Luke Harper Being Held Back By Vince McMahon, ‘WrestleMania’ Role Diminished

Luke Harper has experienced as many start-and-stop pushes in the WWE as anyone with few significant storylines credited to him alone as of yet. The vast majority of his main-roster career has been spent alongside Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family. And it’s proven difficult for WWE management to envision Harper completely removed from that dynamic, at least not without a major makeover.

The latest example, of course, came in the past couple of weeks on SmackDown. The Luke Harper character was on display in easily the biggest two matches of his career to date. Two weeks ago, Harper and nine other superstars competed in a Battle Royal to determine a new number one contender for Bray Wyatt and the WWE Championship at WrestleMania after Randy Orton supposedly relinquished his rightful opportunity by his own volition.

That match ended when Harper and AJ Styles simultaneously went over the top rope and onto the floor, of course, and set up a singles match between the two for the following week. Luke Harper has been in Battle Royals before but never advanced as far as he got two weeks ago. His ascent seemed apparent as this past Tuesday night, he battled AJ Styles in his most high-profile singles match to date.

[Image by WWE]

The Inquisitr previously reported on several occasions that the false finish to the Battle Royal was done because WWE officials still hadn’t made up their mind regarding what to do with Luke Harper at WrestleMania. There was one camp advocating for him to be included in the WWE Championship match, thus creating a triple threat of former Wyatt Family members with Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Luke Harper.

However, there was another group backstage who felt he wasn’t yet deserved of such a spot on the biggest card of the year. Ultimately, it came down to Vince McMahon. There was a clear opportunity to push Luke Harper up the SmackDown ladder, but Vince decided not to elevate his position, according to a new report. And as a result, there appear to be new plans in the works for Harper’s eventual role at WrestleMania.

The Inquisitr previously indicated that officials were deciding whether to put Luke Harper in the WWE title match or remove him from the equation and simply use him as an entrant into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It was quite the spectrum of possibilities, especially considering he’d be the third favorite in the match at best going in.

[Image by WWE]

Instead, it appears Harper will return to Bray Wyatt’s side and aid The Eater of Worlds in his title defense against The Viper, Randy Orton. Luke Harper was somewhat of a tweener since breaking apart from the Wyatt Family, and crowds were still uncertain how to react to him. That will play a part in officials deciding to realign him with Bray as they move closer towards WrestleMania.

The other factor that could play a key role in SmackDown’s top storyline is the health of Erick Rowan. Rowan has been training in Florida recently and has been cleared for a return. There have been some rumblings that he could return to television in the next few weeks and be placed back in the family as well. This would mean that the original iteration of the Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan) would reunite for the WrestleMania feud with Orton.

Rowan was the lone beneficiary of the Wyatt Family to wrestle a match at last year’s WrestleMania, albeit an impromptu battle that only lasted six seconds. That, of course, came against The Rock in one of the evening’s more memorable moments. Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt were both injured and unable to compete. Harper, who seemed like he was just hitting his stride as his own performer again, will likely have his singles run taken away to help with the WWE Championship storyline instead.

[Featured Image by WWE]

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