To the shock of those watching, Luke Harper returned from a long hiatus at WWE Clash of Champions, helping old friend Erick Rowan beat Roman Reigns. This is the second long-awaited, but seemingly unlikely return to WWE in the last several weeks. First, Sasha Banks returned after a reported dispute with WWE management kept her off TV since WrestleMania. Harper also made his last appearance on WWE programming during WrestleMania, participating in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Shortly after that event, Harper officially - and publicly - requested to be released from his WWE contract. Clearly not wanting Harper to take his talents to upstart promotion All Elite Wrestling, or any other potential competitor, WWE refused to grant him that request. Recent reports have suggested that Harper was still at an impasse with WWE, but as is so often the case with wrestling rumors, that information was either outdated or patently false.
Over the last month or so, WWE has been running a long-term storyline concerning attempts to take Roman Reigns out of the WWE picture, including getting trapped under a lighting rig and an attempted vehicular homicide. Reigns has had several suspects, but the culprint turned out to be Erick Rowan, who until recently served as Daniel Bryan's muscle. At WWE's Clash of Champions pay-per-view, Reigns went one-on-one with Rowan in a back and forth brawl that ultimately ended when Harper showed up to help his old Bludgeon Brothers partner score the big win. Check out some gifs and a clip of the match below.
WWE obviously sees main event potential in Rowan, although that's not too surprising, given Vince McMahon's well-known penchant for pushing giants. Still, one wonders where the storyline with Reigns goes from here. Was Harper involved in the attacks on Reigns as well? Is there a third person pulling the strings? That seems unlikely, considering how Rowan laid out Bryan on SmackDown recently and stressed that he was his own man and under no one's control.
The lazy route would be to have Harper and Rowan reunite with their old cult leader Bray Wyatt, leading to a reunion of Shield members Rollins and Reigns to combat the forces of evil. Hopefully that won't end up being the case. That said, many found the reveal of Rowan as Reigns' attacker to be underwhelming, since until recently the large bearded bruiser was usually a tag team wrestler and had never really sniffed the top of the card. WWE could certainly do worse than having Harper and Reigns engage in a series of matches though, as Harper's ring work is criminally underrated.