The wrestling world is still in mourning over back to back losses, with the passing of The Dynamite Kid on Wednesday and Larry “The Axe” Hennig on Thursday, at ages 60 and 82 respectively. The wrestling community shared tributes online via their various social media over the past two days for both legends of the sport. But two people, in particular, had lengthy things to say about each individual, as they were arguably the most closely connected people left alive to pay tribute to the fallen wrestler.
Bret Hart was a rookie himself with Dynamite Kid in his father Stu Hart‘s Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as Dynamite – alongside his cousin Davey Boy Smith – had relocated to Canada to continue their training. Dynamite and Bret would have many a battle against Dynamite Kid in Stampede, and their rivalry continued into the WWF in 1984, when Bret was paired with Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in The Hart Foundation and Dynamite and Davey Boy arrived as The British Bulldogs. Bret posted the following to his Instagram on Wednesday night:
“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.”
Curtis Axel, the grandson of Larry “The Axe” Hennig, took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to pay his respects and thank the wrestling community for their outpouring of love for the former AWA legend. The “Axel” part of Curtis’ ring name was a direct homage to his grandfather (with Curits honoring his father’s name, Curt Hennig). Curtis wrote on his Twitter:
“82 years old. 5 kids. 28 grandkids. No one has had a bigger impact on my wrestling career than my Papa Axe. He’s been my biggest supporter since day one! Another father when I lost mine. We lost our King of the Jungle today… Never thought I’d see this day. But he’s with my Dad now so everything will be ok. Love you Papa Axe! The Hennig’s have always held our heads up high! We will continue to do so… You rest assured, The Hennig name will live on FOREVER!!!”