There’s been criticism of WWE’s approach to honoring the life of Jon Huber, who wrestled for the company for seven years as Luke Harper, in the wake of his tragic death last week. As opposed to the grand gestures & dedicated tributes from AEW, where Huber’s career ended under his working name from independents - Brodie Lee, WWE’s efforts have been decidedly more low key.
Whatever the reason for that approach, it’s worked for many. Especially after AEW delivered a nearly flawless show to celebrate Huber and make it clear the wife & two sons he left behind will always be taken care of, it’s nice WWE didn’t offer an episode of Raw or SmackDown that tried to do the same thing. Their direct tributes have taken place online or on their streaming service. On television, we’ve seen all their shows open with a memorial graphic, followed by a litany of smaller celebrations of Huber by friends & former co-workers who loved him.
That continued with the New Year’s edition of SmackDown last night (Jan. 1). Some of the more obvious examples were verbal, like Adam Pearce working part of Huber’s Twitter catchphrase (“you know what that means”) into a backstage phone conversation. This promo from Big E included name drops for Brodie’s widow Amanda & youngest son Nolan, his hometown of Rochester, New York, and his favorite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
During his match with King Corbin, E also used the “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” that was Luke Harper’s battle cry. During that match, Corey Graves also dropped a “Big Rig” - a reference to another of Huber’s nicknames - into his call.
E was one of many wearing black “Brodie” armbands. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Daniel Bryan, and Cesaro also rocked them. As they’ve been all week, Harper/Lee’s moves were worked into matches, notably during Bryan & Otis vs. Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura, where the Swiss Superman delivered a familiar-looking sidewalk slam, and Otis set-up his own signature move with one of Huber’s.
The company’s social media team definitely seemed to have the Huber’s on their mind all night, even working Brodie Jr.’s Dark Order name into this tweet from Sasha’s match:
Either way, there was definitely a lot of love for Brodie Lee and his family coming from SmackDown last night. Let us know if their were any references we missed in the comments below.