After being trained by Kirby Marcos and Rik Matrix in Rochester, New York, and Tony Mamaluke in Schenectady, New York, Huber made his professional wrestling debut for Roc City Wrestling in late 2002, working under a mask as Huberboy #2. He would eventually unmask while still using the Huberboy #2 name. During 2003, Huber began working for Rochester Pro Wrestling (RPW), adopting the new ring name Brodie Lee, which he came up with from the movie Mallrats by combining the names of actor Jason Lee and his character Brodie Bruce. Huber cites Rick Rude, Jake Roberts and Big Show as his influences. Throughout his time in RPW, which was later renamed to NWA Upstate and then again to NWA New York, Lee would go on to win multiple championships including the Heavyweight Championship on three separate occasions, the Tag Team Championship once and the Television Championship once, which he would also proceed to unify with the Kayfabe Dojo Championship. Huber has described his original "The Right Stuff" gimmick as him "just having fun" and "being a cruiserweight".
Huber made his debut for Philadelphia-based Chikara on March 24, 2007, at Time Will Prove Everything, using the "The Right Stuff" Brodie Lee gimmick and losing to Equinox. Lee originally was not scheduled to wrestle at the event, but was instead visiting backstage with friends. However, when Reckless Youthno-showed the event, Chikara bookerMike Quackenbush offered Lee the chance to get in the ring. Lee would return to the company two months later, defeating Equinox in a rematch and starting a streak of not being pinned or submitted that would last for the rest of the year. In August, Lee aligned himself with the Olsen Twins (Colin and Jimmy) and adopted the nickname "Big Rig" and a more serious gimmick of a trucker. Lee and the Olsen Twins were scheduled to enter the 2008 King of Trios tournament as Team Dr. Keith, but after Colin signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the team was left one man short. A random draw picked Retail Dragon as his replacement, but after he dropped the deciding fall in their opening round match against Cheech, Cloudy and m.c.KZ, Lee turned on him while simultaneously ending his alliance with Jimmy Olsen in the process.
Lee at a Chikara event in November 2008.
In April 2008, Lee's bullying of smaller wrestlers led to Claudio Castagnoli issuing a challenge to him. Their first match on April 20 ended in Castagnoli being disqualified for accidentally kicking the referee of the match. The second match on May 24 ended in similar fashion, this time Lee was disqualified for kicking the referee. This led to a No Disqualification match on July 13, which Lee won after interference from Shayne Hawke and Mitch Ryder, both of whom had a grudge with Castagnoli for breaking up the Kings of Wrestling the previous year. Lee's and Castagnoli's feud ended on September 7, 2008, in Chikara's first-ever steel cage match, with Castagnoli coming out victorious.
In late 2008, Lee aligned himself with Eddie Kingston and Grizzly Redwood to form a stable called The Roughnecks. On February 21, 2009, The Roughnecks defeated UltraMantis Black, Crossbones and Sami Callihan to earn a spot in the 2009 King of Trios tournament. On March 27, The Roughnecks lost their King of Trios opening round match to Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli and Dave Taylor). When Kingston moved on to feuding with Castagnoli, Lee and Redwood began wrestling matches as a tag team. With victories over Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream and Ice Cream, Jr.), Cheech Hernandez and K.C. Day, and the North Star Express (Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz), Lee and Redwood earned their right to challenge for the Campeonatos de Parejas. On October 17, 2009, Lee and Redwood challenged The Colony (Fire Ant and Soldier Ant) for the Championship, but were defeated in two straight falls. Lee opted to give Redwood one more chance, but when he dropped the fall on October 19 in a match against The Osirian Portal (Amasis and Ophidian), Lee kicked him in the face, effectively ending The Roughnecks. Redwood made his return six months later on April 24, 2010, as a surprise opponent of Lee's, but was easily defeated by him. Afterwards, Redwood stated that he was not done with Lee, but would prepare himself before their next match. On August 29 Lee entered the Countdown Showdown battle royal and was dominating the match, before being eliminated by Redwood. On October 23 Lee suffered an upset loss in a match against Dasher Hatfield, who was defeated by Redwood the following day. On November 20 Lee and Redwood, having earned each other's respect, re–united and attacked Hatfield after his match with Shayne "Buck" Hawke. On January 23, 2011, at the season ten premiere, the Roughnecks defeated the Throwbacks (Hatfield and Sugar Dunkerton) in a tag team match. The Roughnecks and the Throwbacks ended their feud on March 13 in a lumberjack match, where Hatfield and Dunkerton were victorious. In May 2011, Lee entered the 12 Large: Summit, set to determine the inaugural Chikara Grand Champion, but was forced to pull out of the tournament following his first match, after suffering an injury. Lee returned to Chikara on October 30. After signing a developmental contract with WWE, Lee made his farewell appearance for Chikara on March 25, 2012, when he unsuccessfully challenged Eddie Kingston for the Chikara Grand Championship.
