Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Bushwhacker Luke Williams
Your Host: James Walsh
WOAH! YAY! HONGI!
For the first time ever, Luke of the Bushwhackers steps into the Wrestling Epicenter to discuss his career and promote his upcoming appearance at Wrestlestock on April 9th and 10th in Tampa, Florida. Luke also discusses his availability for bookings via Scott Wilder Promotions.
Luke talks about a lot of great career highlights including his Hall of Fame induction with Butch as well as his displeasure that his Royal Rumble 1992 elimination is no longer included on video packages for the Royal Rumble every year.
Check out Scott Wilder Promotions!
Check out WrestleStock!
On how he’s dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic:
“Well, I’ve been in quarantine for the last 7 months of last year. I was in Canada in February last year and did some great shows. That was the last time I was ever on the road. I haven’t been on a plane after that. I started going to the gym in October. That was the first time I had been out (of the house) since then. And, I still haven’t been anywhere else except the gym.”
On starting to accept bookings again as the Bushwhackers:
“I was accepting bookings all the time, mate. All the way up until the start of the pandemic. But, then, Scott (Wilder) came to me and said, “Why don’t we put the Bushwhackers back together and we’ll hit the road?” Well, that was supposed tos tart on the 6th of March. But, due to the quarantine situation in New Zealand, he (Butch) couldn’t get away. Well, he can get away but he can’t get back home. There is a 73 day wait to get back into New Zealand. Due to this pandemic, all the New Zealanders are coming home. So, that’s the story with the tour. We haven’t canceled it. We’ve postponed it to the fall. As we hear from this Biden guy, they have 600 million vaccines to give out. We’re hoping all goes well and the virus has calmed down and we can do the tour this fall.”
On being a violent tag team before becoming the beloved Bushwhackers in WWE:
“When the (WWE) Hall of Fame announcement was made, Facebook blew up with people saying, “Who are these clowns going into the Hall of Fame! The clowns!” The people thought we just started in 1988! We started traveling the world in 1966! I started in 1962! We were blood and guts! We were hardcore before hardcore became a name brand in the 90’s. We were doing cage matches, barbed wire matches, coal miner’s glove matches, boot camp matches, any kind of matches we could think of. As you know, there were 20 major territories in North America. So, you had to come up with different matches if you were working with the same tag team. We came up with numerous matches. Ambulance matches, stretcher matches, first blood matches! All sorts of matches!”
On if they minded shedding the violent personas for the family friendly personas:
“No, mate. We were getting on in life. We were in our 40’s. We sat down with Vince McMahon and he said he wanted to make us baby faces. Butch jumped up and said, “If you think you can make these faces baby faces, go ahead!” Vince said, “Look at the mugs on my top baby faces! Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan! They’re not the prettiest mugs. (laughs) Most of the companies we worked for were under the NWA banner, when we left NWA, out of Charlotte, we went there in 1979 and were on TBS, WTBS originally. We worked on there off and on from 1979 to 1988. So, we were seen on there as the violent Sheepherders and all around the world, Venezuela, Mexico, South America… They had all seen us as the bloody maniacs.”
On the beauty of being loved characters:
“We enjoyed doing that because you could manipulate the people. You could get them up, and you could get them down if you had a good team to work with. But, it was great going to Vince (McMahon) because we went from being wrestlers in the NWA to being celebrities in the WWF. And, celebrities make more money!”
On the fun introduction on Prime Time Wrestling with Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan:
“You left one out. “Mean” Gene Okerlund. You can’t leave him out. We had fun with all 3 of those guys. The storyline with that was Crocodile Dundee, the second movie was out and it was hot. So, we did the whole Outback thing. The cars drive on the other side of the road down under, that kind of thing. We were seen in the Outback. But, it was really Busch Gardens down in Florida where “Mean” Gene and Bobby “The Brain” found us!”
