10 Things I Learned Watching Dark Side of the Ring: The Dynamite Kid

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If there is one word that is constantly used when describing a pro wrestlers it is revolutionary. If there was one wrestler in the 1980’s who is one of if not the most revolutionary wrestlers in the business, I would easily say The Dynamite Kid. The stuff that he was doing in the ring at that time is the norm of what pro wrestlers are doing today. So many people have been inspired by him. The one that he inspired the most is easily Chris Benoit. Benoit was a copy of the Dynamite Kid as Benoit used the same moves in his move set. Obviously the diving headbutt and Snap Suplex all came from the Dynamite Kid. Unfortunately there was a Dark Side to Tom Billington aka The Dynamite Kid. So many dark stories surrounding him and they paint him poorly. With today being the anniversary of The Dynamite Kid’s death, I thought I would watch Dark Side of the Ring’s episode on him and give the 10 things I learned watching that episode.

10. Diving Deep into Dynamite Kid’s Steroid Abuse

So let’s get into this right away. In the 1980’s and 90’s the Pro Wrestling scene had a ton of steroid abuse. Many if not almost every pro wrestler was taking steroids. I could name a novel of who was on steroids at that time and even today, but the most obvious abuser was The Dynamite Kid. Heck even Dan Spivey called Tommy a giant muscle. Gary Portz who was a wrestler said he became friends with The Dynamite Kid by taking steroids as everybody was doing it.

The thing that I did not know and this is a very idiotic thing for someone to do. Apparently while they were partying, pro wrestlers would throw steroid needles into the wall of hotel rooms like you would as a dart board. At one point there would be dozens if darts hanging from a wall and they would just leave them there. When they returned they apparently grabbed a random needle and would inject themselves with steroids. Like I said this is super idiotic as sharing needles would make it super easy for disease to transmit from one person to another. They were freaking lucky that they did catch any diseases.

In fact Dynamite kid would even walk around the locker room with a needle in his but before going out to have matches. I barley want a needle in me when I give blood and him just walking around with one in him is just terrifying. 

One thing that the documentary got wrong was Julie Hart and many implied that Dynamite Kid started taking steroids during the days he started wrestling at WWF. Which is absolute nonsense. I remembered reading Dynamite Kid’s book called “Pure Dynamite” and one of many Bret Hart books where they both mentioned that Dynamite was introduced to steroids by pro wrestler The Junkyard Dog in 1979. Dynamite Kid did not join the WWF until 1984. Did his steroid abuse get more worse when he joined WWF? Probably, but saying that Dynamite Kid started doing steroids in the WWF is absolute nonsense.

9. Dynamite Kid Thought it was Funny Drugging People

Oh dear, you know it is stories like this that give a good reason as to why Dynamite Kid (Tom Billington) has not been super glamorized in Pro Wrestling. So Dynamite Kid was a big ribber and loved to to play “practical” jokes on many wrestlers. However a lot of his practical jokes he pulled were not funny at all. There is a long list of terrible jokes he pulled, but the worst one he pulled was drugging people by slipping Halcion pills in drinks. 

The one story in they talked about was how Dynamite Kid drugged a wrestler named Mitch Snow. So Mitch Snow was a younger wrestler and had a bit of a mouth on him. It annoyed everybody and especially Dynamite Kid. So, Dynamite Kid decided to get him back, by ribbing him and the way he did that is by slipping a Halcion pill in his drink. Yes, because it is super funny to drug people with out there knowledge. 


Both Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith were hiding in his balcony window waiting until Snow was knocked out from the pills, which is just creepy. When Snow was knocked out both Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith decides to take this “rib” to the next level. Dynamite decides to take a dump in Snow’s bag and shave Snow’s eyebrows and hair. What part of this is funny? I want to get an explanation, as none of what Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith did was anywhere near close to funny. To make it worse when Mitch Snow woke up he had a nervous breakdown and was in such fear of his life, he fled back to his home and hid. Could you blame him? 

The worst part is that there are a ton more of stories of Dynamite Kid drugging people. I am shocked Dynamite Kid did not go to prison for doing this for the amount of times he did this and stories that came out about this while he was alive. Drugging people is not a funny act, it just makes you demented and a piece of garbage.

8. Footage exists of Dynamite Kid’s back injury that occurred on a house show.

So now they talk about Dynamite Kid’s back injury, which is common knowledge as it eventually put him in a wheelchair. The injury actually occurred in the middle of a house show in 1986 and it was a simple move he was doing and his back just gave out. Dynamite Kid injury was so bad that he needed emergency surgery. Apparently his 4th and 5th lumbar area in his back was just shredded and two discs were so tangled around his spinal cord that they had to remove it. 

Something crazy that I did not know, is that there is actual film of Dynamite Kid’s injury. It is a super rare film too, as this injury took place on a house show which it was super hard, especially at that time to film during wrestling shows. It is an amazing find and the injury is even up on youtube if you want to take a look.

