Tommy Billington, the British former pro wrestler known as Dynamite Kid, died Wednesday on his 60th birthday, the WWE announced.
Billington, who was from Golborne, Lancashire, and his cousin, Davey Boy Smith, formed the British Bulldogs, a fan favorite in the 1980s. Billington had been in declining health for a number of years and recently was using a wheelchair; his death was announced by wrestling trainer Marty Jones.
“It is with great sadness I have to inform you all that the ‘Dynamite Kid’ Tom Billington on his birthday has passed,” he tweeted. “A true British ambassador for wrestling worldwide. RIP ‘Kid.’”
Smith’s son, Davey Boy Junior, called Billington “an inspiration to myself and many others.”
By the time he was 16, Billington was touring Britain to wrestle and left for Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling when he was 20, according to the Daily Mail. He also wrestled in Japan before moving to the WWF (now the WWE) in 1984 and becoming half of the British Bulldogs. The two, along with their English bulldog Matilda, were part of classic matches against Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart of the Hart Foundation. The British Bulldogs won world tag-team titles at WrestleMania II with a victory over Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.
During a 1986 event in Madison Square Garden, he broke his neck and, despite being told that his career was over, continued to wrestle for WWF before resigning finally in a dispute over complimentary airplane tickets.
He continued to wrestle in Canada and Japan until 1991 and participated in his final match in 1996. He lost the use of his left leg in 1997 and suffered a series of heart problems before having a stroke in 2013.
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