JM: Hi, Thank you so Much for your time to do this Interview....... After Reading a Little bit about yourself, you just like your sister Julie Hart went through a lot in a marriage related to Wrestling with your marriage to Tom “The Dynamite Kid” Billington. Do you think that Wrestling and relationships are a good combination?
Michelle: Wrestling and relationships are difficult because of the traveling involved and the time spent apart. The boys were always away and missed many irreplaceable moments like birthdays, school performances, and many firsts like the babies taking their first steps. Through it all there is an understanding that everyone is sacrificing something to build a better future. The plan is always: get in, make your money, and get out to be with your family. With the bumps and the lumps wrestling dishes out, many wrestlers succumb to the temptation of drinking, drugs, and steroids to push and extend their time in the business. That being said, there are many who have succeeded in the business and maintained their relationships. Stu Hart, Hulk Hogan, and Bad News come to mind. Owen Hart would have been one of those success stories if his life didn't end prematurely. It takes a special kind of love and commitment to make it work, but it is possible, just rare.
JM: You have been very active along with Julie Hart in helping a really great charity The For The Love of Children Society of Alberta. How is that experience thus far for you to participate and help the way you do?
Michelle: I am not nearly as involved as Julie is with the society as I work full time as a teacher. Julie goes above and beyond in her charity work. She puts her life in danger without a thought and travels to countries in conflict for the sake of helping children. My work for the society is miniscule in comparison to her. I've helped the society organize a gala to raise money to rebuild a school in Sri Lanka after it was wiped out by a tsunami. Through my school, I've also collected clothing for children evacuated from their homes on the reserve due to a mold concern. I also helped the society behind the scenes by collecting silent auction items and attending their fund raising events. There is nothing more gratifying than the intrinsic reward of helping children and families in need.
JM: your co-authoring with your sister an autobiographical novel on the life you and Julie Hart lived before, during, and after professional wrestling. You have had a tough road to life. And my question is as an inspired writer, is it painful to relive all those memories in a tell all book?
Michelle: It's has been painful reliving the past and it's also been gratifying to remember the good things as well. Julie and I make a great team because what she doesn't remember I do and vise versa. We have spent many afternoons going over our notes and rough drafts. Sometimes we cry; sometimes we laugh.
JM: Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with the fans?
Michelle: Julie and I are going to Tennessee July 7 to bring awareness and raise money for our charity. We are also helping to promote independent wrestling shows and upcoming wrestlers.
JM: Any Thoughts about your former Husband Tom Billington published book?
Michelle: Bret gave me Tom's book when he was done reading it. I enjoyed it immensely and read it in a few hours. It was like sitting down and listening to him tell his tales. One of the best things about Tom is he has a fabulous sense of humor and he can tell a good story. If a story wasn't funny, he could embellish it to the point of hysterics. It did hurt that he didn't say much about me and the children, however, it was after all a wrestling book and he is private about his personal life.
JM: The Dynamite Kid left the WWE on bad terms and to my knowledge, he never did return to work there... What was your opinion of the departure and the parties involved?
Michelle: Tom left due his shoulder injury. He had to have his tendons reattached to the bone. During his healing process, Davy and Owen came over and asked if it was okay if Owen became a British Bulldog while Tom was on the mend. Everyone had bills to pay and Davy was unemployed while Tom was off. Tom gave them his blessing and cursed them after they left the house. He couldn't see that Davy was looking out for his family, as was Owen. After Tom's shoulder was better, he noticed his neck was bothering him. We went to the doctor's and he said Tom had the neck of a sixty-seven year old man. His discs were worn down to almost bone on bone. One hit to the neck and he could become paralyzed. I begged him to quit wrestling as our house was paid off. His pride wouldn't allow it and that's when he teamed up with Johnny Smith to become the British Bruisers. Vince McMahon has always been a fan of Tom's. Years after Tom went back to England, Vince sent a letter sending his regards.
JM: You have 5 children, The three oldest to your first marriage to Dynamite Kid and two youngest to your sec. marriage ... being Married to the biz with three kids at the time, have any of your kids have future plans to follow in there dad's footsteps?
Michelle: Marek is planning on entering the business. He was training with Teddy Hart and loves the gymnastic emphasis Ted promotes. Julie's sons, Dallas and Blade, have also trained beside Marek. I was planning on sending Marek to train with Bad News, but News recently passed away. News was a good family friend and trained my daughter, Amaris, for a short time. For a brief moment Amaris wanted to wrestle. News showed her how to fall, lock up, and take a bump. She couldn't handle training with boys, as she was the only girl and fourteen at the time. She said, “They're big and sweaty, Mom.” I've spoken to Harley Race and I might be sending Marek down there later this year. My eldest child, Bronwyne, is not interested in the business at all. She adores and wants to work with small children.
