Brodie Lee was the guest this week’s episode of Talk is Jericho. He talked about leaving WWE, dealing with Vince McMahon and signing with AEW.
On His Debut in AEW: He noted that Tony Khan gave him the option of delaying his AEW debut.
“Tony very specifically texted me and said ‘hey man if you don’t wanna do this, we won’t do this.’ I wrote back and I was like ‘no man, I’m all in for Wednesday, just let me know what you need me to do.’ I had a way out if I wanted it but I’ve been cooped up for so long. I wanna get out, I wanna do something, I need to be creative, I need to fly a little bit. Even that little bit last week was something.”
On why Vince McMahon didn’t let him talk in WWE
“I think the way I do talk, Vince doesn’t see a person that looks like me talking like me. I don’t think he can get over that. He saw a backwards hillbilly who talked in a southern drawl and being from Rochester, NY and being somewhat eloquent, he didn’t understand. It just didn’t compute with him. Arn [Anderson] I think was maybe to the detriment was one of my biggest supporters in meetings and Arn would say ‘hey man, I’m just gonna stop speaking up for you because I don’t think it’s doing you any favors.’ I had my supporters but not vocal ones, not ones that were willing to go to bat for me to a point. Once I fell into a role, no matter what I pitched, no matter what I showed anybody I wasn’t digging my way out of it to the audience of one.”
On being Intercontinental Champion
Brodie said, “I don’t think I won a match on TV with the belt. I did a bunch of DQs and lost a bunch of matches and almost was like I lost favor almost instantly as soon as I won the belt. I didn’t even get a chance to do anything with it. I pitched a whole bunch of different things for angles, ideas to change the character and then he just wasn’t buying them.”
On ideas that were pitched to Vince McMahon
“I wanted to be a collector of some sort. I’m very much into serial killers and stuff like that. I wanted to collect something from each person I would beat and then the problem became that I wasn’t beating anybody so it was hard to collect from people to do that.” He continued, “I also wanted to be a smart monster, a very intelligent monster where I could speak like I do in a very intelligent way and break my opponents down in a certain way that I wasn’t doing in the Wyatt Family. Then I would have the same matches I was having and look the same exact way so I would be this slovenly character but very intelligent, almost like a Bruiser Brody. I just don’t think he could see that way of talking.”
He continued, “I remember going into [Vince’s] office and him telling me ‘hey, I want you to do a southern drawl.’ I was like ‘sir, I’m from Rochester, NY I think it’s gonna sound really really fake.’ And he goes ‘well do me a favor and try it.’ I did it for him and he goes ‘yeah, I don’t like that.’ Literally I walked out thinking that’s gone, that’s never gonna come up again. Then next week in the script it was like specifically ‘Luke Harper do a southern accent.’”
On how he would start to doubt himself
“I would start doubting myself too like maybe I don’t have it. This actually happened last week with AEW where it’s like ‘hey, go do this promo’ and coming from WWE it’s like ‘ok, what do you want me to talk about?’ And it’s like ‘whatever you want, this is your promo.’ So then the stress was like holy sh*t. So now I have no one to blame so if it’s not good, it’s on me. And it’s like can I do this?…”
On Vince repackaging he and Rowan as new version of Demolition
Brodie said he was told, “Vince wants to put you guys back together and give you a big push and he wants you guys to be like Demolition.” Brodie wasn’t sure if wearing Demolition gear in 2018 would work but Vince let them pitch some ideas. He said Rowan had great ideas for their Bludgeon Brothers look. Jericho asked Brodie to clarify what he meant about Vince wanting them to look like Demolition. Brodie said, “We were shown a picture of Demolition and he said this is what he wants you guys to be. Literally a picture of Demolition and creative services showed us other pictures and it was very Demolition-ish.”
On the Andre The Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania
Brodie said, “Two days later I was supposed to debut on SmackDown after Mania and then it got canceled. Then I just said ok that’s it. Went home and talked to my wife and she said ‘she goes yeah if you don’t wanna be there, then don’t be there. Just ask them for your release.’ I remember Vince called me and we had two 20 minute conversations where we just talked like humans. Vince is almost robot-like in ways but when you talk to him, he’s a good person almost. It was crazy. He was like ‘what do you want, do you want more money, do you want a push?’ I was like ‘no, at this point I don’t want either of that.’ I also didn’t realize at the time that other people had asked for their releases but not publicly so a bunch of people had done that. Hunter even told me later. He goes ‘we can’t release you, it’s gonna make like people are jumping off the sinking ship.’”
On trying to get his release
Brodie said Vince called him and said, “For business reasons, I can’t let you go.” He added, “Hunter called me and said ‘what do you want to do, do you want to go to New Japan?’ I was like yes, 100 percent. I was like can we make that happen? He goes, ‘yeah, I think I can make that happen.’ And then, of course, it never happened and nothing ever came of it and then we talked about going to NXT and that never happened.”
He also goes on to talk about his run with Daniel Bryan, the WWE Draft and how it all came to an end after Rowan was drafted to Raw. His AEW deal allows him to work independent wrestling dates so we could see him in NJPW.
Listen to the full Talk Is Jericho interview here