Jon Huber succumbed to a lung condition on Saturday. He was only 41.
You might better know him as WWE’s Luke Harper, or AEW’s Mr. Brodie Lee. You might have seen him wrestling in Rochester’s Upstate Pro Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling or just on mainstream TV. Hell, if you’ve ever been to a McQuaid Jesuit High School or Webster Shroeder High School wrestling match, you might’ve seen him on the sidelines.
My first time seeing Huber was as Luke Harper, alongside stablemates Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan. Harper, along with Strowman and Rowan, towered above the competition, making perfect henchmen for Wyatt’s Waylon Mercy-esque character.
Arguably the peak of his WWE career came after the Wyatt family collapsed. He had a short stint as a singles wrestler, winning the Intercontinental Championship in 2014. But, his reign lasted 27 days. While he would stay with the company for five more years, he never had another singles stint.
In 2019, the WWE released Harper. The wrestling world’s top promotion never gave him a chance to chase its top title. So he did what any former member of the upper echelon would do: join a startup.
Huber would debut in 2020 on AEW as Mr. Brodie Lee in a show that the promotion was supposed to hold in his hometown of Rochester. After all, it’s where he cut his teeth as a wrestler. What better place to debut?
However, COVID-19 took the moment away. Instead, he debuted in Jacksonville, in front of no one but a TV audience.
It didn’t stop Mr. Brodie Lee. The leader of the Dark Order shot up the ranks of AEW quickly, challenging AEW champion Jon Moxley in a losing effort for the promotion’s top crown. He would defeat Cody for the TNT Championship, a secondary title in the promotion.
Lee led a faction, a one-time champion and had the creative freedom that would allow him to thrive as a storyteller. AEW set him up for success. But on Dec. 26, Huber died.
ESPN championed Huber as a deceptively athletic big man. In a world of lumbering giants, he was as quick as a fox. But he still had the behemoth size prerequisite to be categorized as a “monster.” In a sport filled with men trying to be the next Big Show, he stole the show with agility and athleticism.
However, Huber never got his due. Despite being one of the WWE’s better wrestlers, with a discus lariat that could match anyone in the promotion, the company mainly used him as a tag team talent. Sure, he won the coveted Intercontinental Championship, the worker’s title, but he held it for less than a month.
But in AEW’s greener pastures, he was a leader and secondary champion. His stint with the company was held down thanks in large part to a global pandemic. He never truly had the chance to rise above the status quo.
Jon Huber was a one-of-a-kind wrestler. He showed it night in and night out, no matter what the stage was. However, his resume will never truly reflect his legacy.