Volatile Facts About Dynamite Kid, The Original Wrestling Tragedy

April 29, 2024 | Alicia B.

Volatile Facts About Dynamite Kid, The Original Wrestling Tragedy

Dynamite Kid was one of the best wrestlers in the ring—but his wild lifestyle and chilling mistakes led him straight to his tragic end.

1. He Left A Complicated Legacy

Dynamite Kid could have stood in the Wrestling Hall of Fame, but his appalling behavior locked him out. He didn’t realize until it was too late that the cost of his greatness was everything: his body, mind, wife, family, friends, career, and legacy. While Dynamite Kid was an amazing wrestler, Tom Billington was a very flawed man.

Dynamite Kid

2. He Was Destined For Wrestling

In 1958, Tom Billington was born into an English family with aggression running through its veins. The family tree was filled with wrestlers and boxers. On top of that, Billington suffered physical punishment from his teachers and father. Tom’s father once punched him in the face and broke his nose

That said, it’s no wonder that Billington learned to use his fists inside and outside the ring.

Dynamite Kid, circa 1987Unknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

3. He Became A Rising Star

Many people are either naturally gifted or hard-working—but Billington was both. After a childhood of relentless training, he debuted at 17. Billington soon went by Dynamite Kid, which suited him since his talent was undeniable. As he traveled the world, honed his craft, and racked up victories, he crossed paths with a special girl and her special family. 

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

4. He Had A Legendary Brother

Dynamite Kid didn’t just become a wrestling legend, he joined a wrestling dynasty. When Julie Smadu married Bret Hart of the legendary Hart wrestling family, she brought her little sister Michelle along for the ride. When Dynamite Kid and Michelle married, he was 24 and she was 18. It’s no wonder why Julie felt protective. He would, in the worst way, prove Julie right.

Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart and their manager Jimmy HartStephen H. Taylor, Wikimedia Commons

5. He Had An Amazing Reputation

After working his way up in other wrestling leagues for seven years, Dynamite Kid made it to the top. He joined WWE as part of The British Bulldogs tag team with his cousin Davey Both Smith. On top of being one of the biggest stars, Dynamite Kid was also a babyface. That’s lingo for the good guy and the hero. This was one of wrestling’s biggest lies.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

6. He Had No Remorse

There’s always that one person who takes things way too far. Pranks weren’t uncommon among wrestlers outside the ring. But the pranks were usually good-natured. Meanwhile, Dynamite Kid confessed to doing “some terrible things—not terrible in a vicious way, more in a humorous way. Well, they made us laugh”. But no one else was laughing.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

7. He Was Vicious 

There are jokes, and there’s everything Dynamite Kid did. His “pranks” included destroying people’s clothes during the winter and dumping itching powder into their pants. The pranking got so bad that legendary WWE manager Jimmy Hart declared the British Bulldogs had a “reign of terror”. 

But Dynamite Kid was only getting started—there were many more lines for him to cross. 

Jimmy HartMiguel Discart, CC BY-SA 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

8. He Pranked The Wrong Guy

The British Bulldogs double-locking a rival’s suitcase was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jacques Rougeau warned Dynamite Kid in particular “you keep on messing with me, and I promise you something bad’s gonna happen”. However, he'd already gotten away with so much and didn’t take the warning seriously. But Rougeau was right.

Rougeau Brothers' Finishing MoveJohn McKeon, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

9. He Got A Taste Of His Own Medicine

Dynamite Kid often told everyone backstage, “Right, I’m going to the ring now. My bag’s there. If you want to do something to it, do it. I don’t care”. However, this was tested when the team returned backstage and found their clothes in shreds. Dynamite Kid failed this test: He cared a lot. 

He believed Rougeau, wanting revenge, was the culprit. Dynamite Kid refused to let his rival have the last word.