This injury not only changed him both in and out of the ring. In the quotes from his ex wife Michelle Billington “In the first 5 years of our marriage there was none of that sadistic behavior, but it all started happening once he had his back operation”.

7. Dynamite Kid Would Force his Wife to Sleep in the Closet

So, now we get into the first domestic violence incident. When Dynamite Kid had that back injury he started getting a nasty temper, especially with wrestling with the pain. It started spreading into his personal life as he would treat his wife like absolute garbage. He would get into a ton of domestic violence incidents with his wife. The first one was in a time when they were going for a night out of town. Dynamite Kid wanted to have his wife Michelle drink and at the time she did not want to. So she decided to get Tonic water to pretend that she was drinking alcohol. Well Dynamite decides to drink it and he was absolutely pissed when he realized it was not alcohol. When they go home he decides to drive erratically on the road and when they got home he forced her to sleep in the closet as punishment for not drinking alcohol.

All of this happened because she did not want to drink alcohol and you force her to sleep in a closet. How much of a piece of garbage are you to force your wife to sleep in the closet? I have heard of so many domestic violence incidents with the Dynamite Kid including the Shotgun incident (Oh We Will Get To that), but this story is freaking disgraceful and again shows Tom Billington’s dark side.

6. The Further Details of the Jacques Rougeau and Dynamite Kid Fight

Ok I will admit I knew about this brawl as it is one of the most notable backstage brawls in wrestling, however I think it is still an absolutely crazy story. In the documentary there was a few details that I did not know about.

It was clear from the beginning that The Dynamite Kid was not a fan of the Rougeau brothers, but it got worse once there SummerSlam match in in 1988 occurred. In that match it was a time limit draw and it was a bad decision behind the scenes as it gave the Rougeau brothers the mindset that they were on the same tier of The British Bulldogs and started being arrogant. Well Dynamite kid had the old school mindset of that you have to earn your the right to be arrogant. So apparently out of nowhere Dynamite just beats the ever loving heck out of Jacques Rougeau which resulted in Rougeau’s face being swollen and made him look weak in the locker room. 

What the documentary did not mention was, Why the Dynamite Kid attacked Rougeau. Apparently Curt Henning aka Mr. Perfect was ribbing Dynamite and tampered with his bags. Dynamite kid thought it was Jacques that messed with his bags, meanwhile it was Curt Henning that did it. 

With Rougeau beaten up, he decides to get revenge. Especially as he lost respect in the locker room, could not sleep right, shave, and was vomiting in the aftermath of first getting beaten up. Jacques gets advice from his father to get a roll of quarters and when Dynamite arrives use the roll of quarters to beat him up. So that is exactly what he did and he beat the heck out of him. Dynamite was a bloody mess and he even loss 4 teeth from the incident. Apparently also Dynamite Kid never fell to his back and was only knocked down to one knee, which I did not know about. That goes to show how tough Dynamite Kid was.

5. How Dino Bravo was involved in the aftermath of the backstage brawl

Once the fight finished, of course Dynamite goes and plans for his revenge. Jacques Rougeau is not a stupid guy and he knows that Dynamite wants to get his respect back. Rougeau decides to stop Dynamite’s plans for revenge by utilizing pro wrestler Dino Bravo. If you do not know Dino Bravo is a pro wrestler who had connections to the mafia. Apparently Bravo told Dynmite kid that he saw an envelope with Tommy’s name, address, photos of the house and his family. If there was any retaliation against Rougeau that him and his family would be dead. This terrified the Dynamite kid where he not only got weapons like handguns and a shotgun, but he decided to sell his home fearing the Mafia was after him. 

In reality though, that was all a just to trick Dynamite Kid. Rougeau, knew that Dino Bravo was a stooge for the Bulldogs and sort of like a messenger man to them. So, Rougeau decides to write a fake name and told Dino to call that person every night. Of course he did not make the call bad things would apparently happen. It was all a trick to have Dynamite think the Mafia was after him and of course it worked, because Dynamite never got his revenge. Rougeau is brilliant as he knew Dynamite was going to do anything to get his revenge and the only way to stop him was this way. It even got Dynamite to want out of the company as he soon gave WWF his notice once this incident took place.

4. He was obsessed with watching his matches with Tiger Mask

Once his wrestling career was over, Dynamite Kid would always invite others over to watch pro wrestling. At this time Dynamite Kid was drinking alcohol a lot and had a bad drug issue to deal with the pain. Well when he invited others to watch it was only matches that he had with Tiger Mask. The man was obsessed with it and watch it many long hours of the match on repeat. He would often at many spots in the match say, “He took a hell of a bump” it would go on and on until night time. He kept doing this on repeat and it got so bad that many last memory of him was just him in this cycle of obsession. I think it was clear he wanted to watch his glory days with others and feel a sense of being proud again. It cause him to drift apart with many including his wife.

3. Dynamite Kid Threatened his Wife with a Shotgun

I you think the earlier Domestic Incident was bad, get yourself strapped for this one. It was 1991 where Dynamite Kid was sinking deeper and deeper into issues. He started getting into bareknuckle fights and he would come home with a bloody face in front for the kids which is just freaking terrifying. Michelle then started having issues with the crazy life she was living in and she decided to put her foot down as it was getting to the point where she was having suicidal thoughts.

