Why has Luke Harper been black-listed?

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

Luke Harper is one of the most talented wrestlers on the WWE roster. He’s also been MIA for several weeks.

Does Vince McMahon just hate beards?

After the Superstar Shakeup, reports circulated that the WWE had no plans for Luke Harper. I just thought that meant they’d put him in meaningless feuds until they figured it out, like they’ve been doing with Bray Wyatt. I had no idea they’d just plain take him off the show.

Right before the Superstar Shakeup, Luke Harper really stood out with his in-ring performances. He’s always been good to watch, but now he’s absolutely incredible. He’s on the same level as Daniel Bryan. But he may have also irked Vince McMahon in an interview with Fox Sports, when he said he was “Very, very, very bitter” about not being the guy to face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania for the World Title.

Luke Harper also said, “I feel like Randy Orton gave up that spot - and he won it fair and square, but I don’t know if AJ Styles won it fair and square.”

People have taken this as Luke Harper calling out the WWE out of character, but I think this is a misunderstanding. Randy Orton “gave up that spot” as part of a storyline. And his doubt about AJ Styles winning the spot probably refers to the battle royal they held to determine the number one contender, a result that was contested in the storyline. Luke Harper probably couldn’t decide if he was in character or out of character during that interview. But either way, Vince McMahon is a man who angers easily and does not forget a grudge, as evidenced by the situation with Titus O’Neal not too long ago.

And the rest of the interview was clearly out of character, such as when he talked about his frustration while wrestling as part of The Wyatt Family. This has alienated him from many fans of Bray Wyatt, which is a big problem because Wyatt Family fans still make up a huge chunk of Luke Harper’s supporters.

Harper also recently had a movie to work on. A lot of fans think he is still working on that movie, but Mowhawk is finished and was already released in Canada on July 15.

SMACKDOWN’s two-hour format must be a factor. With so many wrestlers and so little time to put them on the air, many in the roster are struggling to keep their heads above water. Time slots are mostly taken up by matches that advance storylines for title feuds and these storylines, at the moment, have no room for Luke Harper.

Harper’s absence might have more to do with lack of time than Vince’s anger or dislike. Vince had ideas on the title feuds and they’re going very well, in my opinion. But I do hope that Harper gets in on the United States Title scene after AJ Styles and Kevin Owens wrap it up. We’ve already seen how good Harper and Styles are when they face each other, and Harper against Owens would have to be just as good. Harper would also make a good, solid United States Champion, if the WWE chose to put the belt on him.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Harper as World Champion either, but sometimes small steps are the way to go. Harper’s been gone for so long the fans need to get to know him again, and a United States Title reign would be a great way to accomplish that.

Many in the WWE see Luke Harper’s talent. One of the announcers said Harper has all the tools he needs to be what ever he wants in the WWE, including World Champion. Harper’s booking before the brand split, main event matches against AJ Styles, shows that the WWE believes in him to, and Daniel Bryan said the WWE wasted an opportunity with Luke Harper due to his non-existent booking after the Brand Split.

The problem with screen time could easily be fixed simply by moving Harper to RAW. This is a show where a guy like Harper could really get the fans on his side, even with non-title feuds.

But with the WWE’s recent history, and keeping Daniel Bryan in mind, I can’t help but wonder if Vince is scared of Harper getting too popular.

In 2015, Vince kicked off his little pet project: Roman Reigns. He won the 2015 Royal Rumble instead of Daniel Bryan and the fans absolutely hated him for it. This was the second year that Daniel Bryan and his “Yes Movement” threw a wrench into Vince McMahon’s plans for the World Title.

Does Vince McMahon fear a similar “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Movement?” I’m betting yeah.


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