During a recent interview with Wrestling Epicenter, Bushwhacker Luke recalled how a night out with Andre The Giant ended with the WWE Legend tipping a Volkswagen onto its side following Homophobic abuse from a group of French Tourists.
Bushwhacker Luke [who Inside The Ropes Gary Cassidy also recently sat down to chat with] initially discussed the feeling surrounding working with Andre The Giant during the peak of his drawing powers, stating:
“We knew Andre the Giant for years. He was wrestling us in New Zealand in the 60’s before he ever came to the States,” Luke said. “We did handicap matches with Andre against me and Butch. If I told you some of the high spots that the people went crazy about, you’d laugh today. I’ll give you an example. We would kick him in the stomach, he would double over, and we would each grab and arm and put him in a top wrist lock. He’d stand up straight and we’d be hanging! He was 7’3 or 7’4! Our feet would be off the ground by a solid foot! He would swing his arms to the left, swing his arms to the right like he was on the cross, and then bring his arms together. We’d hit each other, fall to the floor, and roll to the outside and the crowd used to go bananas! That was how simple we did things those days!”
Among many other trips, Andre famously wrestled in New Zealand during February of 1972 wrestling in the area of Palmerston North [a city on New Zealand’s photographic North Island]. Many locals have recalled the giants time in the area discussing his eating habits, the aura of his size and his sheer politeness to the locals.
In 2010 the Manawatu Standard [a daily newspaper covering the Manawatu region of New Zealand including Palmerston North] published a list of quotes from the locals regarding Andre’s visit, one individual discussed his eating habits stating:
“Two bowls of soup were followed by two helpings of pork chow mein, a large rump steak with French fries, onions, eggs and tomatoes, then peaches and ice cream, the lot washed down with two bottles of Coca-Cola and two cups of coffee.”
Auckland native Luke Williams would continue discussing Andre The Giant with Wrestling Epicenter recalling several memorable stories surrounding the WWE Hall of Famer, including a night out that ended with Andre flipping a group of French teenager’s car onto it’s side following shouts of Homophobic abuse:
“When we came to North America in 1972, we went to a territory called Grand Prix – The Vachons brought us to North America. They owned the territory. Andre had come to North America about 6 months before us. Killer Kowalski was the biggest heel. We had known Killer since 1966 because we worked for Jim Barnett’s WCW, World Championship Wrestling which was down in Australia from 1965 to 1972. Andre was on the road with Dominic DeNucci who is still alive – His birthday was just the other day. He turned 88! Anyway, Andre was on the road with his manager… A French guy. I can’t remember his name. This has really got me down, Mate. I’m having a brain fart! (laughs) They had 72 beers. A can of beer was only 2 gulps for Andre. In a couple of hours, Andre had drank 36 beers! So, we stop at one of those 24/7 truck stops to get more beer. There was a diner on one side and the gas station is on the other. These French kids were on school holiday. They got out of the car and they see us, black bears and blond hair, and they’re screaming “f**got, “f**got” at us which [is a homophobic slur]. There was 4 of them and they came out that car f***ing drunk. We go in to the place to grab a snack and Andre’s mate follows us in a few minutes later. He told us Andre heard what they screamed at us and went to their Volkswagen, picked it up, and tipped it over on its side! Do you remember how big those Volkswagen’s were in the ‘70s? That is how strong Andre was. He put that son of a bitch on its side!”
Andre’s feats of incredible strength are well documented as are his drinking capabilities with many stories shared from those who shared the locker room with the iconic giant, including the time Gerald Brisco revealed to the Tampa Bay Times that Andre would regularly drink six bottles of wine before matches.
““There are a lot of crazy stories about Andre that sound fake but most are true, especially his drinking. Andre used to ask me to get him six bottles of Mateus wine and ice them down. He would drink those before we went to the ring and no one could tell.””
Andre The Giant would sadly pass away in January of 1993, passing away as a beloved friend, icon and wrestling legend.