The goal of this series so far has been to put focus on Independent Wrestling talent across the globe, and what better way to do that than to focus on a lesser known, but just as talented performer?
Luke Losinger, known to fans under the name “Luke Lee”, was born in Westboro, Pennsylvania and was inspired as a kid by the sensationalism in daredevil Jeff Hardy and the ever-awe inspiring Rey Mysterio as he answered the question of “who’s that jumpin’ out the sky?” With Luke obviously being smaller in stature, it makes sense that those are two of the guy’s that got him into wrestling, as both are renown for being larger than life despite being smaller than a majority of their adversaries. Lee, who grew up in the heart of the Ruthless Aggression era, explains that characters such as Kane and the Undertaker stood out for their menacing, over the top characters. But for Losinger, his tenure as a wrestling fan in his childhood was not without some backlash, as from my understanding, wrestling was taboo in his household.
“Wrestling was the equivalent of a Rated R movie in one of my parent’s minds so I had to sneak around watching it,” explains Losinger. Luke continues stating that his “mother and step-father just despised wrestling. They thought it was this dirty, fake, disgusting sport for rednecks, for lack of a better way to put it.” According to Lee, the first show his mom ever attended live, he proved to her it wasn’t fake by tearing his meniscus. Jokingly, he exclaimed that “it’s not fake, mom!” Also that you have to “stick it to the man.”
But his first live wrestling show as a fan was Armageddon 2008, which is a significant show in wrestling circles because it’s the show where one of Lee’s favorite’s, Jeff Hardy, finally reached the pinnacle when he defeated Triple H and WWE Champion Edge in a triple threat match to finally be declared THE champion for the very first time.
Alas, this was not his direct inspiration to break into the wrestling business.
“Honestly, seeing my first live wrestling event and seeing Jeff Hardy win his first WWE Championship in Buffalo, New York was when I decided that I really wanted to wrestle, but I went to a WXW-C4 event in Sunbury, Pennsylvania when I told my dad and everyone I was going to try to break into the business. Three years later, I did just that.”Luke Lee explains his decision to break into the industry to PSE’s Jameus Mooney.
For Losinger, breaking in was an arduous rode, much like it is for most professional wrestlers. But, pro wrestling is all about the heart and how much you want it, and Losinger was not going to take “no” for an answer. “Living in backwoods Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, finding a place to train was stupidly difficult. I was originally looking at a three hour drive one way to the nearest training facility before a training center opened up in Williamsport, which was only an hour drive away from me” Losinger pens, as he reminisces on a young kid, only a Sophomore in High School at the time, bouncing around from trainer to trainer in June of 2016. It paid off, though, when Luke met a permanent group of guys who would become a fixture in his training. Shawn Andrews, Aaron Anthony, Clay Drasher and Tom Floyd trained him for 9 months before Losinger made his in-ring debut. His debut was against the aforementioned Anthony, because Anthony’s original opponent no showed the event. Anthony would become a vital piece of the puzzle that is Luke Lee, but we’ll get to that later on.
Luke knew how he wanted to work, an expert striker. Obviously, being smaller, his game won’t be power but he always finds different and creative ways to inflict pain on his opponents. With his training out of the way, Losinger needed a character, and this is where Luke Losinger was no longer just a fan living the dream, but Luke Lee took over and entered the fold.
“The Luke Lee persona is literally an exaggeration of my true self. I just like to go out and have fun and I play on different strengths depending on which side of the fence I have to play on. If I’m a baby, I just go out there and kick it with the crowd! I let them know ‘Hey! I used to be just like you, but your energy pushed me to become who I am!’ Or if I’m a heel, I just take my comedy antics from my real life self where I like to give friends and family a hard time, and push that on the audience. Like taking an old lady’s cane. That’s my personal favorite. My personal favorite memory from Wrestling so far is before my Crybaby match, I took a baby doll out in a stroller and held the severed head up to a little girl’s face. Seeing a look of shock on her face made me feel good inside knowing I gave her a lasting memory, and her parents too! It’s all about the crowd and sending them home with memories, whether you’re a good or bad guy.”
