Indie Watch is our regular series that looks at all of the amazing talents working the independent circuits around the world. Some are veterans revitalizing their careers, some are indie prospects hitting their peaks, while others are names to be on the watch for! In this edition, we will be taking a look at one of the fastest rising tag teams on the US indies in the monstrous pairing of Pepper Parks and Andy Williams, collectively known as The Butcher & The Blade.
Pepper Parks has been a part of pro wrestling for 19 years now, but he’s arguably never been as hot as he is now, thanks to forming a tag team alongside his best friend, Andy Williams. And now this union, into his third year of existence, is starting to catch fire around the US and beyond, as The Butcher & The Blade has become a tag team bent on domination and destruction.
From Buffalo, New York, Pepper Parks got his start in the Ohio indie scene in 2000 as a student of the legendary Les Thatcher in Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). In his first six years, he became a huge part of HWA, as a 2x HWA Heavyweight Champion, HWA Cruiserweight Champion, and HWA Tag Team Champion. During his years in Ohio, he was a running mate with two young Ohio wrestlers named Sami Callihan and Jon Moxley, with the three forming a stable called The Crew.
He returned back to Buffalo in 2006, working with NWA Empire, then joined Empire State Wrestling (ESW) following NWA Empire’s demise in 2009. He continues to work with ESW to this day, as a trainer and performer, leading the future of upstate New York and its Buffalo Brothers. He became a staple on the US indie scene, working with the likes of Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Ring of Honor, International Wrestling Cartel (IWC), and others, as well as joining Toronto’s Smash Wrestling in 2014. In 2015, he joined IMPACT Wrestling under the name Braxton Sutter, where he competed for three years in varying capacity, before departing the company last year.
Andy Williams has his own claim to fame before getting involved in the square circle in 2016. Since 1998, he’s been part of the popular metal band Everytime I Die, who have been signed to Epitaph Records since their 2009 release, New Junk Aesthetic. A hulk of a man onstage, he’s always had the presence required to become a pro wrestler. And in 2016, he turned that dream into a reality. He made his debut in Canada, working with Smash Wrestling, and then took part in a match with Ohio’s Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) at Warped Tour that year.
Andy Williams continued to grow into his new career as a pro wrestler (although he’s still very much involved with Everytime I Die), and in 2017, he expanded his presence on the indie circuit. He continued to become a monster in Smash Wrestling, and appeared at the first Joey Janela’s Spring Break, where he teamed with Penelope Ford in an intergender match against Pepper Parks and his real life wife, AEW star Allie. That year, Parks and Williams launched their own podcast together, Kickin’ Ass with Jesse and Andy, that continues to this day.
In the fall of 2017, Parks and Williams began to actively work together as a tag team, debuting with Pro Wrestling Rampage in Pennsylvania, where they captured the PWR Tag Team titles. By early 2018, the duo was gaining momentum, teaming in Smash Wrestling, ESW, Bar Wrestling, New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), and Blackcraft Wrestling. The Butcher & The Blade was now in full effect (and lead to the destruction of Parks’ Smash tag team champion tandem Well Oiled Machines with Psycho Mike). On several occasions, as the duo needed assistance in 6-man action, they’ve welcomed a third member in West Coast veteran Tyler Bateman.
This year has proven to be The Butcher & The Blade’s biggest year yet, as the duo continues to impress, with solid matches against the likes of LAX, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus, Violence is Forever, Bear Country, and even the legendary Rock N’ Roll Express, en route to becoming regulars with Beyond Wrestling on the first season of Uncharted Territory. They also recently made their PROGRESS Wrestling debut, facing Aussie Open and The Dark Order in an absolute classic, and recently got the thumbs up from AEW VP Cody Rhodes on Social Media.
Now a tandem that has finally found their rhythm and groove, The Butcher & The Blade are poised to be one of 2019’s breakout tag teams and the sky is the limit.
Check out our full list of previous Indie Watches, showcasing emerging talent from around the world!
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