Jacques Rougeau slams Bret B Bennett, Getty Images

10. He Got His Revenge 

Dynamite Kid didn’t just get mad, he got even—and then some. After spotting Jacques Rougeau at a show, Dynamite Kid stormed up to him and let his fists fly. A witness shared that Dynamite Kid “really beat him up, busting Jacques’ nose wide open”. Dynamite Kid had no idea what he started by bringing the fighting outside the ring.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

11. He Took His Rivalry Too Far 

Rougeau’s response was chilling. He didn’t respond with his fists, but rather, with a promise. Rougeau told his assailant, “You know what, Jimmy? I swear I won’t get mad, not now, but somewhere down the line, I will get even”. And unlike Dynamite Kid, these weren’t empty words. For the next month, Jacques Rougeau planned his revenge. 

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

12. He Had An Obsessed Enemy

Dynamite Kid had no idea he was in for. Like clockwork, Rougeau took the mattress off his hotel bed. He practiced hitting the mattress like it was a certain wrestler. He did this everyday, like it was his job. Rougeau knew he had to perfect this one punch. He didn’t know if he’d be able to get another one in. Dynamite Kid was that good.

"Dynamite Kid" Tom Billington in ringDianesDigitals, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

13. He Got A Taste of His Own Medicine

As everyone soon learned, Dynamite Kid wasn’t invincible. When he least expected it, Jacques Rougeau debuted his special move. He punched Dynamite Kid right in the face with this perfected punch. He held a roll of quarters in his fist for added measure. Even after destroying Dynamite Kid’s teeth and mouth, Jacques kept going.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

14. He Almost Gave Up

Dynamite Kid was in pretty rough shape. If others hadn’t heard the commotion and stepped in, he believed Rougeau genuinely would’ve ended him. Still, he refused to snitch and swore it was an accident. But that didn’t mean Dynamite Kid and Rougeau were even: He still wanted revenge.

Jacques Rougeau in ringKen Faught, Getty Images

15. He Surrendered

Dynamite Kid didn’t get far in his retaliation. Turns out, Jacques Rougeau and his teammate had mafia ties. This was already more than a rivalry or feud. While Dynamite Kid started this, he knew if the mafia got involved, he couldn’t end it. To make matters worse, a shocking discovery came to light.

MafiaStokkete, Shutterstock

16. He Got The Wrong Guy

Turns out, all of this drama and fighting was over nothing. Rougeau had not cut Dynamite Kid’s clothes in the first place. Dynamite Kid—along with his fists and fury—went after the wrong guy. Not to mention, Dynamite Kid swore he didn’t mind being pranked. But there was a secret and dangerous reason why Dynamite Kid could dish it, but couldn’t take it.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

17. He Used PEDs 

Wrestling had an elephant in the room—and its name was performing enhancing substances. Almost every wrestler used them. PEDs were so widespread that after wrestlers injected each other, they threw needles onto the wall like darts. They weren’t the only other illicit substances backstage. But even in a sea of doping wrestlers, Dynamite Kid’s PED use still stood out.

WrestlingPatrick Case, Pexels

18. He Used Too Many Steroids

Dynamite Kid didn’t just use steroids, he used too much. Due to his smaller stature, the wrestler felt like he had to overcompensate with even more PEDs. This became such “a way of life” for him that running out was an emergency. One that he solved by taking horse steroids. Dynamite Kid never looked better, but had never felt worse. 

Two masked wrestlersHurst Photo, Shutterstock

19. He Self Medicated

It didn’t take long for Dynamite Kid to pay the price of greatness. The same wrestling style that made him so exciting to watch destroyed his body.  Dynamite Kid admitted he struggled to get out of bed and that he “was taking a lot of stuff, mainly just to get me through one day to the next”. Then he confessed what it took to get through a match.

Masked wrestlerHurst Photo, Shutterstock

20. He Risked His Life

After a shoulder injury and surgery that didn’t fully heal, Dynamite Kid got desperate. He injected himself with cortisone every match. The shots only lasted a match. He’d either have to keep injecting himself or suffer the pain. Dynamite Kid had no idea you’re only supposed to use it a few times a year at most—it’s that damaging. But he made a shocking confession.

