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British Bulldog Tom Dynamite Kid Billington dies on his birthday

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Dynamite Kid (Picture: WWE)

Tom Billington, known to millions of wrestling fans around the world as the Dynamite Kid, has died on his 60th birthday.

The news was announced by British star Marty Jones on Facebook.

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Born in Golborne, Lancashire in 1958, Billington became one of the most popular British wrestling stars of all time in the 1970s and 80s, with memorable feuds in England, Japan and the United States.

After becoming a huge name in Mexico due to a legendary rivalry with Tiger Mask, Billington became known to US fans in the mid 1980s when he formed the British Bulldogs tag-team alongside Davey Boy Smith.

Often managed by Lou Albano and cheered to the ring by a real bulldog called Matilda, the British duo won the WWF tag-team titles at Wrestlemania 2, and became a key part of WWEs mid-80s success.

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Its arguable that WWE fans never saw Billington at his peak however, with his glory years taking place in Canada and Japan.

In pure wrestling terms, Dynamite Kid was an true innovator who can genuinely be referred to as one of the most integral performers in the history of the business.

His intensely physical style was way ahead of its time, with his snap suplexes and diving headbutts inspiring a generation of talent including Bret Hart, Chris Benoit and Daniel Bryan.

The intensity soon began to play havoc on Billingtons body, and he suffered from a number of injuries in the 1980s, including a severe back injury suffered in 1986.

Known as one of the toughest men in wrestling, Billington was once asked by Randy Savage to watch his back while drinking in a bar with rival wrestlers, while he had a number of backstage scuffles with high profile wrestlers.

Away from the ring, Billington married Michelle Smadu, but the two divorced in 1991 following ill-behaviour from Billington.

A known steroid user, Billington had a ferocious temper which would explode especially after taking painkillers and alcohol.

I heard news that Tommy Billington also know as the Dynamite Kid has passed away.

Thank you for all the work youve done for our country and inspiring so many wrestlers to take a chance on themselves.

RIP Dynamite Kid. pic.twitter.com/yzQ74Swhhz

— ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) December 5, 2018

In many ways it was two different lives for the Dynamite Kid. Inside the ring he was as composed as he was aggressive, with no wasted effort and everything tactical.

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But outside, he could be cruel and violent, with his addictions and craving for a bigger size destroying his personal life.

In 1997, Billington became paralysed following his wrestling career and was forced to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Many other health issues followed, including a stroke in 2013.

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After falling out with Davey Boy Smith in the early 1990s, the two never spoke again ahead of Smiths death in 2002, while his last WWE appearance came in 1988.

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