Brodie Lee. Luke Harper. Jonathan Huber. A man in a world where reality and fiction collide regularly. Brodie Lee died at the age of 41 with the onset of a non-COVID-related lung condition. His career was not ending, but in fact started anew in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
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Writers would be lying to the readers to use common altruisms like "I was his biggest fan" and "he was a creative force," when wrestlers have died.
In WWE, while fans were well aware of his true potential, it didn't fit what Vince McMahon saw. Then, Luke Harper had unfortunate roadblocks, which perhaps limited his rise in WWE. AEW was a second opportunity to correct that.
When Brodie Lee debuted as the "Exalted One", the Dark Order leader, it wasn't necessarily a slam dunk. The group's impact, in some circles, had unfortunate comparisons to the likes of the J.O.B. Squad from WWE's Attitude Era. Brodie Lee's induction into the group was the beginning of the group's rebirth.
Brodie Lee changed the conversation about The Dark Order
Brodie Lee being revealed as The Dark Order's leader was the beginning of a transformation. Some assumed the group initially would be a rip-off of The Undertaker and The Ministry, but it offered a lot more.
In particular, Brodie Lee brought the variety the group needed and did not come off as a one-note act. While his berating of Dark Order members was initially meant to be a jibe at Vince McMahon, the characterization added levity to the faction.
AEW's (sister?) show "Being The Elite" allowed The Dark Order to participate in skits. Brodie Lee angeringly shouted at the stable for its failure to follow through on recruitment and other foolish endeavors.
His rapport with its members and especially John Silver allowed the group to grow beyond the fan's expectations and provide a balance of intrigue, drama, and humor.
Brodie Lee did have a short feud with Jon Moxley, but it was the rivalry with Cody Rhodes that gave the group the "respect" it needed.
His utter demolition of Cody on a special edition of Saturday Night Dynamite solidified the group on his way to becoming TNT Champion. Their follow-up Dog Collar match with Cody was one of Dynamite's most gruesome but also one of its best.
Sadly, this was also his last match in the company and possibly, one of his best. Brodie Lee brought gravitas to a role that may have floundered in someone else's hands. His unique promo-style, in-ring agility, and unabashed charisma put him in a league of his own.
Brodie Lee still had a lot to offer creatively to the business. During his short time in AEW, his contribution has allowed fairly-unknown personalities within The Dark Order to rise to prominence.
Brodie Lee was loved amongst his peers, and the tributes that poured in from WWE, AEW, and beyond are a testament to that. His unselfish candor, love for others, and inventiveness stood out and shined brightly in All Elite Wrestling.
He stood apart in a business filled with blood, sweat, and tears, coupled with a drive for individual success. Brodie Lee was A Man Apart.Published 31 Dec 2020, 04:06 IST