Exclusive Q&A Interview
Tough Enough's Hawk Younkins

April 12, 2004 by Brad Dykens

I recently had the priviledge of getting an email from one of the more memorable contestants in Tough Enough history. Hawk Younkins is out of the business for the time being but still has aspirations of getting back in the ring some day. When the subject of a Q&A came up, I jumped at the opportunity. Read about the circumstances surrounding his Tough Enough departure, his feelings on the business, and an inside look at the Tough Enough show.

1) When did you first discover wrestling and were you a fan growing up?

I probably discovered wretsling around the age of 5 or so. Hulk Hogan, Hacksaw Jim Duggins, Typhoon, Tugboat, The Road Warriors

2) Who were your favourite wrestlers? Inspirations?

Hulk Hogan was every kid's favorite. He was Superman to me. I loved Animal and Hawk. Hawk...God rest his soul and may he rest in peace

3) At what point did you think you could become a professional wrestler?

I grew out of pro wrestling in my teens as I became HEAVILY involved in my athletic career. I was playing 7 sports a year every single freaking day. With Sports, School and Girls taking up eveyr free minute in your life, who had time to be concerned with who was holding what belt and who had turned heel etc etc etc?

Not until right before Tough Enough when I was going to attend a pro wrestling school in Tampa did I fist consider it.

4) Describe the process you took to get involved with WWE Tough Enough..

Getting into Tough Enough was not rocket science. Fill out the form, come up with a good tape that showed who you were in real life and sent it in with a picture. The outcome was all ready some what determined. I mean either you had a look that they were looking for or you didn't. Getting into WWE is kind of like dating. You might have a great personality and can do flips and tricks and all that, but if you just aren't what they are looking for then you are left all alone at prom with no date. Do you feel me people? Example..if you want to make it to WWE withing the next year then you better come up with something other then the muscular white rapper gimmick. That one is kind of taken.

5) What was it like as a participant on Tough Enough? Do you think there should have been more emphasis on wrestling?

For everything you witnessed on Tough Enough...imagine it being 100 times harder. You saw 30 minutes out of a whole week of training. People didn't even see 15% of what went on which really leaves the public in the dark about why this or that happened or why are those two fighting? You just had to be there to experience it. For those who thing there was not enough emphasis on wrestlign remember this. WWE was trying to broaden the horizon and expand to a wider audience. An entire show about wrestling is a documentry.....not a tv show.

6) What advantages or disadvantages would a Tough Enough contestant have over the average aspiring wrestler?

The advantages of being on Tough Enough are thta you have your foot in the door or at least some of the people do. There are a few people in 3 season of Tough Enough that never had a prayer in the world of making it. The disadvantages are that people think they know you. A lot of fans feel like they know you and have been friends with you or what have you. "YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME! PLEASE PEOPLE!!!YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ME! YOU ONLY SAW THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG" ---Hawk

7) What sort of feelings did you have when you were eliminated from the show?

The most popular question in the history of Tough Enough is.....Why did Hawk leave with only days left in the competition? What's with the demons etc etc etc? The demons were a quick way of simplifying things. God and Family come first in my life and I had a serious family issue to attend to and deal. It required my full attention so I made a hard decision and dropped out. WWE understands this and I was not branded a "LOSER" by them. After the finale in New York, I had a nice one on one with Kevin Dunn (if you don't know who that is then you are not a wretsling fan) and I was STRONGLY encouraged to continue pursuing wrestling and I did. The family issue has been resolved completely and is 100% back on track. Those of you who think that I "quit" Tough Enough need to get your facts straight so you can cheer me when I return...BOO YA!!

8) What have you done since your time on Tough Enough?

Why I am not at OVW, or any other wrestling federation/promotion now? Well, most people know that I was considered by FOX for the role of Colossus in Xmen 2 and anyone who saw it know that I did not get it. The gentleman who did win the role was 6'8''. Ain't that a bitch?! Well, I caught the acting and found a great agent and a manager and bam...went full time Hollywood. I am even in the Unions now. I am a member of SAG (Screen Ator's Guild) and AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists)

9) What does the future hold for Hawk Younkins? Will you return to the wrestling business?

Hollywood is a tough business to break into. Well, The Rock did it! Yes, andhe started at the top. Dwayne Johnson never had to struggle to find an agent and go to auditions dialy and be rejected a 1,000,000 times before he finally made it. Brad Pitt started out as a man in a chicken suit on the street handing out coupons for a Los Angeles chicken restuarant when he was my age) and slowly worked his way up the latter. Brad Pitt is almost 40 now. He has come a long way wouldn't you say? It takes time and I was a theatre arts major in college so hold your tngues those of you who think I did Tough Enough only for exposure.

10) Is there anything you would like to say to the wrestling fans reading this interview?

The future is a cloudy one full of twists, turns, surprises and adventures, but I have my head in the game and I am focused as hell and determined as hell to do WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SUCCEED! As for wrestling, never say never, but I don't intend to end my wretsling career on the note that I walked out during Tough Enough. I have a hell of a lot more PRIDE than that. Well, I have a craving for dinner and I need to go catch my prey (sorry a corny Hawk joke) AND YES HAWK is my REAL name. Accept no imitation.

Submit questions or comments to Hawk Younkins to [email protected]:

Question from Chris Chambers: Do you still keep in touch with any of the TE 3 Stars?

Hawk: Waiting......

Question from Chris Chambers: When you had your head shaved, Was it a thing out of respect for the other TE 3 Stars or was it because it was hot or was it because it would keep you all from doing the hard training that day?

Hawk: Waiting......

Joe Joe writes:
I don't mean to be rude, but why is this even here. The guy was on a contest show which he quit. Speaking of quitters from contest shows, how about Maven. I could understand if this Hawk guy dealt with his family buisness or whatever because not everyone is as dedicated to wrestling as some. Although after quitting TE, it seems he really hasn't pursued wrestling much. As for quitting TE, walking out, or whatever he wants to label it he wasn't asked nor forced to leave(that we know of), so therefore I'd like to know how he didn't quit. What is his explanation for what he says isn't quitting? By the way he seems like a relatively nice guy so I wish him luck in HOLLY-WOOD! Sorry if any of this has seemed rude, but as for an aspiring wrestling who is attending wrestling school starting in the summer I just have a hard time with people who half ass this great sport. I guess it is good that Hawk did get out of wrestling in that case because if he wasn't going to do it with all he had then its for the best.

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