, Bronwyne and Amaris). Following the end of his marriage to Michelle, he moved from Canada back home to Wigan with his parents. There he married for a second time to a woman named Dot, with her he had three stepsons; John, Steven and Mark.

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