Brodie Lee: AEW Talent Preview

He was recently revealed as The Dark Order’s Exalted One. However, before Jonathan Huber emerged as the leader known as Brodie Lee his journey in wrestling began over sixteen years ago. Lee first began to cut his teeth as a backyard wrestler. While under the Huberboy #2 (which is a take on his actual last name), Lee competed in his home of upstate New York to do so. His brother competed as Huberboy #1. At the time he wore a mask competing for Roc City Wrestling. However, shortly after he competed without the mask and used the name, Brodie Lee. The name is a blend of both an actor and the character he portrayed. Actor Jason Lee played Brodie Bruce in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats.

Brodie Lee
Photo / Bleacher Report

In 2007, Lee competed for CHIKARA at their Time Will Prove Everything event. He competed with the nickname ‘The Right Stuff’ and faced Equinox. What initially was a case of him simply in attendance there to see friends turned into an opportunity. It was reported that indie star Reckless Youth didn’t show up and Lee was offered a chance to compete in the spot. Despite losing, Lee jumped at the opportunity put in front of him. A few months later, Lee would return to CHIKARA and win his rematch with Equinox and Retail Dragon. In the process, Lee began a series of matches without either being submitted or pinned. He metamorphosized from the Right Stuff to be the Big Rig, much like a trucker.

The most memorable feud at the time for Brodie Lee was with Claudio Castagnoli (WWE’s Cesaro).

The two would battle one another for the better part of 2008. Their feud would culminate in CHIKARA’s first steel cage match at the ‘Style and Substance’ event. Castagnoli defeated a bloody Lee in the process. After this loss, Lee would form an alliance with Eddie Kingston and Grizzly Redwood. Together they would become The Roughnecks.

Lee’s time wasn’t only dedicated to CHIKARA but to Squared Circle as well. He would compete for Syracuse-based promotion 2CW (Squared Circle). Lee would be a replacement for Jimmy Olsen teaming with his brother Colin Olsen. His initial time with the promotion was under the guise as a heel. Lee’s popularity and reputation began to grow during a reported incident in a Binghamton, New York parking lot. As part of the incident, it was written into the storyline having Lee ‘suspended’ from the promotion. By the Fall of 2008, Lee made his triumphant return. Lee challenged for the promotion’s championship but came up short. He eventually captured the 2CW championship. After losing it a couple of months later, Lee defended the title successfully but relinquished it shortly afterward.

Brodie Lee joined Ring of Honor and at the time was aligned with the Age of the Fall faction.

While led by Jimmy Jacobs, Lee helped the groups’ leader defeat rival at the time, Austin Aries. He battled the likes of legendary mercenary himself, Necro Butcher while part ROH. Lee wasn’t without his share of betrayals as his one-time tag team partner Delirious turned on him and the rest of the faction in the Spring of 2009.

Lee’s movement also saw him compete for Gabe Sapolsky’s EVOLVE Wrestling at their inaugural show. As part of a six-man tag match, he renewed hostilities with familiar CHIKARA talent Mike Quakenbush. While there he also faced current AEW star Jon Moxley. Lee faced a suspension for kicking a chair at the face of Moxley in protest for a match stoppage.

His tour of the independent circuit brought him to Dragon Gate USA. Whether as part of an eight-way fray elimination match or in three on one action, Lee was certainly booked for his size and strength. However, it was his allegiances that often stand out as well wherever he went. While a part of DGUSA, Brodie Lee reunited with his Ring of Honor ally Jimmy Jacobs. The question was…or was he? After interfering in a Jacobs match, he faced and later defeated him as part of a six-way challenge. It was also as part of the Dragon Gate USA promotion where he teamed with Sumo wrestling legend and WrestleMania competitor Akebono. That was short-lived as after the match the two had to be restrained from one another.

It should be interesting to note that Lee was selected as part of CIMA’s Warriors International Stable during their time together.

Both are not working collectively as part of AEW. His opportunities with Dragon Gate USA opened up opportunities with Dragon Gate in Japan. It was there where he would represent CIMA’s stable. However, he along with Genki Horiguchi and Gamma would break away and become the Blood Warriors.

