In some sad news, Robert Miller - better known to wrestling fans as Bushwhacker Butch (pictured right in the above image) - has passed away at the age of 78.
This tragic news was revealed by Butch's long-time partner Brian Wickens, aka Bushwhacker Luke, with Butch passing away in Los Angeles, where the duo were in town for WrestleMania Weekend.
PWInsider.com notes that Butch was rushed to hospital after falling ill and having a "medical episode". Unfortunately, he would pass away on Sunday night.
Paying tribute to his partner, friend, and brother in arms, Luke posted the following on his Facebook page:
Late last night, I lost my friend, brother and tag team partner of over 50 years with the passing of Bob "Butch" Miller. My heart goes out to his wife Helen, his lovely daughters Sharon and Kirsten and all of his grandchildren. From the early-1970s when we were young mates wrestling for John da Silva in New Zealand, my first impression of Bob "The Chest" Miller (as he was called in those days) was that he was a first-class redneck, and what bloody redneck he was! But he was also an all-around good guy and a great friend. By the time we reached our mid-20s, we found ourselves traveling the world together, from New Zealand to Australia to Malaysia, Singapore and Japan, before "invading" the North American territories in Canada and the United States as The Sheepherders. In 1988 we were in our 40s and still at the top of our game when we got a call from the offices in Connecticut with an offer to join the largest and fastest growing wrestling promotion in the world, the WWF/E- The Bushwhackers were born! As The Bushwhackers we appeared in the largest venues in the world, in front the the biggest crowds professional wrestling had ever seen! And we were eventually honored by our fans and peers with our inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2020. We did it all, we saw it all, and we accomplished it all together. This past weekend in Los Angeles, Bob flew in from New Zealand to join me for Wrestlemania weekend and the related festivities, neither of us knowing it would be our last days together and his last days of life. If you were to read the story of my life it would say that I am only child, but it would be wrong. In life I had a brother and his name was Bob Miller. I love you, Bob. Until I see you again, WOOOOAHH YEEEEAAHH!
As a team, these two New Zealanders first came together in 1966 as Butch Miller and Luke Williams, collectively known as the Kiwis. The tandem would compete across the likes of their native New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the USA, and Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling before rebranding themselves as the New Zealand Sheepherders in the late '70s. As the Sheepherders, the brutal, oft-bloody pairing found success across various NWA territories, in Memphis for Jerry Jarrett, and in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon's World Wrestling Council.
There would be stints in Jim Crockett Promotions over the years, but Butch and Luke's most mainstream run came upon joining the World Wrestling Federation in 1988. Gone was the violent, sinister style that had serve the Sheepherders so well over the years, and instead the duo were showcased as a comedy act under the Bushwhackers name. That spell with the market leader lasted through until 1996, though the team would continue to tag together up until 2001. While Butch stepped away from the squared circle at that point due to injury, Bushwhacker Luke has remarkably remain active in the ring as recently as this past March.
Of course, the Bushwhackers were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015, where the pair gave a ridiculously entertaining induction speech.
The thoughts of all of us here at WhatCulture Wrestling go out to the family, friends and fans of Bob Miller, aka Bushwhacker Butch.
For those who are able to help in any way, Butch's family have set up a GoFundMe page to assist with funeral expenses.