After months of speculation, last week on AEW Dynamite the “Exalted One” of The Dark Order was finally revealed. Many had speculated that we were going to see a version of “Broken” Matt Hardy as the leader of All Elite Wrestling’s cult-like faction, myself included. However, that was not the case.
After being interrupted by SCU, The Exalted One was finally be revealed as Brodie Lee. The former Luke Harper in WWE would cut a scathing promo on the big screen, calling out those who speculated that The Exalted One did not exist, a figment of the imagination to many such as Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian. But, after appearing in the ring and attacking SCU alongside his minions Evil Uno, Stu Grayson and the rest of The Dark Order, Brodie Lee proved himself to be very much real and a big man with a giant point to prove.
It was inevitable that Brodie Lee would end up as a member of the All Elite Wrestling roster. It was widely reported in 2019 that Luke Harper was on his final legs as a WWE Superstar, with many speculating that Brodie Lee would end up in AEW when he was contractually able to do so.
Early in the year Harper had released a statement on his Twitter account that he had requested a release from his WWE contract but WWE had denied this request. WWE would eventually add more time to his contract for injuries and time on the shelf during his run, but many assumed that Brodie Lee’s departure from World Wrestling Entertainment was a formality. Shockingly, Luke Harper would appear on WWE television for a handful of further appearances later in the year, once again reuniting with his former Wyatt Family compatriot Erick Rowan in his feud with Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. However, after this storyline was finished, Luke Harper would once again disappear from WWE television before he was eventually released by WWE. Upon his release, Luke Harper would be contractually forced to serve a 90 day non-compete clause, as is common with all WWE contract releases.
So, why would WWE allow a professional wrestler with the talent of Brodie Lee to slip through their fingers? Why couldn’t they find a spot on their large roster and several television shows for Luke Harper? These were the questions that many wrestling fans were asking themselves on social media. The answer to both of those questions? Vince McMahon. It was widely reported by several in the know that the chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment “doesn’t get” Luke Harper. At one point McMahon even requested that Luke Harper affect a southern accent. To which Harper, the Rochester, New York native, stated that he could not affect such an unnatural accent. This would reportedly exasperate his relationship with Vince McMahon even more. Further fuelling the outrageous notion that McMahon “doesn’t get” Luke Harper and didn’t see the former Wyatt Family member as a big star or main event talent.
After going through all of the above, I don’t blame Brodie Lee for wanting out. Luke Harper never truly got the opportunity to show that he could be a main event talent in the world of WWE. Harper did have great success as a member of the Wyatt Family and Bludgeon Brothers but he obviously felt that he had reached his ceiling. It’s well known and obvious at this point that if Vince McMahon is not a fan of you, you can only get so high on the card in World Wrestling Entertainment.
But, McMahon’s lack of faith in Luke Harper completely lacks logic. If you look back on Harper’s WWE career, everything he has been asked to do, he has smashed out of the park. Whether it’s the initial run with the Wyatt Family, his run as WWE Intercontinental Champion and feud with Dolph Ziggler, his pairing with Erick Rowan as The Bludgeon Brothers, Luke Harper always made the most with the creative he was pitched in WWE.
Regardless of whether Harper was used as a team or as a single, Luke Harper succeeded. But, Luke Harper never truly got the opportunity to show he could be a main event player in WWE. Therefore he would need to leave the company to prove those high up in Titan tower that they misjudged Brodie Lee.
Therefore, now in All Elite Wrestling, Brodie Lee has a giant point to prove. As The Exalted One of The Dark Order, he is once again associated with a cult-like faction, similarly to how Luke Harper was a member of The Wyatt Family in WWE. This is something that AEW can use to their advantage. Brodie Lee can cut promos that he was “once a follower but is now a leader” when it comes to The Dark Order, furthering this notion that WWE, and more importantly Vince McMahon, never saw him as someone that could lead a faction.
Furthermore, The Dark Order has been seen as an act in AEW that may be stuck in the mid-card. It has been seen as sometimes hokey, confusing and eye rolling. Especially when you think about their show closing segment when The Dark Order attacked The Elite on Dynamite last year. But, with the addition of Brodie Lee as The Exalted One, the former Luke Harper could take The Dark Order to the top of the card in AEW. What better way to stick it to WWE than taking a struggling gimmick to the top of the card?
Either way, a motivated, refreshed and revitalised big man, Brodie Lee has a giant point to prove in All Elite Wrestling. Could Brodie Lee even make it all the way to becoming the World Champion in AEW? Brodie Lee could be all out to prove that he can indeed be a main event talent within AEW, prove he can be a star at the top of the card. No accent required, just being Brodie Lee.
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