We are honoured to share this article from Dr Mike Lano, Pro Wrestling Illustrated photographer and columnist since 1966, with all of you. Mike was kind enough to send Diva Dirt his tribute to former WWE star, Luna Vachon, who passed away yesterday.
The Beatiful “Monster” with a Huge Heart
By Dr Mike Lano
I’d known Luna Vachon (we still called her Angel) since ’85 and we kept in touch during her up and down years from the Kevin Sullivan 80’s period angle on. At the last Cauliflower Alley reunion we saw her at (and she absolutely loved coming and seeing all her peers and “family” as she said), she was so proud, “overwhelmed” were her words again at being one of our top honorees. She cried and was so taken with emotion after getting her plaque and crystal trophy as our female wrestler of the year and had to have Papa Paul help her at the podium, as she was so full of emotion seeing Harley Race, Nick Bockwinkel, Manny Fernandez, and many other people she cited later.
She was equally proud of how long she’d been clean and sober, and this is an especially tough loss for everyone. What a sweetheart, which was at odds with her outward appearance she cultivated. Just a big heart, so sweet to everyone. She was the first person calling me after Penny Banner’s passing; one of the top top legends male or female in the industry and a class person and big CAC supporter. Luna worked everywhere after Florida. Briefly for NWA/WCW, a few long runs with WWF/WWE, the real ECW, SMW, Japan, Puerto Rico, Memphis for Jerry Jarrett, all over Canada, you name it and she did it. And she was always gracious in helping train others, a fact she and Bret Hart talked about in Vegas a few years back. She was very proud of her family but also other terrific Canadian wrestling families like the Harts, Sharpes and Burkes.
Luna and I often talked about her aunt, Diane “Vivian” Vachon who had her own rocky marriage with a wrestler (in this case, Buddy Wolfe). And as with Diane/Viv and Buddy after they split; they stayed friends for the sake of the kids. Luna too, but she was closer friends with Dave/Gangrel and she told Jason Deadrich and I (think Jas was there, backstage at Gabe and Jason’s wrestling show for CAC that year where Luna valeted) how rough it was meeting Dave’s new fiance. That there would always be a “part of my heart dedicated to him, we’ll always be linked.” The first time I pulled out some shots of her Aunt Viv wrestling in a few territories, Luna broke down. Viv’s death still haunted her and it always hit right to the heart, just how much her wrestling family, and her family of wrestlers and fans meant to her. She might’ve played heel her entire career, but as the adage goes, the heels are usually much nicer people, secure in themselves as people. Luna was one of the nicest people ever. At her last CAC, I dragged her over to pose with her old “Dungeon” stablemate in Bob Roop. Both cried upon seeing each other after so many years. That’s one of many primary reasons to both join and attend Cauliflower Alley Club every year, because these emotional moments of old family and friends getting together occur every year without fail. Luna 3 years ago seeing Steve Austin and Jim Ross for the first time in years, brought gigantic smiles to the faces of all three. Even Mil Mascaras hugged her and her uncles, drying back a few tears.
“Awful August” as I’ve termed it, has indeed been the pits for huge industry losses. Lance Cade, AK (Scandor Akbar, one of the greatest minds in the biz, and very open-minded about helping women get in the biz, and booking them not as sex objects, but as regular people, talented athletes). It always pleased both AK and Luna when females wanting to get into the biz, said they actually watched it and were fans as kids. They wanted the person to be a mark for the biz, as everyone should be.
Luna of course always said “I’ve always been all about wrestling and will be until I’m taken from this world. It’s been my life since I crawled out of my mother’s womb,” she said on my radio show last May. “I eat, sleep and poop pro wrestling every day of my life.”
And it’s very hard that throwbacks to the last modern, golden age of serious, kickass women’s pro wrestling like Luna and Sherri Martel aren’t with us now. Their work ethic was second to none. Both had a lot of similarities in that they were very family oriented, both loved their dogs and other animals(cats, birds, fish) and both were naturally pretty girls who used a lot of makeup and other tricks to turn themselves into, well fighters who weren’t so pretty. WWE 24/7 renamed “Classics On Demand” which is a great buy for any of us as historians, recently showed Luna’s time valeting for equally skull-tatted Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow. Now both are gone.
I know I speak for most everyone in saying how devastated we are to learn about Luna’s passing today. Just completely heartbroken, we are in Yodaspeak.
Our prayers and best wishes to her dad Paul, and uncle Maurice. None of us can imagine what they’re going through right now.
PICTURES (L-R): Luna in her in-ring debut, Luna at ringside in WWF, Luna hugs Steve Austin at CAC.
All pictures taken/owned by [email protected]