|Andrew "Drew" Hankinson|
|Born||December 22, 1983|
Professional wrestling career
Andrew "Drew" Hankinson (born December 22, 1983) is an American professional wrestler, currently signed with WWE under the ring name Luke Gallows. Under his first stint with the promotion, he also appeared under the ring name Festus.
Hankinson was also known for his appearances as an impostor of the wrestler Kane, and as the tag team partner of Jesse while they were part of the tag team Jesse and Festus on the SmackDown brand. After a few months, he reappeared as the enforcer and "disciple" of CM Punk, sporting a cleaner, militant look, with the Festus character's "real identity" revealed as Luke Gallows.
Professional wrestling career
Deep South Wrestling; Impostor Kane (2005–2007)
In April 2005, despite failing to make it as one of the final ten contestants on the $1,000,000 Tough Enough, he was signed to a contract by World Wrestling Entertainment and was assigned to the Deep South Wrestling (DSW) developmental territory.
Hankinson wrestled in DSW as Deacon Deville before changing his ring name to The Freakin' Deacon, adopting the gimmick of a deranged, facepaint-wearing wrestler who came to the ring with a pet spider named Willow and sometimes spoke to it. He formed a partnership with Palmer Cannon and his posterior associate Dalip Singh, helping Cannon to gain DSW's ownership and attack his enemies, but Palmer and Singh ended betraying Deacon and stealing his spider. He then formed an alliance with announcer and wrestler Bill DeMott, who was in a feud against The Gymini. The team proved to be stable, but Deacon abandoned DeMott during a match, causing him to be beaten down until other wrestlers made the save. It was later revealed that Quintin Michaels had got Willow and used it to blackmail Deacon, but he later got his pet back, regaining his freedom.
On May 29, 2006, Hankinson debuted on Raw as an Impostor Kane; wearing Kane's old mask and ring attire, he chokeslammed Kane during his match against Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship. Subsequently, Hankinson would repeatedly attack the real Kane during or after his matches. The pair finally faced off in a match at the WWE Vengeance Pay-Per-View, with Hankinson winning using one of Kane's trademark moves. One night later, however, the storyline was abruptly ended when the original Kane attacked the Impostor Kane, removed his mask, and threw him out of the building.
Hankinson returned to Deep South Wrestling, in addition to appearing at SmackDown! house shows. In August, he got involved in a storyline with The Bag Lady, who acted as his valet and love interest. Though he often was distracted by her, she often helped him to win matches. In october, Deacon and Bag Lady formed an alliance with The Major Brothers (Brian and Brett) against the team Urban Assault (Eric Perez, Sonny Siaki, Afa Jr. and G-Rilla), as their enforcer G-Rilla had clashed with Bag Lady. In December 2006, Deacon defeated G-Rilla in a singles match, causing the rest of Urban Assault to turn on him and beat him up. Deacon then aided G-Rilla and formed a tag team with him, helping him to get revenge on Urban Assault and later feuding with Team Elite (Derrick Neikirk and Mike Knox) for the DSW Tag Team Championship. However, in March 2007 Deacon was beaten up with steel chairs by Neikirk and Knox, needing to be carried to the hospital by G-Rilla. There G-Rilla sat accidentally over Willow, killing the spider and sending its owner to a mental breakdown.
In March 2015, Devon Nicholson described an incident from 2006 that Bill DeMott was involved with while he was head trainer for the WWE's Deep South Wrestling developmental territory. Nicholson described an incident where Hankinson was completely naked in the ring for a long period of time and gave naked stinkfaces to Matthew Cardona and Melissa Coates while DeMott held jelly donuts over their faces. The wrestlers agreed to do this (with the other talent encouraging them) to get out of regular training for that day. DeMott refuted the notion that it was his idea, stating that the other trainees came up with because they wanted to skip the session.
Teaming with Jesse (2007–2009)
- Main article: Jesse and Festus
On the May 11, 2007, episode of SmackDown!, a vignette aired suggesting that Hankinson would be repackaged as "Festus Dalton" as part of a tag team using a Southern gimmick, alongside fellow WWE developmental talent Ray Gordy. On June 2, 2007, however, it was reported that WWE was dropping the "Dalton Boys" gimmick. The explanation for them not showing up on SmackDown was that they got lost on their way to the arena. Hankinson and Gordy had actually been sent back to OVW, where Hankinson changed his name to "Justice Dalton".
