Luke Harper’s First and Last Matches in WWE – Bell to Bell

Luke Harper’s First and Last Matches in WWE – Bell to Bell


(bell ringing) – [Zach] I was debating who
to cover next on Bell to Bell and I ultimately settled on Luke Harper for a couple of reasons. The first is because of comments you guys have been leaving,
which I appreciate. I also realized if I was ever gonna talk about Luke Harper,
now was the best time, so put on your crazy eyes and let’s take a look back at the Backwoods Brawler’s WWE career. Before Luke Harper was, well, Luke Harper, he was a guy from Rochester,
New York named Johnathan Huber. At the start of his career, Harper wrestled inside
of a martial arts studio in front of his friends and family. As time moved on, he continued to train and get better, which led
to bigger opportunities. By the late 2000s, Luke Harper
was wrestling for companies such as Chikara, Dragon
Gate USA, and Ring of Honor. While things were going well, Harper’s career took a huge step forward when he got offered a
contract with WWE in 2012. He was sent down to developmental and began his training
for the main roster. The same year he joined WWE, Harper would also have his
debut match in the company. The November 7th, 2012 episode of NXT would mark the official start of the WWE career of Luke Harper. After returning from a commercial break, Kurt Angle’s kayfabe son, Jason Jordan, was in the ring, ready for a match. Next came someone who’d be synonymous with Luke Harper’s WWE career, Bray Wyatt. The future Fiend rambled
for a bit on the mic until Jason Jordan cut him off and told Wyatt he was here to fight. The New Face of Fear responded
by giving Jordan just that and without any warning,
Luke Harper entered the shot and marched towards the ring. Harper, who hadn’t been given a name yet, immediately charged at Jason
Jordan and the contest began. The Backwoods Brawler struggled at first with Jordan’s speed, but obtained control after preventing a drop toe hold. Living up to his nickname, Luke
Harper attacked his opponent with punches, chops, and uppercuts. To show who vicious he
was, Harper also pulled and raked the eyes of the
future American Alpha member. Luke Harper got a bit more
polished with his offense when he hit a discus clothesline, a move that would become
a signature of his. When that didn’t work, Jason Jordan attempted to
change the tide of the match, but all that did was set him up for a Sitout Spinning Side
Slam for the three count. After the bell had rung, Bray
Wyatt revealed Harper’s name and that he was the first
son of the Wyatt family. I honestly think this
is a pretty good debut. I liked that Luke Harper
immediately had a backstory and being apart of the Wyatt
Family gave him some character. I thought the match itself made him look like a strong force, especially since Jason Jordan
wasn’t some no-name jobber. Honestly, not a bad debut and even going back now,
I still want to know more about this character and see what happens
next, so let’s do that. Soon after making his debut,
Harper would be joined by Erick Rowan, turning the
Wyatt Family into a trio. Like many dominant tag teams, they’d become NXT tag team
champions in May of 2013. Around that same time,
promos began airing on Raw and SmackDown that the Wyatt Family was coming to the main roster. Luke Harper, along with Rowan and Wyatt, would make
their Raw debut in July and began feuding with Kane. During his first year on the main roster, Harper mostly tagged with Erick Rowan and the two would remain
undefeated until October of 2013. In 2014, the two Wyatt Family members would challenge the
WWE tag team champions, The Usos, to a handful of
unsuccessful title matches. That same year, both Harper and Rowan would break away from Bray Wyatt and became singles competitors. Things seemed promising for Luke Harper when he won the Intercontinental
Championship in November, but before the year was even
over, he had already lost it. 2015 didn’t start off
much better for Harper. He competed at WrestleMania 31 for the IC title, but failed to win. He also had a rivalry with Dean Ambrose which he likewise lost. Things didn’t really pick up till he got back with Bray Wyatt and eventually, the rest
of the Wyatt Family. The remainder of 2015
went alright for Luke, but in early 2016, he’d be
sidelined with a knee injury. When he returned, Harper was once again back with Bray Wyatt,
as well as Randy Orton. The group would win the
SmackDown tag team titles at the 2016 TLC pay-per-view, only to lose them 23 days later. Tension soon began to build in the group and Luke Harper ultimately
left the Wyatt Family, turning face for the
first time as a result. Following this, Harper would suffer loses from both Randy Orton and
Bray Wyatt in singles matches. After WrestleMania 33, though, he would defeat a returning
Erick Rowan at Backlash. From here, Luke Harper’s career started to become kind of quiet until he completely disappeared
midway through 2017. But things turned around in November when he returned with Erick
Rowan, now as allies again, only this time there was
no Bray Wyatt insight. Instead, they went by the
name the Bludgeon Brothers and did pretty well. They destroyed many of the
tag teams put before them and it all built up to them winning the SmackDown tag team
titles at WrestleMania 34. Unlike his two previous
championship reigns, Harper and his fellow Bludgeon
Brother would hold the belts through SummerSlam, ultimately losing them on the August 21st episode of SmackDown. After their championship run was over, Rowan was put on the shelf due to injury and Harper took the opportunity
