Days before he challenges fellow former WWE star Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing II, website editor Louis Dangoor had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Brodie Lee.
The pair spoke about Lee’s time with AEW thus far and the differences between working for WWE and AEW, his time in the Wyatt Family and the differences between The Wyatt Family and The Dark Order, some former WWE stars he’d like to recruit for his faction and much more.
We have attached some of the key quotes from the interview, as well as the interview in its entirety so you can watch that.
Louis asked Brodie about the reports that he was supposed to debut in his hometown of Rochester, New York before Coronavirus caused plans to change and the show to be relocated to Jacksonville, Florida:
“I was supposed to debut on March 18 I believe, which would have been in Rochester, New York which is where I’m from. We had a really great presale, really get crowd, next week was New Jersey which I think sold 12,000 tickets… So AEW had been building this momentum, and I was supposed to come in at this time and be a huge part of it. It was so exciting, it was almost serendipitous to a point where I got released from WWE and the timing just worked out perfectly, because the Rochester had been scheduled for pretty much six months, and no one knew I was coming, and it sort of happened by chance, it was almost too perfect. It ended up being too perfect”.
Brodie interestingly revealed that once it became clear that the Rochester show would have to be canceled, Tony Khan called him and asked if he’d like to postpone his debut to when fans would be permitted back into shows again:
“Tony Khan called me and said, “look, if you don’t want to debut, we’ll wait, we’ll hold off. We understand that the situation is totally crazy right now” and I said “look, man, I’ve been home for too long, I’ve been a caged animal for too long, I’m ready to be a pro wrestler again”. There was no doubts in my mind that I wanted to do it”.
Louis also asked about the differences between working for WWE and AEW, and Brodie interestingly noted that the increase in the freedom he has working for AEW means he has more pressure on him to perform:
“I always talk about this new pressure on me… I have this creative freedom, I’m allowed to go and do things I want to do and go and have matches I’d like to have. There’s a new pressure as there’s no one left to blame, no writer to blame, no agent to blame to say “you can’t do that, you can’t do this”. Now it’s up to me, so if I don’t perform, if I don’t perform to the capability I believe I can, then that’s on me. So that’s pressure that I live with, pressure I’m willing to take on. It’s been very very cool, very refreshing and I creatively feel fulfiled.”
We also asked Brodie about whether becoming the leader of The Dark Order was part of his negotiations with AEW, and his feelings when he was approached with the idea. Here’s what he had to say:
“It was brought up to me, and I was it as a teriffic opportunity to be put in front of a group that’s already had success and that I could maybe to the next level. The Dark Order as a group had held no championship gold at that point, but since I’ve come on board, we’ve been undefeated in the tag team division, I’ve been undefeated in the singles division, Preston  has been undefeated in the singles division. So I just looked it as an opportunity to jump on board of something that’s on it’s way, and it’s something that I can grab, make it mine, and take it to the next level.”
When you think of Brodie Lee (formerly Luke Harper) and his time with WWE, he is synonymous with stables and factions due to his time with The Wyatt Family. As such, we asked if Brodie, following his release, he thought he’d want a pure singles run instead of being associated with people like he is now with The Dark Order:
“Yeah there was a reservation, but at the same time I knew that I would be at the forefront of the group, and that the singles matches would be coming my way, so again no had hestitation about jumping on that and jumping on the opportunity to be put in a wonderful position in a growing company that’s going to make a difference in the industry. Of course there was a slight reservation because, like you said, I’ve been a background dancer for so long, but now I’m in this situation I’m thrust to the forefront and now in the main event of a pay-per-view, so I can’t say that it didn’t work out”.
As previously mentioned, Brodie Lee was part of the Wyatt Family while working for WWE. Here’s what Brodie had to say when asked about working with Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt:
“It’s pretty wild because we were always kind of thought of second fiddle to The Shield in those times, but now if you look at it, Braun and Bray are wrestling for a world championship at their next pay-per-view, I’m wrestling for a championship at the AEW pay-per-view, and Rowan, I know is going to go and succeed, I’m assuming in Japan because he’s built for it. I think they made a big mistake in letting him go, but personal feelings aside, it was a wild time to be there, and as a group, we had something very special and I’m not sure that they tapped into it completely as they could have.”
Brodie also spoke about one of the issues he had with the Wyatt Family, and noted how he has already made sure he doesn’t make the same mistake with The Dark Order:
“I’d like 100% to be my own leader, do it my own style. I think a big mistake with the Wyatt Family is we never added a member, we never added any strength to the group, and I think I’ve already done that with The Dark Order and added Preston, and he’s been a force so far. I think it’s very important for a group to always be influx and always be adding and maybe needing to be subtracting members of the group. 100% want to be my own person, that’s another reason I got out of WWE, was to forge my own path, so yeah, there might be a little bit of learning some things, but of course I always want to do my own thing and be my own person.
Louis was of the belief that Luke Harper should have been part of the WrestleMania 33 WWE Championship match with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. When asked about it, Brodie said he too thought he should have been part of it, and speculated why WWE didn’t include him:
“As far as I can say, that was 100% never the plan. I think I organically, they weren’t planning on it, they didn’t want it. At the same time, the way it was written, and the way it was laid out, I kind of told them it was going to happen. I was the guy that was pointing out that Randy was the bad person… Yeah, I don’t think it was ever in the books, I don’t think it was ever the plan, and I kind of knew that, but I kind of figured and this is the way my career weren’t there, but if I can do it and if I can get over and I can knock everything out of the park whatever is put in front of me I knock out of the park, maybe maybe there is a chance they’ll stick me in it last minute. I ended up being in the Andre Battle Royale, ended up being eliminated by Mojo Rawley so they could get their moment with Rob Gronkowski. I think from that moment on, I knew that it wasn’t the place for me to be at this time”.
