There has been much talk recently about the Hall of Fame. With the 2023 edition of the WWE Hall of Fame coming up before Wrestlemania 39 in April, many fans has thrown names into the hat for who should be inducted next. 2022 saw the legendary Undertaker finally joined the hallowed halls, but one man who is often overlooked is the late, great Brodie Lee.
In this article, we’ll look to see if Brodie Lee’s career (aka Luke Harper) is HoF worthy and give you our verdict on whether or not he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
NXT Career and Main Roster Call Up
Brodie Lee had a very good career in wrestling. He wrestled on the independent scene for almost a decade, starring in various promotions including Dragon Gate, Chikara and Ring of Honor. As an incredibly agile big man, he filled a niche that very few other wrestlers could. It was because of his incredible skills, despite his size, that he was hired by the WWE in 2012 to take part in the their developmental system in Florida Championship Wrestling.
It was here he would be christened Luke Harper and become part of the legendary Wyatt Family. Led by Bray Wyatt, he was one half of the humungous tag alongside Erick Rowan, striking fear into the hearts of all that faced him. When the company changed it’s name to NXT, the pair became NXT Tag Team Champions, before losing the titles to Adrian Neville and Corey Graves.
Harper was called up to the main roster alongside his Wyatt Family brethren after Wrestlemania 29 and began a spell of dominance that would last until the following year. They feuded with a litany of top stars including Kane, Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan, with Wyatt remaining undefeated with the help of Harper and Rowan. The run ended at Wrestlemania 30, when Bray Wyatt would lose to John Cena in a controversial match.
Despite the success, Brodie Lee was not the star of the group and stuck on the periphery. When he finally had the chance to go solo in 2014, he took it and ran with. He defeated Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship in late 2014 and competed in the Survivor Series match that saw the debut of Sting in the WWE. He lost the title to Ziggler later year and ultimately returned to the side of Bray Wyatt.
He had the potential to be a WWE Champion in his career, especially in the run up to Wrestlemania 33. He was embroiled in a three way feud with WWE Champion Bray Wyatt and Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton. It was perfectly set up for a triple threat match at Wrestlemania and few fans would have complained had they pulled the trigger on a Luke Harper title run.
Sadly, the pleas were ignored and he was placed in a match on the pre-show instead. He flittered around the tag team division until he was finally granted his WWE release in 2020, after years of asking.
Brodie Lee In AEW
Brodie Lee made his debut in March 2020 as part of the well-received “Dark Order” storyline. The group had been teasing the debut of their “Exalted One”, the leader of their group and the one who would turn the group into a huge force going forward. His first appearance was one the March 18, 2020 episode of AEW Dynamite and caused a huge storm with fans who were excited to see one of their favourite WWE Superstars jumping ship to Tony Khan’s promotions.
The former Luke Harper was revealed as the Exalted One of the Dark Order, the mysterious leader at the head of the dark, cult-like faction. His debut had been long speculated, given the fact he had asked for his WWE release multiple times over the previous year. For weeks, various wrestlers had been teased as the leader, including Jake “The Snake” Roberts and ECW Legend Raven.
Announcing himself as Mr. Brodie Lee, he was immediately shot into the main event of the program in a spot he should have been during his time in WWE. With the Dark Order in his stead, he challenged Jon Moxley for the AEW Championship at Double or Nothing 2020, proving that he could be a main event star despite the loss. He looked like a monster during the match and fans had high hopes for him in the months following.
Brodie Lee then bolstered his Hall of Fame qualifications by becoming the second ever TNT Champion. AEW’s midcard belt was held by it’s first winner, Cody Rhodes. Cody (who was forced to drop the Rhodes name due to legal disputes) defended the title plentifully, in a series of open challengers against AEW talent and some surprise contenders from all over. Two of his open challenge opponents even got signed by AEW and received huge pushes over the next few years, with Eddie Kingston and Ricky Starks impressing as they fell victim to Cody during that period. Other stars who challenged him included Jungle Boy, Jake Hager and the forgotten indie flavour-of-the-month Warhorse.
From May to August, he defended the title without malice and without hesitation. Everyone who wanted to challenge for the belt usually got what they wanted – unsuccessfully. That was until Brodie Lee and his Dark Order minions came calling and made the son of Dusty Rhodes their number one target. After he defended the belt against Scorpio Sky on the August 12th, 2020 edition of AEW Dynamite, Brodie Lee appeared on screen and demanded a title match with the American Nightmare the following week – and boy did he make himself a star in that match.
On the special Saturday Night Dynamite episode (AEW had struggled in the early days with regularly changing days due to competition with other sports – luckily now they feature much less interruption), Cody Rhodes defended his TNT Championship against Mr Brodie Lee. It was the main event of that episode of the show, showing just how much Tony Khan valued both men’s participation in this title match.
The match Brodie Lee the biggest, most dangerous star in the company. In just three minutes, he destroyed Cody in one of the most dominant displays in all of AEW. For a man who was so misused in the WWE, Brodie Lee made sure he was every bit the star he could be in this bout. Rhodes came out the blocks quickly, but a series of big moves followed by an earth-shattering power bomb put the match to bed and set Cody out for weeks to recover.
His last match ever was also against Cody Rhodes, a fantastic dog-collar match that brought the stipulation back into the public consciousness after decades away. Brodie Lee lost the match to drop the belt back to Cody, going on an extended hiatus to heal some injuries.
But he never came back passed. He died on 26th December 2020, after a long and secret battle with illness. His death came as a huge shock to the wrestling world, with many people not even aware of him being ill. His death hit everyone hard, as Brodie Lee was considered one of the nicest men in wrestling and had a long, storied career that took him all over the world. Ever since his death fans have been calling for Brodie Lee to go into the Hall of Fame, but should he?
Should Brodie Lee Be In The Hall of Fame?
In my opinion, Brodie Lee does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Be it a WWE Hall of Fame, AEW Hall of Fame or another other way to honour the legend, it would poorer for not having the late, great Brodie Lee as part of it’s members.
Wrestling for nearly two decades in some of the biggest companies in the world is no mean feat. He did all that while making his opponents look good and always being unselfish.
Inside the ring, very few could do what Brodie Lee did. He flew through the air with so much ease, more so than another other 6 foot 5 powerhouse had before. He could also chain wrestle with the best of them and pulled out some amazing power moves that you’d simply never seen before. His powerbomb on Cody Rhodes was also amazing.
Does his untimely death contribute to the view that Brodie Lee deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? You’d be a fool to argue against it. Ultimately, emotions rule these sort of inclusions. Wrestling is a made up sport, so you can’t go off stats and titles. Brodie Lee was a top star in AEW, should have been a big star in WWE but could have been so, so much more. Had he lived, he could have been an AEW Champion in the next few years and turned the Dark Order into his own version of the Wyatt Family – rivalling The Elite as the top faction in the company.
Brodie Lee would be a first ballot Hall of Famer in AEW and a posthumous inclusion in the middle of the WWE Hall of Fame. But that’s just my view. Tell us what you think down below about Brodie Lee’s Hall of Fame induction.