Luna Vachon was one of the most unique and memorable female wrestlers of all time. She had a distinctive look, a fierce attitude, and a passion for the sport. She was part of the famous Vachon wrestling family, and she competed in various promotions such as WWE, WCW, ECW, and AWA. She was also a WWE Hall of Famer, a Professional Wrestling Hall of Famer, and a Women’s Wrestling Hall of Famer. However, behind her success and fame, there was also a dark side to her life. She struggled with drug addiction, mental health issues, and personal problems that ultimately led to her tragic death in 2010.
The Early Life and Career of Luna Vachon
Luna Vachon was born Gertrude Elizabeth Wilkerson on January 12, 1962, in Atlanta, Georgia. She was adopted by Paul “Butcher” Vachon, a former wrestler and promoter, and his wife Vivian, who was also a wrestler and Paul’s sister. Luna grew up in a wrestling environment, and she dreamed of following her family’s footsteps. She started training under her aunt Vivian and then The Fabulous Moolah when she was 16 years old.
She made her professional debut in 1985, working for Moolah’s all-women’s promotion. She then moved to Florida and joined a four-woman wrestling troupe led by Mad Maxine. She also adopted the ring name Angelle Vachon. In Florida, she met Kevin Sullivan, a wrestler and booker who would have a significant influence on her career and personal life. Sullivan gave her a new gimmick: Luna Vachon, a deranged and demonic woman who joined his Army of Darkness stable. She shaved half of her head, painted her face, and wore black leather and spikes. She also developed a raspy voice and a menacing demeanor that made her stand out from other female wrestlers at the time.
Luna Vachon soon became one of the most popular heels in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), feuding with Madusa Miceli, Missy Hyatt, and others. She also teamed up with The Lock as the Daughters of Darkness. She later moved to other territories such as Texas All-Star Wrestling (TASW), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), American Wrestling Association (AWA), and Japan.
The Rise and Fall of Luna Vachon in WWE
Luna Vachon joined WWE (then WWF) in 1993, making her debut at WrestleMania IX as Shawn Michaels’ valet. She immediately got involved in a feud with Sensational Sherri, who was Michaels’ former manager and Tatanka’s ally. Luna attacked Sherri several times, leading to a mixed tag team match at SummerSlam 1993, where Luna and Michaels lost to Sherri and Tatanka.
Luna then set her sights on the Women’s Championship, which was held by Alundra Blayze (Madusa Miceli). The two had a long history of rivalry dating back to their days in FCW. They faced each other several times on house shows and TV tapings, but Luna never won the title from Blayze. Luna also had brief stints as the manager of Bam Bam Bigelow, Goldust, and The Oddities.
However, Luna’s WWE career was not very successful or satisfying for her. She was often used as a comedy act or a jobber to put over other women wrestlers such as Sable, Jacqueline, Ivory, and Tori. She also had backstage issues with some of her colleagues and management. She was unhappy with the direction of the women’s division in WWE, which focused more on sex appeal than wrestling ability. She felt that she was not given enough respect or recognition for her talents and contributions.
Luna left WWE in 2000 after requesting her release. She later claimed that she was fired for refusing to participate in an angle where she would have to shave her head bald.
The Final Years and Death of Luna Vachon
After leaving WWE, Luna Vachon worked for various independent promotions such as Women’s Extreme Wrestling (WEW), World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW), USA Pro Wrestling (USA PW), and others. She also had a short stint in WCW in 2000, where she reunited with Madusa for a brief feud.
However, Luna’s life outside the ring was not very stable or happy. She had been married three times: to Dan Hurd (1980-1985), Tom Nash (1987-1993), and David Heath (Gangrel) (1994-2006). She had two children: Vincent “Van” Hurd (born 1981) and Ariel Toombs (adopted 1991). She also had a history of drug abuse, bipolar disorder, and depression. She had attempted suicide several times, and she had been in and out of rehab.
Luna’s problems worsened in 2009, when her house in Florida was destroyed by a fire. She lost most of her belongings, including her wrestling memorabilia and pets. She moved in with her mother in Pasco County, Florida, where she tried to rebuild her life.
On August 27, 2010, Luna Vachon was found dead by her mother in her home. She was 48 years old. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental overdose of painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, according to the District Six Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida. She had oxycodone and benzodiazepine in her system, according to ARK Behavioral Health. Luna had been prescribed the drugs for chronic pain and anxiety, but she had taken more than the recommended dosage.
Luna’s death shocked and saddened the wrestling world. Many of her friends, fans, and peers paid tribute to her on social media and in interviews. WWE also honored her with a video package on Raw and a Hall of Fame induction in 2019. Luna Vachon was remembered as a trailblazer, a pioneer, and a legend in women’s wrestling. She was also a loving mother, daughter, sister, and friend who had a troubled but remarkable life.