On the ease of working with Andre the Giant:
“We knew Andre the Giant for years. He was wrestling us in New Zealand in the 60’s before he ever came to the States. We did handicap matches with Andre against me and Butch. If I told you some of the high spots that the people went crazy about, you’d laugh today. I’ll give you an example. We would kick him in the stomach, he would double over, and we would each grab and arm and put him in a top wrist lock. He’d stand up straight and we’d be hanging! He was 7’3 or 7’4! Our feet would be off the ground by a solid foot! (laughs) He would swing his arms to the left, swing his arms to the right like he was on the cross, and then bring his arms together. We’d hit each other, fall to the floor, and roll to the outside and the crowd used to go bananas! That was how simple we did things those days!”
On funny Andre the Giant stories:
“When we came to North America in 1972, we went to a territory called Grand Prix – The Vachons brought us to North America. They owned the territory. Andre had come to North America about 6 months before us. Killer Kowalski was the biggest heel. We had known Killer since 1966 because we worked for Jim Barnett’s WCW, World Championship Wrestling which was down in Australia from 1965 to 1972. Andre was on the road with Dominic DeNucci who is still alive – His birthday was just the other day. He turned 88! Anyway, Andre was on the road with his manager… A French guy. I can’t remember his name. This has really got me down, Mate. I’m having a brain fart! (laughs) They had 72 beers. A can of beer was only 2 gulps for Andre. In a couple of hours, Andre had drank 36 beers! So, we stop at one of those 24/7 truck stops to get more beer. There was a diner on one side and the gas station is on the other. These French kids were on school holiday. They got out of the car and they see us, black bears and blond hair, and they’re screaming “ˈfaɡət, ˈfaɡət” at us which means faggot. There was 4 of them and they came out that car f***ing drunk. We go in to the place to grab a snack and Andre’s mate follows us in a few minutes later. He told us Andre heard what they screamed at us and went to their Volkswagen, picked it up, and tipped it over on its side! Do you remember how big those Volkswagen’s were in the 70’s? That is how strong Andre was. He put that son of a bitch on its side!”
On the Royal Rumble where he was eliminated in 3 seconds and kept marching:
“James, I’m pissed off at the moment. Vince used that clip for all those years but he stopped using it in 2019. He used it every year but hasn’t used it in 2019, 2020, or 2021. The son of a bitch! (laughs) You know, in the past 20 years, I’ve been hired to do that spot in Royal Rumbles maybe a dozen times! And, by the way, Butch is still pissed off! He went in about 20 minutes before me, I went in for 4 seconds, and he was in another 10 minutes after me. And, we both got the same pay! (laughs)”
On what “Hongi” means:
“Hongi is a greeting. It is when you rub your noses together. We started doing that and people started yelling that we were gay. So, we stopped it.”
On getting the call to go into the WWE Hall of Fame:
“When they rang me up and told me that I was going to go into the Hall of Fame, I should have been excited. Instead, I said, “It is about bloody time!” (laughs) That was a great time. Last year, we were supposed to go into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Texas. But, because of the pandemic, it was cancelled. We hope to go in it this year. WWE was the pinnacle . Going there, having a career there, and then going into the Hall of Fame which is the most advertised Hall of Fame in the world. WWE, I know you’re picked by the office. The other one, you’re picked by the other former Hall of Famers. But, WWE is the most prestigious because it is the most publicized.”
On if he was surprised Bret Hart did the Bushwhackers March at the Hall of Fame:
“Mate, we’ve known Bret Hart since he was 14! We worked for his father… We wrestled his father in 1973. It was Tommy Billington, the “Dynamite Kid”, Butch, adn I as the “British Connection” against the “Hart Family” Stu, Bret, & Bruce Hart.”
“I’m getting excited for this event happening April 9th and 10th. It is called WrestleStock! I’m excited to be there, mate! One thing I’m sad about is Butch not being there. But, I’ll try and make up for Butch. Maybe I’ll sit in one chair and be Butch and then go to the other chair and be Luke! (laughs)”
On if he will be licking anyone’s heads at the signing due to the pandemic:
“(laughs) No. But, it is funny that you brought that up. Someone took a picture of Butch licking my head from the 90’s and captioned it, “This is How Coronavirus Spread in the United States!” (laughs)”