It’s Monday. You know what that means.
In all the time I responded back to Brodie Lee on Twitter every day he tweeted out those messages, I have no idea if he ever found them funny, annoying or outright stupid. I tried to make them a little goofy or on point regarding something that was going on in wrestling that week, just hoping to either get a response or the very least a brief chuckle (even if I never heard it). I just really wanted a peek at what “that” meant.
Unfortunately now, “It’s Monday. You know what that means,” means it’s been two days since Jon Huber, the man behind Luke Harper and Mr. Brodie Lee, passed away at the age of 41.
I never met Huber, which is why all I have are those limp attempts at interaction online. I don’t have any stories other than the memories I have of his matches and what I felt during them. Especially when he was at his best, which frankly, was almost always. But once the news of his passing spread Saturday night, messages from across the wrestling industry — friends, family, WWE and AEW workers alike — spread quickly, with each highlighting a singular, undeniable fact: Jon Huber was beloved by all who knew him.
As the last two days have worn on, stories have emerged from the people who knew him best. Dax Harwood shared that his wife miscarried three years ago and it was Huber and his wife Amanda who constantly checked on them and sent them care packages. Miro took a different route, simply sharing a collection of little tidbits about Huber and the things he liked, like basketball and playing the NBA 2K games, or Drake, dogs and how he owned chickens.
One story a number of his friends shared was how after every loop of shows, he would say “Goodbye, forever,” because he was excited to get home to his family and he wanted the few days he was going to be able to spend with his wife and two boys to feel like forever. In the end, while he loved wrestling, loved working with the people he got to work with and forged lasting relationships with each of them, he cared about his family above everything else. He cared so much about his family and just being a dad; in an old interview — with tears in his eyes — he said all he really wanted was to be as good a father to his sons Brodie and Nolan as his dad was to him.
What’s remarkable about the piece of his life we got to share as fans within this often kooky brand of entertainment, is that we only saw a small piece of the person behind the characters he portrayed. The reality is that he meant so much to so many and exemplified the greatest attributes you could ever hope to have attached to your name. To his wife, he was Jon. To Brodie and Nolan, he was dad. To Bray, Rowan and Braun, he was a brother. To Big E he was an empathetic human being when George Floyd was murdered. To Harwood and his wife, he was the greatest of friends. To the Dark Order he was a friend and mentor. To the people he worked with, he put the business and “the boys” first, even checking with Cody Rhodes about whether or not it was OK if he didn’t hook the leg at the end of his iconic drubbing of the former TNT champion. Less importantly, to the City of Toronto, he was a diehard Maple Leafs fan and shared our collective melancholy every year they blew the NHL season. Which was/is often.
Exalted: “Elevated in rank, power, or character.”
In the past days I’ve seen nothing but praise, admiration, respect, love and absolute sadness from anyone who met Jon Huber. He was a person who touched many lives, and was respected and loved in return by each person who had the honour of knowing him personally. Upon reading all the positive notes, memories and well-wishes for his family, two words come to mind: exalted and passion.
Knowing what we know now about Huber’s life, calling him “The Exalted One” is a fitting tribute to who he was. As a human being, he far surpassed the call of empathy, care and love most of us will rarely reach. He had the power to affect people’s lives for the better, and did that to a tee both personally and professionally. His character cannot be questioned, and while it’s something I get the sense he would shy away from, from the outside looking in it’s completely appropriate to say he fit the definition and is truly one of the best humans one could ever be.
Passion… Jon Huber’s life exuded it, exemplifying what it meant to love something and pursue your dreams and actually obtain them. He was passionate about wrestling, passionate about his family, passionate about his friends, and without realizing it, altruistically passionate about being a good human being. It seems Huber never did anything with pretense, always looked out for the people he cared for, and took younger generations of wrestlers under his wing — whether it’s mentoring Anna Jay or buying John Silver $1,000 in ring gear. Each action came from a caring place, a place born from pure passion to not just see himself succeed or thrive, but everyone.
That passion came through in how he lived, how he wrestled in front of us each week, and most importantly how he loved. That impact was felt across both WWE and AEW, and when you see AEW social accounts sharing WWE tweets about Huber, that should show you right away how beloved Jon Huber was as a man, as a friend and brother, as a mentor and as a man whose absence is unfillable.
Huber’s legacy is very simple. Be the best version of yourself, love your friends and family unconditionally, treat people with respect always, work hard and never delay moving toward your dreams. Tomorrow is never a guarantee for any of us, so why settle for less than what’s best for us and everyone in our lives? These last days have been sad, but they’ve been buoyed by what can only be thought of as reactions to how Huber treated everyone around him. Leaving aside his tributes, when you see Jim Ross hanging out with Huber’s son to watch football, or you read the story about how AEW let his son unofficially win the AEW title the day after Huber’s own birthday, it highlights what he meant to people. And while it’s bittersweet, there’s comfort in knowing his legacy continues through the people who knew him.