Sunday’s Clash of Champions pay-per-view had several memorable moments and a handful of title changes, but one that arguably stood out for a lot of fans was the surprising return of Luke Harper, who had not been seen on WWE programming since his brief appearance at WrestleMania 35. Most rumors since that time had hinted that WWE has no plans to use him as the company waits for his contract to expire. However, that wasn’t the case after all when he showed up last night to help Erick Rowan defeat Roman Reigns in their No Disqualification match at Clash of Champions.
According to a report from PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, WWE did what it could to keep Harper’s return under wraps, leaving his name out of Clash of Champions’ format sheet and keeping him hidden backstage until “just before” Reigns and Rowan’s No DQ match. This ensured that no one saw him until the minutes immediately leading up to his on-screen return.
All in all, it has been more than one year since Harper was last seen on WWE’s weekly television programs, as he last appeared on SmackDown Live in August 2018 when his team with Rowan, The Bludgeon Brothers, lost a SmackDown Tag Team Championship match against The New Day. He then took several months off from WWE as he underwent wrist surgery and The Bludgeon Brothers quietly disbanded.
During WrestleMania 35 weekend in April, Harper wrestled NXT’s Dominik Dijakovic at an AXXESS event in Brooklyn, New York, then competed in the pre-show Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he was eliminated by former Wyatt Family stablemate Braun Strowman, per ProWrestling.net. That same month, Harper took to social media to confirm that he had asked to be released from his WWE contract, though the company did not grant this request, instead adding a few more weeks to his contract to make up for the time he missed due to injury, as recalled by Uproxx.
Interestingly, Harper’s return at Clash of Champions came just days after new rumors backed up previous reports suggesting that WWE plans to keep the 39-year-old bruiser at home until his contract expires. According to The Inquisitr, a report from Wrestling Observer Radio suggested last week that WWE chairman Vince McMahon “sees nothing” in Harper and therefore has no plans of bringing him back to television.
At the moment, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Harper in terms of upcoming storylines. That future, however, might not involve much sitting around at home, given how Harper played an important role in what has been called be the biggest singles win of his old buddy Rowan’s WWE career.