To his parents, he’ll always be known as Jonathan Huber, while fair-weather wrestling fans will know him best as Luke Harper. But it’s under the guise of Brodie Lee that Huber has done arguably his best work, both on the independent circuit and now in AEW.
The 40-year-old had racked up an impressive 8-2 singles record since joining the organization, only losing to premier performers in Cody Rhodes and Jon Moxley, and a surge beyond just TNT Championship level was expected.
For the FIRST-TIME in AEW history, it's a Dog Collar Match for the TNT Championship as the challenger @CodyRhodes takes on the champion, Mr. @ThisBrodieLee.— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 4, 2020
WATCH #AEWDynamite LIVE on @TNTDrama at 8e/7c
LIMITED TICKETS available at https://t.co/UN1cNj1kQq pic.twitter.com/a4F28qQ5S7
And then the thing that always seems to happen to Lee happened.
He suffered an ankle injury at a Dynamite taping and, while no more is known on the severity of the problem, he hasn’t been seen at an event since early on in October. Hopefully, Lee can return soon, because he was building up a nice head of steam and an entanglement with Moxley for the major gold in the company was certainly not out of the question.
It’s great to see a supremely talented individual finally being given a chance to shine, as has been the case with a number of WWE expats that have joined the brand, and you suspect Lee looks back on his time with the McMahon circus with minimal fondness.
Rebadged as Luke Harper, he was forced into factions with the Wyatt Family and Erick Rowan and was never given a chance to grow as a singles competitor. It’s surprising, really, given that he ticks a number of McMahon’s boxes – namely being a big guy with a slightly deranged look in his eye.
The irony is that his former colleagues in the Wyatt Family, Bray Wyatt (as the fiend) and Braun Strowman, are amongst the favorites at around 13.0 to win the Royal Rumble in the bookmakers’ odds. Firmly established within the upper echelons of the brand, the short moneyline odds on Wyatt and Strowman reflect their importance to McMahon and their status within the company, with the term ‘moneyline’ described by bookmaker aggregator Legal Betting as being, put simply, a betting selection’s probability of winning an event outright.
Lee, in contrast, never really got an opportunity to headline a PPV in the WWE, but you sense that his chance is coming – if he can stay injury-free – in AEW.
Coming Out of the Dark
If 2021 is going to be a big year for Brodie Lee, the hope is that he can shake off the shackles of the Dark Order.
The faction isn’t awful by any means, but occasionally you feel as though they are a burden that can prevent Lee from really breaking out as a singles competitor amongst AEW’s elite.
Evil Uno and Stu Grayson were an excellent tag team before joining AEW and, again, it feels as though the need to create a dark and demonic stable has prevented them from really growing as a partnership in what is a stacked division.
The use of the ‘Creepers’ is a nice touch, and Colt Cabana and Anna Joy may leave the Dark Order with their reputations enhanced within the company, but the faction still isn’t convincing given the talents of the individual members.
If the Dark Order is dissolved, the future for Brodie Lee and his colleagues could be very bright indeed.