How Brodie Lee’s Son Is Persevering with His Wrestling Legacy

How Brodie Lee’s Son Is Persevering with His Wrestling Legacy

EIGHT-YEAR-OLD BRODIE HUBER had seen loads of championship coronations play out earlier than, and so forth the evening of December 30, 2020, he tried to carry out accordingly, channeling the skilled wrestling bravado he’d discovered from his late father. Wearing a navy go well with and a black wrestling masks with purple trim, Brodie slid the 10-pound AEW TNT Championship belt up his left arm and, with some help from wrestling famous person Cody Rhodes, over his shoulder.

He stood tall contained in the ring at Day by day’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida, because the socially distanced crowd chanted his identify.

“Brodie! Brodie! Brodie! Brodie!”

It was additionally the identify his father made well-known. Jonathan Huber, a 17-year wrestling veteran, reached his peak taking part in the wrestling character Mr. Brodie Lee, a brooding, majestically bearded cult chief of the purple-clad Darkish Order, a set of youthful, largely masked wrestlers, a few of whom glided by numbers as a substitute of names. At 6-foot-5 and 275 kilos, Brodie Lee had a booming voice, bulging eyes, and unmatched physicality. He performed a heel, however followers adored him.

Lower than three months earlier, on October 7, 2020, Brodie Lee had misplaced the TNT Championship belt towards Rhodes in a dog-collar match. (For the uninitiated, which means they wore leather-based canine collars and had been chained collectively.) It will transform his closing efficiency. Weeks later, Jonathan felt unexpectedly winded and had bother respiratory. He was ultimately airlifted to the hospital, the place household and shut buddies watched his situation progressively and horrifically worsen, till on December 26, 2020, Jonathan was pronounced lifeless from a uncommon lung situation.

How Brodie Lee’s Son Is Persevering with His Wrestling Legacy

Jonathan Huber, performing as Brodie Lee, claims his first TNT Championship in August 2020.

All Elite Wrestling

Little Brodie accepted his dad’s outdated belt solely 4 days later. On the time, he was flanked by Rhodes, AEW president and CEO Tony Khan, and his mom, Amanda, who wore a black costume and cried into the chest of Darkish Order disciple Preston “10” Vance. In the midst of the ring, a shiny highlight shone on a pair of Brodie Lee’s black size-14 wrestling boots and a purple handkerchief. Multiple million followers had been watching dwell on TNT’s Dynamite showcase as the mantra for Brodie continued.

As almost everybody is aware of, skilled wrestling is actually a scripted, athletics-based morality play, one which hinges on followers agreeing to droop disbelief for the sake of the present. Sure, we all know it’s faux; that’s sort of the purpose. We relish the ridiculous drama as a lot because the superkicks. As Khan later defined to me, the Brodie Lee tribute was a option to say goodbye to Jonathan whereas honoring his son’s dream.

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Brodie Huber hopes to observe in his father’s footsteps as an expert wrestler.

Courtesy of Amanda Huber

“After what his father, the late, nice Brodie Lee, had finished to assist this firm, I owe it to him, and the corporate owes it to him, that we mentor Brodie and take care of him and provides him an opportunity to be a wrestler,” Khan stated in an interview with MH in February.

So Brodie Huber took the stage as Brodie Lee Jr. That blend of fantasy and actuality is likely to be a bit overwhelming for any eight-year-old, not to mention one who had simply misplaced his father. After we talked lately, Brodie, now 10, admitted that behind the masks he was crying.

“All people’s watching me maintain this belt,” he informed me in a high-pitched voice throughout a Zoom name together with his mother in late April, almost a yr and a half after the occasion. “It was superb. However on the identical time, it wasn’t.”

Then his voice started to quaver. “Holding the belt that my dad held, simply to be in that second, was … it was positively … it was onerous.”

For Brodie Huber, the onstage memorial wasn’t a finale however a brand new starting. Over the previous yr and a half, Brodie Lee Jr. has turn into an official member of the Darkish Order, full with a hoop identify: -1. He’s emerged because the wrestling world’s first little one star, one who’s navigating a number of the identical points as many youngsters who turn into well-known, with one bigger complication. Loads of athletes have channeled grief into nice performances. However is it wholesome for somebody so younger to work by grief on such a public and aggressive stage?