After some time he represented the Blood Warriors stable in a match against a one-time ally, in Jimmy Jacobs. His opportunities with Dragon Gate USA opened up opportunities with Dragon Gate in Japan. His longevity was also tied to his flexibility and willingness to move around. The added exposure did him a world of good.

One-stop he made was as part of Jersey All Pro Wrestling as part of The Hillbilly Wrecking Crew. It was there where would team with Trevor Murdoch and Necro Butcher. He was a tag team champion as part of the promotion as well. Even well-known independent stars such as Nick Gage joined the faction as well. He was unsuccessful defeating Dan Maff for the JAPW Heavyweight Championship at the time. However, he was successful as the New Jersey State Champion defeating the likes of Nick Gage, Eddie Kingston, and Dan Maff. He was stripped of the Heavyweight Championship after not appearing in the promotion for three quarters of the year.

Brodie Lee signed a developmental deal with WWE.

He initially joined Steve Keirn’s Florida Championship Wrestling and quickly adopted a new name. Luke Harper would now replace the often referred to Brodie Lee. By the middle of the Summer, FCW had become NXT. In the Fall of that same year, he appeared on television as a follower of Bray Wyatt. He was initially considered a ‘son’ when the faction first began.

Together with Erick Rowan, the duo was quite a force in the early run together on the brand. Harper and Rowan were part of the NXT Tag Team Championship Tournament advancing all the way to the finals of the tournament. By the Spring of 2013, Harper and Rowan would win the NXT Tag Team Championships defeating Adrian Neville (AEW’s PACT) and Bo Dallas. The duo would eventually lose their championships by the Summer.

Brodie Lee
Photo / SEScoops.com

Vignettes began to air of the upcoming arrival of The Wyatt Family to Raw.

With Bray Wyatt leading them, Rowan and Harper were coming. They would debut in the Summer of 2014 attacking Kane in the process. Now with both Smackdown and Raw, Harper along with Rowan would have a formidable winning streak together. As time passed, feuds with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan would follow. However, it was The Wyatt Family’s run against The Shield that was most talked about. The trio would defeat the team of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Despite their better efforts Harper and Rowan contended for the Tag Team Championships but were unsuccessful. Jey and Jimmy Uso appeared to have the answer each time the Wyatt Family came calling.

By the Fall of 2014, Bray Wyatt set his brothers free.

This was a sign that the Wyatt Family was no more. What remained were individuals prepared to wreak havoc alone without guidance or direction. Harper focused his attention squarely on Dolph Ziggler. The intention was for him to be selected to represent Team Authority at Survivor Series against Team John Cena. With him throwing down the lifeless carcass of Ziggler in front of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, he would be added to the team. He captured his first and only Intercontinental Championship when he defeated Dolph Ziggler. Harper lost the title to Dolph Ziggler at the TLC pay per view holding the title for less than a month.

With 2015 upon him, Harper would continue to challenge for the Intercontinental championship. He and Dean Ambrose were embroiled in a feud that saw the two face each other at the Extreme Rules pay per view in a Chicago Street Fight. By the early Spring of 2015, Harper would reunite with Erick Rowan and then with Bray Wyatt. He remerged by Wyatt’s side helping him to defeat Roman Reigns. A rivalry ensued with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt with Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper playing supporting roles. With Braun Strowman now by their side, the Wyatt Family would face Reigns, Harper and Chris Jericho in a losing effort.

Over the next little while, Harper as part of the Wyatt Family would engage in feuds with Kane and The Undertaker and then later the Dudley Boyz.

The feud with the Dudley Boyz would later include ECW alumni Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer. His time supporting and aiding Bray Wyatt didn’t hide the fact that he was still incredibly agile and athletic for a man of his size.

An injury suffered in a dark match on Raw left Luke Harper on the shelf for approximately six months. His injury prevented him from being drafted in the 2016 WWE Draft. At this point when he appears it would have been a welcomed change.

Much like he had done previously in rejoining Bray Wyatt, Harper joined Wyatt once again when he recovered from an injury. At the Smackdown brand only pay per view No Mercy, Wyatt came to the aid of Bray Wyatt in defeating Randy Orton. After rejoining The Wyatt Family, Harper would be permitted to co-defend the championships with Bray Wyatt and the newly ushered in Randy Orton. They would eventually lose the championships leading to animosity growing between Randy Orton and Luke Harper. Their tension for one another led to an accidental superkick on the part of Harper to Bray Wyatt. It appeared as though in a match between Orton and Harper, Wyatt decided on who he would stand with. Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Harper making his allegiances know.

