A tribute to Mr. Brodie Lee
Paul gives a heartfelt Real Rasslin tribute to the Exalted One, Brodie Lee.
Usually when it comes to writing my articles, it takes me a while to put together what I want to write about. Some articles are a hit, such as the Original World Title series, others don’t quite hit the heights I was aiming for, and that’s fine. That’s just part of the job. But what I want to write about today is something that, whether it’s a hit or a miss, it needs to be done. Today I want to write about Brodie Lee.
Now I know what you are probably thinking, there have been numerous tributes to the Exalted One, why will mine be any different? And maybe it won’t be, but to me, his tragic passing has forced me to reflect on my life in a way I hadn’t before, and I suspect it has done the same for countless others too.
Brodie had a career that, until arriving in AEW, was understated. In ten years on the independent circuit, he worked for countless promotions, CZW, Ring of Honor and Chikara to name just a few. His signing for WWE in 2012 was well deserved and a long time coming, and as Luke Harper of the Wyatt Family, he was imposing and fit into the group perfectly. On going solo, he had a brief run as Intercontinental Champion, before teaming once more with Erick Rowan and gaining Tag Team Gold. After some time off for an injury, he found himself on the side-lines for reasons we don’t truly know. Some say it was due to Vince not liking the fact that he couldn’t do certain accents, whereas other reports say different things. In any case, this left him frustrated, and in December 2019, WWE released him from his contract.
Everyone knew where he was heading next, and we all eagerly awaited his arrival in AEW. Some predicted he would be the leader of the Dark Order, others didn’t (myself included). But we were all excited to see him do what he did best. We always knew that there was more to him than had been shown in his Luke Harper days, and his arrival and promo as the Exalted One of the Dark Order showed that he was a top calibre star.
By August of this year, Mr. Brodie Lee had dethroned inaugural TNT Champion, Cody Rhodes, and embarked on a reign which culminated in the brilliant dog collar match where Cody won back the TNT Title. None of us knew at the time that this would prove to be Brodie’s last match.
It was reported that Brodie was taking time off to deal with an ankle injury, with no one thinking anymore of it. That we all expected the Exalted One to return stronger than ever in a few weeks. The tragic reality is that this was not the case, as he passed due to non-covid related lung issues.
To say this shocked the wrestling community is an understatement. But as much as we all felt this, obviously it pales in comparison to the shock and loss that his family are feeling.
Brodie Lee, real name Jon Huber, was a family man. We have heard from those closest to him over the last week just how much his family meant to him. They were his world. And whilst he loved the pro wrestling business, it was his family that he saw as his main job. He wanted to give them the same love and encouragement he received from his father as a child, and its safe to say he excelled in doing so. Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Xavier Woods and so many others have come out and said just what an amazing father he was to his children, and husband to his wife, Amanda, known as Synndy Synn during her time in the wrestling business.
It has been truly wonderful to see the outpouring of respect and love for a man who brought so much to the table in his career and personal life.
From everything we have heard about Brodie over the last few days, we know that he was a humble, respectful man, who would do whatever he could to help someone out. He would only ever encourage, never bury someone, and would pass on his knowledge and wisdom to all who asked for it. Brodie was someone special, and from all the tributes we know that he had a near legendary sense of humour. His infectious laugh would have you laughing yourself.
To quote the English writer Samuel Johnson:
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
Judging by this, Brodie Lee was indeed a truly brilliant man of the highest calibre.
It’s hard to put into words just how this has affected myself personally. First and foremost, I obviously did not know Brodie personally, but I had seen him wrestle live a number of times, and he always delivered no matter who he was in there with.
Brodie’s passing has made me look deep into myself, and truly consider what more I can do to be a better man, a better husband to my wife, and a better father to my children. We never know when our time will come, and so it falls to us to make the most of every single second we spend with our loved ones. It can all be snatched away so quickly and easily, and I think we often forget this.