Doctors doing surgeryVidal Balielo Jr., Pexels

21. He Destroyed Himself

Turns out, Dynamite Kid wouldn’t have changed a single thing even if he’d understood all the side effects. He understood and accepted the cost of greatness. He figured "the reason why I was doing so well at that time... was because I would do things that other wrestlers wouldn't dream of doing". Unfortunately, Dynamite Kid wasn’t the only person who paid the price. 

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

22. He Blamed Steroids

Steroids don’t just affect your body, they affect your mind too. So when Dynamite Kid lost his body and his mind, everyone suffered. The wrestler blamed his temper on “Roid Rage”. He confessed “At times I became so aggressive, somebody only had to look at me the wrong way for me to turn really nasty. I couldn’t control it”. 

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

23. He Couldn’t Stop Fighting 

Fighting wasn’t a job to Dynamite Kid—it was a way of life. One day, a stranger struck up a conversation with the famous wrestler in a bathroom. The stranger dared to mention that he did karate. Dynamite Kid responded by sucker punching him. Then, one night, he came home with injuries all over his body and red stains all over his clothes. 

karateArtem Podrez, Pexels

24. He Had A Bad Home Life

Dynamite Kid came home to a concerned wife. Michelle, understandably, had questions. But he had no answers besides an accidental fall. Unfortunately, she couldn’t escape his reign of terror. Dynamite Kid’s mistreatment of Michelle was known in their circles. As his injuries, match losses, drinking, and substance uses worsened, the mistreatment followed.

Dynamite kid's wife Vice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

25. He Was A Nightmare Husband

Dynamite Kid was an amazing wrestler, but an appalling husband. One night, Michelle ordered him tonic water instead of something strong. He fumed the whole dinner. When the couple got home, he pushed her out of their bed. He manhandled Michelle into a closet and made her sleep on the floor. Sometimes he tried to be better. Key word: tried.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

26. He Tried To Get Better

From wrestler to husband, Dynamite Kid did his duties messily and imperfectly. Fatherhood was no exception. He tried being more patient with his three kids. Some speculate that guilt motivated him. Dynamite Kid was even too scared to hold his daughter. She seemed so delicate—and he was an expert at breaking things. 

Then one terrible night changed the Billington family forever.

Dynamite kid's daughter speakingVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

27. He Had A Life-Changing Injury

December 13, 1986 was a night Dynamite Kid never forgot… in the worst way. His fight was so normal it was almost forgettable. But as Dynamite Kid jumped over his opponent, he felt an ominous sensation in his back. He hit the ground and “I couldn’t get up—I couldn’t move my legs—I just lay there in agony, wondering what happened”.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

28. He Was Alone

Dynamite Kid was surrounded by thousands, but he’d never felt more alone. He could only lay—motionless and speechless—in the ring. The audience, thinking that he was faking injury, booed and heckled him. Then, his equally oblivious opponent ambushed him. As the rival punched and kicked, Dynamite Kid begged him to stop. But no words came out.

Wrestler on the ring with mistStefano.9712, Shutterstock

29. He Had To Fend For Himself

He was on his own. He dragged himself—using only his arms—to escape the ring. Dynamite Kid thought he was finally out of the woods. Surely, someone, anyone, would notice. But another wrestler hit his leg with a chair. Again and again. Finally, when people noticed he hadn’t moved, they realized something was seriously wrong. 

wrestler in ringBjoern Deutschmann, Shutterstock

30. He Was Permanently Injured

It was too late. Initially, the hospital dismissed Dynamite Kid’s injury. They gave him painkillers and dumped him in the hallway. But Dynamite Kid’s ordeal only worsened after his surgery. On top of the incurable injuries, he developed complications. But he wanted to wrestle again as soon as possible. Then his doctor intervened.

Entrance to emergency roomRob Hainer, Shutterstock

31. He Defied Doctors

Dynamite Kid’s doctor told him the truth: “we really think it would be in your best interest to find another line of work”. But Dynamite Kid couldn’t accept that. He was only 28. He’d just bought a house. He had kids. He couldn’t do anything else that paid the same. He had no back-up plan: Wrestling was it. Against the advice of every single doctor, he went back into the ring.

