On a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, Chris Jericho paid tribute to Brodie Lee by bringing on many guests to remember Lee. One of his guests included WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson who was a producer in WWE while Lee was with The Wyatt Family. Anderson praised Lee for being a wrestler that always willing to put the babyfaces over and for always accepting criticism.
“Chris, as you know, when you’re in six-man’s or in tags, somebody, especially on the heel side, has got to be the bumping guy,” Anderson noted. “He’s got to be the flow guy to make everything work, and at 6’5” 275 lbs., he’s as much a monster as Big Red (Erick Rowan) or certainly Bray Wyatt. The thing that I figured out pretty quickly with his was his first goal was to make sure the babyfaces got what they needed from him.
“His offense was incredible, but the fact is he took a hell of an ass whipping, and for a guy that size, in today’s mentality, not a lot of guys are willing to go out and get their ass kicked properly. It’s like, ‘I’m too big for that.’ He never felt like he was too big for anything. Every single night, first thing he would say coming back through the curtain, ‘Whatcha got Dubs? Whatcha got?’ He was wanting criticism, and that’s the kind of guys that get better, the ones that really want to know, and they want to know the truth.”
It has been accepted by many fans that Lee’s time in AEW is the best of his career. Jericho asked what was holding Lee back in WWE. Anderson said that the fact that Lee, who is from the New York area, did not speak with a southern accent was holding him back, and Anderson revealed a character idea he had that was rejected by creative.
“I heard one time he was told that he doesn’t sound like a hillbilly, and that’s what’s holding him back,” Anderson revealed. “‘He’s too intelligent when he speaks.’ I had a character for him that would have been awesome, as frightening as anybody has been. What about the guy that looks like that, especially when he wore the dirty, dingy white ‘wife-beater’, and it was even a little muddy even on some nights.
“What if you got a shot from somebody in a tree or something, and you’re shooting into a window and you got a single light bulb and it really looks like a primitive, almost I’m expecting the camera to pan down like you got some guy tied up and you’re torturing them or something. What if that guy is sitting with a computer, and he’s rattling away. And you made that guy The Unabomber.
“He’s brilliant. He’s making stuff. He’s going over the injuries. He somehow got ahold of all the records of all the crew with their injuries. What is he going to attack next, kind of game planning. His voice is eloquent. You make him a genius. How scary would that guy have been? Well, when I tried to lay that out to creative, they looked at me like I got six heads as you can imagine.”
Anderson admitted that he does not want to call Lee “Luke Harper”. He explained what made Lee great in WWE, but he said his time in AEW showed what he could do, and that’s how he wants to remember Lee.
“He kind of let the world know what he was capable of as Luke Harper and what he brought to The Wyatt Family, much less when they brought the big guy Braun Strowman in,” Anderson said. “Those qualities that we have been talking about, he had to do more so to get that guy over, and it was just incredible to the lengths he would go through like when they were working with The Shield or yourself, make sure there’s a fair split on offense, and that’s what the guy excelled at doing.
“Here’s why I call him Brodie Lee. Here, he got to show what he was capable of. He came out dressed nice. When they beat the crap out of Cody, and myself and Dustin and all those guys. Brandi got choked out. That day, that was carnage. That was where you do what you’re capable of. 6’5” 275 is a big man. He’s a big man in our business, and he’s a big man in any profession, but when you can move like that and he had the offense on top of that plus he had the thought process to cheat.
“You got a dangerous combination, and the fact that he was allowed to talk and express what he wanted to do and dress the way he wanted. He still for that beard. He still got that wild hair due, and you know it’s a façade to what’s deep down in there is what I got from it. Well, this guy is dressed to the nine’s, but you know there’s a monster down there, and that’s the ones that really scare you I think.”
Many people in the wrestling industry have shared their stories about Lee, and the one thing that is in common about everyone’s memories of Lee is how much of a family man he is. Anderson recalled Lee going as far as driving 500 miles instead of flying to be with his family in the morning.
“Chris Jericho is pretty close to who he really is,” Anderson stated. “The Rock, really close to who he really is. [Steve] Austin, [Ric] Flair, [Hulk] Hogan, all those guys that really got over, big time, are pretty close to that character, except for Brodie, and I’ll tell you who Brodie was. Many nights, I would come out of the building and after either having their dark match on the last day of a loop or whatever the case may be, but I would be walking across the parking lot.
“Some nights, I would be heading to SmackDown, and if he was on RAW, he would be heading home. I go, ‘You got an early flight in the morning?’ He would go, ‘No, I’m driving.’ I go, ‘How far is that?’ [He’d go,] ‘Oh, it’s about 490.’ And I would go, ‘Brodie, Jesus Christ. The flight that you got in the morning would probably get you home about the same time.’ He said, ‘No, if I get the jump right now, I can have breakfast with the family.’ So he was going to drive 500 miles to get there two hours earlier to have breakfast.
“That’s who he was. That’s what he’ll always be to me because he wasn’t being braggadocios about it, or he didn’t have his chest out. He just, ‘Hey, I’d rather sit in a car all night and be home two hours early to get to be with my family.'”
Jericho asked Anderson what Lee’s potential in AEW would have been. He talked about how huge of a babyface he could have become in the future.
“Unlimited,” Anderson answered. “[Jericho asks if he was World Champion material] Why not? I think this company would have let him take it as far as he could have. Imagine a year down the road or a year and half down the road, after slaughtering just about everybody, this guy does the right thing by the right guy, and now he switches teams. My God, what a babyface he would have been.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.