Luke Hawx Recalls Kanyon Struggling With His Mental Health

In an appearance on Busted Open Radio, wrestler, actor and stuntman Luke Hawx talked about his friendship with late WCW star Chris Kanyon. Hawx was heavily featured on a recent Dark Side of the Ring episode that covered Kanyon's life, and he went into further detail on the friendship the two shared.

"When Hurricane Katrina hit here in 2005, Kanyon was the first guy to reach out to me and say, 'hey, if you need anything, you call me,'" Hawx said. "And this is in the middle of his troubles, he was struggling hard at this point. But he said, 'look, I've got some extra space in my condo at Clearwater Beach. If you need a place to stay, don't you hesitate to come stay here.' My ex-wife, my children's mother, she had family about twenty minutes away from Kanyon's. So I said, 'that's kind of perfect. You can go stay there, I can stay with Kanyon, and we can still do the family stuff and I can see the kids.' We didn't know how long it was going to take to get back into our homes after Katrina, which obviously, it took damn near a year. But I was thankful because Kanyon took me in and he put me up. He wasn't doing good mentally at the time. He was really struggling. That's what I talked about on Dark Side of the Ring, where he was having these hallucinations where he would stay up for three, four days at the time. And he would say he left the house and see aliens, and he had to break into the Scientology center that was ten minutes away.

"We had to physically hold him down a few times so he didn't leave the house, because we were scared he was going to get in trouble. And it was crazy, because it's tough to see such a good person and someone you care about dearly just completely off the wagon. And he wasn't on any drugs or anything. It was his mind screwing with him, which is even crazier. Because you know if you see somebody drinking, or someone taking pills, or doing drugs, you go, 'oh, they're screwed up. They're high as a kite.' You don't really forgive the behavior, you just don't like when people do those certain substances.

"With Kanyon, he didn't have to do anything. He would go from being completely normal, completely fine to having good conversations, spending the day hanging out, working out on the beach, to that night, being in manic mode. He'd start talking crazy and saying gibberish and being off the wall. You just didn't know how to react. That was kind of new to me because I had never dealt with a person with those personalities before, personally, on a day to day basis. It was tough to see someone who you cared about deeply and someone who was such a good person really struggle mentally."

Hawx also delved into Kanyon's struggle to hide his homosexuality and how that shaped how he, and others, saw himself. Given his close relationship with Kanyon, it made it all the harder for Hawx to watch.

"He hid it well," Hawx said. "He only really only opened up to his close, close friends, 'cause he knew something was wrong. He'd tell me all the time, he'd go, 'I'm f*****g crazy. I'm f*****g crazy.' He would make up these things. I think part of it, and look, I could be completely wrong, but I said this on Dark Side of the Ring as well, and I hope I don't get chastised for this online, but I'm going to say it anyway because I think people need to know. He was in the closest for so long, he did so many things that screwed with him. And the people who was close to him did not care. But he often told me, in his exact words, 'everybody hates me because I'm a f****t. Nobody likes me because I'm a f****t.' I would say, 'you've got to stop saying that because that's not true. You're not even open to half the world or 75% of the people that you know. You've only opened up to your close friends, which is fine. You don't have to put it out there.'

"He would tell me these weird stories. He'd go, 'man, you wouldn't believe what I would have to deal with. I would feel like this guy was on to my trail, so I'd go out to a bar with that guy and hook up with a chick and purposely take her back to the hotel and force myself to have sex with her to prove to make this guy think that I'm not gay.' I'd go, 'dude, that's deep. When you're going to that level to hide your real identity?' You've got to think he did this from such a young age. By this point, he had been dealing with this for the majority of his life, so the way he perceived himself and the way that he thought others perceived him really ate him up.

"And no matter how much love myself, or Shane Helms, or any of his close friends that spoke to him on the regular – Double J, Jackie, John Johnson who passed away a few years ago, a super fan, that was one of Kanyon's close friends. They talked almost every day. Now, Jackie had his substance abuse problems, which was drinking. Kanyon didn't have substance abuse problems. Kanyon's problems were just his head, so it was difficult, really, to watch somebody that I was so close with and I'd seen that really cared about wrestling, and not just wrestling but cared about a lot people that were involved in wrestling, just drive himself off the edge. That was hard to watch, especially in person."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription