Larry Jones Jr. and Hank Parker tag-team their way to pro-wrestling success
By Erica Faunce
Earlier this year, a new pro wrestling tag team entered the ring. After only five months of competing with Indianapolis Championship Wrestling (ICW) and the Christian Professional Wrestling Association (CPWA), the team is receiving invitations from as far away as China to have them come and fight. This fast success is unusual; Larry Jones, Jr. of Greenwood, and his tag team partner, Hank Parker, are both over 50.
Jones first got into pro wrestling in the 1990s, training briefly with WWA Heavyweight Champion Dick the Bruiser. However, after Dick the Bruiser’s death in 1991, Jones fell away from pro wrestling until this past winter. A friend of his decided to start a family-friendly wrestling league in Indiana (CWPA), and invited Jones to join. It didn’t take long for him to agree.
“Do I want to take being slammed all the time, and jump off ropes, and land on my face and all this other stuff? The more I thought about it, the more I said, ‘Yeah, I wanna do it!’” Jones wanted to wrestle as a tag team, and thought that his friend Hank Parker would be a good fit. In March, Team Bad Blood entered the ring for the first time, under the names Thar (Jones) and Hammer (Parker). During intermission, the new competitors were swarmed by fans.
“You would’ve thought Mickey Mouse walked out of Disneyland,” Parker recalled. “We were just mobbed by kids.”
“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it firsthand,” said Missy Dwyer, Parker’s wife. “They are in awe. Their mouths drop.”
Team Bad Blood credits part of their success with the fans to their approachable personas. After each match, they hand off their armbands to one of the kids as a memento. They pose for photos, sometimes pretending to be pinned to the mat by a 10-year-old, after tossing a 350- pound opponent across the ring an hour earlier.
“During every intermission, we go out and try to thank every man, woman and child for spending their hard-earned money,” Jones said.
Team Bad Blood is as talented in the ring as outside of it. They hold an advantage over opponents who haven’t been training as long. Between the two of them, Jones and Parker have approximately 40 years of training under their belts, which is longer than most of their opponents have been alive.
They’ve also known each other for 17 years, which gives them an additional edge as a tag team. When Jones is in the ring, he knows how to set up the opponent before he tags Parker in, so that the opponent is easier to take down. The same is true of Parker’s approach. Jones said they operate as one unit. “If I do something, Bad Blood does it. If Hammer does something, Bad Blood does it. We do it together, because we’re a team. We’re not individual. That’s how both of us look at it.”
In addition to their day jobs, and their regular wrestling, Bad Blood performs for charity events. Jones is currently trying to set up a visit to Riley Children’s Hospital, to do a meet and greet with the kids there. They also hope to expand their involvement with other wrestling federations.
“If Vince McMahon would call us up tomorrow and say, ‘We’re gonna give you a million dollars apiece to come fight,’ we’d suit up,” Jones said.
In the mean time, Bad Blood’s next match will be held with Indie Wrestling Xtreme on July 22 in Lexington, Ind. Learn more at Larry’s Facebook page: facebook.com/THARBADBLOOD23.