No one likes to think of their own mortality. I certainly don’t. But in times like this when tragedy strikes, we should all contemplate whether we can do more, be more, and show more to those around us. Brodie’s legacy will be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of the fans, but more importantly by his wife and children.
It also has to be said that Tony Khan and AEW as a whole have acted with the utmost dignity, respect, and class throughout this, and at the time of writing I am about to watch the tribute episode of AEW Dynamite. I’m sure it will not be easy to watch, but I also know it will be a fitting tribute to such a wonderful man. The fact that they have also ensured his family will be looked after is a touching gesture, and I personally have contributed to this in a very small way by purchasing the new shirt brought out where all proceeds go to his family.
In mentioning this, it also shows just how loved Brodie Lee is, given that this new shirt has outsold the previous top seller of the year in Orange Cassidy in just a matter of days. There is no doubt in my mind that Brodie would have gone on to become AEW World Champion, but the way that they filmed a segment having his son, Brodie Lee Jr, or -1 of the Dark Order, if you prefer, "winning" the AEW World Title from Kenny Omega was a beautiful gesture in itself, and allowed Brodie Lee to see his son make his debut.
Like Eddie Guerrero before him, Brodie’s passing seemed to come out of nowhere and left a sizeable hole in the hearts of so many. But we should all remember how he has imprinted on all of our lives, however small that imprint may be, be it personally or as a fan, and strive to make the most of every day.
I will never forget seeing him wrestle Dean Ambrose at a Bournemouth live event just a couple of years ago. Before either of them were main stars in AEW, these two put on a match that I, and so many others that night, enjoyed immensely. Thanks to the Network, we can all relive some of Brodie’s matches whenever we like, I certainly will be.
Remember as we go forward into the new year that there are challenges ahead for us all. 2020 has been a year full of much pain and sorrow. But let’s step forward into a new year with optimism. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, just like Brodie did, and always put on a smile.
I would like to finish by including Seth Rollins emotional tribute to Mr. Brodie Lee:
I was hoping at some point that the perfect words would come to me, but the truth is I still can’t even come to terms with reality on this one. My heart is so broken. I loved Brodie. He was truly all the great things everyone has already said he is and if you ever met him you’d have known it in an instant.
He was a loving husband. A devoted father. He was a kind soul. A loyal friend. He was a grinder too, man. Passionate and thoughtful. Smart and funny. Dude had an infectious laugh and was such a shit stirrer. He was a person I looked forward to…and it god damn kills me to know I’ll never be able to do that again…
Back in FCW, I vouched HARD for Brodie to get hired at WWE based on knowing and working with him briefly in ROH. We spent a little time in Tampa together, but The Shield debut took me on the road pretty soon after he moved down. Luckily, the Wyatt Family followed us out of developmental shortly thereafter and let me tell you he was a real treat to have on the road. That’s where we really got to know each other.
I’ll always love him for prodding Bray and Braun to see how far they’d take their ridiculous oneupsmanship. He was often a monitor sellout because we’d all be waiting to see how many of Dana’s poses he’d sneak in during his match. He even came to me to try CrossFit when he wanted to lean up. I think he hated burpees more than I do. Funnily enough, he and I almost came to blows backstage during the Shield/Wyatt series. We were both so fired up trying to do right by our respective squads that we tended to get a little snippy towards each other. It was the best. He was the best.
And I’m smiling so big as I’m remembering all this good stuff, fighting back tears. I thought writing this would just be all crying and sadness, but it’s impossible to remember Brodie without laughing. He was just a light of good energy.
I looked up to Brodie. Not just because he was a physical mountain of a man, but because of how he was as a father and husband. And as I venture into those realms myself now, I really hope I can carry a bit of him with me. I hope I can be to my family even a little of what he was to his.
Love you, big man. Miss you already.
Stay safe everybody, look after your families and yourselves, and never forget the good times that Mr. Brodie Lee gave us.
Thank you Brodie. We love you and will miss you always.