The duo of Luke and Butch, The Bushwackers, were a couple of arm-swaying, face-licking New Zealanders best known for their time in the World Wrestling Federation. The duo feuded with many of the era's top tag teams including The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, Rhythm and Blues, The Nasty Boys, Money Inc., and The Natural Disasters. Before their time in WWF, The Bushwackers were known as The Sheepherders and had a more hardcore style.
The Bushwackers would also participate in several Survivor Series and Royal Rumble matches. In 1991, Luke set the record for the shortest time in a Royal Rumble after he was eliminated in a mere 4 seconds. The Bushwackers would enter the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
My interview with Bushwacker Luke appears in its entirety below:
SK: I am here with WWE Hall of Famer Bushwacker Luke. Luke, how are you doing today?
Luke: Bloody lovely, tell your mother.
SK: As The Sheepherders, you performed in Clash of Champions II and III before signing with WWF. What was it like signing with WWF?
Luke: It was changing from being a wrestler to a celebrity. Money-wise, it was great, but I'm a villain at heart.
SK: Did you like the change from your style of wrestling to a more comedic style, and was that transition hard?
Luke: No, it wasn't hard. We're professionals, mate. I'd been around since 1962. It was a change, but we adopted it. It took us a couple of weeks to adopt it. I've been the babyface in a few territories before.
We created a whole different look. Previously, we worked as The Sheepherders. Vince [McMahon] changed our name to own us, of course, but we put the characters together with the arms swinging and the head licking.
SK: Whose idea was it to lick kid's faces?
Luke: Butch. That sick son of a - I'd lick the back of my hand. I'd grab their heads and made it look like I was licking the kids' heads, but I was licking the back of my hand. Butch used to slime them.
SK: What was it like making your pay per view debut at WrestleMania V and winning?
Luke: That was great, mate. That was in Trump Plaza. The people there weren't wrestling fans. It was the who was who in show business; it was a bunch of movie stars and celebrities. There wasn't that roar or hate. That was against The Rougeau's, and it took us a few weeks to perfect the gimmick.
Different agents had us come out from the crowd, upstairs, down with popcorn and drinks in our hands, none of that went, and then we put the marching to the ring with the arms swinging. The fans just bought it like that, bang! We'd go to the ring, and everybody was doing the arms swinging, it was great.
SK: Did you ever hate holding the shortest reign in the Royal Rumble?
Luke: Nooo. That's been talked about so many times on podcasts. With Butch around, it's better because he went out there for twenty-eight minutes. I was in the ring for four seconds, and we got the same pay! He brought that up in our Hall of Fame speech.
Vince had Butch working the Rumble. I came out marching, got into the ring, Earthquake got me and tossed me out the other side, and I kept marching like the Energizer Bunny, kept on ticking.
SK: WrestleMania V, flash forward a bit, what was it like being part of the WrestleMania X-Seven Gimmick Battle Royal?
Luke: Oh, we were one of the first ones out of the hatch. People had been waiting for that Battle Royal. We were the first guys out to the ring, and the crowd went crazy. We hadn't been seen in the WWE since 1997. It'd been something like four years since a WWE crowd saw us. We loved walking out, hearing the crowd. We had been so tired too. We'd been working on the West Coast. We had to take a red eye in overnight to participate in that Battle Royal. It was such a great feeling being back and seeing all those thousands and thousands of people at the arena watching.
SK: What was it like working in Ring of Honor and participating in the first Honor Rumble to get a shot at the Ring of Honor Heavyweight Title?
Luke: That was different. They wanted me to come out and do the same thing we talked about (the 4 seconds in the WWF Royal Rumble). I enjoyed going out for that. They called me this year (Ring of Honor) called me for Madison Square Garden the night of the Hall of Fame. You know the Madison Square Garden show with New Japan? They did a Battle Royal, and they wanted me to go do that, and I said, "I can't do that. I have a Legends contract with Vince." Going on the same night as the Hall of Fame, I would have been hung by WWF.
SK: How did you find out The Bushwackers were going into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015, and what was that night like for you?
Luke: When I got the call from Mark Carrano, it was such a great feeling. When it got announced to the public, we got big publicity. People said, "Those comics only wrestled in WWE." They didn't know The Rock's Father, The Rock's Grandfather.
I wrestled with The Rock's Grandfather, Peter Maivia, in Australia, New Zealand. Rocky Johnson, The Rock's father, I wrestled in Australia, New Zealand, all over the states, Japan. Now we talk about Kill Kowalski; I wrestled him in the sixties. When I first came to this country in 1972, he was the main heel for Grand Prix in Montreal. This territory was running three shows a night. Andre The Giant was the main babyface, Kowalski the main heel. Andre had been in New Zealand in the sixties, 350 pounds with a big afro. Butch and I worked with him every night in the sixties. So we came into a territory where we knew the two main stars. Before we had cars, Walter (Killer Kowalski's real name) drove us around; he took care of us. He was a WWE legend from back in the day. One of Vince's biggest draws. If people don't know who Walter Kowalski is, he trained Chyna and Triple H.
SK: How is your gym doing?
Luke: People from all over the country come to the gym. All sorts of high schools and colleges are in the area, and all let out at different times. We get an influx of families coming to Clearwater Beach.
SK: Do you get a lot of wrestlers that come in?
Luke: When they pass through, yeah, and at one time, a lot of them lived around Clearwater. Clearwater has become expensive now. A lot of the WWE guys live in the Tampa vicinity. It's cheaper to buy a bigger home. The cheapest hotel in season is $400, and the most expensive is $3,000 a night.
SK: What's the name of your gym?
Luke: It's Clearwater Fitness. Go on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, its all Clearwater Beach Fitness. Go to Clearwaterbeachfitness.com. Go to my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook its all Bushwacker Luke @bushwackerluke. Bushwackerluke.com is my website.
SK: Bushwacker Luke, it was a huge honor.
Luke: Let me give you a licking mate. Ahhh, you taste terrible, mate. Whoa.
You can listen to the audio of the interview below. We want to thank Captains Corner for allowing us to interview Bushwacker Luke.Published 29 Oct 2019, 23:30 IST