When the family fell apart again, WWE scheduled a match between Harper and Orton for Elimination Chamber and it felt like his biggest match to date. Some fans felt like he needed the win to prove to the world he could be taken seriously on his own. Sadly, I could only find the highlights, but I remember it being an excellent back-and-forth between these two men. Fast forward to the 16:00 mark for an encounter which will surely go down in history as a classic.
#9: w/ Erick Rowan vs. The New Day vs. The Usos – SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 34
Another highlights package with no commentary (including sped up footage). After failing in his pursuit of the United States Championship, Harper spent a few months off TV. Upon his return, Harper & Rowan were repackaged as The Bludgeon Brothers.
And boy, did they make an impactful statement at WrestleMania 34 against The New Day and The Usos! In a match lasting just short of six minutes, the reformed Bludgeon Brothers saw to it that they would enjoy their biggest WrestleMania moment together. Highlights begin at 18:36
#10: vs. Dominick Dijakovic – Worlds Collide (NXT vs. NXT Alumni)
In April 2019, WWE’s NXT brand brought back the concept of Worlds Collide for a series of shows. I remember watching the first event oblivious to who Dijakovic’s opponent would be (Dijakovic is now T-Barr of Retribution). Harper had been out for five months after getting surgery for a wrist injury, so it was a wonderful surprise when his music hit.
Listen to the Harper chants from the NXT fans! They were so happy to see him return to the brand he & The Wyatt Family helped to build. His wife and kids were there too, so he gave her a kiss beforehand. It’s a great match! Seriously, give it a watch if you never saw it because it may surprise you.
#11: w/ Erick Rowan vs. Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns – Hell in a Cell 2019
Probably the last great tag match with his long-time partner Erick Rowan came in the form of tornado rules against Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns. You have to remember this came right after an entertaining Hell in a Cell between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, so it would not be easy for them. I love tornado rules matches because they lack any structure and both teams can do whatever they want. Many critics stated the first two matches were the peak of this PPV, and it all went downhill from there. How many times did Luke Harper help WWE PPVs with great opening matches? There’s a definite pattern. Yep, it’s another highlights package. Match begins at 4:54.
The Bludgeon Brothers disbanded when Rowan was drafted to Raw, and Luke Harper struggled to find airtime for the rest of his WWE career. There was some clear friction between him and management (or Vince McMahon himself?). It was reported that WWE felt he wasn’t good enough to be at the top level, and it was in fact Rowan who enjoyed a huge push in a program with Roman Reigns. Here are some reports from the time:
#12: vs. Jon Moxley – AEW Double or Nothing 2020
After the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Brodie Lee debuted with AEW as the leader of The Dark Order stable. He demanded his followers call him “Mr. Brodie Lee”, as he treated his minions like Vince McMahon would his employees (like getting upset when someone sneezes in front of him). Let’s not sugarcoat this, it was clearly a gimmick mocking his former boss, but he found time to show some compassion. Colt Cabana for example, accepted an invitation to the Dark Order because of how nice Brodie Lee was toward him, as they helped him to pick up wins after a rocky start to his AEW career. Brodie despised suck ups or idiots though, and would castigate his followers if they were not adhering to his direction. He also recruited young upstarts like Anna Jay who had such little experience, but he saw potential in her.
In stark contrast to WWE, AEW took a guy who struggled to find any airtime and worked around the way rankings work to get Jon Moxley to challenge him to an AEW World Championship title match. And yeah, it wasn’t cool that AEW was giving away title shots without them being earned, but I believe we accepted the exception because it was Brodie Lee. He wasn’t about to become champion right away, but having time in the main event told anyone who was unfamiliar that he was a big deal. Moxley’s title reign had suffered somewhat since the pandemic began, and I believe this match helped to get it back on track. Their chemistry from The Wyatt Family & Shield days had not dissipated.
#13: w/ The Dark Order vs. FTR & The Elite – AEW Dynamite (7/30/2020)
It’s a crazy match with so much going on, but shows The Dark Order’s potential. It was rare for Brodie to team up with several of his followers in this way, as he usually stood back in a managerial role unless it was more of a two versus two. But on this day he lead the charge, like he previously had with The Wyatt Family, against the tag team FTR and four of The Elite.
I am sure it will be a match to remember for Dark Order and AEW fans, solely because Brodie Lee lead five of his followers in to battle. There would’ve been way more to come in 2021. If The Dark Order is to continue, Evil Uno & Stu Grayson will have to take over and be what Lee wanted them to be. In Lee’s last appearance on BTE, he gave John Silver his seal of approval.
#14: vs. Cody Rhodes – TNT Championship on Dynamite (8/13/2020)
I loved this match because it came out of nowhere! It reminds me a little of when he beat Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship, only this time it was all him. Brodie Lee didn’t need any help from nobody, as he brutalized Cody from start to finish. I was legit shocked at the outcome, because I was expecting a very competitive contest. Cody spent some time away after this to recover from an injury.