Luke Harper, a talented professional wrestler, announced today on Twitter that he has formally requested his release from WWE:
Harper debuted in WWE in 2012 as a member of the Wyatt family. As a singles competitor, he captured the intercontinental championship in 2014, and held the belt for 27 days. He was also a tag-team champion with Erick Rowan, as part of a team called the Bludgeon Brothers, from WrestleMania 34 last April until this past summer for a 135-day reign — a pretty long time to hold a belt in modern-day WWE.
This is one of those circumstances where it seemingly came out of nowhere but is also unsurprising. Rowan has caught on as a henchman for Daniel Bryan, and there wasn’t a clear creative path for Harper going forward. He had been sidelined since this past summer with a wrist injury; in late March he tweeted that he was cleared for over a month, but has nonetheless not appeared on television.
Every WWE wrestler who opts to leave the organization is going to be subject to speculation that he or she is joining the upstart AEW, the promotion founded by the Khan family, Cody Rhodes, the Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega. Chris Jericho and Jim Ross are also a part of the promotion. New Japan and Ring of Honor are also conceivable destinations, but in my opinion from afar AEW would be the likeliest of the three. (This is all presuming his release request is granted.)
Regardless, it will be interesting to see Harper’s next steps.