MEXICAN WRESTLER DOWNJaime Casanova, Shutterstock

32. He Fell Apart 

Dynamite Kid found out the hardest way why doctors felt so strongly about retirement. In the ring, he was an actor and a wrestler. Dynamite Kid pretended that he had everything together. But the moment he stepped out of the ring, his body and mind were already falling apart. He’d already struggled with his substance use and temper before The Injury. Now everything was in freefall. 

Wrestlers in ringBjoern Deutschmann, Shutterstock

33. He Was In Denial

Countless injuries hurt Dynamite Kid, but the truth hurt the most. He couldn’t accept that his career was already done. Jimmy Hart shared, “he was having trouble admitting that to himself…And instead, he went around town drinking, and drinking, and drinking, and drinking, and drinking until there was no money left". 

Hart also added, "His wife and him were growing further and further apart too”.

Jimmy Hart in blackCarmen L. Burgess, Wikimedia Commons

34. He Made His Wife Desperate

There’s only so much Michelle could tolerate. As Dynamite Kid’s behavior worsened, her mental health followed. She even started thinking about taking her own life. Michelle gave up on their marriage and gave him a one-way ticket to England. Her message—leave and don’t return—was clear.

No one expected Dynamite Kid to take this well, but no one expected his reaction.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

35. He Hit Rock Bottom

At this point, Dynamite Kid already committed countless wrongdoings and crimes. But what happened next could be the worst. Dynamite Kid dragged Michelle by her hair across the floor and grabbed her neck. He tried scaring her into leaving instead. Even more horrifying? Michelle was pregnant and their kids were in the same room.

angry man yellingOzan Çulha, Pexels

36. He Was Unforgivable

When Michelle refused to leave, Dynamite Kid escalated his antics even further. Their kids could only watch hysterically and helplessly. Michelle eventually managed to call the authorities, but eventually gave up. She took their kids and fled the family home. By the time Dynamite Kid accepted that he had a problem, it was too late.

Police lights on a grey car.Pixabay , Pexels

37. He Was Dumped

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. After nine years of mistreatment, Michelle filed for divorce. At 33 years old, Dynamite Kid found himself alone. He ended up with nothing but an empty house, a broken body, and a fading career. The worst part was, he had no one but himself to blame. Dynamite Kid clung on to wrestling—but not for long.

woman holding divorce documentRDNE Stock project , Pexels

38. He Destroyed His Body

Dynamite Kid desperately needed a break from everything. His health, substance use, and career all took a nosedive. The British Bulldogs, once a top tag team, left the WWE. Then, Davey left Dynamite Kid. Even worse, his cousin made a solo return to WWE using their team name. 

He even banned Dynamite Kid from promoting himself as a British Bulldog. He tried working with others, but nothing worked. He had to face the music.

WWE fightBjoern Deutschmann, Shutterstock

39. He Knew This Was It

By November 1991, Dynamite Kid knew he wrestled on borrowed time. He explained “Every time I go into the ring I get body slammed or suplexed, take backdrops… No more”. Many people didn’t believe him. Some even encourage him to take it easy in the ring, but Dynamite Kid knew he could never do that. 

He never did anything—especially wrestling—halfway.

WWE ChampionshipBjoern Deutschmann, Shutterstock

40. He Had One Last Hurrah

Dynamite Kid’s last match in 1996 was unforgettable…though not in a good way. When Dynamite Kid stepped into the ring, he looked like a shell of his former self. While he managed to perform his signature move one last time, most agreed it was a “depressing” end to a legendary career. 

On the way home, Dynamite Kid suffered another seizure. The end of his career may have been pitiful, but it was necessary. 

Boxing ringlassedesignen, Shutterstock

41. He Shocked People

When Bret Hart and his family visited Dynamite Kid, it was the first and last time. They found him drinking straight from the bottle. That already wasn’t a great start, and that’s before the carnage began. Dynamite Kid had the brilliant idea of blowing up rabbits in front of kids. 

After the debacle, the Harts vowed to never visit that “nut” ever again. Dynamite Kid usually repelled people—except for one.

