After nearly seven years with WWE, it seems Luke Harper has decided to bet on himself and head out to the booming independent wrestling scene. This comes as a shock as Harper had only recently returned to WWE TV after having surgery on his wrist. Harper appeared at WrestleMania in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and also wrestled at the World Collide event that was taped during ‘Mania weekend, taking on Dominik Dijakovic.
The statement, which Harper released on Twitter, reads in part:
This decision, as difficult as it was, feels right for myself and WWE. My goal in the future is to continue to grow as a performer and person and continue to make my family proud.
Harper made a name for himself when he was on the indie scene, wrestling for companies including CHIKARA and Dragon Gate, where he was known as Brodie Lee. Harper signed with WWE in 2012 and debuted on the main roster in 2013 as a member of The Wyatt Family. Harper continued teaming with his Wyatt Family teammates throughout his WWE career and won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships twice. The first time Harper won the titles was with Bray Wyatt and the second time was with Erick Rowan after the duo was repackaged as The Bludgeon Brothers.
On March 29, Harper Tweeted out a note he wrote detailing his mindset going into ‘Mania weekend and how he was treating his Worlds Collide match as his big WrestleMania moment this year. He noted that he had been cleared to compete since early February, but had not even attended television tapings, let alone appeared on them, once he was given the medical green-light.
This really bums me out, as Harper is absolutely one of the guys they've squandered the worst over the years. His #1 contender match with AJ Styles is still a sentimental favorite of mine - I was really pulling for him to win that, though he never had a chance of that. I've missed him while he was off TV, and I thought his Worlds Collide match was pretty great. So it's too bad that he and WWE couldn't work something out.
That said, I'm bummed, but I'm not surprised. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the straw that broke the camel's back was him asking which show he was going to be on, and discovering that management had forgotten that he was on the roster. This was definitely the right move for Harper, who I suspect will be in high demand with whatever other company he feels like working with. Good luck to a great talent, and hopefully I'll get the chance to see him wrestle again one day.
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