Saturday, January 2, 2021

Jonathan "Brodie Lee" Huber (December 16, 1979 – December 26, 2020)

Ten days after celebrating his forty-first birthday, news broke that Jonathan Huber - also known as Mr. Brodie Lee in AEW and Luke Harper in WWE - passed away due to a non-COVID related lung issue.

Brodie Lee made a name for himself in the independents, having had runs in promotions such as Ring Of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling. He'd eventually get signed by WWE, rechristened Luke Harper, and was made part of the Wyatt Family group with Bray Wyatt and Rowan. A run in WWE had net him an Intercontinental title reign as well as a couple stints as Tag-Team champions, but it was his stint in All Elite Wrestling where he began to show his true potential, debuting as the Exalted One of the Dark Order and giving what had been a struggling stable new life.

It was in AEW where Brodie was able to show the world that not only did he make an intimidating big man, because he was a hell of a promo. Whether it'd be intense threats or comedic foils on BTE, there was no doubt that Brodie shined as a personality and made the most of his opportunities, whether it'd be in a Wotld title match against Jon Moxley or during a short run as TNT champion, which culminated in the brutal but incredible Dog Collar match with Cody Rhodes; a match that would turn out to be his final match before his untimely passing.

The news of Brodie's death devastated me. Even now, a week after the news broke, I'm still trying to come to terms with what has been a shock. It's a dreadful feeling; a feeling that I haven't had for a wrestler's death since Eddie Guerrero over fifteen years ago. Part of it is that in AEW, Brodie Lee became one of my favorite personalities. Not just in terms of his wrestling persona, but through his interviews, whether he was talking about his experiences in the business, talking about his family and his children for whom he had the utmost love for, or even for his admittedly sad admiration for the ailing Toronto Maple Leafs, who offered their own condolences via Twitter when the news broke.

But Brodie's death affected me in a different way... because he was only a couple years older than I am when he died... and it's a scary feeling to have when someone at that age, someone who was just on the cusp of reaching his full potential in a business that he was passionate about, someone who was a family man as much as he was a wrestler, passes. It only goes to show how precious life is and is a painful reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteeed.

While a part of me will miss Brodie and lament what could have been, another part will appreciate the time that I got to see him in action, whether it was as an exalted one or a blungeon brother. Whether he was a silent brute or a psychotic cult leader, Brodie Lee had what it took to be a star and ran with it until the end... and from what I've heard, Jonathan Huber was every bit the kind soul and family man that people made him out to be. And he will be sorely missed.

Godspeed, Brodie. Thanks for the memories.

January 3rd to January 9th

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