to undergo wrist surgery. He returned during the Andre
the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35 and also performed on the
Worlds Collide Special. Shortly after this, it was
reported that Luke Harper had requested his release
from, WWE but was denied. We wouldn’t see the
former Bludgeon Brother until September of 2019, when he returned to help out Erick Rowan. The two briefly reunited their tag team, but were separated not long
after due to the draft. Luke Harper remained on SmackDown while his partner was moved to Raw. It ended up not really mattering, as Luke Harper would have his final match shortly thereafter, which ironically took place on Halloween
of 2019 at Crown Jewel. During the kickoff for WWE’s
fourth Saudi Arabia event, a 20-man battle royal was
held with the winner becoming the number one contender
for the U.S. championship. Luke Harper was almost the
cluster of wrestlers looking to earn an opportunity at the
red, white, and blue title. To gain an advantage, he worked
alongside his former ally, Erick Rowan, and together,
they went after Sunil Singh. Only a few seconds into their attack and Harper changed his
attention to Health Slater and shortly after that, he changed his target to Brian Kendrick. Eventually, Erick Rowan came over to help Harper take out the cruiserweight. They were doing a pretty good job, but then just kinda
stopped halfway through and split up again. Harper spent a short time
with Cedric Alexander before moving on to Eric Young. EY proved to be difficult and actually wore down Luke Harper. Even after the former TNA star left him, Harper was then attacked by R-Truth. Once he had some time to recover, Luke Harper came to the aid
of Erick Rowan by throwing both Brian Kendrick and Eric
Young over the top rope. With two eliminations under his belt, Luke Harper focused on another
Cruiserweight, Akira Tozawa. Like before, Harper just
kind of gave up with Tozawa and moved on to Apollo Crews, Shelton Benjamin, and No Way Jose. The Bludgeon Brothers
reunited for about 10 seconds as they tried to eliminate
Cedric Alexander, but like before, they just stopped trying and Harper focused on Akira Tozawa again. After an ad break, Harper and Rowan went to the center of the ring and stared each other down. No Way Jose interrupted with some dancing, which Harper responded to
with a discus clothesline, followed by Rowan throwing
the man over the top rope. The former Wyatt members
locked eyes a second time, but were once again interrupted,
this time by Akira Tozawa. Erick Rowan grabbed the Japanese wrestler and set him on the top of a turnbuckle, allowing Harper to superkick the 205 Live star out of the ring. Cedric Alexander was the
next one to feel the wrath of the former Bludgeon Brothers,
followed by Apollo Crews. The Backwoods Brawler then
laid low for a little way and got back into action when the number of bodies in the ring had decreased. He focused his energy on
a hurt Cedric Alexander as the crowd started
chanting, “Let’s go, Harper.” – [Crowd] Let’s go, Harper. (audience clapping) – [Announcer] It sounds like
the WWE universe here in Riyadh rallying behind Luke Harper. – [Zach] Once again, Rowan
and Harper got together, and ultimately eliminated the
Queen City’s Favorite Son, leaving only them and Humberto Carrillo. Harper and Rowan almost
broke out into a fight, but an attack by Carrillo got
them back on the same page. Once the luchador was down, Erick Rowan directed Luke
Harper to eliminate Humberto. Harper then went to do just that, but was double-crossed by
his former tag team partner, who in turn was quickly eliminated by Carillo and thus, the
match came to an end. I’m assuming nobody knew that this was gonna be Luke
Harper’s final WWE match, so with that in mind, I think
they did a pretty good job. It was very fitting that Luke Harper would work with Erick Rowan
in his last appearance since they have so much history together. One issue I had though was they
would start working together and then, just walk away from each other. It wouldn’t be so bad, but
they have that stare-off towards the end, which is
odd because they had just been working together multiple times. Besides that, I thought it was good. I liked too that Luke Harper
did a lot in the match and wasn’t just another body solely there to fill up the ring. Could Harper’s final
match have been better? Yes, but it also could have
been way more underwhelming, so I’m content with this
being the way he leaves WWE. On that note, Luke Harper
would appear at a few untelevised events in November, but wasn’t seen on TV at all. Finally, on December 8th, he was officially
released from the company and is currently under a
90-day no-compete clause which will expire in March of 2020. While I wouldn’t say Luke
Harper’s WWE run was terrible, it certainly had its bumps. It seemed like he was never able to break away from the Wyatt Family. Even when he was apart
of the Burgeon Brothers, he was still tagging with Erick Rowan. With that said, he seemed to do all right when he was a part of a group. The Wyatt Family was a really cool faction and Luke Harper played his role perfectly. Same thing with the Bludgeon Brothers. I think the group went as well as it did because it played to his strengths. While I was working on this
video, I actually found the man behind the character more interesting. WWE did a great
mini-documentary on the guy, so if you wanna learn
more about Luke Harper, check out the video on the left, or if you wanna watch more
videos in this series, hit the video on the right. With that, I’m Zach from Tap Out Corner and that was Bell to Bell. (upbeat rock music)