There are probably 100’s of articles out on the interwebs about Tom Billington, aka the Dynamite Kid. I’d dare say that the majority of them talk about how much of an asshole he was behind the scenes. A good portion of them probably talk about how he’s been living out of a wheelchair for years now. Some might focus on the highlight of his career when he was a successful member of the British Bulldogs with Davey Boy Smith during their time in WWE.
I remember when the British Bulldogs debuted on WWE television. I remember how I didn’t know who these two guys were or what they could do, but I do remember my immediate impression on Dynamite Kid: this guy was a freak of nature!!
What I enjoyed the most about Dynamite Kid was that I truly believed he was the star of the team. Of course, as a young kid I really didn’t have any idea about anything…just that when I saw this man do a snap suplex it immediately made him the biggest bad-ass in the world in my eyes.
It was moves like that and his top-rope headbutt (along with the copious amounts of steroids he was doing at the time to be as jacked-up as he was) that eventually wrecked his back and contributed to his left-leg paralysis (hence the reason for his wheelchair). Harley Race, the inventor of the top-rope headbutt, has stated that he regrets ever inventing the move because it appears to cause spinal problems as well as concussions, thus probably contributing to Billington’s current disability.
Here is a rare video of the first time his back literally “gave out” on him during a match. In the video are quotes from Billington’s autobiography that describe how he felt during the match…
Regardless…I was a kid who thought Dynamite Kid was a freaking BEAST inside of the ring. I was shocked when he never received his big singles push. Of course, I understand the reasons why now but that doesn’t take away from the amazement I always felt whenever I saw this guy killing people inside of the ring. I really thought he was the best combination of size, speed, and skill at the time.
Despite what his life turned out like, if ever given the opportunity I would like to tell Tom Billington that at one point in time, he was my favourite wrestler and I thought he was larger than life. I would then thank him for letting a boy believe in him…if only for a few years.