Superstar Hulk Hogan has joined the tributes to Tom ‘The Dynamite Kid’ Billington.
Hogan, who became a household name as an American wrestling icon and a Hollywood star, says he was saddened to learn of Billington’s death on Wednesday, his 60th birthday.
He recalled the good times he had with Billington and his the former British Bulldogs tag-team partner, and cousin, Davey Boy Smith.
He tweeted to his 2.2m followers: “RIP Dynamite Kid. I’m still trying to process where and why. I never thought winding down would involve me watching so many friends moving on before me. Only love. Yo D, we sure had some really fun times. I loved being in the same dressing room with u and Davey, brother HH.”
Tributes have flooded in for Billington from WWE stars past and present, with Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart posting an emotional message on Facebook.
He wrote: “There are people in life that have a ripple effect both professionally and personally. Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington was one of those people.
“The second professional wrestling match of my career was against Dynamite.
“I benefited from his greatness and through our matches in Stampede, WWE, and everywhere in-between, I became a better wrestler because of him.
“Dynamite truly was the best wrestler ever, pound-for-pound. Tom was family, my brother-in-law, and we were very close. In many ways I felt like one of the few people who truly knew him, both the good and the bad.
“I saw Tom one final time this past June in England and I can only hope he is finally at peace. My thoughts are with his children Browyne, Marek, and Amaris, and the entire Billington family.”
Billington became a worldwide wrestling star in the 1980s, when he and Smith - who died in 2002 – performed as the ‘British Bulldogs’.
Former wrestler Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, who once appeared in the ring in a Wigan RL shirt, described Billington as “one of the best.”
“Met him 1976 in Calgary and watched in amazement as he and Bret had some great matches,” he tweeted.
Professional wrestler, Lance Storm, tweeted: “Every wrestler under 200lbs likely owes a debt of gratitude to The Dynamite Kid. He inspired so many and help change the sport. In the ring he was incredible. The only wrestling T Shirt I ever purchased was a British Bulldogs shirt, which I wore to WrestleMania IV.”
Related: The Dynamite Kid passes away
And WWE’s Natalya - the daughter of the late Jim Neidhart - wrote on Instagram: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Dynamite Kid, one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots. My dad said Dynamite Kid was his favourite person to wrestle, hands down. Dyamite was a wrestler who truly gave it his all. He sacrificed so much to be the very best.”
Englishman Tyler Bate, signed to WWE, wrote: “Gutted to hear about the passing of one of me heroes and biggest inspirations. RIP Dynamite Kid.”