JON HUBER MEMORIAL (RIP — 1979 – 2020)


DISCLAIMER: THIS WILL BE AN HONEST POINT OF VIEW. Just because he’s passed, it doesn’t mean people need to pretend like Brodie Lee was the G.O.A.T. as so often happens when wrestlers die. People get caught up when wrestlers die and their minds start to wonder that maybe – just maybe – the guy who just died is underrated. There will be none of that. R.I.P. Brodie Lee, but no. We’re not doing that here. There’s no reason to be *dishonestly kind*.

Also, I won’t pretend like I’m this huge independent wrestling fan who has seen everybody before they were mainstream, because I’m not that guy. I know Brodie Lee – or WWE fans know him as Luke Harper – got started in the northeast indies in the mid-2000s. I first became aware of him when he joined CHIKARA and saw him doing some stuff, but never really took notice. He joined ROH in 2008 during the HDNet Era and worked the Age of the Fall angle with Jimmy Jacobs which is where I would start watching him on a weekly basis. If you want to read about his work with other indies during this time period, check out Bob Colling has some reviews from his work in CHIKARA, 2CW, and JAPW.

On March 12, 2012 – twenty days before WrestleMania 28 which I believe still holds the record for highest grossing wrestling PPV ever – it was announced Brodie Lee signed a developmental deal with WWE. While WWE might not have been as popular week-to-week, it was a smart move to at least have the opportunity to make the biggest bucks in the biz after staying in the indies for eight years. Brodie Lee will now be called Luke Harper. Harper and later Erick Rowan would be revealed as the sons of the Wyatt Family with Bray Wyatt at the helm. While they decimated everyone in their path for weeks, Harper and Rowan made it all the way to the NXT tag team title tournament finals to crown the first-ever champions to meet the British Ambition team of Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey. Whatever happened to *that* guy?

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Adrian Neville & Bo Dallas (c) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) – (NXT, 5/8/13)

On the February 13 episode of NXT, two British dudes named Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey became the first-ever NXT tag champs by defeating Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in an eight-team tournament finals match. A month later, Oliver Grey would tear his ACL and his career in WWE as yet to recover. Since Bo Dallas was an up and comer on NXT who had run-ins with the Wyatt Family and had some minor success against the main roster guys, it only made perfect sense for Neville to choose Dallas as his new partner for this title match. In fact while teaming together, Neville and Dallas had already beaten the Wyatt Family once before on the April 3 episode of NXT. So here they are again – NXT TAG TITLES ON THE LINE.

Dallas and Rowan start us off as Dallas tries to control Rowan with headlocks. Dallas and Neville punish Rowan with strikes which will only go so far. Neville goes on the run and surprises Rowan with a crossbody block for two. Back over to Dallas, he’s consistent with the headlock. We take a look at Bray Wyatt sitting in his rocking chair at the top of the ramp. Rowan punches back on Neville and tags Harper. William Regal on commentary talks about how Harper seems to be the brains of the team while Rowan is just a “sheer beast”. Neville catches Harper with a flying headscissors and follows up with a running forearm smash in the corner. The Standing SSP gets two. Tag to Dallas, they give Harper a double suplex for two. Dallas applies a neck wrench, but Harper fights out and cuts off Dallas with a backbreaker. COMMERCIALS! When we return, now Rowan has Dallas in a neck vice. Harper tags in, but Dallas gets away from him to hot tag Neville. EXPLOSIVE~! He nails Rowan with a tope suicida. Back inside, he kicks down Harper and lands the RED ARROW for 1-2-NO! Rowan makes the save! That’s the move that won them the NXT tag titles. Rowan starts slamming Neville, but nearly gets pinned with an inside cradle. Rowan cuts him off with an elbow drop. He then places Neville up in his corner so Rowan and Harper can beat the crap out of him. Harper grabs a chinlock and again Neville shocks the Wyatt family with a small package. Harper pops him in the mouth on the way up. Neville ducks a boot in the corner causing Harper to go flying out to the floor. HOT TAG TO BO DALLAS! When Rowan puts a stop to it, Dallas reverses the momentum with an inverted DDT for two.  Rowan stops the ten-count corner punch and delivers a Pumphandle Powerslam for 1-2-NO! Dallas escapes a second pumphandle slam with a SPEAR to Rowan for two. Rowan ends up throwing Dallas into Neville and tags Harper to deliver the DISCUS LARIAT for the win and the NXT tag titles. (12:42 shown) Looks like they did the right thing here to put the belts on the Wyatt family, but the problem now is whether or not Neville should continue with Bo Dallas as his partner (which he doesn’t) or seek help elsewhere. Neville chooses the latter (as Bo Dallas goes ahead and wins the NXT title) and grabs Corey Graves to be his next partner. Match was decent, but it didn’t get to that next level. **¾

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (c) (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. Adrian Neville & Corey Graves – (NXT, 7/17/13)