As you can see, despite the size (or lack thereof) of Lee, he’s still a menacing figure due to different, unique things he does to stand out. For me, the hair is a key. Lee wanted to stand out, and one way was to grow his hair out. He wasn’t allowed to grow his hair out as a child, but the moment he moved in with his dad in 2013, the clean cut was gone and the signature locks began to appear. “Before I debuted,” Lee explains to PSE, “I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go jet black with my hair or if I wanted to go red. Naturally, I did what everyone would and dyed half black and half red.”
But, this isn’t the only thing Lee does stand out with the appearance of his persona, no. Donning a mask and using contacts, Lee intimidates opponents by getting into their head by staring into their soul.
“The mask came from a one off tag match I had where my partner wanted me to wear the same mask as him for our entrance. I loved the look. I’m an emo boy coming out to some Alesana blaring and when people hear screamo, they think of skulls and beating each other up. I wore the skull to the ring and beat the hell out of my opponent. The eye color was literally just to correlate with my hair. The way I have always told people is it’s a way to describe what we show the world, and what’s hidden inside you. You have two different personalities inside one vessel, so to speak.”
For this writer, I of course had to tell him the eyes remind me of 3x Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer.
For Lee, he doesn’t forget who helped him along the way, either. “There’s so many guys who have taught me so many things. If I had to pick one, I’d say Clash Drasher taught me the most. He’s taught me how to take myself seriously, but not too seriously. Like, how to have confidence in myself, but not let that confidence turn into arrogance. He’s like a big brother to me, personally and professionally. [Also] Tony Deppen has been a huge inspiration to me as of late. Him and I have worked extremely hard on my facial reactions to generate a buzz from the crowd, and so far I think it’s working! Time will tell. A few guys from the Crew, KYR Sp33dy, SideArms, ShadowBeatz, Deluxe 4 and Jahova are a few guys I’ve really gotten to know a bit over the last couple of years and learn from. Just how to live in the moment and not let anything get to my head on a professional level. On a character level, they have taught me ways to interact with the audience and keep them captivated. they’ve really kept me up on being quick witted. If someone in the audience wants to talk smack, theres a plethora of different ways to clap back and they help keep me fresh with them. They’re another group that I have a lot to credit, hence why they’re tattooed on me. Without them, I wouldnt be who I am personally, and Luke Lee definitely wouldn’t have been molded to who he is today either.”
But another main cog in his career was Aaron Anthony. Much like a mentor to Losinger, the Luke Lee persona grabbed a lot from Anthony, and it was more than just his first match. His biggest program was with Anthony, including the aforementioned Crybaby match. They teamed together for a long time, and per Losinger, this is the promo that sticks out to him:
Just listen to the impressiveness of his speaking…the presence, the demeanor, the way he commands your attention. He goes from crazy, to eloquent, back to crazy much like a drama student. It’s ironic he went by the moniker “the Thespian” for a good bit. “I can only pray those in the venue heard your exclamations of mirth become the desperate screams of the helpless as you were begging for your very life.” It feels real, it feels personal. Do you not want to punch that ‘stache off of his face? What a tremendous heel in the making. You can also see Lee team up with Anthony before the treacherous snake bit Anthony when Anthony never saw it coming.
But, what was that in the promo? “The Emptiness will haunt you.” What a line! But what exactly does it mean?
“The Emptiness Will Haunt You is from the band Alesana, who performed my old entrance music before ShadowBeatz took it over with his song Aviator. That phrase came from their Emptiness album and it stuck with me for a long time when I was in a really bad place in my life. I listened to that album over and over every day and I still listen to it once a week or so. It’s a very good song. Now, The Emptiness is also my finisher, which happens to be a curbstomp [Seth Rollins’ finisher in WWE]. Now, that will definitely haunt you and anyone else who falls to it.”
