As documented by Wrestling Inc, Arn Anderson was one of several guests who joined the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho to celebrate the life and career of Brodie Lee, who passed away last weekend courtesy of a non-COVID lung ailment. During the conversation, Chris Jericho and Anderson talked about Lee’s tenure in WWE as Luke Harper, and one controversial storyline idea that was rejected for him.
Anderson worked with Lee in WWE and AEW, and he understood how his best qualities could have been maximized for storylines and character development. The Hall of Famer wanted big things for the superstar in Vince McMahon’s promotion, and he made an effort to try and get him a substantial role on television.
According to Anderson, WWE officials held him back because he couldn’t speak with a southern accent. Lee was from Rochester, New York, but his imposing size, scruffy appearance and wife beater vest attire made him seem like a hillbilly in the eyes of management.
He was also very well-spoken and intelligent when he talked, which didn’t fit the company’s ideal image of what a monster character should be.
Anderson recalled how he went to the creative team and suggested that Lee be given the gimmick of someone who might appear feral and monstrous, but is actually a genius with expert skills in technology and hacking.
“What if you got a shot from somebody in a tree or something, and you’re shooting into a window and you got a single light bulb and it really looks like a primitive, almost I’m expecting the camera to pan down like you got some guy tied up and you’re torturing them or something. What if that guy is sitting with a computer, and he’s rattling away. And you made that guy The Unabomber.”
The Hall of Famer further elaborated on his vision for the unrealized character, revealing that he could have used the computer to obtain records and plan his devious schemes based on the reports. The gimmick would have embraced Lee’s real-life eloquence too, but officials shot the idea down immediately.
Anderson didn’t reveal why the proposition was rejected, but the associations with Ted Kaczynski — an American domestic terrorist who was known for his primitive lifestyle and technological expertise — might have been too controversial for the company’s PG product.
As the FBI noted, Kaczynski killed three people and injured 24 between 1978 and 1995, mainly using bombs that were sent to the victims and couldn’t be traced back to him.