Former WWE star Luke Harper, now known as Brodie Lee, opened up about his exit from the company in a new interview detailing the end of his run.
On the latest episode of Talk is Jericho, AEW’s newest signee said the beginning of the end of his time in WWE occurred in early 2019 after sitting outside of Vince McMahons’s office for three hours in an attempt to pitch an idea to his boss after a production meeting.
When the meeting was over, Vince told Brodie he didn’t want to see anyone at the moment. Before leaving angry though, Lee tried one last time to get his pitch through.
“Finally, before I left to drive home, I gave him one final pitch,” he explained. “But same thing, he’s eating salad or something, and he’s like, ‘Yup, I’ll look at these on the plane.’ And I knew that was it.”
Based on the timeline, it sounds like all of this occurred around the time Luke Harper was announced for a match at Axxess during WrestleMania weekend. As you’ll recall, Harper shared a statement on social media at the time doubting his place in the company at the time due to the fact that he wasn’t booked on any of the main WWE shows. He then ended up participating in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale that year.
According to Brodie, he was placed in the battle royal after text messaging Vince McMahon and having a conversation with the WWE head honcho about his career.
“He asked me, he goes, ‘Why aren’t you in the Andre battle royal?’ And I said, ‘Sir, that’s a question that you should probably be able to answer,'” Lee explained. “He goes, ‘Well you are now!’ And I said ‘Cool.’ So then I remember that week in the meetings, he had chastised some of the writers … like, ‘How do we leave this guy off and him not have anything? Let’s come up with something for him.'”
This all gave Brodie a glimmer of hope that things worked out, but he ultimately didn’t make it deep in the match. After that, he was set to start being used as Sami Zayn’s heater/bodyguard on the SmackDown after Mania – which he didn’t want to do because he was tired of being someone’s sidekick – but that got cancelled at the last minute.
This was when the 40-year-old wrestler decided to ask for his release.
As you’ll recall, Lee went public with his request in April of last year. His request was denied, however, and he remained with the company for the remainder of his deal.
Brodie claims Vince asked afterward if he wanted more money or a push, which he responded saying he wanted neither of at that point. “I also didn’t realize at the time that other people had asked for their releases, but not publicly, so a bunch of people had done that. And Hunter even told me later, he goes, ‘We can’t release you or it’s gonna make like people are jumping off a sinking ship.'”
He also says Vince straight up told him he couldn’t release him from WWE for “business reasons.”
As for Luke Harper’s final run on TV with the company during an angle on SmackDown involving Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns and Erick Rowan … the wrestler says Daniel called to ask if he’d like to be part of the storyline. Brodie agreed and worked two more months with the company, then he and Rowan were split up in the Draft without notice.
In a confusing part of the story, Brodie claims Triple H told him he could possibly help Lee wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling or move to NXT … but neither ever came to fruition.
Brodie explained that in regards to the New Japan comment, he thought the Japanese promotion was either going to be put on the WWE Network or possibly purchased by WWE. However, this was just his hunch and not something he had knowledge of.
Regarding NXT, he believes that maybe WWE didn’t want him to move back there and raise his stock before leaving the company … but he had eight months left on his deal and just wanted to wrestle. In that time period, he was instead given new contract offers all the way up until the day he was released.
“We were still talking about a contract the day they called me to release me,” he revealed. “Because I think that was their MO at that point, let’s just keep everybody … I think they knew I’m gone and I’m gonna go to AEW as soon as I can.”
“It was money that, honestly, I could never even imagine making that money in wrestling. And it was literally to stay home,” Brodie added.
Listen to the full interview below.