Wrestler, actor and stuntman Luke Hawx joined Busted Open Radio Friday to talk about his career in the ring and on set. A 21 year veteran in the ring, Hawx detailed how he got started in the film business, which all came about thanks to the help of a lucha libre legend and former WCW star.
“Vampiro got me in the film business in 2006,” Hawx said. “Vampiro was shooting a film in Mexico, and we were filming Wrestling Society X in Los Angeles for MTV at the time. And Vamp asked me to come down and do his film in Mexico. I met his directors and producers at the show, and they liked me. And I thought they were full of crap. Hollywood is so full of crap. Everybody is doing something, and they’re going to use you, and they’re going to put you on, and they see something in you. So I take everything with a grain of salt. When you’re young in your career, you believe everything you hear. But at that point in my career, I didn’t think anything was going to happen as far as filming goes.
“A few months after we finished the tapings of WSX, I got a call from Vamp’s producers and they said, ‘hey, we want to shoot these days and we want to fly you down for Mexico. We’ll fly you first class.’ They initially told me, ‘we’ll have you there for a week and we’re going to pay you $1,000 a day.’ At that point in my life, I had never been paid $1,000 a day before. We’re talking 2006, I was in my 20’s. Man, that was huge for me because it got my foot in the film industry.
“I thought I knew everything, right? I was like, ‘I’m fighting, I’m talking. This is easy. I can do this because I wrestle.’ But it wasn’t easy I came to find out. Once I watched the footage back, I really wasn’t happy with it. My wrestling side of things didn’t transition over to the film side of things. I’m a realistic guy, I’m always willing to go back to the well and learn some more. So once I had seen my film with that production, I was not happy. I wasn’t happy at all, and I said ‘I had to learn more.’ So I started doing research on some schools to learn stunt business and acting, and I started taking some classes. I went and took two years of classes in stunts over here in Covington, Louisiana with a stunt coordinator named named Phil O’Dell, and just started working my way up the ranks.
“It’s an every day battle, it’s an every day hustle. I’m always trying to learn more, I’m always trying to perfect my skills. No matter if its fire burns, shooting, driving, rappelling, high falls, I always train, train, train, just like in wrestling. You can’t just go in there and have a match, you have to prep for your matches. You can’t take six months off from wrestling and get back in the ring. Some people do, and usually, they look like crap. I didn’t want to look like crap, so I started studying and training as much as I can.”
As stated, Hawx has carried over that same mindset to his wrestling career, which includes running his own promotion, WildKat Pro Wrestling. His continued search to improve his game is credited to not getting opportunities he felt he should’ve gotten earlier in his career with bigger promotions like WWE, who used him only sparingly from 2003-2010.
“I’m still doing that to this day,” Hawx said. “I’m always trying to pick up as much as I can. And I think part of that is just grinding for so long. I got opportunities early on. I got big opportunities with XPW, when I started working with WWE doing dark matches and stuff like that in the early 2003’s, when I teamed with Kanyon my first time out there as the Mortis character. I wanted it, I wanted it and I wanted it, and I never really got that shot that I wanted. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it. I had to sit back and I had to look in the mirror and say ‘what was I missing?’ I could put on size, I could work on this, I could work on fundamentals. And back then, a lot of guys didn’t tell you what you were missing or what to work on. They would just tell you ‘good job’ or if you did something good. And there’s two sides to that story. Back then there wasn’t as many spots as there are today, or as many opportunities as there are today, so people were protecting their spots.
“But on the other hand, there were so many egos from young guys that didn’t want to be told what to do, and a veteran would come in and tell the guys ‘hey, work on this. Work on that.’ And the guy would go ‘okay, sure’ and then blow them off. So, I see both sides of things. For me, I wanted to keep grinding and I wanted more success. So I was doing as many things as possible to be successful. And unfortunately, that leads to my next topic.
“I see so many young guys now get so much opportunity so quick. And the next thing you know, they’ve been wrestling two or three years and they get signed, and then they get released a year later. Then they say they’re retired, then they come back, go with this company, then that company releases them and they retire again. And it’s like ‘you’re retired? You’ve only been wrestling three years. Put some f*****g work in, man. Put some work in.’ I’m not dissing anybody, I’m just saying I’m really appreciative of blooming late in my career. I think too much success too soon is a recipe for disaster.”
Hawx is well known these days for his involvement in the wrestling show Heels, starring actor and occasional wrestler Stephen Amell and AEW star CM Punk, among others. Hawx was instrumental in coordinating the wrestling scenes in the show, and revealed he will be appearing as a character for the latter half of season one.
“I’m going to bring it one step further, I’m ready for my big onscreen role, which debuts in Episode’s 7 and 8,” Hawx said. “My character is called ‘The Hole’, aka Davenport. I am the champion of their rival league, the Florida Wrestling Dystopia, run by Charlie Gully. And you’ll see my character come in at Episode 7. I’m really excited for it, because I’ve been in over 100 television shows and films, but this is my first recurring role in a television series. So as we prep and hope we get signed for season two, there’s a good chance you’ll see myself, along with all the other characters back.
“I really want to make a season two. It provided so much opportunity for not only myself, but the actors and a ton of other wrestlers. You’ll see guys like Stevie Richards in there, Luke Gallows, a ton of WildKat guys, Wildcard Jay Spade, PJ Hawx, my son, who plays Denny the ref, Chuck Devine, Danny Flamingo, ‘Sick’ Nick Mondo. There’s so many guys from the independents that we were able to hire and give jobs to and provide opportunities. I’m thankful for the opportunities with Heels and how good wrestling is going today, not just for me, but for a lot of people. So wrestling is picking up. Everybody is having great, successful careers, and there’s so many opportunities not only for the older guys, but the younger guys as well. So, I’m thankful.”
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