When the Royal Rumble came around, Harper went right after Wyatt and Randy Orton.

Luke Harper would eventually come to the aid of John Cena at one time in order to even the odds of an attack by Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. He was in contention to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship at one point. Finally free of any association with Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper competed in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. His character was often tied to Bray Wyatt even when it appeared as though things had come to an end. He even engaged in a rivalry with one-time ally Erick Rowan. After losing in battle royal to determine the number one contender for the US Championship, Harper was off of television for a number of months.

By the Fall of 2017, Luke Harper returned on-camera where he was reteamed with Erick Rowan.

This time they were recognized as The Bludgeon Brothers. Both men’s names were shortened to their last names only. They became the Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions when they defeated The New Day and The Usos at WrestleMania 34. Harper and Rowan defend their titles successfully against the likes of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and the returning Team Hell No at Extreme Rules.

Harper and Rowan would lose their titles to The New Day on an episode of Smackdown Live in a No DQ match. Rowan was injured going into the match with a torn right bicep so a loss of the championship was all but a certainty. It was also revealed that Harper had an injury as well and in need of wrist surgery. The following Spring of 2019, Luke Harper returned to action.

He would often appear in dark matches but with a new and fresh look, it was a welcomed change. Fans missed seeing him and his presentation was welcomed by those in attendance. He competed at the WrestleMania Axxess leading up to WrestleMania 35 against Dominik Dijakovic. Harper did compete in the annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal once again. This was when things appeared to be rather peculiar for Harper. As talented as he is, opportunities weren’t being presented to him to capitalize on.

Brodie Lee publicly stated that he had asked for his release in April 2019.

At this point, he hadn’t appeared on television since being cleared to compete in February. His request was denied. However, by the Summer he returned to traveling and returned to television in September. He would attack Roman Reigns and side with his old Bludgeon Brothers and Wyatt Family stablemate Erick Rowan. Their short-lived reunion ended with a loss at the Hell in a Cell pay per view. Once Rowan was drafted to Raw the team was no more. Harper’s last on-screen appearance was during a trip to the Middle East.

I was offered contracts all the way up to the day they called to release me. Their (WWE’s) M.O. was to keep everyone at that time. They knew that I was gonna be gone and I was going to go to AEW as soon as I can. – Brodie Lee on how the WWE was still attempting to resign him even up to his eventual release. To read the interview in its entirety click here.

Brodie Lee
Photo / Mandatory.com

Harper had filed a trademark on his old ring name Brodie Lee and by December he was officially released by the WWE. His time away from the WWE led to a great deal of speculation as to where he would go next. With all doubt put behind everyone Luke Harper was gone and Brodie Lee had returned. On March 18th, 2020 Brodie Lee was revealed as The Dark Order’s “Exalted One”. With a new home and a new sense of purpose, Brodie Lee can continue to show the world how talented he is. It is clear that his early influences in the likes of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Ravishing Rick Rude are credited with who he was. It doesn’t mean that who he will become.

Previous AEW Talent Previews:

Cody, Part 1

Cody, Part 2

The Young Bucks

Brandi Rhodes

Kenny Omega, Part 1

Kenny Omega, Part 2

Jungle Boy

Britt Baker

Chris Jericho, Part 1

Chris Jericho, Part 2

Penelope Ford

PAC

Nyla Rose

Sammy Guevara

Hikaru Shida

Rey Fenix

SoCal Uncensored

Pentagon Jr.

Bea Priestley

Maxwell Jacob Friedman

Jon Moxley

Kylie Rae

Sonny Kiss

Adam Page 

Allie

Brandon Cutler

Awesome Kong

Darby Allin

The Private Party 

Jimmy Havoc

Sadie Gibbs

Joey Janela

Marko Stunt

The Dark Order

Orange Cassidy

Leva Bates

Peter Avalon

Dustin Rhodes, Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Shawn Spears

Riho

The Hybrid 2

Kip Sabian

Shanna

Kris Statlander

Best Friends

Big Swole

Proud-N-Powerful

Jake Hager

Emi Sakura

Yuka Sakazaki