(CelebrityAccess) Thomas “Dynamite Kid” Billington, one-half of the World Wrestling Entertainment’s British Bulldogs tag team duo during the WWE’s Rock ‘n’ Wresting boom in the mid-’80s, died on his 60th birthday Dec. 5.
Billington, who wrestled alongside his cousin Davey Boy Smith, who confirmed the news, was considered to have a career that was one of the most influential in pro-wrestling history, according to CageSideSeats, a site dedicated to pro wresting and MMA.
“Judging wrestlers by terms like ‘workrate’ wasn’t prevalent before Billington (and others) began impressing audiences with mixed of technical moves & aerial assaults delivered at a fast, aggressive pace,” the site says. “His series of matches with Tiger Mask in Japan shortly before joining the then-WWF are still influential to independent wrestlers and workers in divisions with names like ‘cruiserweight’ & ‘junior heavyweight’ to this day.”
Billington was known for off-ring drama, having gotten into fights backstage and causing injuries in the ring and, although no specific cause of death has been reported, he had been in poor health for years because of steroids and other drugs used during his wrestling career.
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
“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,” Davey Boy Smith Jr. said on Twitter. “Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to myself and many others and really revolutionized professional Wrestling as we now [sic] it today. He flew high, and gave it his all every match. Thanks for everything and sad to have lost another family member. Rest In Peace Dyno.”