The Hooked On Wrestling team, much like the entire wrestling community, have spent the last 24 hours struggling to process the heartbreaking news that Jon “Brodie Lee/Luke Harper” Huber has passed away at just 41.
Outside of acknowledging the news on the website and social media, it’s difficult putting into words how enjoyable Huber’s work was, how much his passion for the industry and his positioning within it meant to him and shone through on our TV and computer screens, and how badly he will be missed by everyone who so much as watched him perform once.
After the shock subsided a little, we had a bit of a discussion about our favourite Brodie/Luke matches. Our very fondest collective memories spanned across WWE, AEW and his time on the independents. We then decided to share those matches here, in the hopes our fellow fans would track down the ones they hadn’t yet watched and perhaps revisited the ones they know all too well already.
So, here are 14 matches that, for us, sum up just what a special talent he was and always will be.
Brodie Lee vs Claudio Castagnoli, CHIKARA ‘Style And Substance’
In a promotion filled with colourful characters and athletic luchadores, future WWE stars Brodie and Claudio (now Cesaro) gravitated towards one another in a classic feud of the towering Swiss babyface daring the surly ‘Big Rig’ to pick on someone his own size. Of the many bouts each man could have used to land a gig in Stamford, this one was likely very high on Talent Relations’ list.
Brodie Lee vs Dasher Hatfield, CHIKARA ‘The Dark Ciberknetico’
On a personal level, this one was special. This writer was there live in Easton, Pennsylvania for one of the best shows a peak CHIKARA ever put on. In the opening match, Brodie seemed certain to defeat popular lower-card character Hatfield, only to convincingly and entertainingly put him over. Hatfield ended up the final CHIKARA Grand Champion and recently won ECWA’s storied Super 8 tournament, showing 10 years on that Brodie and CHIKARA’s faith in him was completely justified. That show can be bought here or streamed with an IWTV subscription.
The Wyatt Family vs The Shield, Elimination Chamber 2014
After disregarding tag teams and stables for the most part for so long, WWE saw the benefits of building up two sides to be equally dominant before setting them on one another when these two over-like-rover trios drew “this is awesome” chants before a single lock-up or punch.
Harper and Rowan vs The Usos, WWE Battleground 2014
It did not take Luke and Erick long at all to find great chemistry as a heel duo, and this two-out-of-three-falls bout with Jey and Jimmy was fantastic. You can watch it in full on WWE.com here.
Luke Harper vs Dolph Ziggler, WWE Raw
While Ziggler’s Intercontinental title defence against Harper was 75% storyline and featured the involvement of Seth Rollins and The Authority, it was nonetheless Harper’s golden moment as a singles star and a deserved – if brief – title run.
Luke Harper vs Dolph Ziggler, ladder match, WWE TLC 2014
Thankfully, the end of the reign was spectacular. Dolph regained the title in a gripping ladder match that handily stole the show at ‘Tables, Ladders Chairs and Stairs’ in December ’14.
Intercontinental title ladder match, WrestleMania 31
Though just one player in this multi-man melee, the wild start to the underappreciated 31st edition of ‘The Granddaddy Of Them All’, won by Daniel Bryan, is absolutely worth a rewatch. And you can do so here.
John Cena and Luke Harper vs Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, WWE SmackDown
The Wyatt-Orton feud was (and now, still is) hard to digest, but Harper’s distrust of Orton joining ‘The Family’ was a simple and effective arc. Harper hung with three big stars with ease in this hidden gem tag bout from January 31, 2017. With a WWE Network subscription, you can rewind to that evening here.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs The Usos vs The New Day, WWE WrestleMania 34
Wrestlemania used to have quite a lot of squash matches. Understandably, not so many now. But when done right, they can still be powerful – and the reunited Harper and Erick Rowan steamrolled two of the current era’s greatest duos to claim the tag team titles in Harper’s ‘Mania Moment’. Subscribers to WWE Network can tune in here.
The Bludgeon Brothers vs The New Day, no disqualification, WWE SmackDown
After a tag title reign of terror, the monsters were finally conquered by Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods in a gripping grudge match on weekly TV.
Luke Harper vs Dominik Dijakovic, WWE When Worlds Collide
By April 2019, Harper’s frustration with his situation in WWE were well-documented. Harper himself even wrote of his desire to be able to go out to the ring and do what he does best, which led to this brilliant battle of the big men versus rising star Dijakovic.
Mr. Brodie Lee vs Jon Moxley, AEW Double Or Nothing 2020
After jumping ship to All Elite Wrestling, new Dark Order leader Lee soon entered a feud with World champion Moxley and served as the perfect choice as a hard-hitting opponent and menacing threat to the popular champ’s reign. Though he lost, Brodie showed exactly what he was capable of as a top-line performer.
Mr. Brodie Lee vs Cody Rhodes, AEW Dynamite
Remember what we said about the effectiveness of squash matches? Lee’s swift, brutal and one-sided dethroning of TNT Television champion Cody was a perfect example, amplified by the Dark Order’s subsequent dismantling of everyone in Cody’s Nightmare Family stable. Cody did a stretcher job and would disappear until…
Mr. Brodie Lee vs Cody Rhodes, Dog Collar Match, AEW Dynamite
Their rematch for the belt upon Cody’s return to TV was a more ‘proper’ match. It was also a brutal homage to Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine, as well as Cody’s revenge as he regained the belt. Sadly, it was also Brodie’s final televised bout. However there is no denying that the legacy he left behind as an in-ring performer is as admirable as his reputation as a devoted family man.