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Brodie Huber performs as Brodie Lee Jr. at his father’s memorial tribute on December 30, 2020.

All Elite Wrestling


MONTHS BEFORE HIS DEATH, Jonathan Huber appeared to sense that one thing was off together with his physique. “I left a bit of me in there [that night],” Huber stated throughout an interview on the AEW Unrestricted podcast that was taped in late October 2020, referencing his match towards Rhodes for the TNT Championship. Huber revealed he had lately skilled bother respiratory on his Peloton bike however was beginning to really feel higher.

As an alternative he received worse. On November 1, 2020, Huber was airlifted from Tampa to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the place he was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine to artificially help his respiratory. Three weeks later, on November 22, Huber suffered a panic assault, and his sharp, speedy respiratory induced much more scarring in his lungs.

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He was nonetheless bedridden for his ninth marriage ceremony anniversary, on December 13, after which his birthday three days later. The shortage of an official analysis proved much more irritating as a number of Covid assessments had come again unfavorable. About the identical time, Huber contracted a bacterial an infection, and since he was already so immunocompromised, it raged to the purpose that the Mayo Clinic deemed him ineligible for a lung transplant.

A physician referred to as Amanda on Christmas Eve to inform her it was time to start end-of-life care: Huber’s kidneys and coronary heart had been failing. After doing her finest to supply Brodie and his youthful brother, Nolan, a “regular” Christmas, Amanda took her husband off life help on December 26. He was 41 years outdated.

Information of Huber’s demise—posthumously characterised as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a uncommon lung situation for which there is no such thing as a recognized supply—despatched waves by the wrestling neighborhood, with AEW and WWE performers alike sharing tributes on social media. “[Huber] cried with me once I cried after George Floyd was killed,” WWE performer Ettore “Massive E” Ewen wrote on Twitter. “He’d textual content and name folks he barely knew when he heard they had been sick or grieving. His kindness was boundless.”

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Amanda Huber holds her youthful son, Nolan, whereas showing with Brodie (in costume) in the course of the Brodie Lee tribute.

All Elite Wrestling

Ewen and Rhodes had been within the Jacksonville resort room when Amanda broke the information to Brodie, who collapsed into her arms. Then Ewen, the 5-foot-11, 285-pound former faculty soccer defensive lineman, who Brodie now calls his “finest good friend,” scooped Brodie up and held him. Rhodes additionally hugged and consoled them.

The next day, Amanda, Brodie, and Nolan attended a Jacksonville Jaguars sport as Khan’s friends. (Khan co-owns the NFL franchise alongside together with his father, Shahid.) There, Khan remembers telling Amanda that he was planning the tribute present for that week’s Dynamite. “She stated, ‘There’s not going to be a [public] funeral. So no matter you do goes to be like a funeral on TV,’” Khan says.

For Khan, that second of tribute bolstered one purpose. Seconds after the present went off the air, he remembers kneeling all the way down to hug Brodie. “This,” he says he thought on the time, “is simply the start.”


LIKE A WRESTLING SHOWMAN, Brodie flips onto his again and rolls right into a seated place on his bed room carpet, smiling large into his laptop computer webcam. It’s late April 2022, and the 10-year-old has his blond hair parted to 1 facet and wears a blue Toy Story T-shirt that reads “You’ve Bought a Good friend in Me.” After I ask about his day, he sighs and says he simply received residence from a day of fourth grade. It was boring.

Brodie shifts round on the ground and fiddles with a ballpoint pen, often guffawing as he solutions questions. When he will get older, he plans to develop a giant, bushy beard, similar to his dad, and he hopes to someday win the AEW World Championship.

Watch Mr. Brodie Lee’s tribute

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“I wish to be similar to him,” Brodie says with the type of youthful conviction that life merely can’t go every other method.

The wrestling trade is stuffed with second- and third-generation stars who tagged alongside backstage with their mother and father as youngsters. There’s Rhodes, the 14-time WWE World Champion Randy Orton, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, to call a number of. What makes Brodie completely different is that he’s dedicated to studying learn how to carry out in actual time in entrance of actual audiences.

Because the tribute, Brodie has turn into a semi-regular AEW character, making a pair appearances on Dynamite and a few dozen extra on the YouTube reveals Darkish and Darkish: Elevation. The stakes are ostensibly low: He’s not a part of long-running storylines, and he solely attends tapings as soon as a month, when AEW is at Common Studios in Orlando for YouTube tapings, about an hour from his residence in Tampa.

