The Bushwackers (Luke and Butch) have been announced as the fourth inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
The announcement was made officially on the February 16 episode of WWE Monday Night RAW.
Luke Williams and Butch Miller began wrestling as a tag team back in 1964 in their native New Zealand, originally under the name the Kiwi Sheepherders.
They traveled to North America and the western hemisphere in 1965 and found an incredible amount of success in the tag team ranks of any territory they appeared in. While wrestling as The Sheepherders, they also found success as The Kiwis in Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling in Canada and as Los Pastores in Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico.
This team tore through everyone and everywhere through the ‘60s and ‘70s and gained a reputation as a violent and scary team who were willing to hurt and torture opponents. But in the early ‘80s, Miller returned to his native New Zealand while Williams carried on the Sheepherders name with the also violent Jonathan Boyd.
In 1983, Miller returned to America and the original Sheepherders resumed their violent trail of terror. They engaged in legendary and lengthy feuds with The Fabulous Ones and The Fantastics. Their feuds raged all across the country and into Puerto Rico, including stops in Southwest Championship Wrestling, the CWA in Memphis, Bill Watts’ UWF, Championship Wrestling from Florida and Jim Crockett Promotions in the Carolinas, which was the precursor to World Championship Wrestling.
Throughout this whole time, Luke and Butch were portrayed as violent, bloodthirsty foreign savages who would rather fight and bleed rather than wrestle. Along the way they amassed over 20 tag team championships across the world and a feared commodity throughout the entire wrestling world.
That all changed in early 1989 when they joined the World Wrestling Federation. While they kept the same look, Luke and Butch were now renamed The Bushwackers. Instead of being blood-thirsty wild men, they were now lovable heroes who stomped their way to ringside and licked fans and opponents alike and completely reinvented themselves with a comedic style of in-ring action.
The Bushwackers became mainstays in the WWF from 1989 until the fall of 1996. During their remarkably long run in the WWF they never won the WWF Tag Team Championships but probably crossed paths with every villainous tag team that came through the doors during that nearly eight year period. While they were best known for their comedic nature and lighthearted matches they had notable and lengthy rivalries with many teams including The Bolsheviks, The Fabulous Rougeaus, The Orient Express, The Beverly Brothers, Well Dunn and many others.
After the duo left the WWF in late 1996, they worked through the independent circuit until the new millennium began. Miller retired completely from active competition in 2001 and returned to New Zealand. Williams found a brief career renaissance in 2007 and 2008 when he made sporadic appearances for Ring of Honor, and to this day Williams is loosely associated with ROH.
While it seems odd that The Bushwackers would enter The Hall before so many other tag teams like The Steiner Brothers, Demolition, The British Bulldogs, The New Age Outlaws, The Dudley Boyz and so many others, Luke and Butch were fondly remembered amongst an entire generation of fans who watched their comedic antics in WWE. And they are remembered fondly by a whole other group of hardcore fans that remember their hardcore ways during their time as The Sheepherders. Their induction is fitting considering how WWE currently runs their yearly Hall classes.
He joins the illustrious “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rikishi as the announced members of this year’s class, the Class of 2015.
No inductor has been officially announced for The Bushwackers yet. There are many possibilities including former WWE allies like Hacksaw Jim Duggan or Rowdy Roddy Piper or a former rival like one of The Fantastics or a Fabulous One. But the most likely seems to be current WWE executive John Laurinaitis, who formerly wrestled worldwide as Johnny Ace. Ace briefly served as The Sheepherders’ “flag bearer” during their time Jim Crockett Promotions.
This year’s Hall of Fame will be held on March 28 in San Jose, California, inside the SAP Center in San Jose the night before WrestleMania XXXI.