On Monday night’s Raw, the Wyatts performed in a tag team match, something that is fairly routine for the trio. Luke Harper carried the majority of the match, another occurrence that doesn’t deviate from the norm. On this night, however, this routine performance gave people an unexpected performance that opened eyes and impressed many. Luke Harper showed abilities that belie his role as a drone of Bray Wyatt, and may hint to what he could be in the future.
Some may say that this sample size (one match) is not enough to make the claim that Harper could be a singles’ star, but consider how the tag matches for the Wyatts are arranged. Harper is almost always the wrestler being featured from the Wyatt’s side, and in tag matches that exhibit new teams, the strongest wrestler on a team tends to be featured. With that in mind and seeing what Harper did with both Kingston and Miz Monday night, it’s safe to say that Harper has potential.
While Harper has borrowed hair cues from the Macho Man, (long black hair with a huge bald spot along with a beard) Harper is certainly an individual with his own style. In the Indies, he’s displayed agility that most wouldn’t expect from a man who’s billed at 6’5″ and 260+ lbs. Although listed at 6’5,” the same height as the Rock, Harper wrestles as if he’s 6’7″ or 6’8″ like his partner Erick Rowan–namely throwing opponents around with ease, working a slow and plodding style, and utilizing the clubbing blows that gigantic wrestlers have come to be notorious for in the WWE. Harper’s convincing portrayal of a brain-washed drone–punctuated by the “yeah-yeah-yeah” that he repeats relentlessly when he’s taking an opponent apart–demonstrates that he has little trouble portraying a character. The persuasive cold, deranged look that washes over his face when he wrestles is a sign that Harper may have what it takes to be a very good heel.
Beyond his commitment to character, what may make Harper special is his ability in the ring, and Monday night was an example of how formidable that ability really is. Harper was mean, punishing, powerful, and aggressive all while selling enough to make his opponents look credible. These are attributes that you seek in a monster heel or any heel for that matter. His work Monday night was a nice departure from how wrestlers his size are booked in the WWE. He used effective ring psychology to punish the Miz twice (boot to Miz pushing him out of the ring on the bottom rope into a nice slingshot), produced an impressive-looking sit out body-slam, sold Kofi’s hurricanrana very well, and ended the match with a nasty discus clothesline that was delivered with authority. Harper has the hard-hitting style and aggression to be a good heel in the future, and the fluidity to take a variety of moves and not look stiff in the ring.
Harper’s effectiveness in his role as second-in-command has been largely overlooked due to Bray’s Wyatt’s spellbinding promo ability and back-bending scare tactics. However, with Bray still on the shelf, Harper is stepping up nicely and demonstrating that he has much to offer to the creative and the WWE Universe going forward into the future. Harper blends what the more hardcore wrestling fan wants with what Vince likes; he can clearly wrestle well, and he has a large physique. The Wyatt family is designed to feature Bray and turn him into a star, but don’t be surprised if Bray is the not the only star that this trio produces.