While 2020 has ultimately been an awful year, the only silver lining is that it has shown many of us (and maybe not enough of us) to not take anything for granted and that includes spending time with loved ones. Interactions with family young and old sure had a different dynamic during this holiday season, but I know of two families in wrestling whom fans’ collective hearts go out to.
We lost two wrestling family men way before their time this year: Shad Gaspard and now Jon Huber. I’m not a father and Lord knows if I ever will (having three nephews and a newborn niece has been a blessing in itself), but Jon and Shad made it a tall order for any man to best them in the dad department. The doting adoration in which Lee had for his two children and the selfless act of love Gaspard did in his final few moments with those words of “Take my son” causes any person, father, mother, son, or daughter’s heart to break into several pieces. Family is something very few in wrestling tend to put first, and can be compelled to sacrifice cherished time if they have stardom on their minds, but Huber and Gaspard put their patriarchy before passion while simultaneously blending both loves together.
Tonight, we get to see Huber’s blend of love become showcased for his eldest son, Brodie, as AEW pays tribute to Brodie Lee in a special episode of Dynamite. The talent doing such will go “all out” even more so than any headline pay per view sharing the same name and it’s all in the honor of one man who had time for everybody up and down the card. That gets exemplified in the show that Tony Khan spent two nights ago tweaking and adjusting, all with Huber’s family in mind. Someone like Preston “10” Vance finds his spot in the main event picture.
Huber may have been best at being a dad, but it’s a tight race between second place of being a friend and father (both aren’t far behind first, mind you.) That was evident too by these past few days as friends from every promotion shared one-of-kind, unique experiences they had with the individual known as Harper or Lee. Big E shared an outpouring of stories and moments that meant so much to his kinship with “Big Rig” and longtime friend Chris Harrington expressed his love through countless photos of the times the two shared growing up in the business together.
When I think of Jon, I think of his smile and his laugh. pic.twitter.com/x0b8kUYZJT
— Chris Harrington (@mookieghana) December 29, 2020
Tony Khan shared a text correspondence with John Silver over Twitter that told exactly how much The Exalted One thought of his smaller acolyte with all the star power. What was tremendously moving is a photo Jim Ross shared of himself and young Brodie enjoying a hot dog together at the Jacksonville Jaguars game this past Sunday. If anyone on the AEW roster has felt the pain of sudden loss it’s JR who’s dear wife Jan unexpectedly passed away after a motor accident (he also lost the companionship of his mentor Danny Hodge this past weekend too). It’s moments like these that cause a person to pause, reflect and most importantly, not to take things for granted.
With Brodie, Jr at the @Jaguars game enjoying a ‘dog.
Thanks to @AEwrestling for the thoughtful hospitality. ? pic.twitter.com/2HnKiut4QX
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 27, 2020
Moments of hearing Huber’s incomparable sense of humor and contagious laughter made any fan envious they weren’t playing hacky sack with him and Sami Zayn.
Moments of being in the same room during the filming of those BTE segments.
Moments where a group of friends find themselves stranded yet finding solace in one another giggling over speed-drinking water.
Moments where he was considerate of his ring partner enough to ask if not “hooking the leg” during a primetime television title change was okay.
Moments where he’d sit on the phone for hours with a man who just lost his daughter or where he’d take the time to check in on a friend going through a time of self-doubt.
These all were moments that defined the man as a human being. Moments that if he ultimately was able to convey as his career continued to catch fire and flourish, he’d undoubtedly be holding the world championship he so rightfully deserved. Some talents call the world title a prop, but it would have been Jon Huber who propped the world title up to a much more unattainable level, just like he did with fatherhood.
Enjoy tonight’s Brodie Lee tribute show by embracing any emotion that comes your way because it’s Wednesday night and you know what that means…