Photos and video by Nathan Pace
By B. Scott Mohr
Although novices when it comes to professional wrestling, the tag team of Thar and Hammer – known as Bad Blood – has established itself as a fan favorite and a force to reckon with since entering the ring in March.
Bad Blood won the Christian Professional Wrestling Association’s title earlier this year before losing it to a contender. In singles competition, Thar (Larry E. Jones Jr.) is the hard-core champion; Hammer (Hank Parker) is the heavyweight champ.
Jones, 52, has always dreamed of being a wrestler and trained for a month under the legendary Dick the Bruiser before the Bruiser died of a heart attack in 1991. “He had taught me just the basics ... how to take a fall and a punch,” Jones said. “But I didn’t know enough to get into the ring. I got away from wrestling after he died.
“I remember going out to the armory and seeing Mitsu Arakawa, Wilbur Synder and Bobby Heenan before he was popular.”
Bad Blood also competes in Indianapolis Championship Wrestling, which Jones says is a little more rough in nature. “But both leagues are good entertainment for the entire family.
“We are doing well and holding our own, considering we are wrestling 20- and 30-year-olds. Except for a few dings, nicks and bruises, we haven’t suffered any injuries. We enjoy the crowds and being showboats. We are in it for the love of entertainment. We sure aren’t going to get rich doing this, but we are having a ball. Our wives, children, grandchildren and friends come out to watch us.”
Whether competing as Bad Blood or individually, the wrestlers’ entrance into the ring is choreographed to “Bad to the Bone,” by George Thorogood. And they usually know who’s going to win before the bell rings. “But that’s the way it is in wrestling; it’s all a show,” said Jones, whose opportunity to get back into the sport surfaced when Mighty Mike Reed, who founded the wrestling association, approached him.
“He needed a tag team so I called my buddy Hank, who said he had to talk to his wife. He called me back in a couple of minutes and said yes.”
Jones, 5 feet 9 inches and 205 pounds, and Parker, 5-9 and 240, practice weekly and routinely lift weights. “I go to gym five to seven days a week, and we compete about three times a month,” said Jones.
Their next match will be during the 5 p.m. card Saturday, July 1, at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Advance tickets are $5 for children ages 6-10, $10 for those over 10; tickets at the door are $10 and $15, respectively. Proceeds from past events have benefited Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and other charities.
For Jones, a 1983 graduate of Roncalli who majored in general studies at the University of Indianapolis, wrestling is a family affair as his son, Shaun Jones, and nephew Jay Jones make up the tag team Outsyderz. “We have defeated them several times, Larry Jones said, “and they defeated us once because of outside interference.”
When not donning his gym or wrestling attire, Jones is a law enforcement officer for a railroad company. He is also a professional actor who has appeared in many movies.
Parker works as a integration analyst at a hospital and has won many powerlifting and strongman events.
Naturally, their dream is to get a shot in World Wrestling Entertainment or the Championship Wrestling Association. “That’s a long shot, but it’s always in the back of our minds.”