On Wednesday, the entire wrestling world had its eyes on AEW Dynamite. There was no WWE NXT versus AEW Dynamite debate this week. While NXT did air its usual two hour live show, they will grab viewers next week for their big hyped up New Years Evil special. None of that matters on December 30th, 2020 though. The night belonged to AEW, as they had announced a tribute show for Mr. Brodie Lee (Jon Huber) who passed away a few days ago tragically due to a non-Covid lung issue.
Very rarely has a present day, current wrestler died so suddenly, no less JUST being on television and JUST being a champion. All of it was so shocking and sudden. Not since the passing of Eddie Guerrero in November 2005 have I seen such outpouring and emotional messages. The tributes for him have been amazing. It doesn’t matter the promotion, the company, the locker room, male, female, past, present, future – they all loved Brodie Lee and shared some great stories.
We have already seen the ‘community’ come together for his wife and two children. CM Punk is donating all of his Pro Wrestling Tees merchandise sales for the next month to the family. Mick Foley is doing the same. All proceeds for the new RIP Brodie Lee t-shirt will be going to the Huber family. Heck, AEWShop.com crashed on Wednesday night when the shirt was officially available to purchase. Within hours, it had already broken records. Not even a few hours, it beat the 24 hour record for best selling t-shirt on Pro Wrestling Tees. Just an unbelievable amount of support for a clearly beloved star.
With all of this going on, I admit it. I stopped watching AEW Dynamite months ago. I would check out clips and Youtube highlights if something major happened. I even wrote a column about WHY I wasn’t going to watch full-time for awhile. It just didn’t grab my attention. I had no reason to watch.
I had a reason to watch Wednesday night.
For the first time in a long time, NXT was pushed to the wayside, my favorite wrestling show each week. That could wait. For two hours, it wasn’t even about AEW Dynamite. It was about Mr. Brodie Lee. The emotional videos and tributes were surely going to bring me back to the RAW/Smackdown Eddie Guerrero tributes shows, but I was ready. I knew what the deal was. Ten bell salute, crying faces, sad remarks, little shout outs sprinkled in between, sad pictures with the family, etc. I knew what was coming, so I sat down on the couch at 7pm central and turned on TNT.
I lasted 30 seconds.
I couldn’t do it. The shots of his wife and two kids standing there on the ramp were enough for me. I mentally checked out at that moment and took a long, loud sigh, as I turned it off. I was a huge Eddie Guerrero fan, so you can understand the sadness back in November 2005. I wasn’t even a major Brodie Lee (Luke Harper) fan. Like I mentioned, I barely even watched AEW much in the past few months he was featured as TNT Champion. That didn’t matter though. When they showed his kids standing there and his weeping wife, I couldn’t do it.
Maybe it’s because my dad passed away three weeks ago?
I don’t know. The wrestlers’ tributes I could handle. The ten bell salute I could handle. The awesome Twitter posts I could handle. The initial news and goosebumps my body felt, I could handle all of that over the weekend. Actually seeing his family there live in the building, oh wow, it was tough. I tapped out. Hours removed now, I see what all happened. What a freakin’ show!
The Dark Order dominated. Brodie Lee Jr. (-1) booked the card with his favorites. Erick Redbeard showed up with a cool ‘goodbye’ message. Lance Archer wore his old Luke Harper ring gear. Brodie Lee Jr. even got to nail MJF with a kendo stick for messing with his mask at ringside. Heck, the kid got the TNT Championship belt to retire with at the end of the show right before a sweet video package aired. A new belt design will be made up soon, but that didn’t matter. The TNT Championship will now forever be tied to Lee. This was for the Huber family, and they looked to be grieving yes…but also smiling. Being comforted. Anything to help them was the priority – the entire crew stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. Such a cool thing.
I have to give nothing but major props to Tony Khan and the entire AEW family for how they have handled this. They kept his health condition private, as requested. They immediately started pouring in with the emotional stories. Then they said screw it to all their current story lines and dedicated this episode to Jon Huber. Not just the wrestler but the man. The family man. He deserved it, yeah, yeah, yeah. A champion in the ring and a champion at home.
By Justin Watry (Twitter: @JustinWatry)