It doesn’t look like Harper is leaving WWE anytime soon after the SmackDown LIVE Superstar announced last week on social media that he formally requested his release from the sports-entertainment organization.
According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter published Thursday, WWE officials have no plans to release Harper from his contract.
Harper’s contract was set to end in November, but according to Meltzer, WWE plans to add six months to it since it became frozen when he took time off for wrist surgery. Their belief is that he won’t be able to part ways until just before next year’s WrestleMania.
It should be noted, however, that Harper was out of action for a little over five months. His last match before undergoing wrist surgery took place on October 1. His first match back from injury took place on March 9. Therefore, his contract probably won’t expire until next April.
“From an outside perspective, this seems to be a way to dissuade people from going public and saying they’re unhappy,” Meltzer wrote. “The flip side was Dustin Runnels, who has been out for months with double knee surgery, but because he never said a word, denied he was leaving when rumors came out, was given a release and was able to immediately walk into a good position with AEW.”
Harper announced his request on April 16 via Twitter and Instagram.
“As of this evening, I have requested a release from WWE. The past 6 years have been a simply, amazing journey around the world and back with lifelong friends and family. I am proud of it all and proud to say I shared the ring with my co workers.
“This decision, as difficult as it was, feels right for myself and WWE. My goal in the future is to continue to grow as a performer and person and continue to make my family proud.
“Thank you. From the top to the bottom of WWE. Thank you to the fans for your undying support. Thank you everyone.”
After undergoing wrist surgery in October — while Rowan was out of action due to a torn right bicep — Harper resumed competing at house shows last month. He returned to television at WrestleMania 35 as an entrant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and defeated NXT Superstar Dominik Dijakovic the day before at WrestleMania Axxess. Their match aired last week on the WWE Network special WWE Worlds Collide, which featured bouts between current NXT Superstars and NXT alumni.
Harper has not appeared on SmackDown LIVE since returning to action. Rowan returned to television in January at the Royal Rumble, interfering on behalf of Daniel Bryan to help him retain the WWE Championship against AJ Styles. Rowan then formed an alliance with Bryan.
Harper last wrestled on April 9 in a dark match at SmackDown LIVE, beating EC3.