Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Fans know them as Thar and Hammer of the Pro Tag Team Wrestling Duo Bad Blood. Their families and friends know them as Larry Jones and Hank Parker. Jones and Parker just entered the Pro Tag Team Wrestling arena officially in March of 2017 as part of Indiana Championship Wrestling (ICW) and the Christian Pro Wrestlers Association (CPWA). They’ve already acquired an incredible fan base and following.
Jones and Parker were both fans of pro wrestling, but both had full-time jobs and family commitments. At ages 53 and 51 respectively, most wouldn’t have predicted this to be the perfect time for the two tough guys to start training to enter the ring. But they jumped at the chance.
Jones says his dad was friends with Dick the Bruiser and would take him to see Bruiser’s shows from time to time. He was an instant fan and never lost his interest in wrestling. Jones even spent some time training with Bruiser.
Through the years, though, Jones took on other commitments like his full-time job as a security police officer with a railroad company. He also made room for time in the spotlight. Thanks to his aunt’s connections with Channel 4, where she was employed, Jones was occasionally asked to don full makeup and costume and get on stage as an extra for one of Channel 4’s shows. It was his first taste of the entertainment industry. Eventually, movie producers approached Jones asking him to appear in major movies like Batman the Dark Knight Rises, Hell Walks the Earth and other bone chilling titles.
But Jones’s big break came earlier this year when he was approached by Mighty Mike Reid, CPWA owner and wrestling icon. Reid was looking for new talent and though Jones had no professional wrestling experience, his physique and intimidating persona made him the perfect candidate. Reid knew Jones did some power lifting and suggested he start training and try it out.
Needing to find a pro wrestling partner quickly, Jones instantly thought of his buddy from the gym, Hank Parker. The two were friends, and they worked out together often at the gym. Jones also knew Parker occasionally did Strong Man events like tractor pulls and truck pulls. Parker too had the perfect physique and would play the part perfectly.
Like Jones, Parker had experience in the entertainment industry. His moment on stage was as a Roman Guard in Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2012 in Indianapolis. As much as Parker seemed like a perfect partner, Jones was unsure if Parker would have time to juggle wrestling commitments along with his full time job as a Data Integration Analyst supporting more than 40 hospitals.
“I asked Hank if he would be interested, and he said right away he was in,” Jones says.
The pair quickly created their Bad Blood image, complete with spiked gloves, war paint and the ideal entrance theme song, “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood. Bad Blood got down to business and started training in February for their first official matchup in March.
Since then, the duo has fought in more than 20 matches and earned some titles. Parker holds ICW’s Heavyweight Champion title and Jones is the Hardcore Champion, a master of battle with weapons like ladders, signs, hub caps and even tables. Together, Bad Blood has won 95 percent of their matches.
Holding wrestling championship titles and winning matches is remarkable enough, but Jones and Parker do it all while battling wrestlers half their age. Of course, both men boast muscular body builds to begin with. Even with their formidable physiques, some opponents don’t expect the two to do a throw or other bold moves.
“You have to have a certain number of training hours in before you get in the ring,” Jones says. “On top of that, every opponent expects you to know how to take a throw properly, how to land right. You will get hurt, but with the proper training, you’ll minimize injuries. Most of all, you must have complete trust in your partner.”
As much as Jones and Parker fight their hearts out to win and earn championship titles, there’s something else that tugs at their hearts. The Bad Blood boys both say their fans have stolen their hearts.
“We’re having so much fun entertaining our fans,” Jones says. “They have unlimited choices for how to spend their extra money. It humbles me when they choose to spend it to come see us.”
“We love talking to our fans,” Parker adds. “We’ll go out of our way to sign autographs. It really makes you feel good when a little kid rushes up to you at intermission and wants to see you.”
Bad Blood loves its fans so much that during each match, they choose a fan in the audience and pull them up to give them Bad Blood arm bands and take photos.
“Even folks who seem stuffy tell us they’re completely entertained and say they love it,” Jones says. “Whether we beat up the good guys or bad guys, they’re all out there yelling for Bad Blood.”
Fans recently were treated to another outstanding performance from Bad Blood. On July 1, at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, Bad Blood held a match especially for the military. More than 70 service men and women came out to see Bad Blood perform.
“The military give so much to protect our country,” Jones says. “This is our opportunity to give back and entertain them.”
Bad Blood has more matches ahead of them, and it doesn’t seem like their busy schedule shows any signs of slowing.
“We’re going to take this thing as far as we can go with it,” Parker says. “We complement each other in the ring. Come see us, see what we do and what we’re all about. Once you see us, you’ll like what we do. You’ll be a big fan.”
You can find Thar and Hammer on Facebook. Go to facebook.com/tharbadblood23, and facebook.com/hammerbadblood to catch the fan frenzy and get more information on their next appearances.