Tom Billington, former superstar of Stampede Wrestling, dies



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Former professional wrestler Tom Billington – known to fans as Dynamite Kid and a member of Canada's Stampede Wrestling – died Wednesday in England on his 60th birthday.

He was best known as half of the British Bulldog team, along with his real-life cousin Davey Boy Smith and his mascot, a bulldog named Matilda.

Smith's son, Harry, who now fights under the name of Davey Boy Smith Jr., called Billington the inspiration.

"I was very happy and happy to have seen Dynamite for the last time last June in the UK," he tweeted. "Dynamite was certainly an inspiration to me and to many others …"

News of Billington's death was shared on social media, with current and former stars offering condolences.

"Every fighter weighing less than 100 pounds should owe a debt of gratitude to the Dinamite Kid," Lance Storm tweeted.

"He inspired a lot and helped change the sport.In the ring he was amazing.The only wrestling shirt I bought was a shirt from the British Bulldogs, which I used at WrestleMania IV.

Details

Born in England, Billington made his professional wrestling debut in 1975.

At six-foot-seven and weighing 228 pounds, Billington was considered somewhat small for a pro wrestler, but used a high-tech, high-flying style that charmed the fans.

He arrived in Calgary in 1978 to join the Stampede Wrestling, run by the legendary Hart family.

From there, he spent some time working in Japan before joining the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) – known today as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE – when the company bought Stampede Wrestling in 1984.

Billington held the double champion belt at Stampede Wrestling and once at the WWF.

He retired from pro wrestling in 1996.

Years of wrestling had its impact on Billington as he suffered numerous serious injuries, mostly on his back, and lost the use of his left leg about a year after retiring. He ended up being limited to a wheelchair and needed care.

He also reportedly suffered a stroke in 2013.

The cause of Billington's death was not disclosed.

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