WWE legend Tom 'Dynamite Kid' Billington dies on his 60th birthday after years of battling health issues
Billington rose to fame alongside Davey Boy Smith as one half of the legendary wrestling tag team, the British Bulldogs, during the 1980s
WWE legend Tommy Billington famously known as 'Dynamite Kid' passed away at the age of 60 on his birthday. The cause of his death remains unknown. Billington rose to fame alongside Davey Boy Smith as the legendary British Bulldogs during the 1980s.
The Sun reports that the wrestler had been battling health issues for several years which could have contributed to his death. Friends and fans in the industry soon sent in their tributes to the icon. Dynamite's friend and retired wrestler Marty Jones posted: "It's with great sadness I have to inform you all that the Dynamite Kid Tommy Billington on his birthday passed away. A true British ambassador for wrestling worldwide. RIP 'Kid'. Condolences to Mark and his family." Canadian wrestler Davey Boy Smith Jr. tweeted, "It deeply saddens me to announce the passing of Tom Billington the “Dynamite Kid.” I was really happy and glad I got to see Dynamite one last time last June in the UK.. Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized."
It deeply saddens me to announce the passing of Tom Billington the “Dynamite Kid.” 😭😢🙏I was really happy and glad I got to see Dynamite one last time last June in the UK. 🇬🇧 ❤️🙏. Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized pic.twitter.com/req7CWTdxm— Davey Boy Smith Jr. (@DBSmithjr) December 5, 2018
New Japan Pro Wrestling superstar Will Ospreay paid tribute to the icon on Twitter this morning after learning of his death. Along with a picture of Billington he posted: "I heard news that Tommy Billington also known as the Dynamite Kid has passed away. Thank you for all the work you’ve done for our country and inspiring so many wrestlers to take a chance on themselves. RIP Dynamite Kid."
Breaking News: It is being reported that #DynamiteKid Tom Billington has passed away. We will come back with more details as they develop. @FtloWrestling @MirrorWwe @HO_Wrestling #WWE #britishwrestling #britishbulldogs pic.twitter.com/3ucGYC7w7S— Wrestling Travel (@WrestlingTravel) December 5, 2018
Billington was born in Golborne, Lancashire in 1958 and became one of the most popular British wrestling stars of 1970s and '80s reports Metro. The Englishman shot to worldwide stardom in the 1980s along with cousin and tag partner "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith.
Before going their separate ways, the duo won the WWE Tag Team titles and the company's tag-team gold in 1988. The British Bulldogs were rated as the fifth best tag team ever by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2003. Dynamite Kid went on to work for Stampede Wrestling and was in Japan until his final match on October 10, 1996 at a Michinoku Pro event called These Days. He competed in a six-man bout dubbed "Legends of High-Flying" alongside Dos Caras and Kuniaki Kobayashi against The Great Sasuke, Mil Mascaras, and Tiger Mask.
His intensely physical style was quite ahead of its time, and his techniques went on to inspire a generation of talent including Bret Hart, Chris Benoit and Daniel Bryan.
Billington was married twice, in 1991, he divorced his first wife Michelle Smadu with whom he had one son and two daughters. He then married Dot Billington in 1997 and stayed with her until his death. Due to the large number of injuries he suffered during his wrestling career, especially to his leg and back, he eventually lost the use of his left leg and used a wheelchair.