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Wrestling / Dynamite Kid

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Thomas "Tom" Billington (5 December 1958 5 December 2018) was a British professional wrestler, best known by the ring name the Dynamite Kid. He started his career in England in the late 1970s and would then catch on with Stampede Wrestling. He then went on to New Japan Pro-Wrestling where he had a classic series with the original Tiger Mask. He also competed in NWA Pacific Northwest Wrestling in Portland, OR. In 1984, he debuted in WWE teaming with Bret Hart. After his cousin Davey Boy Smith arrived, he and Dynamite were teamed together as the British Bulldogs. They would defeat the Dream Team (Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) for the WWE World Tag Team Titles in the main event of the Chicago stage of WrestleMania 2. Unfortunately, Dynamite suffered a major back injury in December 1986 in a match against Don Muraco and "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. This led to the Bulldogs losing the belts to the Hart Foundation (Bret and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart.) Dynamite left WWE after Survivor Series 88 and would go on to have runs in Stampede, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and Michinoku Pro Wrestling before finally retiring in 1996. Along with the one WWE World Tag Team Title reign, he was a 1x New Japan WWF World Junior Heavyweight Champion, a 5x Stampede British Commonwealth Mid-Heavyweight Champion and a 1x All Japan All Asia Tag Team Champion.

"Dynamite Tropes":

  • Animal Motifs: With the dogs.
  • Arch-Enemy: Tiger Mask, the Hart Foundation, the Islanders (Haku and Tama)
  • Artistic License Biology: During his heel run in Stampede, he took a rather, to put it mildly, unique approach to generating heat for his feud with Davey Boy. He and manager JR Foley were being interviewed and Dynamite claimed that Davey Boy was a test tube baby, but that's not the unscientific part. The unscientific part was Dynamite saying that Davey being a test tube baby meant that he wasn't human and that he should "go back to Jupiter or Mars."
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: With Loch Ness.
  • The Bully: Many considered him this. His backstage pranks were downright malevolent, and he often singled out someone to pick on to amuse himself. He (allegedly) slapped The Honky Tonk Man until he cried, and he famously pushed Jacques and Raymond Rougeau too far. He got his jaw shattered and permanently lost four teeth when he wouldn't let up. note 
  • Captain Ersatz: So you yourself could play out his Tiger Mask series in Fire Pro Wrestling.
  • Dented Iron: In bad shape, even for an ex-wrestler. His pioneering high flying style took an incredible toll on his body. To be specific, his left leg became paralyzed and confined him to a wheelchair.
  • Died on Their Birthday: The Dynamite Kid's life tragically ended during what should have been his 60th birthday.
  • Domestic Abuse: In Real Life to his first wife Michelle (the sister of Bret Hart's ex-wife Julie).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: He was much bulkier later in his career when he broke out as a singles wrestler.
  • Expy: Unfortunately, Chris Benoit, who started out calling himself "Dynamite" Chris Benoit and borrowed a lot from him.
  • Finishing Move:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dynamite's Napoleon complex, reputation for cruelty, his addictions to alcohol, recreational drugs, and steroids, and the wear and tear on his body from years of high-risk spots left him a physical and mental mess (See Dented Iron, above) who had gone from one of the top wrestlers in the world to being flat broke, unable to wrestle at all and considered persona non grata by many promoters and organisations. By the end of his career, Bret Hart describes Dynamite as being a broken-down, toothless Jerkass who showed up at Bret's house with a gun when Dynamite's wife and kids fled there to escape him. When Bret talked him down, Dynamite broke down in tears, lamenting how he'd destroyed his own life, before disappearing back to England to live under the radar. One week before Dynamite passed away, good friend Dan Spivey called him to check on him and said he loved him. All Dynamite could say back is ask "Why?"
  • Jerkass: Most anecdotes about Dynamite paint this picture.
    • Mick Foley recalls wrestling the Bulldogs in a squash match in the '80s. Dynamite took several liberties with him, particularly a clothesline which left Foley unable to eat solid food for several weeks, and his jaw would dislocate easily for the rest of his career. This was Foley's second match ever, by the way. (On the plus side, it instantly gave Foley a lot of respect in the locker room as a guy who can keep going despite taking a lot of punishment.)
    • When Davey Boy Smith debuted in Stampede wrestling, he was facing Dynamite, in a match where he was required to bleed. Smith had little experience with blading, so Dynamite offered to make the cut for him, despite Bret Hart's objections. He lacerated Smith so badly that Hart had to immediately call off the match and rush Smith to a local hospital, in genuine fear that Smith would bleed to death. Davey Boy Smith is Dynamite's cousin.
    • When Bret Hart visited Dynamite in England, several years after his retirement, his local reputation as a jerkass was such that somebody had torched his car in the driveway, his house was covered with graffiti and people threw things at the house as they drove by.
    • It's certainly telling that when he died, nearly all of the condolences were from fans, and the wrestling world was pretty silent. At best someone would comment on Dynamite's innovative ring work.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • When Jacques Rougeau broke his jaw and teeth backstage in real life in response to constant bullying, even Tommy's close friend Bret Hart admits Tommy had it coming.
    • Some consider his state in his later life to be this, given his long history of bullying coworkers and spousal abuse.
  • Power Stable:
    • (in Stampede): Foley's Army (led by JR Foley, no relation to those other guys)
    • (in NWA Pacific Northwest Wrestling): Rip Oliver's Clan
  • Tag Team: The British Bulldogs, first with Davey Boy then in Japan with Johnny Smith, though that version was also called the British Bruisers.
  • The Trope Kid: The Dynamite Kid.
  • Underwear of Power: And by extension, Wearing a Flag As a Wrestling Attire.
  • Ur-Example: His matches with Tiger Mask are credited with inventing the junior style of wrestling.
  • Wrestling Family:
    • Davey Boy was his cousin, making him a member of the Hart Family.
    • His first wife Michelle was also the younger sister of Bret Hart's first wife Julie. Bret has said in his autobiography that his mother Helen and father Stu always considered Dynamite's three children their grandchildren too. Billington pretty much became unofficially married into the Hart family.
    • His oldest daughter Bronwyne, her husband Dan, and nephews Mark and Thomas are all professional wrestlers.

Alternative Title(s): The Dynamite Kid