In the litany of wasted talents in WWE, Luke Harper must sit very near the top of the pile. After a stellar run in the independent wrestling scene as Brodie Lee, Harper arrived in WWE as a member of The Wyatt Family. Despite being a sidekick in Bray Wyatt’s star vehicle, Harper put on a series of standout performances which showed his true ability and own star power.
Despite taking every opportunity given to him, Harper cannot seem to break through to the top of the WWE, but that has not stopped him showing what a star he truly is on numerous occasions. Here are 10 matches which show Luke Harper could be WWE’s biggest missed opportunity.
10 Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper Vs The Brothers of Destruction
A match with The Undertaker is one of the top accolades in WWE these days, and Harper shared the ring with The Deadman at Survivor Series in 2015. Many expected Braun Strowman to be Wyatt’s partner for the bout, but Harper demonstrated why he got the nod in spectacular fashion.
Taking much of the punishment from Undertaker and Kane, Harper came through the bout looking impressive and strong. He traded shots with ‘Taker and was brutalized by the pair’s power moves, but he looked like a star performer in the ring with two of the greats.
9 Luke Harper Vs Kane
Harper faced off with The Big Red Machine again in the kickoff match for Survivor Series 2016. Despite his own size – he’s billed at 6’5” and 275lbs – Harper fought like a high-flyer for stretches of the match, launching himself through the ropes at Kane and performing a plancha back into the ring.
The bout, which Kane won, showed that Harper has that key ability to adapt his in-ring style to suit his opponent. While he is an accomplished powerhouse brawler, he can carry the speedy high-flying against bigger opponents.
8 Luke Harper Vs Dean Ambrose Vs Dolph Ziggler Vs The Miz
This Fatal 4 Way match took place on Smackdown in December 2016 and was to determine the Number 1 Contender for the WWE Title. Harper made a statement from the off, hurling Ambrose from the ring and flattening Ziggler.
From the start, he was booked as the star and the man to beat in the contest. Unfortunately for Harper – and as would often happen when he was within reach of the top – Ambrose did just that, pinning him after Dirty Deeds.
7 Brodie Lee Vs Sami Callihan Vs PAC vs Rich Swann
This 2012 match took place in 2CW Squared Circle Wrestling, back when Harper was known as Brodie Lee on the independent circuit. It paired Harper with a trio of smaller and more athletic opponents in a bout which showcased exactly why the big man is such an asset.
Not only did Harper play the role of imposing giant to perfection, fending off attacks from all three smaller men at once, but he put in a few high-flying moves of his own. It was a varied match which showed Harper really can do anything in the ring.
6 Luke Harper & Erick Rowan Vs The Usos
Once again, Harper opened a PPV with this bout at Battleground in 2014. The Wyatt Family brothers seemed to have the champions’ number going into the bout and the 20-minute, 2-out-of-3 falls match was a spectacular opener to the show.
The tag team classic saw Harper and Rowan dominate the early going and win the first fall, but the Usos battled back to retain their titles.
5 Luke Harper Vs Daniel Bryan Vs Bad News Barrett Vs R-Truth Vs Dean Ambrose Vs Dolph Ziggler Vs Stardust
This seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Title opened Wrestlemania 31 and was packed with talented competitors. With that being said, it makes Harper’s star turn even more impressive. The big man did not win the match (Bryan did), but he was a showstopper throughout.
At one point, Harper hurled Ambrose through a ladder in a display of brutal power, which set out his intentions for the match. On the biggest stage of them all, this was a clear statement of intent by the underused big man.
4 Luke Harper Vs Randy Orton
The Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt storyline from 2016-17 is best remembered as the one which gave Wyatt his all-too-short WWE Title reign. But it also provided one of Luke Harper’s biggest statement one-on-one matches with the company.
He and Orton clashed while the latter was a member of the Wyatt Family and this lead to a confrontation at Elimination Chamber. Orton won the bout, but Harper’s impressive showing in the fast-paced match showed why he deserves a place at the top of the card.
3 The Wyatt Family Vs The Shield
The confrontation between WWE’s two hottest factions had fans on the edge of their seats, and it came to a head in a smash-mouth contest at Elimination Chamber in 2014. The battle was brutal, with combatants strewn all over the ring, but the Wyatts eventually walked away with the win.
In a bout which included no less than four future WWE Champions, Harper put on another star showing with a mix of brutal power and impressive agility that brought fans to their feet.
2 Brodie Lee Vs Claudio Castagnoli
Few matches display WWE’s knack for missing out on top talent like this one does. Lee and Castagnoli are now familiar faces to WWE fans as Luke Harper and Cesaro. But back in 2008, the two were engaged in a feud which was certainly one of Harper’s best runs on the independent circuit.
This match, which was Chikara’s first cage match, was a high-intensity confrontation which saw both men demonstrate their impressive power. Harper was at his brawling best, throwing Castagnoli into the cage with venom and showcasing his strength. Castagnoli won the match.
1 Luke Harper Vs Dolph Ziggler
Two of the best workers in WWE opened the show at TLC in 2014 – and they put on the best match of the night doing so. Harper was in the midst of his brief Intercontinental Title run and defended the belt against The Showoff in a match which combined athleticism with great in-ring storytelling.
Ziggler was busted open early in the ladder match and the two fought on in a gritty contest which included Harper pulling Ziggler off the ladder, only for Ziggler to reverse his fall into a DDT. In the end, Ziggler super-kicked Harper off the ladder to retrieve the belt.