With Luke Harper reportedly set to sit out the next several months on WWE’s inactive list — as the company refuses to release him from his contract — a new update has offered more details on the reasons why WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon reportedly didn’t want Harper back on television, even after the wrestler had recovered from his injuries.
Citing this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WrestlingNews.co reported that Harper is at a point where he “needs to get out of the company” because McMahon and the rest of WWE’s creative team previously decided that they wouldn’t use Harper after what they saw in his return match. Reportedly, McMahon didn’t “get” Harper’s gimmick, and went back to a complaint from four years prior. The WWE boss had observed that the former Wyatt Family and Bludgeon Brothers member couldn’t speak in a convincing Southern accent.
As further explained, it was believed that the creative team might not have substantial plans for Harper when he had a match on WrestleMania Axxess, but wasn’t booked for WrestleMania 35 itself. After McMahon purportedly asked “out of the blue” why Harper wasn’t included in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, he was then included in the match as a last-minute addition.
Per WrestlingNews.co, the original plan for Luke Harper was for him to enter a rivalry against Sami Zayn after WrestleMania 35, which was what the 39-year-old former Intercontinental Champion was supposedly expecting. After Harper was told that he was not needed for television tapings, he was then asked to take part in a dark match against EC3 — another seldom-used WWE superstar. As reported by The Inquisitr in March, rumors have suggested that EC3 has barely been utilized on TV since his main roster call-up because he is the “doghouse” with WWE management.
After Harper and EC3 had their dark match, WWE’s creative team reportedly had a meeting on the day of this year’s Superstar Shake-Up. This meeting was allegedly where Vince McMahon mentioned the apparent inability of Harper — a New York native, as noted by The Ring Report — to perform a credible Southern accent. Still citing the Wrestling Observer, WrestlingNews.co added that McMahon felt that Harper’s match against EC3 was “so bad,” a signal that Harper was not destined for a brand — unlike everyone else on WWE’s active roster.
While Luke Harper did take to Twitter last month to announce that he had asked for his release from WWE, it now appears that he might have to wait another year before he can officially leave the company. According to Wrestling Inc., WWE reportedly extended Harper’s contract by another six months in order to make up for the time he was inactive due to wrist surgery. This means his contract, which was originally set to expire in November, now runs until May of 2020.