Brodie Lee (formerly Luke Harper in WWE) was released by WWE on December 8, 2019. Following the expiration of his non-compete clause, Lee wasted no time joining AEW, making his debut on the March 18 episode where he was revealed as The Exalted One.
Speaking to Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT, Lee revealed that going to AEW wasn't always a guarantee despite his contacts in the company.
"Nothing was ever guaranteed. I basically wanted to wrestle. I wanted to wrestle while I still could. As your career goes on and on, you have injuries, things happen and I just didn’t want to waste it sitting at home and collecting a paycheck, it just didn’t feel right to me. Like we talked about; having two kids, what example do I set for them? And at the same time, when I’m 70 years old and I look in the mirror, am I going to be able to stare back at the person looking at me? Because I didn’t want to have a regret, not one in life. And when I came home one day and I was pretty much set on leaving [WWE], my wife told me ‘go ahead, we’ll be fine no matter what happens’. I knew right there, there was no going back. But as they continued to pursue me, it became harder and harder to say no [laughs]. But all I wanted to do was wrestle," he said.
When asked who in AEW reached out to him about joining the company, Lee replied, "I’ve reached out to many people during the year-long process [that AEW had been in existence]. Even Cody, since he left WWE, we stayed in contact. And I would always message these people, like Cody or The Bucks, whenever they had a great match and say ‘hey, f****** awesome job’. And we discussed it [AEW matches] in the WWE locker room as well. And Chris Jericho is someone I always stayed in contact with too. As soon as the release came down, I got several calls from several people [laughs]. It was heartwarming and refreshing and a monkey off my back."
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Double or Nothing beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.