Bret Hart at GalaxyConSuper Festivals, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

42. He Fell In Love

When Dynamite Kid and Dot met, they felt an instant connection. But there was a catch: She didn’t know anything about wrestling. She didn’t know who he was or anything he’d done. But Dynamite Kid loved this. He’d spent his career surrounded by hanger ons and fairweather friends. 

In 1997, Dynamite Kid got his second chance when they married. But a few months later “my past finally caught up with me, big time”.

grayscale close up photo of wedding ringsMegapixelstock, Pexels

43. He Couldn’t Walk

After Dynamite Kid convinced himself that life had already gotten as bad as it could possibly get, it dealt him more misfortune. He tried ignoring his chronic leg pain. One day, Dynamite Kid couldn’t ignore it when he fell and couldn't get up. At 39, he lost the ability to walk. For the rest of his life, he relied on his wheelchair and wife. 

Man Sitting on Wheelchairalexandre saraiva carniato, Pexels

44. He Was Surprised By His Kid

Distance and time separated the Kid from his kids—and his behavior didn’t help matters. After 15 years, his daughter Bronwyne showed up on his doorstep out of the blue. The other children refused to come. She broke down when saw her father’s state. He also cried—and even apologized. 

It was the first time he’d ever apologized to her. But his growth came too little too late.

doorstepIrakli Tskipurishvili, Pexels

45. He Ended Up With Nothing

The higher they rise, the harder they fall. In his past life, he was world famous, beloved by fans, and earning boatloads. By the end of his life, he relied on wheelchairs and government assistance. He’d burnt countless bridges. Dot even started a GoFundMe to pay for medical bills. Despite everything, Dynamite Kid’s outlook was shocking.

Dynamite KidDavid Sinnott, Nine Legends (2016)

46. He Passed On The Worst Day

Dynamite Kid had achieved more than most, but also lost more than most. Still, he admitted, “I’d do it all again. I wouldn’t change a thing. Which I know sounds strange coming from a guy whose wrestling career put him in a wheelchair, but it’s true. Wrestling was my life, and I loved it. No regrets. I had a blast”. 

In 2018, he passed on his 60th birthday. He left behind a messy legacy.

Dynamite Kid olderDavid Sinnott, Nine Legends (2016)

47. He Was Ahead Of His Time

Dynamite Kid’s wrestling career was short, but his influence lives on. Bret Hart acknowledged, "If there is one wrestler who should be in the Hall Of Fame just by what he brought to the wrestling business alone, it would be Dynamite Kid”. Turns out, he’s one of the most copied and influential wrestlers. 

Many agree he belongs in the Hall of Fame for his artistry in the ring. But people still don’t know what to make of his actions out of the ring.

Bret Hart EntranceMandy Coombes, CC BY-SA 2.0 , Wikimedia Commons

48. He Has A Complicated Legacy

Over his too short life, the Kid wrestled with dilemmas that his fellow wrestlers and others continue to grapple with. What is the cost of greatness? Who pays it? Are you willing to suffer for your art? He declared that he “wanted to be remembered for my ability in the ring”—but the wrestler certainly got more than he bargained for.

WWE ChampionshipBjoern Deutschmann, Shutterstock

49. He Went Too Far

Many of Kid’s pranks weren’t just unfunny or unethical—they were against the law. He welcomed Mitch Snow, a new wrestler, in an unforgettable way. He began by secretly slipping a sleeping pill into Snow’s drink. He then waited until Snow passed out. After Snow was at his mercy, he could really have “fun”.

Dynamite kidVice Studio Canada, Dark Side of the Ring (2019-)

50. He Was Diabolical

Dynamite Kid was many things, but funny wasn’t one of them. That’s why he decided to empty his bladder into Mitch Snow’s bag and belongings. It also gave him the idea to shave the younger wrestler’s eyebrows and head. To add insult to injury, Mitch had to make nonstop public appearances. 

He thought this hilarious—but the feeling wasn’t mutual. As he kept pushing buttons, he was bound to push the wrong one.

Man in ringcottonbro studio, Pexels

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