Luke Hawx Talks About Meeting Vince McMahon, Feuding With Matt Hardy, Extreme Rising & More
“The Southern Stomper” Luke Hawx recently took some time to sit down for an interview with PWMania. Hawx, who hails from New Orleans has been wrestling for almost 15 years and currently competes for the up-and-coming promotion Extreme Rising. Below is the exclusive interview:
Thank you for taking the time to talk to PWMania.com. My first question is how did you decide to become a professional wrestler?
I always knew I wanted to be a pro wrestler. I never said I wanted to be a rockstar or a fireman. No disrespect to those professions, but I knew I wanted to be a wrestler and I wanted to do it at all costs.
Who was your trainer and how did he help to motivate you and help you grow as a wrestler?
Originally, I started in Louisiana with some wrestlers who just weren’t that great because that was all that was in the area. But at the time, this was my only way in. Most of these guys never wrestled in their life and I knew I was better than them and they used to always give me a hard time. I knew if I wanted to make it in the business, I had to get out of this area. While I was in high school, I planned to move afterwards. As soon as I graduated, I got in my car and drove to Philadelphia because I knew somebody out there, but they ended up pulling my leg. Long story short, they told me one thing and meant another. So I spent a couple nights in Philly and then I drove out to Oakland, CA and knocked on Vic Grimes’ door. I used to keep in touch with him from ECW shows when they came to New Orleans when I would help put up the ring and I would aggravate the hell out of him. I had his address and I knocked on his door and I told him I wanted him to train me. And he wasn’t going to tell me no, because he knew I had the dedication when he saw that I drove all the way from Philly to California. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Vic Grimes giving me a chance.
You have worked for WWE in the past in small roles. How was that experience compared to working on the indies? And have you met Vince?
WWE is the best place I’ve ever been because it’s professional. Granted, I enjoy working the indies but every time I’ve been to WWE, it’s 100% professional. I’ve never had problems with anybody. Every time you go there, it’s strictly business and that’s something I can appreciate. On the indies, sometimes people in locker rooms think they’re the king and there’s guys who have worked for WWE in the past that come to the indies and they want their own dressing room or don’t say hello to anybody.
And yes, I have met Vince every time that I have gone to WWE. When Vince McMahon sees you, he shakes your hand, he looks you in the eye and gives you full attention.
I got a funny story about me and Vince, actually. One time we were in LA and the Boogeyman was late for a show. One of the producers asks me if I can play the part of the Boogeyman as a practice run. They wanted me to get in the ring with Shawn and Hunter and do the Boogeyman’s character. So Vince comes up to me and asks “You know who the Boogeyman is, right?” I said yes sir. He asks if I know what the Boogeyman does and I said yes sir. He asked if I knew the walk, talk and everything about the Boogeyman. And I said I think so. And Vince looks at me and says “You think so? Or you know so?” And I said, yes I know so. He says “We need you to do everything the Boogeyman does including eating the worms.” And I’m thinking “Oh my God, I don’t want to eat the worms.” But I go through with it, I’m doing the whole character and everyone’s laughing and having a good time. So, it was pretty fun. But that is an example of Vince’s mindset. He is the boss and he calls the shots, so when he asks you something, you give him a yes or no, not “I think so.”
You’ve been a mainstay for Extreme Rising. What drew you to compete for them?
The atmosphere, the passionate fanbase. It presents something that alot of federations don’t have. Those fans are great to work in front of because they will eat you alive if you let them. If you can get them to believe in you, you can make any wrestling fan believe in you. Originally, I had no plans of going there. But the members of management told me that I was the perfect guy for the company, so I started working with them. I like the current promoter Steve O’Neill a lot. He’s a guy with a good heart that works very hard. And I’ve also been friends with Kevin Kleinrock for a long time.
Arguably, your most high profile feud has been with Matt Hardy. How has this helped your career?
It’s helped my career tremendously. Matt Hardy is one of the biggest names in wrestling history. He gets recognized everywhere he goes. He’s made his money, he’s worked hard. He has had his demons too. But seeing that he was able to come out of that and still wrestle is respectable. This feud was a challenge for him as well as me because this was basically a real story. We had our problems in the past, so it was based off of that. But even when we had our falling out, I still respected him. He never has to wrestle another day in his life. Yet during this feud, he showed so much passion, so for him to come at me made this feud one of the hottest in independent wrestling last year. I had a lot of fans come to me saying this was the biggest feud in wrestling overall. They said they were watching what was happening on TV, but thought that nothing had the intensity of Hawx vs Hardy. And because of this rivalry, people who had never heard of Luke Hawx before started to recognize me. It really established my name and made me a key player. It had something that you just can’t write. It was all real life stuff and was a big positive for me. It’s always the real stories that break out guys. The best part about this was that it got my passion across because I have a lot of passion for the business. I respect Matt Hardy because he worked hard and he showed up every time. He came to go to war. And I love a good fight.
You’re in your early 30s and you have been wrestling for a long time. Usually in other sports, athletes seem to plateau around their mid 30s. How much longer will you keep wrestling? What keeps you going?
I love wrestling and I can’t picture myself doing anything else. I do acting and stunt work on the side, but wrestling is in my heart. Right now I’m in the best shape of my career and I don’t feel I’ve reached my peak. Eventually there will come a time for me to hang it up and I feel that I’ll know when it’s time. I look at the example of Jerry Lynn. He retired last year because he felt that he couldn’t go as hard as he used to. Jerry’s a guy I look up to and I hope I have that same mentality when the time comes for me to step aside.
Hopefully that won’t be for a while. Bottom line, wrestling is everything to me. If I don’t wrestle for a couple weeks, I feel like I’ve missed out on life. Besides my girl and my kids, wrestling is a very important part of my life.
What do you feel that you contribute to professional wrestling? And what can fans expect from Luke Hawx in the future?
It’s hard to find someone with passion like me. There’s a lot of guys who love wrestling, but there’s also those who love it for time periods. Fans can expect me to work harder, even when I’m on the top spot. I want to put on the best matches possible. I want the crowd to go home and feel like they got their money’s worth from seeing Luke Hawx. They can love me or hate me, but as long as you’re entertained that’s what matters.
And one day I hope to reach the level where my name gains prestige and my son can have some of that prestige. He wrestles for his high school and he wants to be a professional wrestler. I do want him to work hard, but I hope that one day, the name Luke Hawx will be recognized to the point where my son can break into the business and thrive more easily. I only want the best for him.
Plus, I’d like to throw a plug out there. February 4th I’ll be starring on a show called Ice Cold Killers on the ID (Investigation Discovery) Channel. So be sure to check that out.
I look forward to it all, Luke. Thanks again for your time, good luck in your future and may your goals be reached for you and your family.
Feel free to comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised. It would be great to hear from you.
Follow Brett on Twitter @TheDeutch