Ring of Honor and TNA present tempting alternatives for wrestlers who are, understandably, fed up with Vince McMahon and the WWE. Cody Rhodes famously left over being forced into the Stardust gimmick and now reigns as RoH Champion.
Could this be the right course for one of the most shamefully under used superstars in the WWE, Luke Harper? We haven’t seen him for over a month, like he’s been blacklisted.
With Bray Wyatt, another ill-used wrestler, such a move would present complications. Wyatt’s big strengths lie in his mic skills and his gimmick. The WWE owns one of those things. He could legally change his name to Bray Wyatt and possibly wrestle under that name, but using the theme might still be tempting a lawsuit. In addition, WWE owns the rights to “Live in Fear,” his entrance music.
But Harper’s theme was never really relevant, especially after he took it up a notch with his performance. His gimmick is being a wide-eyed dude with a beard. He doesn’t necessarily need his ring name either, he could just as easily wrestle under his real name, Jon Huber. But he also has the option of legally changing his name if he wants to keep that old familiarity.
As of this writing, SMACKDOWN is tomorrow. Whether or not Harper is on that broadcast, it has still been over a month since we’ve seen him on screen. Part of this is because of the crowded two-hour format, but he also probably pissed off Vince McMahon. Harper called out WWE’s Twitter account for crediting his battle royal elimination to the wrong wrestler.
“Thanks for watching, WWE. My name’s Luke Harper”, said Harper.
He also expressed frustration over not being the one to face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. Although these comments may have been in character, many took it as a moment of legit angst with the company.
One could argue that Harper got a little ahead of himself with these comments, but he is the most incredible in-ring performer since Daniel Bryan. If he’s just going to be buried in the WWE, maybe he would be better off with an organization that appreciates him.