Michelle then basically gives Dynamite Kid a one way ticket back to England and told him to don’t come back. This angered Dynamite Kid, so what he does is that he starts to drag a pregnant Michelle across the floor and even dislocates her jaw. What a freaking scumbag, for the way he acted and it gets so much worse. He decides to force Michelle to leave by getting a shotgun and threatening to blow her head off in front of the kids. Absolutely disgraceful and unforgivable for Dynamite to do that and especially in front of there kids. 

The crazy part is that Michelle called his bluff, that he would not shoot her with a shotgun. In the meantime she calls the police, but whoever was on the line gave a sarcastic answer. The 911 operator ignoring her cry for help and told her to leave the house herself. Michelle decides to go to her sister Julie Hart and left Dynamite Kid. Eventually Dynamite Kid would leave Calgary and use the one way ticket to go back to England. 

2. The Chris Benoit Incident gave Michelle Billington courage to speak up about Dynamite Kid’s Abuse

The Domestic Violence incidents were kept a secret not only by the Hart Family, but by Michelle herself for many years. Until 2007, hit where the Chris Benoit incident occurred. If you don’t know Chris Benoit was a pro wrestler who committed a double murder suicide where he would kill his wife, son, and himself in a 3 day period. So during the media frenzy, CNN decided to do a piece on Pro Wrestling and Domestic Violence. This is when Michelle spoke up about her experience with the Dynamite Kid.

Before the interview aired on TV, Michelle decides to tell the truth to her kids about what there father did. At that point all the stories she told to them about Dynamite Kid were postive, and when she told the truth it broke her kids. It especially broke Amaris down as she was super mad her dad would do something that harmful to her mother and that Michelle would lie to her all these years. Plus at the time Michelle was pregnant with Amaris when Dynamite Kid pulled a gun on her. This revelation started a dark point in here life and it messed her up. Amaris would even refuse to see her father in person for the first time. Which I really don’t blame her for at all. 

If you want to watch the documentary it is below. The Dynamite Kid Parts Are from 16:25-22:12 in the video below.

1. What Happened when Bronwyne Billington Visited Dynamite Kid

Bronwyne Billington decides to see her dad for the first time since she was a kid. In fact, I believe it was 15 years since they last saw each other. So, Bronwyne flies to England and goes to where her dad is. The first time she sees him he is in the living room in his wheelchair. Bronwyne immediately breaks down crying as that was the first time she saw him in a wheelchair and Dynamite Kid acted like no time passed by being a good caring dad to her. They both hold hands and start crying, which Dynamite Kid never, ever did before until that moment. While in that moment Dynamite apologizes to his daughter for his actions and how he got to that point. It was the first and only time that he ever apologized to anyone.

My Thoughts on the Documentary

This was a well made documentary about the Dynamite Kid. In the ring he is one of the most talented wrestlers I have seen and especially in the 80’s. His art in the ring inspired so many wrestlers in the business and he did moves that are common in pro wrestling. However out of the ring his was a sadistic, dark, and trash human being. The stuff he did is unforgivable and to make it worse, there are so many more stories that was not told. This should have been a two part episode, no question. Especially as I wish that important details were left out and more dark stories surrounding The Dynamite Kid were covered.

Now there are two wrestlers that I wish also got interviewed in this documentary. The first is Tiger Mask as there rivalry and matches were revolutionary. It would have been awesome to hear his view on the Dynamite Kid. The second person I wish was interviewed was Davey Boy Smith Jr. who Dynamite was close with for many years and especially during his final days. He was one of the few wrestlers that Dynamite really was super close with until his death and I wish that he was interviewed on this documentary.

The MVP of this documentary I have to give it to the Billington Family. Michelle, Amaris and Bronwyne were all great in this documentary. They shared a view of the Dynamite Kid that is hard to replicate. Besides that CNN documentary she did, I don’t remember another time she came out on video to speak up. I know she was involved with a lot of books Bret Hart wrote, and Dynamite Kid’s book.

Everyone else involved with this documentary as well were great. Julie Hart is Michelle’s sister and she came across well in the documentary Dan Spivey, while creeping me out with that vein popping out of his head did a great job as he was one of Dynamite’s close friends. Gary Portz as well provide great inside on Dynamite as well. Dave Meltzer is the historian of the podcast and he always is a great inclusion of the documentary. Jacques Rougeau was a great speaking point about his beef with Dynamite and the fight. The most underrated part of this documentary was with Mick Foley’s inclusion as he had great quotes about the pain of pro wrestling. Everyone should pay attention with that knowing all the big bumps Foley took in his career.

Dynamite Kid would pass away on December 5th, 2018 on his birthday at the age of 60 years old. Dynamite leaves behind a complicated legacy where he revolutionized the wrestling business, but you just can’t ignore his dark side.

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