By Jennifer Earl
Published December 05, 2018
Billington, an English native, joined the organization in the early 1980s with his cousin, Davey Boy Smith. Together, they formed the perfect "dynamic" duo, which they named "The British Bulldogs."
Wrestlers thanked Billington Wednesday for inspiring them to pursue their passion in the world of professional wrestling.
Former WWE star Santino Marella, the "Milan Miracle," said Billington "definitely made a believer out of me."
"His matches with Tiger Mask can be used as an educational resource for anyone wanting to do this for a living," Marella tweeted.
Natalya "Nattie" Neidhart, a former SmackDown Women's Champion, called Billington "one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots."
"My dad said Dynamite Kid was his favorite person to wrestle, hands down," Neidhart wrote, in part, in an emotional Instagram post. "Whether he was competing in England, Japan, WWE or in Stampede Wrestling for my grandpa, he poured his heart and soul into his matches. He sacrificed so much to be the very best."
Saraya-Jade Bevis, a retired professional wrestler known by her WWE name "Paige," shared a photo of Billington on Twitter, simply writing, "Damn...RIP."
Former WWE star Tyler Bate, also from the U.K., said he was devastated to hear about Billington's death.
"Gutted to hear about the passing of one of my hero’s and biggest inspirations. RIP Dynamite Kid, Tommy Billington," Bate wrote on Twitter.
Saxon Huxley, known as "Muscle Cat," also called Billington "one of the greatest performers" of all time.
"One of the greatest performers and revolutionaries the business has ever seen. The #DynamiteKid is timeless. Rest in peace," he described in a post online.
Huxley later shared a throwback cover of Billington, calling it his "favourite territory."
Billington had been battling health problems for years.
His final match was in October 1996, when The Sun reports his body "degenerated" and he suffered a seizure at the airport the following day. In 1997, Billington lost the use of his left leg and was relegated to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He also reportedly suffered from several heart problems and had a stroke in 2013.