Oct 22, 2009 - by Steve Gerweck
A face even your grandmother can love…
Luke with his partner Butch having gone as far as they could progress in little old New Zealand in the early 70’s (population 3 million) decided they wanted to explore the world of pro wrestling, knowing that USA was the pinicle. At that time they were know as “Sweet William and the Brute; The Kiwi’s. First stops were Australia, Singapore, Thailand and then Canada where they spent 3 years, the last one working for Stampede Wrestling owned by the notorious Stu Hart.
They returned to NZ in 1974 to do live tapings for the first New Zealand televised wrestling show “One the Matt”. In 1979 while working in Hawaii, Roody Pipper, Buddy Rose call the northwest promoter Don Owen, Hence the invasion of U.S.A by the team now known as “The Sheepherders”.
After ruling the northwest for 15 months they moved on to the NWA headquarters in Charlotte N.C where they became the Mid Atlantic tag champs in a matter of weeks. After 3 months working for NWA they got a call from the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and decided to head south to the Caribbean not knowing that NWA wrestling show on TBS (then WTBS) was nationwide.
After rampaging the scene in Puerto Rico in cage, barbwire cage, ambalance, four way chain, bootcampt and coalminer glove matches. The boys decided to re-entered USA and continue on their invasion carying the New Zealand flag. Working there way from alliance to alliance, covering two thirds of North America, and finally ending back up with the NWA promotion out of Charlotte N.C whose live show promotions were now covering ¾ of north America.
In the 80’s the Sheepherders were the most hardcore and brutal tag time in North America, there were no body stopping them. Table, chair, ladder etc every match was a blood bath. The Sheepherders held numerous titles throughout US and around the globe.
Major feuds in this era were with Roddy Pipper and Rick Martel, Rocky Johnson and Dewey Roberison, the Invaders, Carlos Colon and Jose Gonzalez, Ron and Robert Fuller, Brad and Bob Armstrong, The Fabulous Ones, Jerry Lawyer and Bill Dundee, Dick Murdock and Tully Blanchard, Dick Murdock and Manny Fernandez, Brad Armstrong and Tim Horner, The Fantastics and finally the Rock and Roll Express.
Mid 1988 the boys got a call from WWF (WWE) and off they went to the biggest promotion on the planet. Name changed BUSHWHACKERS and now loved by everyone, these eccentric farm boys from “Down Under” mesmerized millions of fans from all walks of life, young, old, rich and poor from all corners of the globe. Touring over 44 countries they soon became Household names and the most entertaining team in the Pro Wrestling history.
Not only champions in the ring but champs to numerous charities raising money for “Make a Wish” Foundation, America Cancer Society, Special Olympics and the Fox Network for under privilege kids, the duo put there hearts as well as there energy into helping good causes.
The biggest crowd, which they wrestled in front of, was in England, London’s Wembley Stadium with an attendance up near 90,000 fans. Among the many TV shows the boys were featured on WARNER BROTHER “Family Matters” with Steve Urkel was the most memorable. After the WWF era Bushwhackers worked England and Europe. Butch returned to New Zealand in 2001and Luke when on to work in wrestling offices as talent coordinator; Luke is now returning to pro wrestling LEGEND CIRCUITS around the globe.