Brodie Lee. The wrestling world lost a giant of a man this week. WWE fans knew him as Luke Harper. AEW fans knew him as Brodie Lee. An extremely lucky group of people got to know him as Jon Huber. Whatever name you knew him by, Brodie was a talented wrestler and an even better man.
This isn’t going to be a normal review of AEW Dynamite because this wasn’t a normal episode of AEW Dynamite. It was a celebration of life for a man who had quickly become a locker room leader. The roster of this young promotion was still trying to figure itself out when he came along.
It was a mixture of special matches and testimonials to Brodie. Anyone who remembers the sudden death of Eddie Guerrero in 2005 would have been immediately reminded of WWE’s tribute show to the legend. AEW showed Brodie no less honor.
Brodie Lee: TNT Champion
Brodie’s health issues were kept extremely quiet for months. He dropped the TNT Championship back to Cody Rhodes after an incredible Dog Collar match. But that match happened on October 7th, 2020, and he hadn’t been seen since.
There was no substantial discussion of an injury. Splitting him off from the Dark Order already also didn’t seem likely. As the weeks went on with no word on what happened to him, fans speculation ran wild. Now, we know that something very serious was happening.
A lot of people felt that AEW was using Brodie as a placeholder champion while Cody was away. I was one of them. And I was incensed by the idea. Brodie was an incredible wrestler who got shortchanged in WWE. It started to feel like he was getting the same treatment in AEW.
But now we know there was something much worse going on behind the scenes. He was in the ICU with a severe lung issue. Despite what some wrestling writers seem to think, there is no conspiracy going on with Brodie’s death. It’s also worth noting that the family owes the public no additional details. Period.
As part of tonight’s tribute to Lee, Tony Kahn handed the title to Brodie Lee, Jr. and named him TNT Champion for Life. What that actually means is unclear but it was an impressive gesture to say the least. In an evening of tributes to Lee, that was a great one.
Colt Cabana and The Young Bucks took down the Hardy Party. Cabana looked more energized in the ring than he has in months. He also threw up the full Dark Order hand gesture at the end of the match. That was the first time he’s done that since he started running with the faction.
Lance Archer dressed in Brodie’s old ring gear as a shout out to the man. He teamed with Evil Uno and Stu Grayson to take on Eddie Kingston and his family. Everyone looked great but Grayson proved once again that he is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the business today.
Adam Page teamed with John Silver and Alex Reynolds to defeat MJF, Santana and Ortiz. Everyone was on point but Silver was up three levels. MJF kept trash talking Brodie Jr. until the kid blasted him in the head with a kendo stick. Erick Redbeard, Lee’s longtime WWE tag partner, also showed up to help out.
Anna Jay absolutely killed it in her match. She teamed with Tay Conti to defeat Britt Baker and Penelope Ford. Everyone wrestled a great match but Anna Jay was so smooth that she was undeniable. She will be a champion down the road. Brodie Lee would have been proud
Brodie Jr. personally booked the final match. Preston “10” Vance, Cody Rhodes and Orange Cassidy partnered to beat Team Taz. Just to add a pop to the finish, Sting and Darby came out together to help fend off a post-match Team Taz attack.
Honoring the man
Dynamite also aired several pre-taped tributes from various AEW stars throughout the night. The first one was Jon Moxley who had worked with Lee in several wrestling promotions. His was a real tearjerker. Every video was in all honesty. The whole night was filled with tears.
One of the biggest surprises was the superb video encapsulating Brodie’s career and life that closed the show. It featured several photos of current WWE superstars who had worked with Brodie. Big E, Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, and more all appeared in the video tribute.
As fan of Brodie Lee, I always wanted to see him with a World Title around his waist. In WWE, he won the Intercontinental Championship and various tag team championships. When it became apparent the next step would always elude him in WWE, he moved on to AEW.
I genuinely believe he would have held the AEW World Championship above his head one day. He earned it. That’s not how Brodie thought. He wasn’t the type of guy to focus on personal glory. Brodie loved the business and it loved him back. That’s the truth we’ve seen this week.