In his short time in the business, Luke Lee has competed in a plethora of companies, freelancing around the scene in a major way with promotions such as TRUE, Eclipse, MEPW, BillTown Championship Wrestling, Phoenix Pro Wrestling, On Point Pro Wrestling, NTW, Apex Wrestling among others. For him, it’s redeeming and rewarding, but also stressful. His dream doesn’t feel work, however, and it’s taught Luke more about himself, his limits and who he is as a person. That isn’t to say he doesn’t have goals while dealing with the ever-changing challenges of Pro Wrestling, but he’s thinking super short-term for right now. “Luke Lee wants to get back out into the Midwest and Southeastern United States before the end of 2020. Ideally, by the end of 2021, I want to be on the West coast just kicking ass. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be kicking it up in Canada here soon or for a major promotion? All it takes is me busting my butt, improving on my faults and showing the world what I can do.”
But for Lee, he’s lost bookings that could help him achieve these goals any time soon due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Lee touched on that while talking to Pro Sports Extra, noting that “currently, Luke Lee is on a complete hiatus until all of this mess with the coronavirus is settled. All of my bookings are completely shut down right now. I was supposed to be in a tag match yesterday teaming with Tommy Vecs against The Stepdads, but that got cancelled. This is a scary time for all of us not knowing when we’d be able to get in front of a crowd again, so support your local independent wrestler! Buy their merch now, buy tickets when shows are running again, just support Independent Wrestling!”
No, Tommy Vecs is not the lead singer of Bad Wolves, as Lee puts it, Vecs is “just a Wawa mark who hasn’t learned that Sheetz is superior.”
The final thing about Luke is why he’s doing it. It hasn’t been an easy road for Luke, as he’s broken his jaw and he’s torn his meniscus along the way. His grandmother, who was his favorite person, is no longer with us and never got the opportunity to see him work. Thus, every match except for one so far in his career he’s carried a part of her to the ring.
You can help support Luke Lee in a few ways. To start, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @LukeLeeOFC. You can like his official Facebook Page (not the personal one embedded above) here. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel by following the account the featured match was uploaded on. You can buy merchandise from his Pro Wrestling Tees store. He currently has two shirts, including the official “Emptiness Will Haunt You” tee. If you want to book Luke Lee for your show, you can reach out to him at the following: [email protected]
You can also support TRUE Wrestling by subscribing to their VOD service for only $4.99 a month. TRUE also has 8 events available on the IWTV subscription service, which gives you content from over 180 promotions for only $100 a year. In those 8 events, you can see matches such as Lee’s Trick or Street Fight with Tommy Boy Floyd, Lee and Anthony vs Clayton and Thomas, Lee take Thomas on 1 v 1, as well as Lee go head to head with The Whisper. You can use IWTV under a free trial with the code JROSE.
As I mentioned in the other two features so far in this series, one on Debbie Keitel and another on Warhorse, the photographers that shoot these Independent Wrestlers have also lost booking, income and valuable shots for their portfolio. Thus, we at PSE want to thank Pinhat Photos for allowing us to use their likeness, and you can see other exceptional work they’ve done here.
PSE would also like to thank Luke Losinger for sitting down and granting us the interview.
Editor’s/Writer’s note: These are trying times for not just Independent Wrestlers, but independent artists of any kind that are chasing a dream and could potentially see them go up in smoke due to a poorly timed international pandemic. We urge you to support whatever artist it is that you love and adds value to your life in anyway you can, whether it be by sharing their work or buying either their work or merchandise. This doesn’t have to be a wrestler (though, that’s what we’re covering here specifically, and unfortunately won’t be able to help everybody out) but it can be a pen/pad artist, a local band you love, pretty much anything as they chase their dream. Wrestlers like Luke Lee lost a lot of money due to the virus and any way we can use the platform to help we will. If you have a specific request for an Independent Wrestler to be covered, you can reach me at [email protected] or DM me on Twitter @TheJameus. Thank you.-JM.