Bray hangs out in his rocking chair and just lets his boys do all the work today. I always thought Band of Horses should do the Wyatt Family entrance theme, but here we are. Graves starts off punishing Harper to start in and out of the ring. Tag to Neville, Harper fights back and tags Rowan. He headbutts Neville back into the ropes and catches him trying a crossbody block, but what he doesn’t know is Graves has blind tagged Neville and dropkicks Neville to knock Rowan over. Graves continues to be faster than the Wyatt family and takes Harper over with dragon screw leg whips. Rowan comes in I’m guessing to help out, but Neville takes him out with a springboard dropkick. Meanwhile, Harper blocks a spear with a big boot for two. Commercials! When we return, Harper and Rowan continue to get heat on Graves keeping him contained for several minutes. Big moment as Harper catches Graves with the Black Hole Slam for two. Harper misses a running boot in the corner and goes flying out to the floor. HOT TAG TO NEVILLE! So many forearms! Neville takes out Harper with a headscissors off the apron. Rowan joins Harper on the floor as Neville wipes them out with an Asai Moonsault. Back in, time for the Reverse 450 Splash to Rowan, but Harper breaks up the pin. Neville still wants the Red Arrow, but Bray Wyatt trips him up. Rowan covers Neville for two. Next thing we know, SHEAMUS comes out and beats the crap out of Wyatt. Apparently, they have beef. Elsewhere, Graves cuts off Rowan at the knees. Neville then heads up top and lands the RED ARROW for the win and the NXT tag titles. (10:44 shown) Some extra risks were taken here in this match as Neville doesn’t know when he might get another shot at the tag belts. Now it’s time for the Wyatt Family to head over to the main roster full-time. ***¼

  • Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan – (WWE Survivor Series 2013)

Since becoming part of the main roster back in July, the Wyatt Family has been running roughshod over everyone in their way. Now they have come upon the two biggest babyfaces in the company: CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. This is Punk’s penultimate PPV match for WWE – as of 2020. I had to take a break and listen to “Cult of Personality” turned up to 11. Okay, I’m back and READY TO GO. Obviously, the biggest match to date for either Luke Harper or Erick Rowan. It’s also their first match on WWE PPV – so it can only go down from here!

We get some vintage stick-and-move from Bryan to start. Rowan gets cornered as Punk tags in and he tries to tear him down at the legs. Rowan hammers Punk down and runs him into the corner to tag out to Harper. YEAH YEAH YEAH. He’s like a strange Jimmy Garvin! Punk comes out of the corner with a crossbody block, but then Harper is back with chops. Rowan tags in and grabs a bearhug. Punk earclaps out and kicks Rowan to set up a suplex, but that won’t happen. Rowan blocks the suplex, but Punk counters and slips away to tag in Bryan. They try a double suplex, but Rowan winds up giving them both a suplex instead. Bryan avoids a corner charge and starts kicking Rowan. He brings him over to Punk for more kicks. DOUBLE BACK SUPLEX to Rowan gets two. Rowan stands up and slams Punk to take back control. Tag to Harper, he stalks Punk only to get caught in the good guy corner. Bryan tags in as he and Punk land a DOUBLE DROPKICK. ROCK AND ROLL EXPRESS LIVES FOREVER. Series of YES Kicks follow. Punk tags back in for the HART FOUNDATION FINISH for two. Rowan distracts Punk long enough for Harper to revive and land a giant big boot. He applies a neck vice and then follows up with a backbreaker. Harper tags in and catches Punk with a nasty European uppercut. He follows up with the Gator Roll and holds onto a headlock. Punk comes back with kicks, but Harper blocks one for a slam. Back over to Rowan for more heel heat. Punk comes back with a tornado DDT on Rowan and hot tags Bryan. Here comes the VINTAGE DANIEL BRYAN COMEBACK. He sends Harper to the floor for the tope suicida. Looks like Harper wrenched his knee there. Back inside, Bryan lands the missile dropkick for 1-2-NO! The Yes Kicks are blocked for a powerbomb, but Bryan counters with a headscissors. The running corner dropkick stuns Harper and Bryan looks for a top-rope hurracanrana, but Harper blocks for a SUPER SITOUT POWERBOMB for 1-2-NO! Punk makes the save. Rowan throws him clear over the top rope to take him out. Crowd thinks this is awesome. Tag to Rowan, he splashes Bryan for two. He starts slamming Bryan for a nearfall. Rowan keeps Punk on the floor and tags Harper. As Bryan starts to fight back, Harper cuts him off with a Half Nelson Suplex. He charges Punk, but Punk catches him with a head kick to knock down Harper. You idiot! HOT TAG TO PUNK! The springboard clothesline connects leading to the VINTAGE CM PUNK COMEBACK. The corner knee sets up potentially the Macho Elbow, but then Punk flies down onto Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan on the floor. Back inside, Punk hits the swinging neckbreaker to set up the Macho Elbow for two. Crowd chants for Randy Savage. Punk calls for the Go2Sleep, but Rowan saves the day. Bryan knocks out Rowan with the BUSAIKU KNEE KICK. Meanwhile, Punk ducks the Discus Lariat and lands GO2SLEEP on Harper for the win. (16:53) This might have gone just a little long considering the limitations of Erick Rowan in particular, but Harper and Rowan couldn’t be in the ring with two better workers to get them to become better workers themselves. Probably should have given the Wyatt Family the win here as it could always stand as a “feather in their cap” and also to further the story to build to a bigger win for Punk and Bryan down the road. But hey, that’s WWE! ***¼

  • The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield – (WWE Elimination Chamber 2014)

From my review from said event. The crowd was chanting “this is awesome” before the bell even sounded. This match is exactly what wrestling should be about: building separate entities and have them meet at the top for one big fight that everyone wants to see. While the Wyatt Family are booked as what the Shield once was, each member of the Shield had their own role to play here. Ambrose has been seen lately as the weak link of the crew, Reigns believes he will be the breakout star of the group and his partners are just holding him back, and Rollins is just trying to keep everything together. Ambrose and Rollins work as faces in peril and Reigns tries to get the match back on track for his team. The Wyatt Family do a great job of controlling their opponents, but I find those parts of the match being a tad boring. They don’t do enough to make the wrestler being controlled really work for that hot tag. While their control segments might be a little slow, they do a good job of taking the crowd up and down thinking a comeback is imminent. Rollins was the unsung hero of this match. He did an awesome back flip to avoid a Super German Suplex from Harper and then blasts him out on the floor with a follow-up suicide dive. Once Reigns gets the hot tag and the match breaks down, Rollins takes out Harper again this time with a great somersault plancha. What happens from there is Bray Wyatt brawls with Ambrose out into the audience and we never hear from Ambrose again. When Bray comes back to ringside, he commands Rowan and Harper to double-chokeslam poor Rollins through the announce table. That leaves Reigns all by himself with the Wyatt Family. Just as it looks like the end is near, Reigns avoids Sister Abigail and cleans house. He sets up Bray for the Spear, but Harper sacrifices himself and takes the Spear instead. Bray seizes the moment and runs over Reigns to set up Sister Abigail for real this time for the win. (22:42) This just had an amazing amount of action, great storytelling, and the right atmosphere for me. ****¼