However these onstage moments can get pretty aggressive. Take his first dwell wrestling promo: On an episode of the AEW collection Darkish, which aired in early January 2021, Brodie stepped into the ring to confront Marko Stunt, who at 5-foot-2 was the lone male AEW performer on the time who didn’t tower over him. (Stunt has since left the corporate.) “After I’m older and I battle you, I’m going to be so a lot taller than you,” Brodie stated mockingly. Stunt dropped his microphone and pushed Brodie, resulting in a pull-apart brawl, with Rhodes and Khan, amongst others, working to the ring to interrupt up the confrontation.

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Brodie poses with the TNT Championship and AEW World Championship belts.

courtesy of Amanda Huber

After we talked, Brodie informed me he wasn’t given a script beforehand and got here up with the promo on the spot: “It was superior, to be, like, a type of wrestlers who doesn’t even have to consider the promo. Increase, it’s there.”

Then there was a more moderen second, when throughout a Darkish: Elevation match Brodie stole an opponent’s cowboy hat and sprinted across the ring, main the opponent proper right into a shoulder block from Vance. “Did I do this?” Brodie stated mockingly to the digicam, earlier than using the felled adversary like a horse.

Watch Brodie’s first dwell wrestling promo:

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AEW hasn’t shied away from referencing critics’ considerations onscreen, both. When Brodie appeared as -1 throughout a current episode of Dynamite in Jonathan Huber’s hometown of Rochester, New York, the wrestler QT Marshall, certainly one of AEW’s greatest heels, interrupted the promo and informed the child that his father might need been a legend, however he appeared extra like a charity case.

After different Darkish Order members had completely overwhelmed up Marshall, Brodie tore off his personal Darkish Order shirt in mock anger and supplied the ending catcall. “Pay attention, I might pin you proper now,” he shouted. “However you already know, I’m gonna wait.”

Such antics have made Brodie one thing of a viral star already—his appearances achieve a whole lot of hundreds of views on YouTube. Though a few of these clicks have come from Brodie himself. In early 2021, for a number of months after his dad died, Amanda says her son lived one thing of a “Hannah Montana life”—collaborating in digital college in the course of the day and attending AEW tapings in the course of the evening in Jacksonville, with some sporadic in-ring coaching periods behind closed doorways.

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AEW president Tony Khan palms Brodie his father’s championship belt in the course of the tribute present.

All Elite Wrestling

In early April of that very same yr, Amanda discovered his grades had began to slide. The subsequent day she peered over Brodie’s shoulder at his desk setup on the dining-room desk throughout college. He wasn’t finishing his assigned work however watching the confrontation with Stunt.

“Are you kidding me?” Amanda remembers saying. Then she checked out his search historical past:

“Finest clotheslines”

“Luke Harper WWE”

“Indie wrestling”

“Finest powerbombs compilation”

“-1 promo towards Marko Stunt”

Amanda promptly put in web site blockers and put a brief halt on Brodie attending AEW reveals. “I do know he needs to be a wrestler,” she says, including that she had the identical childhood dream. “I totally help that. But when he modifies his thoughts, I don’t need him to be caught.”

After a number of weeks’ time-out from wrestling, Amanda says Brodie was learning onerous sufficient to return to filming segments. In reality, throughout one other current Zoom name that I had together with her and Brodie earlier this yr, Amanda was sitting on a bench at Disney World in Orlando, dodging French fries thrown by Brodie. He had simply turned 10 per week earlier, and the journey was a reward for him getting his grades again on monitor.

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“[Being involved] helps me as a result of, like, I’m ‘Carrying the Legacy’ of my dad,” Brodie stated between rides that day, referencing the identify of the darkish cinematic rock theme music that AEW has designated as his personal entrance music.

As we talked, Amanda defined that over the previous yr, Brodie had begun to behave extra grown-up at tapings, rejecting issues like playful requests from AEW wrestler Tay Conti to bounce together with her backstage, as he had finished throughout earlier appearances. “He tries so onerous to be cool. He’s side-eyeing me proper now,” she stated, chuckling.

