December 6, 1999
In respect of Dynamite
I, like so many, am a huge fan of the Tom Billington, a.k.a. Dynamite Kid. It was he and Mr. T (who stunk as a wrestler) that got me interested in wrestling. So when I found out he had just written an autobiography, I just had to get myself a copy.
Now that I just finished reading Pure Dynamite, Tom Billington's autobiography and also having read some of the columns on SLAM! Wrestling,along with the commentary on www.dynamitekid.com, I was compelled to share my feelings.
The first thing that I want comment on is Greg Oliver saying, "So Bret Hart didn't like the book once he finished it. Neither did our own John Molinaro."
I think that this above statement needs a little clarification, Bret Hart and John Molinaro didn't like the book for totally different reasons. Bret Hart didn't like the book because he probably feels that the book did not give him the respect that he thinks he deserves. John Molinaro didn't like the book because he wanted more of some things and he got too much of other things.
Getting back to Bret Hart, if he is a man of RESPECT, then he should think twice before weaseling a line in his weekly column. An example of this is on Bret's Nov. 27 article for the Calgary Sun, he states about the Dynamite Kid, "As great a wrestler as he was, I'm saddened to realize that in addition to injuring his elbows, knees, shoulders and back, he's broken his brain, too." Then again, Bret Hart tends to weasel a lot of lines in his weekly column, remember, "Saw a strange sight yesterday. Dogs rolling in manure and loving every minute of it. For some reason it made me think of how the British Bulldog will do anything to work for the WWF."
Now let's talk about John Molinaro's review. To be honest, I did not disagree with everything that he said. One of the things that I disagreed with is the following, he said, "Equally curious is his questionable attempt at portraying his wrestling in Japan as real. Writing about his matches for New Japan and All Japan Pro Wrestling, Billington writes as if the matches were not pre-determined, giving the reader the illusion that he won his matches because he was just tougher than his opponent."
When I read the book, the only thing that Billington claims was real, was the hitting. His exact words were "when you hit, you hit, and when you kicked, you kicked. That was the big difference between America and Japan." Also, I don't think that Billington needs to explicitly say that the matches were pre-determined, its common knowledge that wrestling matches are all "fixed." In addition, I don't think Billington gives the "illusion" of winning matches because he was tougher, if that was the case, then he would not be telling the reader about all the matches he lost in Japan. Especially since he is so though that he "makes sure the reader knows how tough he is to the point of nausea."
John Molinaro, also writes, "It's just a shame that his autobiography doesn't match up to his legacy and legend." The way I see, it didn't have to, because it just added to it, whether it was good or bad. Dynamite's autobiography is him sharing what he loved about his life as a wrestler. He loved the pranks, he loved knowing he was tough, and most of he loved entertaining the people, or as he puts it "giving the fans their money's worth." I think this quote from his book sums it up; "I wouldn't change a thing. Which I know it sounds strange coming from a guy whose wrestling career put him in a wheelchair."
One thing that I totally agreed with John Molinaro is that Tom Billington should take the opportunity of an interview with SLAM! Wrestling. That way, Tom Billington can clear up any inaccuracies in John Molinaro's review. More importantly it will give the "journalist who prints whatever you (Bret Hart/Davey Boy Smith) say, whether it's true or not" the opportunity to print what the Dynamite Kid knows to be the truth.
NOTE: Dynamite Kid Tom Billington will make an appearance on Dave Meltzer's Internet radio show (www.eyada.com) on Monday 6th December. He will address many issues that have been raised since the publication of Pure Dynamite.
Robert Joseph Yang lives in Long Island City, NY and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.