  • The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield – (WWE RAW, 3/3/14)

Much like in the first encounter, the Shield strike first. They do the same spot where Rollins flips out of a Super German Suplex and starts going CRAZY with the dives onto Harper and Rowan. Dean Ambrose intercepts Bray Wyatt interfering while Rollins falls off the top to the floor. Harper heads out and joins Rollins for some ringside violence as we go to commercial. When we return, Harper is still in control of Rollins now inside the ring. He eats an enziguri though to allow Rollins to crawl to his corner, but both Ambrose and Reigns are distracted by Bray Wyatt and the tag isn’t made. In comes Rowan, Rollins dumps him onto the middle buckle and as he’s crawling for a tag, Harper kicks Reigns to the floor. Ambrose does get a tag though and he starts clubbing Rowan. He wants to take out the knee and delivers a dragon screw leg whip to go into the FIGURE-FOUR WOOOOOOO. Harper breaks up the hold with a double stomp. Reigns has had enough and takes Harper to the floor and throws him into the timekeeper’s area. We get a battle between Wyatt and Ambrose as Bray drills him with a uranage. Now Ambrose is stuck on the wrong side of town. Crowd starts to chant for CM Punk. There was still some hope he’d be back at this point. Ambrose connects with the Rebound Lariat on Rowan, but Wyatt gets the tag. He knocks Reigns off the apron, but turns around into a DDT from Ambrose. Just before Ambrose makes it to his corner, Rollins drops off the apron and heads up the ramp. WHAT. Reigns tries to stop him, but Rollins suggests Reigns and Ambrose figure out what’s going on here. That gets Reigns FIRED UP. He comes back to the ring and goes nuts on the Wyatt Family. Ambrose delivers a drop toe hold to Harper into the ropes and holds him in place while Reigns runs over with the sliding kick to the face. If that’s not enough, now Reigns is SPEARING Rowan over the announce table. HERE COMES HARPER with a tope suicida to send Rollins now over the announce table. Ambrose mounts Harper and punches away, but then Wyatt saves the day and runs Ambrose into the post. Back inside, Wyatt puts away Ambrose with SISTER ABIGAIL for the win while Rollins watches on at the top of the ramp. (10:59 shown) Loved the story between these two teams as the Wyatt Family continue to destroy the Shield from within. ***½

  • The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield – (WWE Main Event, 4/8/14)

So that should be it, right? The Wyatt Family won two straight matches. There’s no rubber match, so they shouldn’t need to face each other anymore. Clearly, the Wyatt Family are superior. WRONG. They meet again on… MAIN EVENT? Okay then. This is the week after WrestleMania 30 so everyone is super pumped about everything WWE – especially considering Daniel Bryan grabbed the brass ring and won the WWE world title. At WrestleMania 30, The Shield defeated the Old Age Outlaws and Kane while Bray Wyatt had his family join him at ringside to do the J-O-B to THE CHAMP IS HERE.

Ambrose and Rowan (while still wearing his sheep mask) start the match in a “meeting of the minds”. Ambrose slaps the mask off to get this going. Rowan winds up in the wrong corner as Rollins tags in to give Rowan a double suplex. Rowan pounds Rollins and runs into a boot in the corner. Rollins comes chopping and punching his way out. He tries a crucifix into some sort of MMA-style chokehold. Rowan is too awkward to make this look interesting. When Rollins releases the hold, all six men run into the ring to look crazy as we go to break. When we return, Bray Wyatt has taken over on Rollins as the Wyatt Family get some heat on him. Harper lets us know that YEAH YEAH YEAH. Rollins flips out of the corner and dumps Harper into the middle buckle to set up a HOT TAG TO REIGNS! Tag to Ambrose, a flubbed Reverse 3D to Harper gets two. Ambrose goes over and bothers with Rowan only to turn around into a big boot from Harper. In comes Bray, he avalanches Ambrose and starts slapping him while Ambrose is down. Back over to Rowan, he does the Knuckle Sandwich hold that we used to see Sgt. Slaughter do. Ambrose fights out, but runs into a side slam for two. More nasty heat on Ambrose while the Wyatt Family keep the ring cut in half. More commercials. When we come back, Ambrose is still in trouble. Harper does his Gator Roll routine. Rowan works a bearhug, but Ambrose gets out and puts on a sleeperhold. Ever being the genius of the crew, Rowan falls back hard on Ambrose. Back to Harper, he starts punishing Ambrose with European uppercuts until Ambrose fights back with the Rebound Lariat. Wyatt cuts off the tag, but Ambrose avoids a charge with a boot the face. They then meet up top where Ambrose fights off Wyatt only to fly down into a uranage for 1-2-NO! The match breaks down. Harper boots Reigns off the apron onto the announce table and then wipes him out with a suicide dive that takes Reigns OVER the announce table. These guys working hard on Tuesday night. Meanwhile in the ring, Wyatt goes for Sister Abigail, but Ambrose counters and rolls up Wyatt for 1-2-NO! DDT to Wyatt! HOT TAG TO ROLLINS! He takes Rowan and Harper to the floor to nail them with suicide dives of his own! AWESOME. Back inside, Rollins fights off Bray Wyatt and delivers the Standing Shiranui to Rowan for 1-2-NO! Harper breaks up the pin, but Ambrose sends him to the floor only to be wiped out by Bray. While Wyatt is hyping himself up, Reigns appears and nails him with the Superman Punch. Rowan then dumps Reigns to the floor, but then Rollins delivers an enziguri to take out Rowan. Now we see Harper back inside and eats a kick into the ropes as well. Reigns comes over to nail Harper with the sliding kick from the apron. Ambrose tags in and stuns Rowan with a dropkick to stagger into a springboard knee from Rollins. Now Rowan doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going and gets nailed with the original DIRTY DEEDS for the win. (17:27 shown) The Shield finally get the win over the Wyatt Family. Good on WWE for giving these six guys plenty of air time to go out there and do what they do. This is my second favorite of the three matches as it was just an old school “double heat” six-man tag. It’s a hidden gem on a show that rarely ever has anything going out of your way to see. ****

