Bushwacker Butch, whose real name was Bob Miller died last night (April 2). He was 78 years old. The news comes from his long-time tag partner Luke Williams, aka Bushwacker Luke.
PWInsider reported last week that Miller was rushed to the hospital after suffering a medical episode shortly after arriving in Los Angeles last week, presumably for WrestleMania week activities. There’s been no word on what the issue was. He’s survived by his wife Helen, two daughters and grandchildren. An online fundraiser has been started here to assist the family with his medical & funeral expenses.
Miller & Williams started wrestling in their native New Zealand as The Kiwis in the 1960s. The duo made their way to North America via Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling. They worked territories across the United States and internationally through the 1970s as the New Zealand Sheepherders. In 1981, Miller set-up shop in Australia for a while as he wanted to be closer to home. Williams continued to work in the States with Jonathan Boyd as the New Sheepherders.
A couple years later, when Boyd broke his leg in car accident, Miller returned to the States and reunited with Williams for a run that took them through Memphis, Puerto Rico & Bill Watts’ UWF. The Sheepherders were there when Jim Crockett Promotions bought Watts out in 1987, and were in the tag title scene for what would become WCW when they signed with Vince McMahon.
In the then-WWF, they were transformed from the violent Sheepherders into the comedic Bushwackers. While they were never won gold, they had longevity. The team was a staple of McMahon’s fed until 1996, a run which saw Luke’s famous 3 second Royal Rumble elimination in 1991 (something which Butch was “really pissed off” about, as it overshadowed his own ten minute run in the match). The team continued to wrestle after leaving WWE, with Butch retiring due to injury in 2001. They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2015.
Here’s some of the memories and farewells being shared on social media:
We are once again struck with sad news as one half of the legendary tag team The Sheepherders/Bushwackers, Butch Miller has died at 78. We thank him for all the incredible memories, sending our sincerest condolences to his family, friends and fans the world over. R.I.P. Mr Miller pic.twitter.com/m3pEPPzrgL— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) April 3, 2023
No words...my dear friend @BushwhackerLuke lost his best friend Bob "Butch" Miller..— Cary Silkin (@rohcary) April 3, 2023
Butch entertained us for 40 years during the era of the Bushwackers, as well as the Sheepherders who were hardcore before we knew the phrase.
RIP Bob "Butch" Miller. pic.twitter.com/lAlp5B8eD5
Sorry to hear the news of @WWE HOFer Bushwacker Butch passing— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) April 3, 2023
I was a massive Sheepherders fan
I was blessed to work w/Butch & Luke in #ECW pic.twitter.com/u5NobaLuLh
Impact Wrestling sends our thoughts and prayers to the family, friends, and fans of Bushwacker Butch who passed away earlier today. Along with his partner, Luke, The Bushwackers legacy will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/LSSUi3OvyL— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 3, 2023
AEW joins the wrestling world in mourning the passing of Butch Miller. Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his fans. pic.twitter.com/XnqqoxWoxz— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) April 3, 2023
May he rest in peace.