One half of the legendary Tag Team known as the British Bulldogs Dynamite Kid Tom Billington has passed away at the age of 60.
While most people remember him for his time in WWE in the 1980’s along with his cousin Davey Boy Smith, that is only a small part of his legacy. A true innovator, Billington was one of the first Pro Wrestler’s to help popularise high-flying maneuvers in matches as well as bringing the more traditional British/European style of brawling and submissions to America and Japan.
His matches with the likes of his Brother-In-Law Bret Hart in Stampede Wrestling and the Original Tiger Mask in Japan are the stuff of legend and is credited with inventing the snap suplex. However, years of working such an intense physical style coupled with years of steroid use forced him into early retirement and he suffered from numerous health problems. For the last 15 years of his life, he was confined to a wheelchair and was living on government assistance in his native England.
His legacy in the industry is mired due to years of accusations of violent bullying behavior towards his fellow performers as well as accusations of physical and psychological abuse towards members of his family. Since news of his passing, people in the industry both past and present have paid tribute to him on social media:
One of the most athletic, intense & spectacular wrestlers ever. Game-changer wrestler, LEGEND. #DynamiteKid RIP 🙏
— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) December 5, 2018
Condolences to the friends and family of British wrestling legend Tommy Billington “The Dynamite Kid”. https://t.co/IWPS8p4Syw
— WOS Wrestling (@WOSWrestling) December 5, 2018
RIP. Senpai! pic.twitter.com/5EixE8oAei
— TheUnderboss (@TOKSFALE) December 5, 2018
Rest In Peace Dynamite!