  • 2/3 Falls for the WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan – (WWE Battleground 2014)

FIRST FALL: Jey SLAPS THE MASK off Rowan to start. Big mistake though as he gets run down with a shoulderblock. Harper steps on Jey, but lets him up and takes a dropkick to the floor. Harper and Rowan regroup. Jey gets flung into the bottom rope and slides out to the floor. Back in, Rowan and Harper take turns cranking and twisting on Jey’s obvious neck troubles. Hot tag to Jimmy, but Harper runs him down with a massive big boot to wipe him out and secure the first fall at 4:45. Jimmy’s got a compound fracture!

SECOND FALL: Knowing the tag titles are within their sights, Harper and Rowan go to work punishing Jimmy some more. That continues on for a few minutes. Eventually, Jimmy flips out of a back suplex and falls back into his corner to tag his brother. Harper charges in trying to stop the tag, but Jey sneaks in and rolls him up for the pinfall to make it one fall apiece at 8:11. Eek, I might have let that just be a nearfall and try again.

THIRD FALL: Rowan and Harper take turns throwing Jey around. Harper misses a corner charge and falls out to the floor. Hot tag to Jimmy, he planchas on Harper and Rowan individually. That’s right, TWO planchas back to back. Since they are this generation Hardy Boyz, Jimmy scales the guardrail and leaps on Harper. Back inside, Jimmy delivers a flying bodypress to Harper for 1-2-NO! He catches Harper with an enziguri and follows up with a Buttalanche, but then Harper shoots right back up and avalanches poor Jimmy. That’s not enough to stop Jimmy from flipping out of the sitout powerbomb though, as he comes back with the Corkscrew Moonsault for two. Harper then boots Jimmy out to the floor and catches him with a tope suicida. Dang. He wants the sitout powerbomb, but sees Jey and looks for another tope suicida. Jey sees him coming and blasts Harper with a superkick, which staggers him back into a rollup from Jimmy for 1-2-NO! Now Harper hits the Sitout Powerbomb on Jimmy for 1-2-NO! Now that Rowan is awake, he slowly heads to the top and flies down, but Jimmy moves at the last second. Harper gets crotched up top and Jimmy leaps for the tag to Jey. Samoan Splash to Rowan! Cover, 1-2-NO! NOBODY KICKS OUT OF THE SAMOAN SPLASH. Rowan stops Jey up top and over comes Jimmy. Instead of knocking down Rowan, they play off the double superplex spot from Money in the Bank. This time, Rowan delivers a double superplex to the Usos! Rowan covers one of them for 1-2-NO! Harper and Rowan go for the coup de grace, but Jey saves his brother with superkicks. Harper throws out Jey and nails Jimmy with a superkick of his own. Time for the Discus Clothesline, but Jimmy hits *him* with a superkick. Harper NO-SELLS and drills Jimmy with the DISCUS CLOTHESLINE anyways! Cover, 1-2-NO! Jey makes the save! The Usos then go STEREO SUPERKICK CRAZY on Harper and Rowan. With Rowan out of the picture, the Usos hit a SIDE BY SIDE SAMOAN SPLASH onto Harper! That gets the win. (18:50) It’s a little annoying that there doesn’t seem to be anybody that can beat the Usos in the PPV matches, because I’d love to know what their win-loss record is on TV as champions. Evidently they don’t want to put the tag straps on Harper and Rowan because I feel like this was their best chance. I really don’t see any reason to give Harper and Rowan a THIRD title shot on PPV. Anyways, a fun bunch of nearfalls and I always enjoy a good callback to earlier matches like they did here a few times. They pulled out all the stops in that last fall, leaving really nothing left for these two teams to do for a while. Do they bring in the Ascension from NXT? Because no other tag team in WWE right now could convincingly compete with the Usos in my opinion. ***¾

  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Luke Harper – (WWE RAW, 11/17/14)

After Bray Wyatt dissolves the Wyatt Family and setting Luke Harper and Erick Rowan free, Harper returns to WWE TV wanting to show Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley why he’s a team player and should be a part of the Authority crew by dumping a beaten down Dolph Ziggler at their feet. Now he gets to face Ziggler. Seth Rollins – now part of the Authority he was fighting months six months earlier – joins us for commentary. After the break, Lillian Garcia springs it on Ziggler that this is an IC title match. Rollins’ security guys MERCURY AND NOBLE jump Ziggler and beat the crap out of him before the bell rings. As Ziggler tries to fight back, Rollins whacks him with the MITB briefcase. Yep, Rollins was the MITB winner in 2014. Now Harper is ready to get going. Rollins rejoins Cole, JBL, and Lawler at the table and has a good laugh. Ring the bell, Asian ref! Harper waits and continues to look crazy in the corner.

