Brodie Lee, fka Luke Harper in WWE, spoke with Chris Jericho on his Talk is Jericho podcast where he discussed his WWE release.
“WWE released me December 8th with a 90-day [no compete] clause,” Lee said. “My contract would have been up March 8th. Somehow when I got the letter in the mail it became a week later where I could not compete on that first Wednesday after it was up. Somehow it was a 94 day period. I think that was one little extra f–k you, to me.”
Lee then reflected on when he knew the time was right to leave WWE.
“We were in Detroit and I was sitting outside Vince’s office in early 2019 for like 3 hours after I had sat home and after Bludgeon Brothers,” Lee said “Everybody had left a meeting in there and I knocked on the door. He was like I don’t want to see anybody right now. I was like motherf–ker. I was like f–k this place.”
Apparently Vince had calmed down and Lee had one last chance to pitch new creative to McMahon before he left the arena that night.
“I gave him one final pitch, but the same old thing. He was eating salad or something and I will look at these on the plane. I knew that was it,” Lee recalled.
Or was it? Lee had gotten McMahon’s number from someone and made one more final, final attempt to figure out what was left for him in WWE.
“I texted him,” Lee said. “I was like, Hey what is going on with my career? This was right before Wrestlemania of 2019. He texted back and asked me why I wasn’t in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal. I said that is a question that you should probably be able to answer. Me and my wife were driving and she was like did you really text him that? I was like yeah, I have nothing to lose.”
One last pitch by WWE creative was for Lee to become “The Heater” for Sami Zayn.
“That was exactly what I don’t want to do,” Lee said. “That is what I have done my entire career. I don’t want to be behind anybody, I just want to do my thing. But I said you know what, I am going to make it work and we will figure it out. Then they were like, oh well we are not doing that. I said that’s it. I went home discussed it with my wife and she said if you don’t want to be there, don’t be there.”
Lee would then ask for his release from WWE even posting it on his social media accounts, which also brought more drama to the story.
“I wanted to do it publicly because the court of public opinion was very important to the next move I was going to make,” Lee stated. “To have the support was important and I didn’t want them (WWE) to control my narrative anymore. They were like take that down, I think Vince will change his mind.”
WWE would continue to string Lee along, telling him that it wasn’t good for business to just grant his release.
“They were like, we can’t let it look like you are just jumping ship,” Lee said.
One more attempt was made by Triple H to keep Lee in WWE also before he would ultimately leave for AEW.
“I just wanted to wrestle. I wanted to do it before I ran out of time,” Lee said. “Hunter was like, I can probably get you into New Japan and I was like OK. At that point I thought New Japan was going to be purchased or that they were going to be on the WWE Network and neither happened. I even pitched going to NXT where I would put guys over and try out new gimmicks, but it just never happened.”
Lee revealed in the interview that with his new AEW contract, he does now in fact have the option to compete in NJPW and on the independent scene if he chooses to do so and it does not interfere with AEW scheduling.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.