“Now, he’s rising up, and he’s like, ‘I’m not cute anymore. I’m a badass,’” Conti informed me in a separate name. “I am going to hug him, and he’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t care.’ [He’s being] a badass.”

Brodie’s tall for his age, standing about 4-foot-11. And he’s been compelled to mature in different methods. He is aware of concerning the trolls on Twitter who’ve accused Amanda of “pimping” out her little one. When she publicly responded by sharing together with her 30,000 followers that Brodie doesn’t but receives a commission for appearances, others chided her for letting the corporate “exploit” her son with out compensation.

brodie huber tay conti amanda huber anna jay

(From left) Brodie Huber as -1, Tay Conti, Amanda Huber, and Anna Jay on the AEW Dynamite present in Rochester, N.Y., on September 29, 2021.

All Elite Wrestling

“That’s not it, both!” Amanda says to me at one level. She says that AEW has dealt with their state of affairs with “such grace and such kindness … that I personally don’t really feel like they’ve exploited him, or taken benefit of us. All the pieces’s all the time felt to me prefer it’s finished with nothing however love. I believe individuals are skeptical and pessimistic and assume that it’s much more sinister than it’s.”

Amanda says Brodie isn’t incomes a wage however he’ll achieve entry to an account stuffed with royalties from his AEW T-shirts and different merchandise when he turns 18. She gained’t speculate about how a lot that might be. “Once more, all people would have a special method of dealing with this. I’m doing my finest. I’m attempting. There’s likelihood I’m screwing one thing up alongside the best way,” she says.

For Brodie, the state of affairs appears much less advanced. “I do it,” he says merely, “as a result of I adore it. And my dad did it.”


AS THE SAYING GOES, it takes a village to lift a toddler. In Brodie’s case, that village is made up of professional wrestlers, so issues typically get bodily. As a result of the Hubers dwell down the road from WWE performer Natalya Neidhart and her husband, WWE producer TJ Wilson, Brodie typically practices at their in-home ring. “They train him plenty of the fundamental stuff, so when he really does begin coaching, he’s going to be leaps and bounds forward of all people,” Amanda says.

Final summer time Brodie additionally visited the Nightmare Manufacturing facility, the Atlanta-area fitness center run by Rhodes and Marshall, to discover ways to safely throw clotheslines and large boots, two staples of his father’s transfer set. Besides he’s not fairly there but. “They had been like, ‘We’re going to work on this slightly bit extra while you’re older,’” Amanda says.

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Brodie Huber has educated on the Nightmare Manufacturing facility in Georgia.

Courtesy of Amanda Huber

Vance, one of many newer members of the Darkish Order on the time of the tribute present, stays shut with Brodie. The 2 first met throughout an AEW taping on December 23, 2020, whereas his dad was within the hospital. “Ever since then, he was simply drawn to me,” Vance says. “[During the tribute show], I hugged him and I informed him, ‘I’ll all the time be right here for you, and I’ll all the time be your good friend.’ After which I simply held him.”

qt marshall, one of aew's biggest heels, interrupted the promo and told the kid that he seemed like a charity case

Brodie now works on-camera as Vance’s supervisor. Offstage, they work out and play video video games collectively whereas Brodie plans out future storylines. Vance says Brodie lately FaceTimed him with an concept for when he turns 18: The pair, performing as “babyfaces” (good guys), will win the AEW World Tag Group Championship, and when Brodie turns to have a good time with the gang, Vance will kick him within the face, turning right into a heel and triggering an epic feud.

The child is clearly planning forward. “That’s, like, the longest [range] storytelling in wrestling historical past,” Vance says.

brodie and preston

Preston “10” Vance has turn into certainly one of Brodie Huber’s finest buddies on the AEW roster.

Courtesy of Amanda Huber

In current months Brodie’s additionally turned issues up a notch. Throughout an intermission at a Darkish: Elevation taping, he received into the ring and climbed to the highest rope. Along with his again to the ring, he leapt and flipped his physique in a backflip, finishing a picture-perfect moonsault onto a crash pad.

Vance was watching with a pair trainees available for the present, certainly one of whom verbalized what all of them had been considering: “That child’s going to be a prodigy.”