As soon as the bell rings, Harper runs at him with a big boot for 1-2-NO! Demon Bomb gets two as well. Rollins doesn’t know what to think about that. Harper misses a big boot in the corner and flies out to the floor. Commercials! When we return, Harper is back in control. When it looks like a stalling vertical suplex is about to happen to Ziggler, Harper puts him back down on the mat and gives him a good Big Bossman uppercut for two. Here comes the Gator Roll. Ziggler fights out and hits the Famouser for 1-2-NO! Harper ducks the superkick and delivers the Black Hole Slam for another nearfall. Ziggler avoids the Discus Lariat and lands the Superkick for two. Harper goes for another Powerbomb, but Ziggler starts to punch out. To avoid anymore of that garbage, Harper dumps him on the mat and catches him with the DISCUS LARIAT once Ziggler returns to his feet. That’s enough to put Ziggler away to award Harper the IC title. (4:58 shown) This was actually a fun match as both guys stand tall leading into Survivor Series. Harper needed the win and the title here as he’s now on the immortal list of IC champions. **

  • Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Luke Harper (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler – (WWE TLC 2014)

The cards are completely stacked against Harper here as we’re in Ziggler’s hometown of Cleveland and Ziggler’s type of match. There’s ladders EVERYWHERE around ringside and a bunch of them end up in the ring to start. Remember when there was just ONE ladder? Geez. After Harper throws Ziggler into a ringside ladder, he then throws Ziggler over into the timekeeper’s area and goes for his IC belt. Ziggler tips the ladder over, but Harper lands on his feet and boots him down. Back on the floor, Harper makes a bridge out of a ladder between the ring apron and one of the announce tables. He looks to powerbomb Ziggler, but Ziggler slips away only to run into a Black Hole Slam. Harper tips a ladder over onto Ziggler and gets back in the ring to retrieve his IC title. When Ziggler stops Harper, Harper throws him into a ladder and again tips another ladder over onto Ziggler. He continues to abuse Ziggler with a ladder, but Ziggler blocks a charge and knocks a ladder back into Harper’s face. Ziggler tries the old Shawn Michaels ladder spot from the top rope, but he takes too long and Harper dropkicks him down to the floor. He then drops another ladder on Ziggler. Come on, Luke. GET CREATIVE.

Harper spies Ziggler standing up holding a ladder and decides to suicide dive into the ladder. That’s really not what I meant when I said get creative. It did seem to hurt Ziggler, but his shoulder looks messed up as he lands on the floor. Seizing the moment, Ziggler runs into the ring and sets up the ladder to try and win, but Harper is able to stop him. Ziggler fights him off, but Harper is able to turn the ladder over on him. Harper sets the ladder up in the corner, but Ziggler dropkicks him down onto another ladder. The Famouser is blocked and Harper buckle bombs Ziggler onto the ladder stuck in the corner. Yeah. Harper *does* get creative with the ladder as he puts a ladder on top of Ziggler and gives him a catapult into the middle rope. Nasty. That busts him open – as it should. The ringside doctor tends to Ziggler while Harper starts to climb for the belt, but Ziggler stops him at the top. They trade YAY-BOO punches until the ladder tips over. Ziggler fights off another powerbomb on the ladder with YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN. Harper stops Ziggler by pulling his foot to bring him off the ladder, but then Ziggler falls down onto Harper and continues to give him a DDT! Harper tries the Terry Funk ladder spot, but Ziggler superkicks him away. Ziggler then knocks Harper onto the ladder bridge. Ziggler reaches the IC title, but can’t pull it down before Harper turns the ladder over as Ziggler takes a CRAZY BUMP to the mat. Just when it looks like Ziggler is done, he climbs to the top and forces a ladder over onto the tall ladder in the middle ring to sandwich Harper. That had to hurt. Harper then still manages to stop Ziggler and sets a ladder beside the other ladder. Once Harper climbs his ladder, Ziggler kicks him down and retrieves the belt to win his fourth IC championship. (16:41) These guys beat the hell out of each other and I got to give them props for it. A good match, but I’m not really getting the finish. It wasn’t clear what Harper was going for there. With a day shy of four weeks as IC champion, Harper has one of the shortest runs with the belt in the history of the title. ***½

  • Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns – (WWE SummerSlam 2015)

So Luke Harper appeared in “disguise” at the Battleground PPV a month earlier to help Wyatt defeat Roman Reigns and to pick up where the Wyatt Family left off nearly a year earlier when Harper and Rowan were “set free”. Ambrose and Reigns RUN WILD on the Wyatt family to start. We get some WILD ringside violence as Ambrose runs down the three announce tables to leap onto Wyatt in the crowd. Back inside, Reigns and Ambrose continue to dominate until Wyatt comes back to distract Ambrose. He gets into a tiff on the floor with Reigns, but then gives him a uranage onto the ring apron. Harper then wipes out Reigns with a tope suicida and a superkick that takes Reigns at the feet of Cole, Lawler, and JBL. Ambrose tries to dive onto the Wyatt Family, but they aren’t impressed. Harper boots him down and then Wyatt delivers the running senton splash. Back in the ring, Wyatt and Harper start knocking Ambrose around. Some nice chops from Harper. Bray picks up the violence with an Orton DDT to the floor. BRUTAL. In the ring, Wyatt throws Ambrose into a big boot from Harper. The Wyatt family continue to get heat on Ambrose while Reigns is still licking his wounds. Not sure why he’s still out. Roman sneaks over to his corner and quickly gets his hot tag that everybody boos. He runs wild on Harper which is no small task. He starts dumping Harper around and calls for the Superman Punch, but runs into a superkick to set up the Demon Bomb for 1-2-NO! Bray is ready to put Roman down. It looks like a Spike Piledriver coming, but Roman fights them off and lands Superman Punches on both Bray and Luke. Tag to Ambrose, we get the Doomsday Device on Bray. Cover, 1-2-NO! Reigns catches Harper with another Superman Punch to stagger him for a Double Powerbomb. Wyatt intercepts Ambrose for Sister Abigail, but Ambrose fights him off and lands DIRTY DEEDS. He tags in Reigns who hits the OOO-AHH SPEAR for the three-count. (10:56) They made this in a really fun brawl considering the time they were given. These guys just prove time and time again what great chemistry they have together. ***¼

  • Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman vs. Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns – (WWE Night of Champions 2015)

Yeah, Chris Jericho is the MYSTERY PARTNER of Ambrose and Reigns. Cole is quick to remind everyone of the feud Jericho and Wyatt during the summer of 2014. Much like the tag match at SummerSlam, it starts out with the good guys going nuts on Harper. Crowd makes sure to let Jericho know he’s still got it, which is funny considering the 2019 he had. We get a staredown between Reigns and Strowman, which I’m sure made Vince cum his pants. Ambrose and Reigns can’t put Strowman down – nor should they at this point. Jericho gets thrown on top of Ambrose and Reigns down on the floor. TOTAL DESTRUCITY! Back inside, Strowman continues to dominate. Tag to Bray, and Ambrose comes back with a swinging neckbreaker. He reaches Reigns for a tag as he runs wild on – you guessed it – Luke Harper. Reigns gets a nearfall off a Demon Bomb and then starts clubbing Harper in the corner to send him to the floor. Strowman stops Reigns and that allows Harper to catch Reigns with a superkick. Back over to Wyatt, he gives Reigns a uranage for two. Strowman tags in and throws Reigns around. The Wyatt Family continue to get heat on Reigns for a while longer. At one point, Ambrose tries to stop Strowman with a sleeperhold on the floor and winds up getting dumped into the timekeeper’s area. Meanwhile, Reigns reaches Jericho for a hot tag. He gets the WALLS OF JERICHO on Bray. Once Jericho drags Bray back to the center of the ring, Harper breaks up the hold. Tag to Ambrose, he dropkicks Harper to the floor. Neither Ambrose nor Wyatt can hit their finish, but they do whack each other with a clothesline for a double-KO. Reigns tags in and he stuns Strowman with a pair of Superman Punches. Ambrose flies in and knocks Strowman down before flying out to wipe out Harper. OOO-AHH SPEAR to Strowman! Jericho tags Reigns when he’s not looking and hits the Lionsault on Strowman for 1-2-NO! He kicks out – WITH AUTHORITY. Wyatt yanks out Reigns and throws him into the barricade. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker on Strowman, but Strowman blocks and flips Jericho around for the YOKOSUKA CUTTER. With Jericho already out, Strowman lifts him up off the mat for the TRAINGLE CHOKE to put Jericho to sleep for the win. (13:05) I think I could watch some combination of these teams fight forever. This was another tag match and sets Strowman up as the new monster of not only the Wyatt Family, but the WWE. Not a lot of focus in this match on Harper as he was mainly there to take bumps and he did that very well. ***½

  • Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton – (WWE Elimination Chamber 2017)

After injuries plagued 2016 for the Wyatt family, it would seem Randy Orton would get sucked into the crew. It looks like Harper is looking to make a babyface run as he and Orton aren’t getting along and it looks like Bray Wyatt has chosen to back Orton without actually kicking Harper out of the family just yet. Some wild antics, some stiff tie-ups, and one hard shoulderblock that puts down Orton gets this match going. Harper meets Orton on the floor for some Bossman uppercuts. Back inside, Harper unloads on Orton with a jumping dropkick that the commentators always go nuts over. He heads up top, but Orton punches him to the floor for a nasty bump. Orton continues to abuse Harper and then dumps him on an announce table that knocks him silly. LOVE IT. Back in, Orton covers for a two-count. Now time for the Orton chinlock. When Harper tries to fight out, Orton maintains control and drapes him over the top rope. He then takes a moment to do the VINTAGE ORTON pose up in the corner. Time for the Garvin Stomp. More chinlockage. Harper escapes and delivers a slingshot senton bomb from the apron to stagger Orton for a big boot that gets two. Orton dumps Harper to the apron and tries the DDT, but Harper snaps the neck on the top rope and then catapults Orton onto the middle rope. Orton rolls out and baits Harper into the tope suicida, but then Harper dumps Orton on the floor and lands the tope suicida for real this time. Now Orton gets his body dropped onto an announce table, but then Orton pops up and powerslams Harper to the floor. They then meet up top for a superplex battle, which Orton wins. Slow cover gets two. HARPER WILL NOT DIE. He avoids the RKO, but not the Full Nelson Slam. That gets two as well. The Orton DDT connects. Orton taking his time in the ring is what every wrestler needs to pay attention to these days. It could be RKO time, but Harper pops up with a superkick to stagger Orton. One more superkick puts Orton on his backside for two. Orton fights it, but ultimately Harper lands the Demon Bomb for 1-2-NO! They brawl to their feet and Harper goes for the Discus Clothesline, but Orton knocks it away and lands the RKO for the win. (17:15) I’ve seen some people voice they didn’t like this match when it happened because they felt this should have been more of a hate-fueled fight considering the situation, but I think you could make the case that Harper was trying to prove to Bray that he made the mistake of bringing Orton into the family by showing he was the better wrestler. That doesn’t really make sense considering it’s not like the Wyatt Family are Team Angle or anything. With the plans they had going for Orton at WrestleMania, they could also have not wanted this to get “too hot” as well so Orton. With the door shut on this feud, they could move ahead. Anyways, I’m probably in the minority, but I like the Orton pace. Sue me. Fun match, and a fun story. I would call this Harper’s best WWE singles match. That claim really isn’t that arguable. ****

  • WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The New Day – (WWE WrestleMania 34)

So in 2017, we saw the end of the Wyatt Family as Bray Wyatt was sent to RAW while Harper and Rowan remained on Smackdown. Not a whole lot happened for Harper until he and Rowan returned in the fall of 2017 as the Bludgeon Brothers who were clearly targeting the Smackdown tag champs the Usos while also trying to ward off the New Day who had been after the Usos tag titles as well. This led to a three-way match at WRESTLEMANIA 34.

