TJR: Reflecting on the Life and Career of Jon Huber (Luke Harper/Brodie Lee)

TJR: Reflecting on the Life and Career of Jon Huber (Luke Harper/Brodie Lee)

The death of Jon Huber aka Luke Harper/Brodie Lee continues to make me sad. I was watching football on Saturday and all of a sudden got a lot of texts/tweets about how he had died. I couldn’t believe it. After writing the post about Huber’s death, I kept on reading all the tributes pouring in about him. In case you haven’t read much about it yet, Jon’s wife Amanda said that it was a lung ailment that was not related to COVID-19 and that’s all we know for now. He was only 41 years old. The family wants to keep things private, which is their right.

John Huber’s last match was on the October 7 edition of Dynamite when he dropped the TNT Title back to Cody Rhodes in a Dog Collar Match. It was a great match and I don’t think any of us that watched it thought that it would be the last time that we saw Brodie Lee wrestle.

Some new information has come out with Dave Meltzer reporting on Wrestling Observer Radio (thanks to WrestlingInc) that Huber spent most of the last two months of his life in a hospital. It was noted by Meltzer that Huber’s wife Amanda informed AEW people that Huber’s health was worsening and they didn’t want the news to leak out. AEW staff and wrestlers respected those issues. Meltzer also noted that Huber had issues finishing his workouts on his Peloton bicycle at home and didn’t know what was wrong. In late October, Huber’s lung issue became a lot more serious and was rushed to a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, which is AEW’s “home” city. The situation became grave with AEW becoming aware of the situation.

There is also a story about how at AEW’s last tapings two weeks ago, they did a fun angle where Huber’s oldest son Brodie got to “beat” Kenny Omega in an AEW World Title match. They likely filmed it and showed Huber while he was in the hospital, which was probably something that made Jon really happy. I remember reading that after AEW’s last tapings, but I had no idea that Jon was sick or dealing with a major health issue like this.

MR. BRODIE LEE GIVES HIS MARCHING ORDERS | AEW DYNAMITE 5/20/20, JACKSONVILLE, FL

I didn’t know Jon Huber other than a few tweets we exchanged over the last decade about the Toronto Maple Leafs (our favorite NHL team). I remember thinking it was strange that a non-Canadian from Rochester, New York would like the Maple Leafs instead of the nearby Buffalo Sabres, but I knew the Leafs were his team.

I really liked watching him in the ring. I’m not sure how many matches of his I reviewed over the last decade whether he was Luke Harper in WWE or Brodie Lee. I just know I was entertained by him. When he was in WWE, I always wished he would have been utilized more as a singles star. I liked his tag team matches a lot, but I wanted to see him used more. When he left WWE, he told stories about Vince McMahon wanting him to speak with a southern accent, but Huber had trouble with that because he was from Rochester, NY, so ultimately it led to his departure. I was so happy for him in AEW because he was being presented as a main event level talent that could talk and show off his talent in the ring as well. While I’m sure his friends in WWE missed him, I will guess that most of them were happy for him getting the chance to be more in AEW.

Jon Huber made everything look easy when he was in the wrestling ring. He also looked like he belonged there. I admired the athleticism that he showed as a man that was 6’8″ 270 pounds. He moved around the ring like a much smaller man. The way he threw a clothesline looked devastating. I think I was most impressed by how good his matches were with the smaller wrestlers on WWE and AEW rosters. He could hang with them as well as any big guy because he was such a great athlete. I think of matches like when the Wyatt Family faced The Shield at Elimination Chamber 2014 with Harper really standing out in that match. I also think of big singles matches against Dolph Ziggler in WWE and Cody Rhodes in AEW as well. Huber was so talented in the ring and I think we all know that, but as I wrote previously, he was also underutilized.

What I’ve learned in the last few days is that he was so well-liked and well-respected by his peers in the wrestling business, which is great to see. Not only do they talk about his talent in the ring, but they talked about his love for his family. That’s the message I see repeatedly. That shows what type of man he was.

As we start off a new week to end this awful 2020 year, I’m sure this week’s wrestling TV shows will be very emotional for the WWE roster. It’s the first time they’ll be in the ring since Jon Huber’s death on Saturday. I’m sure there will be black armbands and other tributes tonight as well through the week. The same goes for AEW Dynamite on Wednesday since Jon Huber worked there. He loved wrestling and did it for 20 years. There are so many friendships

I’ve read so many of the tributes to Jon Huber in the last few days on Twitter and Instagram. He was so well-liked with so many people talking about how much he loved his wife and kids. A lot of us never knew him but could see how much he loved life and his family. His Wyatt Family brothers like Bray, Braun and Rowan all had awesome messages. Randy Orton and Aleister Black too. Big E seemed especially close with Huber while noting that he has “cried with so many grown men as we told each other ‘I love you’ the last two days.” There have been so many tributes to him. He was one of them. A current guy that is gone way too soon.

Harper's journey from indie darling to Bludgeon Brother: WWE Formerly Known As

The above video from WWE is awesome. I watched it in May 2018 when it came out and watched it again after I read about his death, except this time I had tears in my eyes hearing him talking about his family.

Think about all the friendships Jon must have had in 20+ years in wrestling since he’s a 41-year-old man that has done it for his adult life. There was a decade of wrestling before he ever got to WWE, then going on to AEW this past year and along the way, there are so many friendships. There’s a special bond between wrestlers that travel the same roads, deal with the same things like being away from family for days (or weeks) at a time and a lot of us that are “just fans” will never know what it’s like.

I’ve seen AEW retweeting WWE people remembering Jon Huber. That’s great. The wrestling fraternity is bigger and more important than where you work. A lot of them are friends for decades. It’s not about the silly “Wednesday Night War” term that wrestling fans often use. It’s about the love of pro wrestling. It’s a brotherhood/sisterhood that is strong as any entertainment business there is. Wrestling fans know that to be true. Non-wrestling fans will never understand.

I’m sure I’ll keep watching some of my favorite Huber matches and promos all week. I’m also going to continue to pray for his wife Amanda as well as his sons Brodie and Nolan. I know the wrestling family that Jon had will take care of them the best they can. I love that wrestling legends like CM Punk and Mick Foley are going to donate money to Jon’s family.

Here’s a photo of Jon looking happy as part of a WaleMania event at WrestleMania a few years ago. You may also notice Shad Gaspard in the background. Two dads that loved their kids and sadly, both of them passed away this year.

Life’s not fair. I feel for both Shad and Jon’s families and hope they can find the strength to live their lives to the best of their abilities even after suffering such heartbreaking losses this year.

Tell your loved ones you love them. Never feel bad about it or think that you tell them it too often. They need to know. We all need to know.

I’ll leave it at that for now. This was tough to write. I hated having to write it. I wish I was writing about Brodie Lee’s return to the ring in 2021 after taking a break. Instead, he is gone. I don’t want to write about stuff like this. Jon Huber’s a year older than me and it breaks my heart knowing he won’t get to watch his kids grow up.

To wrap this up, I’m going to post some of my favorite tributes to him over the past few days including what Seth Rollins wrote this morning.

May you rest in peace, Jon Huber.