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Opinion

RIP Dynamite Kid: A Complicated Legacy

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Dynamite Kid

The passing of Dynamite Kid hits many wrestling fans hard. As a fan of all things old school, Steve Cook gives you his thoughts on the impact made by Tom Billington.




Having started watching professional wrestling in 1990, I barely missed seeing Dynamite Kid as an active performer on the biggest stages of the artform. Like many of you, I’ve seen the compilation tapes & DVDs of many of his Japan matches. I’ve watched whatever British Bulldogs matches I could find on WWE DVDs & the WWE Network. What he did as part of a tag team with Davey Boy Smith, and as a singles competitor against the likes of Tiger Mask & Bret Hart, stands the test of time from where I sit. As much as some like to say that wrestlers have never been more athletic & the workrate has never been better, I believe that Dynamite Kid in his prime would stand out even among this pack.

His book is part of my wrestling library. Unfortunately he doesn’t come off like a particularly good person in his own book. There are plenty of online legends that back up the idea that Dynamite Kid was a bit of a jerk. His later years held a lot of physical suffering, and there weren’t too many among his peers that felt sorry for him.

The only wrestler I could think of that spoke highly of the Dynamite Kid before he passed was Mick Foley, and the Hardcore Legend was too busy trying to get over with WWE-contracted women on Twitter to note Dynamite’s passing. I mean, that is Vintage Foley, but it means something. Some random wrestling folks did offer their condolences, but it’s not like they were putting Dynamite over beforehand.

The Dynamite Kid has a complicated legacy. I feel his death makes it more likely that he & his longtime tag team partner will get into the WWE Hall of Fame. There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see it at the 2019 ceremony. It’s well-deserved, and there’s little chance we would have seen it before Dynamite’s passing.

There are some complicated aspects to the legacy of the Dynamite Kid. As much as some of us Internet fans may have loved his work & consider him one of the all-time GOATs, those who lived through experiences with him may feel otherwise.



The Ribbing

Two of the most famous jokesters in wrestling history are part of the same family through marriage. Owen Hart is fondly remembered by all of his peers as a ribber of the highest order. He & Davey Boy often teamed up to pull jokes on other wrestlers during their time together, and they were typically of the fun nature. Nobody got mad at them. If they did, it didn’t last long because Owen & Davey were lovable scamps.

Dynamite was also prone to pulling pranks on his fellow wrestlers. Davey would join in, as it was always his nature. But people reacted differently to the Bulldogs’ pranks than those that Davey would pull with Owen in the 90s. The Bulldogs’ jokes were more mean-spirited. They were cruel. Some of them weren’t even jokes. Dynamite was so hard on Jacques Rougeau that some kind of retribution was in order, and it turned out that Jacques had some friends in high places in certain parts of Canada, so Dynamite was kinda screwed once he went too far. Jacques probably shouldn’t have knocked some of Dynamite’s teeth out, but the Kid had pushed him to a breaking point.

There was also an incident with Honky Tonk Man that Dynamite tells in his book that I thought might have been a misunderstanding. Dynamite got mad at HTM due to something he heard from Randy Savage where Honky was waving his check around in a car & saying “I bet the King wishes he had this.” See, Harley Race was the King in the WWF at the time, but I always wondered if Honky was actually talking about his cousin, Jerry “The King” Lawler. Would have made more sense for Honky to be poking fun at Lawler than Race. Especially in front of Randy Savage, who was in the car & decided to relate the tale to Dynamite. Maybe Honky was talking about Harley, but his open disdain for Lawler at the time I read the book for the first time always made me wonder.



His Biggest Fan

One of the things that hurts Dynamite’s legacy is the fact of who his biggest fan happened to be. There was one man in particular that took Dynamite’s career to heart. Dynamite Kid inspired this man to be a professional wrestler. He even looked like the Kid to a degree. His snap suplexes were right on par with Dynamite’s, as were his diving headbutts. He never figured out how to cut that money promo, but neither did Dynamite.

Chris Benoit was Dynamite Kid Version 2.0. There’s no denying that. He idolized Dynamite & worked his ass off to do what his idol did…but even better. Dynamite was stuck in a tag team in the WWF, but Benoit had no such shackles. He could be a singles star, and could rise to the point where the company had no choice but to push him on top for a period of time. Benoit’s success in WWE was proof that the Dynamite Kid was way ahead of his time. If Prime Dynamite was in the 2000s WWE, there’s no doubt in my mind that he would have held the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship. It absolutely would have happened.

The ending to Benoit’s career & life leaves an irreparable mark on his legacy. As great as his matches may have been, as much as some of us enjoyed watching his career for many years, there’s always the fact that he murdered his family & killed himself. We can speculate as to why, but the most likely answer is due to the irreparable brain damage he inflicted on himself during his wrestling career. Due to his desire to be like the Dynamite Kid. One wonders how much Benoit’s case weighed on Dynamite in the years afterward.



There were more successful cases

There was one wrestler that came after Benoit that idolized both the Rabid Wolverine & the Dynamite Kid. I saw him come to the forefront in Ring of Honor, and he was one of those guys that inspired diverse reactions. Some people loved his work, and some people thought it was too much. I just hoped he came out of it alive.

I’d heard the rumblings that Davey Richards wanted to be an EMT for years. He ended up in the wrestling business because he grew up on it, but being an EMT was always the endgame for him. He had an interesting career in wrestling where he managed to rub a lot of people the wrong way, but he seems to have ended up where he wanted to.

As you’ve likely noticed, the average professional wrestler is shorter than they were thirty years ago. A lot of this is due to the fact that bigger athletes can make more money at things like football & basketball. Folks like Wahoo McDaniel & Ernie Ladd ended up in wrestling because they could make more money at that than football. That isn’t the case now. Somebody the size of Hulk Hogan is trying to become a football player now instead of a pro wrestler.

The people that are wrestlers now grew up watching comp tapes of people like the Dynamite Kid. They watch him doing things & think “If somebody his size can do that, so can I!” They don’t have the size to be in the NFL or any other sports league, but via wrestling training they can end up doing amazing things.



Dynamite Paved The Way

Without the Dynamite Kid going out there and having those amazing matches with Tiger Mask & forming that incredible tag team with Davey Boy Smith, I doubt that wrestling promoters would have taken notice of men that weren’t 6’5 & 300 pounds. It certainly would have taken a longer time. Somebody like Daniel Bryan might still be working as a referee because somebody his size never could have wrestled.

Was Dynamite Kid an asshole? Probably! But like other famous men that have passed away recently, you have to take the good with the bad. You can recognize that Dynamite Kid was a tremendous asshole and most of his peers hated him. You also have to respect the fact that a generation of junior heavyweights watched his matches & followed in his footsteps.

If you judge a wrestler based on how many people he inspired to join the profession, Dynamite Kid would be among the top guys that ever performed the craft.




What do you think?
Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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