Harper and Rowan are knocked to the floor and immediately thereafter, Kofi lands TROUBLE IN PARADISE at the bell on one of the Usos. Harper and Rowan yank Kingston off the cover and boot him down. Jimmy leaps onto Rowan and gets dropped on the apron before Jimmy is booted to the steps. The fight continues on the floor as the Bludgeon Bros wipe out Big E as well. WHERE’S JEY? He’s still selling the Trouble in Paradise kick. They now look to Xavier Woods and throw him back first into the ringpost. In the ring, Rowan splashes Kingston and Jey. Rowan then dumps out Jey leaving Kingston all alone. Big E stops the finish allowing Jimmy Uso to come in and go nuts with superkicks. In comes Jey, the Usos deliver corner kicks from both sides to Harper. Big Samoan Splash by Jey gets two. Harper continues to get kicked around into the Big Ending, but Rowan saves the day. The Usos kick him to the floor and go for STEREO TOPE SUICIDAS, but they are CAUGHT. Rowan wants a double chokeslam, but the Usos fight back and double suplex him on the floor. Back in the ring, Big E tries the Big Ending again on Harper, but Harper shoves him off to the floor and hits the Black Hole Slam on Kingston. Harper then receives STEREO SUPERKICKS on the top rope to lead to a TOWER OF DOOM, but Rowan saves the day again. Everybody clears out but Harper and Kingston. Harper headbutts Kingston from the top rope into Rowan’s arms for a powerbomb. WHO IS THIS COMMENTATOR? He then hands Kingston over to Harper for the SUPER DEMON BOMB for the win and the tag titles. (5:50) So Harper and Rowan do together what they never could with Bray Wyatt in their ear as they secure main roster tag team gold. They certainly have a different feel with the costume change and actually seem more focused. If the goal was to put them over as huge monsters, I believe mission accomplished. **½

  • WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. Team Hell No – (WWE Extreme Rules 2018)

So the Bludgeon Brothers attacked Daniel Bryan and Kane in the backstage area earlier in the show. Paramedics were called for Kane, so Bryan is now facing a handicap match situation. Bryan uses his speed to separate the two guys. He’s got Harper up top for a hurracanrana. He keeps Rowan on the floor and applies the YES LOCK on Harper, but Rowan pulls Bryan to the floor for a ride into the steps. Now Rowan slams Harper on top of Bryan. Back inside, Rowan hits the running splash for a two-count. I really disliked Michael Cole on commentary and now we have Michael Cole v2.0 for another twenty years. More beatdown on Bryan. Eventually, Bryan puts Rowan on the floor so he can concentrate on Harper. He tries to land a tope suicida on Rowan, but only gets caught in mid-air. Rowan turns Bryan around for Harper to dive on him, but Bryan moves and Rowan gets wiped out. HERE COMES KANE, but he’s limping. Well, he’s got a boot on his left leg after his ankle was smashed the mallet of the Bludgeon Bros. Bryan reaches Kane for a hot tag as he goes CHOKESLAM CRAZY. Time for the Tombstone, but his leg gives out and Harper kicks the bad leg. Tag to Bryan, he’s got a missile dropkick for Harper and starts the Yes Kicks. Rowan intercepts the Busaiku Knee Kick and shoves Bryan off into Kane. As Bryan comes back around, he’s hit with a spinning heel kick from Rowan. The modified Doomsday Device takes care of Bryan to give the Bludgeon Bros the win. (8:17) The WWE just never fully got behind these two guys. Even when they face bigger name opponents, they have to do something cheap like a backstage beatdown in order for them to win. **

  • WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The New Day – (WWE SummerSlam 2018)

Xavier Woods and Big E are repping the New Day tonight with Kofi in their corner. Rowan and Harper cut the ring in half on Woods to start and get several nearfalls on him. They go after Big E as Rowan slams Harper on top of him. The steps get set up as the Bludgeon Bros look for a powerbomb, but Woods punches back and headscissors Harper onto the steps. Back inside, Big E gets a tag and starts going BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX CRAZY. The Running Splash by Big E stuns Harper for the Big Ending, but Harper counters and delivers a Michinoku Driver for two. Rowan tags in as he and Harper try the Crucifix Bomb, but Big E avoids *that* and avoids a corner charge from Rowan as he goes crashing to the floor. Harper lands a superkick on Big E, but then Woods goes flying with a somersault plancha on Rowan. Harper runs over and delivers the Black Hole Slam on Woods. As Harper tries to get back in the ring, Big E spears Harper through the ropes to the floor. Meanwhile, Rowan flies off the apron onto Big E. Back in the ring, Harper and Rowan deliver the CRUCIFIX BOMB on Big E for 1-2-NO! Woods makes the save. He then stuns both Bludgeon Bros with enziguri kicks, but then Rowan grabs him while Harper gives him headbutts. Rowan then lifts Woods up again and hands him over to Harper for a Demon Bomb. That gets two. While Kingston tries to hype the crowd, Rowan grabs him for a backdrop. Big E then appears and gives Rowan the BIG ENDING on the floor! In the ring, Harper boots out Woods and superkicks Big E on the apron. He takes forever to do anything, but Big E shoves Harper back down the apron only to catch him charging for an STO into a lung blower on the floor by Woods. At least, that’s what it looked like they were going for there. Back inside, Woods tags in and heads up top. Harper rolls out to the floor, but Woods is feeling froggy and decides to deliver a MACHO ELBOW to the floor. Ouch. Back inside, the New Day look to put Harper away, but then Rowan runs over and whacks Woods and Big E with the mallet for the cheap DQ. (9:27) Not a big fan of the finish, but clearly no one had taken it to the Bludgeon Bros like the New Day had here in this match, so I guess the DQ was somewhat justified. ***

