After months of speculation, former WWE Superstar Luke Harper was revealed as the Exalted One for the Dark Order faction in AEW. Harper, now going under the ring name Brodie Lee, recently sat down on with Chris Jericho on the Talk is Jericho podcast. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Lee’s debut for AEW didn’t happen in his hometown in Rochester, NY and instead it took place in an empty arena Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. Lee explained that Tony Khan gave him the option to delay his debut, but Lee wanted to go ahead with it.
“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.”
Lee didn’t have the same type of relationship with Vince McMahon, who he felt typecasted him while in the 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 backwardshillbilly 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.”
Lee did have his supporters in WWE, though he didn’t feel that they helped him much.
“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.”
Lee claimed that he tried pitching several ideas to Vince McMahon, with it always feeling like it fell on deaf ears.
“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. 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.”
“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.’”
One idea that Vince did have for Lee was for him to once again reunite with tag team partner Erick Rowan.
“Vince wants to put you guys back together and give you a big push and he wants you guys to be like Demolition. 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.”
Thank you to WrestlingNews.co for transcribing the quotes.
Matt’s Musings: Hopefully Lee can find the fulfillment in his career in AEW that he clearly felt he was lacking in WWE.