Hankinson was then renamed "Festus" while Gordy was dubbed "Jesse", and on the June 29, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, vignettes hyping Jesse and Festus began to air. For weeks, Jesse would be presented as the mouth-piece of the tandem, who was in awe of his tag team partner. Hankinson, however, played a character that was mentally challenged and unresponsive. In spite of Festus' dimwitted nature, Jesse kept claiming that Festus was an emotionally driven and physically unstoppable giant. On the September 7, 2007 edition of SmackDown!, there was a segment featuring Jesse and Festus now actually in the arena rather than in a studio. On October 5, Hankinson won his debut match on SmackDown! with Jesse. When the opening bell rang, Festus' personality changed into a very focused and angry competitor as compared to the mentally challenged character he had portrayed. When the bell rang to signify the end of the match, Festus returned to his docile self. On the December 21 episode of SmackDown!, Festus defeated Deuce in a Santa Match, with both of them wearing Santa Claus outfits. On the January 25 episode of SmackDown!, Jesse explained the reason that they had not been on television was because Festus has been seeing doctors about his "problems".
In 2008, before the bell rang, Jesse explained that Festus had changed. However, Festus did not change and continued to make a determined and monstrous face after the bell had rung. On the March 21 episode of SmackDown, Jesse and Festus had a chance to face John Morrison and The Miz for the Tag Team Championship, although Morrison and The Miz retained their titles. Festus received his first loss when he wrestled against World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker on the April 11 episode of SmackDown!, after passing out while in the Hell's Gate.
On April 15, 2009, Festus was drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft and, as a result, was separated from his tag team partner Jesse, who remained on SmackDown.
Straight Edge Society (2009–2010)
- Main article: Straight Edge Society
After a three-month hiatus from television, Hankinson returned on the November 27, 2009 edition of SmackDown!, repackaged as a villain under the name "Luke Gallows", sporting a new attire with a goatee, shaved head, and having lost a considerable amount of weight. After accompanying CM Punk to the ring for his match with Matt Hardy, Punk revealed that Gallows was actually Festus' true identity and claimed that Gallows' family and friends enabled his alcoholic inclination, which led to the mental state he was in as Festus, before stating that Gallows was cured due to Punk showing him the straight edge lifestyle. On the December 11 episode of SmackDown!, Gallows made his re-debut as he and Punk defeated Hardy and R-Truth, after Gallows pinned Hardy with his new finishing move, the Twelfth Step. On the January 8, 2010 episode of SmackDown, Gallows defeated Hardy in his re-debut singles match. The next week, Gallows and Punk defeated Matt Hardy and The Great Khali, The Hart Dynasty, and Cryme Tyme in a fatal four-way match to become the number one contenders for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.
On the February 10, 2010 episode of Raw, The Straight Edge Society was eliminated in an Triple Threat Elimination Tag Match between them, The Miz and The Big Show and DX for the Unified Tag Team Championship. The Miz and The Big Show became the new Unified Tag Team Champions. At WrestleMania XXVI Luke Gallows competed in a dark 30-man battle royal to open Wrestlemania which was won by Yoshi Tatsu. On the April 13 episode of WWE NXT, he challenged CM Punk's rookie Darren Young and the stipulation, if Young loses, he will have to surrender his hair to Punk and have it shaved bald. Gallows came close to getting the victory when Young came up with a roll-up and saved his hair, with Punk showing some favor to his rookie and Gallows seeming unhappy. At Extreme Rules, during Punk's Hair match against Rey Mysterio, Gallows and Serena helped Punk throughout the match until they were banned from ringside.
On the July 2 tapings of SmackDown, after a match between Luke Gallows and Kane, a security video was shown by Serena of her being caught drinking in a bar by Punk on the same day of The Undertaker's attack proving The Straight Edge Society's innocence in order to save Punk. Serena begged for forgiveness even after Punk warned her not to, but the Straight Edge Society simply left without her. The following week, however, Serena was forgiven by Punk for her actions, as they embraced, but Gallows did not approve. The following week Gallows was set to fight Big Show but gave the match to the SES Masked Man, who was unmasked as Joey Mercury during the match. On the September 3 episode of SmackDown, Gallows and Punk faced The Big Show in a two-on-one handicap match, which Gallows and Punk lost. After the match Punk delivered the GTS on Gallows.
On the September 16 episode of WWE Superstars, before a match with MVP, Gallows cut a promo announcing that he was no longer part of the Society by proclaiming he was his own man. Gallows went on to lose the match. On the September 21 taping of SmackDown, Gallows began a slow face turn when he confronted CM Punk in a backstage segment stating that after defeating him, he would have a beer, but lost a match to Punk later in the night.
Gallows, now officially established as a face, defeated Vance Archer on the November 4 airing of Superstars. His final TV appearance was during a backstage segment in which Kane was looking for his father, on the November 19, episode of SmackDown. Hankinson was released from his WWE contract on the same day, along with several other superstars.
Professional wrestling career
Return to WWE (2016–present)
Gallows and Karl Anderson were both backstage during the April 4 episode of Raw. On the April 11 episode of Raw, Gallows, returning to his Luke Gallows ring name, and Anderson appeared attacking The Usos after their victory over The Social Outcasts, before being removed by several referees.