We asked Brodie if he ever felt any frustrations within WWE about always being positioned in a tag team with Rowan and never really being given the chance to show what he can do in a singles run, and Brodie said that he and Rowan probably felt the same way about it all:
“It was frustrating to always be thrust back into a situation with Rowan, and I think he felt the same way. At the same time though, we ended up having a blast together and becoming great friends. We thought we had some great runs as a tag team, but again we were slept on a little bit at the end there, we always had some untimely injuries. No matter what happened, it was always, even when he had his singles run at the end of my career there, they brought me back to be put with him. We were never able to forge out own character and never to flesh out our characters, it took him forever to flesh out a character there. Now I think, like I said, him being out of there will be one of the best things for him in his career.”
Many people have taken Brodie’s AEW gimmick to be a spoof of Vince McMahon, here’s what Brodie had to say when asked if this was the case:
“So it doesn’t, to me, it’s not a Vince spoof, it’s not a Vince parody. I have no illwill towards Vince and I have no reason to besmirch his name in anyway. To me, I’m a huge Mafia movie fan, so that’s kind of where I lean, there may have been a nod or two to a few Vinceisms here or there, which the internet took and ran with. But again, there’s something to be said where even when I asked for my release, people on the internet put words on my mouth. People will love to tell me that I badmouthed WWE on my way out, but I’d love for someone to show me any proof of that, anywhere that you can show, because I’ve never done it publically, you know, you can’t show me it. So, I think it’s just something people took and ran with, which 100% you’re a fan, you’re consuming the product, you’re allowed to take it anyway you want, and if you don’t like it, I’ll make you like it eventually. If you love, please come along for the ride”.
Following on from that, we asked Brodie if he was ever worried that doing a few nods to Vince in his AEW character would lead to people calling him a salty employee for insulting his former boss on national TV:
‘I don’t want to be a bitter employee, because that’s not what I am. I’m just here to be a pro wrestler and absolutely, I don’t want people to jump on that and just see me as that type of character who is just being a miserable, bitter ex-employee. I think it’s very important in AEW that, like I said before the pandemic, the momentum was crushing it and we were on our way, and I think in this industry, AEW has made a huge difference just in the short time. So I think it’s very important to not even acknowledge WWE in a way, and to just concentrate on our product and what we are putting on TV and what I’m on putting on TV and what I’m putting out their as content. I think it’s very important to not be seen as that and it’s very important to forge my own path and be my own person and not been seen as that”.
At Double or Nothing II, Lee will go one-on-one with AEW World Champion Jon Moxley for his title. When asked about what the match meant to him on a personal level, here’s what Brodie had to say:
“I think it’s very cool that it’s with Mox. Love him as a person, hate him as a performer just because I know exactly what he’s going to bring when the bell rings, and it’s the main event of the pay-per-view, it’s the big stage and I know he’s a big match guy. I know the certain intensity he brings and the violence, so personally I’m 100% prepared, I’m 100% ready. I have my own sense of violence that I’m prepared to bring, but like I said before, it’s personally a very important match because I have a lot to prove. Even outside of bringing home the championship for good, to be seen in the record books as a world champion has been a goal of mine since I started pro wrestling. So to be a recognised world champion and to also prove to people that i do belong in that slot, it’s very very important personally.
Some people have said that baring in mind this is only Lee’s sixth match for AEW, that this title match has come too soon in his career, especially for a promotion based so highly on wins and losses. When asked about that, Lee replied with the following:
“I totally understand where you are coming from, but if you look at the rankings, let’s look at number one, I believe it’s Cody, who can’t challenge for a heavyweight title. Number two, I believe is Kenny Omega, who is in another match. Number three, I believe is Lance Archer, who is wrestling for the TNT Championship, and then number four is me. Beside the point, I believe that Jon Moxley put the mark on his own head, he’s the one that said “I’m going to have a target on my back”, and I’m just the one that aimed the arrow and hit him. So, it’s not my fault that no one jumped at the chance, it’s not my fault that people were sitting in the stands and not coming to the ring to beat the s*** out of Moxley and make him accept the challenge. So no, I don’t see an issue with that. You see matches in UFC where it’s not always 4 vs. 5 or 1 vs. 2, there’s different things that happen where if you’re in the top five, or in the spot to challenge for a championship”.
Louis asked Brodie about Finlay, who he worked with while with WWE. Lee said that he’d love to see Finlay hired for AEW as a backstage producer and agent.
“That’s above my pay grade. Personally, I’d love to have him around, maybe I can get him to file an application for The Dark Order, but I’m also afraid that we would be fistfighting very quickly if he did that… He’s not going to be too hard up for work because he’s literally a wrestling genius and he’s very valuable to any company he goes to. If AEW is listening, which I’m assuming they will because they probably watch everything I do very carefully because they are afraid of what I’ll say, let’s hire Fit Finlay.
Along with Finlay, several other WWE stars were let go last month. When asked about who he’d want to see in the Dark Order out of that group, here’s what he had to say:
“That’s hard to say. I’m always a big fan of Zack Ryder (Matt Cardona), and I’m always a big fan of Erick Rowan, but I also think that Erick Rowan is going to come into his own when this pandemic ends and when wrestling comes back, I think he’s going to come into his own and make people, you know, think that they made a huge mistake eventually”.
Louis also asked Lee if he’d have any reservations about working with Rowan in AEW due to the comparisons people would make with The Wyatt Family:
“I’m not going to ever hold back someone from making money, but at the same time you’re 100% right, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a slight reservation, I think for both of us, because we’ve been tied together for so long. But again, at the same time, I think we are very good together, so I think it goes both ways and it’s really hard to say at this point”.
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