Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman recently had The Bushwhackers on the Wrestling Inc. Daily to discuss their careers, share old stories, and offer first-hand recounts of some wild pro wrestling shows.
Many of those wild shows came in Puerto Rico, which the WWE Hall of Fame tag team say got very violent in and outside the ring. Bushwhacker Luke detailed a match the two had with Carlos Colon, and how Colon had a bold idea of how to drum up heat for the duo before the match began.
“It was real crazy mate. I’m just going to give for instance,” Luke said. “You know, before we did a lot of angles, the first one we did, we were brought in and we had never been to Puerto Rico. This was 1980. And the promoter was the Hulk Hogan of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean: Carlos Colon. His sons have been in WWE and all that. You know the storyline. He said, ‘Show starts at 8:30, I’m going to be signing in the lobby at 7:30. You usually come in the back door, but this time I’m going to have people drive and pick you up and bring you to the front of the building, and you guys come in through the front.’
“We had a flagpole, and it wasn’t copper, it was steam pipe. Steam pipes, they’re pretty heavy, and they have a knuckle in the middle where you can screw it, because we carried it in a pouch. The piece was about three feet long. So he said, ‘I want you to come to the lobby and f–king burst through the people. Now, he was signing free photos. Carlos, on this fight, everyone that came in and bought a ticket got a free photo. And he was signing there, we burst in there, and split the flagpole in half and beat him to death. There was blood on the walls, everything. The ambulance come and took him, and they called for an ambulance, and security come and got us off of him. We went to the back after that.
“We were the main event that night. The main event was Carlos Colon and the Invader, Invader 1, who was the #2 babyface on the island. So Carlos was taken away in an ambulance. And then come to the match, you know, Invader come out, he says, ‘blah blah blah, I’m going to do this on his own.’ They told him not to do it, and he says, ‘I got to do it, because these pigs have come in here and they’ve done a disgrace. They disgraced our main guy’ and all that bloody s–t. We started working with him in the ring, finally we got him down and we bloodied him up and all that, and then all of a sudden, an ambulance pulled into the back of the arena, and out of the passenger seat Carlos got out with a f–king axe handle and hit the ring. The f–king people went mad. We took one or two shots just to shock, and kind of dodge so we kept our heat. That was our first time in Puerto Rico.”
The country was a dangerous place to compete, according to the tag team. Bushwhacker Butch recalled how fans would attempt to assault the wrestlers, and how they would stop at nothing to get their hands on the competitors.
“As you know, very very violent place,” Butch said. “Most of our matches, big matches that they had, were in ballparks, and they don’t have no ringside. Up in front of the whole of the stands are these huge, big nets. So what they do, they get the cups which they have their beer or their drinks in, they fill them with either stones or ice, pack them down, and throw the cups in the ring. That’s how crazy they were. So they had to put this huge big net up in front of the grandstands, huge grandstands, and they still throw them over the top and would get us now and again.
“But because they had no ringside, it was the only thing that’s saving your a–, because many times when we were there, we had to fight our way to the ring. The match was blood and guts. And then we’d have to fight our way back out through the ring because the crowd would get in somehow. They’d have all these security guys around the ring with shields, badges, big face guards on them and everything. As soon as those Puerto Ricans got hot, they would say, ‘Get out of the way or we will kill you.’ And the guards would take a step back, and so we were theirs. The only thing that saved Luke and I many times, as well as ourselves, was the boys would come out of the dressing room and help us to fight our way back. Time after time after time.”
“The worst part was going from the park, under the dugout,” Luke said. “Because they’d lean over and pound ya, just before you come to the dugout, they’d pound ya.”
The house shows in Puerto Rico were an undeniable success, but the progress stalled a bit after Bruiser Brody passed away. Brody had a lot of booking influence, and when he passed, interest for the shows simmered down. Despite the stalling success, Bushwhacker Luke told a detailed story about how he and his tag team partner put together a wild match that drew over 20,000 fans.
“Bruiser Brody got killed in ’88, God bless him,” Luke said. “33 years ago. And a good friend, Frank (Bruiser Brody) was a good friend of ours. We lived in San Antonio, I was a booker there, and we used Frank a lot. Because he lived about 25 miles out, he had a little spread there. When he died, the business went down. This was WWC, Carlos’s company. It came when they got 12,000 people on an anniversary show where they did something big. So after we finish, we came with Vince, we came back as babyfaces. We came in for six weeks, we did the big anniversary show. We had six weeks, and then two weeks off, right? We came in as babyfaces, turned to heels. We started working with the Invaders again. We had history from way back, we had at least 15 years history with them. We did a match, a cage match with them.
“In the six weeks, in the end, we crucified José. José is Invader 1. We tied him up with barbed wire on the side of the ring, you know the side of the ring like a cross? We tied him up with barbed wire many times, different times for big shows. We tied him up, you know, crucified him on the cage, and left him there bleeding. That was a set up for the big anniversary show. Come the anniversary show, it was an ambulance match, or something. It was a boot camp match. And all the big shows, they put seats on the lawn. They put 4,000, it depends on how many tickets they’ve sold. But these big shows, when times were good before Brody died, they’d draw between 22 and 24,000.
“So they had ringside this time. The match, we did this little thing. Carlos brought us back, and we put the plan together. I had been booking down there before for Carlos. So we put together this whole program, we come back. And on this night, it was supposed to be Invader 3 and Invader 1 against Butch and me. But they brought in Invader 2. I forget his name. He’s Puerto Rican but he lives in New Jersey. Anyhow, I got the heart punch at the end from Invader 1. The referee went down for the count, Butch threw the flagpole to Invader, and Invader 2 whacked f–king Invader 1 over the back. And the f–king riot.
“We showed the video the next day, we showed the video on television in Puerto Rico the next day, which showed us paying Invader 1 off a week beforehand in the gym. We showed the video. And I still remember he didn’t understand why we didn’t show the video before [the match], remember that Butch? The f–king idiot! We wouldn’t have done the angle! That’s how dumb he was. Now now, listen, I made out, I got the heart punch, carried to the back on a stretcher. When Butch threw that flagpole to Invader 2 and hit Invader 1, the f–king crowd went nuts. They come out of the stands and everything. I had to go out on a stretcher to the back and Butch followed me on the stretcher. We had to have guards all around us. And that was about 20 minutes to get me from the ring to the back. The next match, the people rioted. It was an hour and a half before the next match went to the ring. Invader 1 had a run with Invader 2 for about three or four months out there, and I never made any money out of that. But I should’ve. We should’ve because we booked that. And the house was enormous. It was in the 20 [thousands] again, which it hadn’t been since Brody died.”
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The Bushwackers full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here. You can find the full audio from today’s show, as well as the video from Nick’s interview with The Bushwackers, below.