JM: You from Canada and Tom Billington from England and than the USA in between. How would you compare the wrestling in three of these countries
Michelle: Wrestling in England was in rounds, much like boxing. Tom and I met Bret and Julie in England when we were first dating. The boys wrestled for Joint Promotions. The crowds are quiet and reserved. You could hear a few, “Come on, Cock. That's it Cock.” Matches were technical and slower than we were use to, but thoroughly enjoyable. The most exciting thing to happen when we were watching a match was when a little old lady hit Bret on the toe with the heel of her shoe because he was cheating. Bret looked at us and chuckled. Tom wrestled for Stampede Wrestling in Calgary. The storylines and interviews were highlights as the boys and the bookers could collaborate on the angles. Fans would return every week to see what would happen next. The semi-final and main events were not televised in their entirety and this also pulled the crowds back in. Wrestling talent was high caliber and they had a good system of training wrestlers new to the business and working them up the card with seasoned professionals. We lived in Portland, Oregon for a while and I found the wrestling show to be the same formula as Stampede. When Tom worked for WWF the wrestling scene started to change in Canada and the US. More emphasis was on gimmicks, managers, and animals. At one show you could see Jake's snake, KoKo's parrot, and the Bulldog's Matilda. The shows were always in huge arenas and no expense was too much for lights, cameras, and special effects. Writer's with little or no wrestling experience were hired for the angles and that is when the show targeted towards family values switched to objectifying women and exploiting the wrestlers. I know wrestlers that left a promotion because they would not sacrifice their morals for a racist angle. It's reached a point now where wrestling has saturated the show with such outrageousness that there is little they can do to shock the crowds anymore. It's comparable to the Hedonistic times of the Romans and we all know what happened to them. Story telling is an art and it needs to go back to the wrestlers creating the story in the ring.
JM: Name Game
Julie Hart – Julie is my angel and voice of reason.
Bret Hart – He will always be my friend and big brother.
Owen Hart- Owen is a role model for those who want to enter the business and maintain their dignity.
British Bull dog, Davy Boy Smith – I admired how Davy was always jovial with a heart of gold.
Diana Smith- I am a fan of Diana's. She has raised her children with the values instilled by Stu and Helen and she speaks her truth no matter what the consequence. She's a fighter.
JM: Do you have a web page for the fans to look up and check out the latest on you concerning your up coming events and projects?
Michelle: Yes, you can check out MySpace. It's http://www.myspace.com/michellebillington
JM: I read on most wrestling sites that states That Dynamite Kid despise The British Bulldog so Much he can't bring himself to say his name... What are your thoughts on that considering they were the best Tag team of the WWE 1980's era
Michelle: In Tom's mind Davy screwed him over. I was there and Davy only tried to look after his career and family. Towards the end of his career, Tom became so bitter about everything and his pride made it worse. They were one of the best tag teams. Bret and Jim are up there as well. With the teams it was Tom and Bret calling the matches and Davy and Jim supplying incredible power. They were teams made in heaven. I'm only sorry it had to end the way it did.
JM: Do You believe that The Dynamite Kid will ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
Michelle: Tom certainly deserves it. Stu used to say, “That Goddamn Dynamite takes more bumps in one match than some of these wrestlers take in their whole Goddamn career.” I don't know if Tom would show up but the kids and I would definitely be there representing him.
JM: Do you still follow wrestling today?
Michelle: I still have friends in the WWE and I do watch it because of them, although it is not a show I can let my six year olds watch.
JM: You have a full house plus all the projects you and Julie Hart have plan.... What do you do in your spare time?
Michelle: My partner recently passed away, so I've taken time off to work through the grieving process. Writing the book has been something I always wanted to do, but I never had the time. Now I have the time and Julie and I are over halfway done. It has been therapeutic for us and I know the fans will enjoy it. When I'm not writing, I spend time with the children. Looking at life through the eyes of a child is one of my favorite past times. Reading, water color painting, and MySpacing are pleasurable as well. I'm taking the Billington children to Mexico in June. It's a family vacation I dreamed about since 1991 but couldn't afford until now.
JM: Do you have any advice
Michelle: With everything that's happened to me so far I realized I could have fallen and stayed down for the count so many times without the aid of family and friends. That's the big secret to life. Unconditional love and acceptance.
JM: Any advice you would like to share with people who want to follow there dreams?
Michelle: To achieve a dream, have a realistic goal aiming towards that dream. Don't give up and remember great inventions happened because of many previous failures. Enjoy your journey along the way because that is the real lesson and always speak your truth.
JM: Closing Thoughts?
Michelle: I'd like to thank you, Johnny, for allowing me this opportunity to express myself. I'd also like to thank the fans for their care and concern for me and my family. Without the fans, we are insignificant. Stay tuned for the book and I promise you won't be disappointed.