  • No-DQ Match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs. The New Day – (WWE Smackdown, 8/21/18)

Big ringside brawl to start with the Bludgeon boys in charge. Kingston avoids a suplex by Harper onto the announce table and Woods comes over to running dropkick Harper over the table. Leave it to Harper to take all the bumps. Rowan grabs Woods and launches him onto the barricade. Meanwhile, Harper stops Kingston from running at Rowan by throwing one the commentator chairs at him! COMMERCIALS! When we return, the Bludgeon Brothers are still in charge. Woods fights off Harper with a rolling elbow and trips him into the announce table. Meanwhile, Kingston takes Rowan to the floor and kicks him in the face. A ladder gets pulled out from under the ring and slid into the ring. While Rowan grabs hold of Kingston and Woods, Harper takes them out with a tope suicida. Now chairs are brought into the mix. The beatings continue, but the weapons haven’t been used yet. Finally, the chair comes into play as Kingston delivers a tornado DDT to Harper on the chair. Rowan pulls Kingston out to the floor and boots him down. Woods misses a pescado, but then gets run down by Rowan. WHOA. Inside the ring, Harper and Rowan set up a scaffold using the ladder and two chairs. Kofi winds up taking the CRUCIFIX BOMB onto the ladder. Harper covers for 1-2-NO! Now they set up a table. The mallet appears. Rowan wants Harper to smack the crazy into him. He ends up missing a barricade charge as Kingston moves out of harm’s way. Now what. Harper superkicks Woods down and checks on Rowan. Looks like Rowan is done. Back inside the ring, Kingston saves Woods from taking a powerbomb through a table by jabbing Harper with the mallet. TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Kofi then puts Harper on the table as Woods comes off the top with the MACHO ELBOW THROUGH THE TABLE for the win and their FIFTH WWE tag team championship titles. (11:50 shown) Much more satisfying than the SummerSlam match. This pretty much ends the Bludgeon Brothers run as both guys took time off for injuries. ***½

  • Tornado Tag Match: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan vs. Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns – (WWE Hell in a Cell 2019)

This is the final big match ever for Harper and Rowan together as a team. The match goes in and out of the ring to start. Reigns wipes out Rowan with a Superman Punch while Manbun Harper chops away on Bryan. In the ring, Rowan dropkicks Reigns, but misses the running splash. Samoan Drop to Rowan gets two. Harper intercepts Reigns with a superkick for two. Bryan saves Reigns from being double-teamed, but he’s quickly stopped and kicked back out to the floor. Rowan and Harper keep Reigns down. As Reigns rolls out, Manbun Harper whips Bryan into the barricade while Rowan bulldozes Reigns. The steps get thrown in Roman’s face which is pretty cool. Now Harper and Rowan pick apart Bryan. Reigns saves Bryan from the Doomsday Device, but Rowan runs him over and knocks Reigns back to the floor. The YES LOCK sneaks up on Rowan, but Harper saves the day. Harper throws Bryan to Rowan for a big suplex slam. That gets two. Bryan makes a comeback, but Harper cuts him off with a Michinoku Driver. Reigns breaks up the pin and gets fired up. Rowan cools him off by pulling the top rope down on him. Bryan delivers the Yes Kicks and dropkicks the injured knee of Harper. More Yes Kicks, but then Rowan pulls Bryan out to the floor. Reigns does the drive-by sliding dropkick. Meanwhile, Harper takes out Reigns with the tope suicida. OUCH, Harper hits his face on the announce table. Everybody’s down! They tear up the announce tables and Reigns gets whacked with a piece of the barricade. WHAT. Harper and Rowan want to Demon Bomb Bryan through an announce table, but Bryan headscissors Harper away. Meanwhile, Reigns runs down the tables and SPEARS Rowan through the farthest announce table. Reigns grabs his right knee and could be in trouble. Back in the ring, Harper blocks the top rope hurracanrana with the SUPER DEMON BOMB. Cover, 1-2-NO! One Half Nelson Suplex after another. Bryan flips out of the third one and Reigns appears with the Superman Punch, Bryan nails the BUSAIKU KNEE KICK, and then Reigns delivers the SPEAR to Harper. Reigns covers Harper for the win. (16:44) This was REALLY fun and what a match for Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to go out on as a tag team. ***¾

Final Thoughts: All in all — Jon Huber had the look of Bruiser Brody, but took bumps and sold like few big men will do. He was underrated and underappreciated in the current WWE climate. Like we have seen happen to DOZENS of wrestlers over the past two decade, there are glass ceilings and a hierarchy that some guys just never pass through to get to that next level.

It does look like he made some traction in AEW having some good matches with Cody and all that, but I know very little of the context of what goes on over there, that I didn’t feel I could do the matches justice by talking about them.

With all that said, RIP Jon Huber 1979-2020. You will not be soon forgotten.

Posted on January 18, 2021, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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