BRODIE LOVES WRESTLING a lot that typically the urge to maintain going merely overcomes him. Late at evening, he’ll spring off the bed and activate the sunshine. He’ll think about slipping into his father’s boots and into the ring. He’s not -1, the hyper child at ringside, however a totally grown Brodie Lee Jr., the AEW heavyweight and menacing spitting picture of his hero.

His opponent, an enormous stuffed bear within the nook of his bed room, has no likelihood. His transfer set is acquainted: Massive Boot. Clothesline. Then comes the pin. The referee counts: 1, 2, 3. “As soon as I do it, I don’t wish to cease,” he says about how labored up he will get in these moments.

The fantasy follows Brodie round all day lengthy. He cuts imaginary promos in his bed room, within the lavatory mirror, and even in public. “He tells all people, he’s like, ‘My identify is Brodie Lee Jr., and I’m going to hold on my father’s legacy,’” Amanda says.

His mom nonetheless tries to bolster what’s acceptable across the ring versus in actual life. She believes, particularly as a result of he’s grown up in a wrestling household, that Brodie has a wholesome understanding that his wrestling persona is stagecraft. “He’s conscious [and] much more mature than you’d anticipate from a 10-year-old,” she says.

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Brodie and his mother hug within the ring in the course of the tribute to his father.

All Elite Wrestling

She’s additionally requested Brodie to not wrestle together with his buddies at college. On one event, when an in depth good friend needed a crash course on “locking up”—a transfer the place two wrestlers seize the again of one another’s neck, typically to start a match—she says that Brodie took the lead and proceeded slowly.

He typically nonetheless must be reminded to take issues simple on his youthful brother, nevertheless. “He had [Nolan] in some submission the opposite evening, and Nolan simply was screaming,” Amanda says, chuckling. “He was like, ‘He gained’t faucet! Make him faucet!’ I used to be like, ‘He’s 4! He’s not going to faucet! Simply let him go!’”

Not that she’s apprehensive about that conduct. “I keep in mind doing that very same stuff to my little brother,” she says.

Huber used to joke that wrestling was a mistress with whom he was in an abusive relationship, Amanda says. He didn’t need his son to be a wrestler. He’d be a chemist, or perhaps a physician.

However that doesn’t imply Huber wasn’t pleased with the legacy he was creating. In an outdated interview that recirculated after his death, Huber famous he’d saved all the motion figures made in his likeness—not for himself, however to someday give to Brodie. (On the time, Nolan wasn’t born but.) “For him to have the ability to see what I’ve finished, and the individual that [wrestling] has made me, I can’t actually describe it,” Huber stated on the time.

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Brodie, performing as -1, receives his first-ever motion determine in March 2022.

Courtesy of Amanda Huber

I ask Amanda what Huber would make of his son’s accelerated path within the sport. “He would let you know he completely hates it,” Amanda says. “However I may let you know that deep down, in his coronary heart, he can be simply effervescent over the moon.”

After I ask Brodie about the identical subject throughout certainly one of our video calls, he pulls himself up from his bed room ground and sits cross-legged: “I wager if he was right here, he would in all probability change his thoughts,” he says. “He simply needed me to be comfortable. If he had been right here, to have him see me be within the happiest place, me being within the happiest temper, I really feel like that will brighten up his day.”


IN MARCH, THE DAY BEFORE AEW’s Revolution pay-per-view occasion, Brodie donned purple-and-white wrestling trunks and a white masks to look as -1 contained in the Addition Monetary Area in Orlando. He was a part of the invoice for AEW Fan Fest, an unscripted occasion held the day earlier than the principle promotion.

Along with his mother, brother, and Vance by his facet, Brodie stepped into the ring to obtain a small token of his rising reputation: the primary Brodie Lee Jr. motion determine.

A consultant from the toy firm Ringside Collectibles handed Brodie the field, and there he was: -1. But it surely was a twin set, and beside -1 stood a plastic model of Mr. Brodie Lee. Father and son, collectively once more, proper there in his palms.

Brodie inspected the field, put his proper hand over his coronary heart, and took some deep breaths. He knew this was coming, however the second appeared to overwhelm him. Nolan seemed up at him, beaming. Vance patted his shoulder. Amanda rubbed his again. And the gang started a well-recognized chant.

“Brodie! Brodie! Brodie! Brodie!”

As soon as once more, the masks helped disguise his tears. It was his father’s identify. But in addition his identify, now greater than ever.