Vince McMahon has reportedly informed Luke Harper in writing that the company will not be releasing him from his WWE contract, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
As we’ve noted, Harper announced back on April 16 that he had requested his release over unhappiness with how he’s been used. It was reported last week that WWE has added another 6 months to Harper’s contract for the time he spent on the shelf after wrist surgery. His contract was to expire in November of this year, but now he won’t be able to leave until around WrestleMania 36 time in 2020. WWE had plans for Harper to return and feud with Sami Zayn.
Vince reportedly saw Harper’s return match earlier this year and then made the decision not to use him. Vince reportedly said he didn’t “get him” and complained that Harper couldn’t even do a Southern accent, which stems from WWE wanting Harper to do a Southern accent four years ago.
Harper had been regularly pitching ideas to WWE officials while he was out with the injury, but they turned every pitch down. Harper was cleared to return to the ring back on February 6, but WWE wasn’t using him beyond the WrestleMania 35 Axxess tapings. Vince randomly wanted to know why Harper wasn’t in the 6th Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, which is why he was added to the match. Apparently the end of the battle royal was a mess as winner Braun Strowman forgot his spots, which is one of the reasons why Strowman hasn’t had much of a push since winning the match.
Harper was to begin the feud with Zayn the day after WrestleMania 35, but he was then told that he wasn’t needed for the post-WrestleMania TV tapings in Brooklyn. Harper then went home, but was called to come back on Tuesday for a match with EC3. Harper was basically used as the dark match opponent to test out the wrestler/manager pairing of EC3 and Drake Maverick. The agents in charge of that match had set up several manager-related spots in the match. Vince watched the match and said he hated the spots with Drake. WWE creative then held a meeting on the first day of the 2019 Superstar Shakeup and when it was asked about which brand Harper would be going to, Vince commented on how he can’t even do the Southern accent and how the match with EC3 was bad. Harper ended up going nowhere in the Shakeup and that’s when he asked for his release.
There’s no word yet on if WWE will bring Harper back to TV, or if he will sit at home while they wait for his contract to expire next year.
Source: Wrestling Inc.