Squared Circle Wrestling (2007–2012)
Lee made his debut for Syracuse, New York–based Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) on August 20, 2007, teaming with Colin Olsen, as a replacement tag team partner for Jimmy Olsen, in a tag team match, where they were defeated by the Wyld Stallyns. Lee started off as a heel aligned with the rival promotion NWA Upstate. Lee started becoming popular after a July 26, 2008, post–match incident in Binghamton, New York that ended with him punching out a fan in the parking lot. Lee was kayfabe suspended from 2CW over the incident. He returned on October 24 to a huge ovation, although he was still a heel, leading NWA Upstate to a victory in an eight man tag team main event. He officially became a babyface starting April 2009 when the rivalry between 2CW and NWA Upstate had subsided. Lee then started a friendly rivalry with Slyck Wagner Brown that saw both men trade wins in singles matches on June 6 and September 19, 2009. Lee defeated Brown in a rubber match on February 19, 2010, and then again in a two out of three falls match on April 3, 2010, to end the feud. Lee challenged Jason Axe for the 2CW Heavyweight Championship on June 20, 2010, but lost due to outside interference. Lee defeated Isys Ephex on July 10 in a number one contender's match to earn another shot at the title and, on August 22 in Watertown, New York, defeated Jason Axe to win the 2CW Heavyweight Championship for the first time. Lee made a successful first defense of the title against the former champion, Jason Axe, in an "I Quit" match in Binghamton, New York, on September 24, 2010. Lee lost the title to Slyck Wagner Brown on November 19, 2010, in Elmira, New York. Lee regained the title on April 13, 2012, in a four-way match with Jay Freddie, Slyck Wagner Brown and Kevin Steen, who stole the belt after the match. The following night, with the title belt still in Steen's possession, Lee successfully defended the 2CW Heavyweight Championship in another four-way against Jason Axe, Jay Freddie and Matt Milan and afterwards relinquished it, announcing that he had signed with WWE and would be contractually unable to defend it in the future.
Ring of Honor (2008–2009)
Lee made his debut for Ring of Honor on October 25, 2008, aligning himself with The Age of the Fall and helping the stable's leader Jimmy Jacobs defeat Austin Aries in an Anything Goes match. Lee then teamed with fellow Age of the Fall member Delirious and defeated Cheech and Cloudy in a tag team match, before ending the night by attacking Necro Butcher, with whom the stable was feuding with, after his match with Go Shiozaki. On November 7, Lee's match with Necro Butcher ended in a disqualification, when the rest of the Age of the Fall attacked his opponent. Lee and Necro Butcher had a rematch under Anything Goes rules on February 27, 2009, which Necro won. In March Delirious turned on the Age of the Fall and on May 30 he defeated Lee in his final ROH match to date.
Jersey All Pro Wrestling (2009–2011)
Lee made his debut for Jersey All Pro Wrestling on March 28, 2009, as a member of the Hillbilly Wrecking Crew, along with Necro Butcher and Trevor Murdoch. On August 1 Lee and Necro defeated the Garden State Gods (Corvis Fear and Myke Quest) to win the JAPW Tag Team Championship. On January 23, 2010, at JAPW's 12th Anniversary Show Lee and Necro lost the title to Da Heavy Hitters (Havok and Monsta Mack) in a three-way match, which also included the H8 Club (Nate Hatred and Nick Gage). On March 20 Lee got to challenge for the JAPW Heavyweight Championship, but was defeated by the defending champion Dan Maff. After the match Nick Gage attacked Maff and joined the Hillbilly Wrecking Crew, replacing Murdoch, who had left the company. On May 22 Lee and Necro faced Maff and the JAPW New Jersey State ChampionCharlie Haas in a tag team match, where they put their JAPW careers on the line against the titles of their opponents. In the end Lee managed to pin Haas, after Maff had turned on him, to become the new JAPW New Jersey State Champion. On October 23, 2010, Lee challenged Dan Maff for the JAPW Heavyweight Championship in a Champion vs. Champion match, but was defeated. On November 20 Lee first successfully defended the New Jersey State Championship against Eddie Kingston and then defeated Dan Maff, Nick Gage and Azrieal in a Championship Scramble to win the JAPW Heavyweight Championship for the first time, unifying the two titles. Lee made his first JAPW Heavyweight Championship defense on December 11, during the Anniversary weekend, defeating Rhino with help from Nick Gage. On December 30, 2011, JAPW announced that Lee, who had not made an appearance for the promotion in nine months, had been stripped of the Heavyweight Championship.
Lee debuted for Evolve on January 16, 2010, at the promotion's first ever show, teaming with Gran Akuma and Icarus in a six man tag team match, where they were defeated by Team Frightning (Mike Quackenbush, Hallowicked and Frightmare). After losing a singles match to Gran Akuma on March 13, Lee picked up his first victory in the company by defeating Gran Akuma, Hallowicked and Chris Dickinson in a four-way match on May 1. At the fourth show on July 23, Lee wrestled Jon Moxley to a no contest. As Moxley was protesting the stoppage, Lee kicked a chair into his face, which led to Evolve suspending him for the September 11 show. Lee returned to Evolve on May 20, 2011, in a match, where he was defeated by Sami Callihan via submission.
Dragon Gate USA (2010–2011)
On May 8, 2010, Lee made his debut for Dragon Gate USA, defeating Cheech, Cloudy, Kyle O'Reilly, Phil Atlas, Xtremo, Brent B. and Anthony Fiasco in a darkeight–way fray elimination match, prior to the tapings of the Uprising pay-per-view. Later, on the pay-per-view section of the evening, Lee interrupted a match between Rip Impact and Johnny Wave and beat down both of the competitors, before announcing that next time he would be coming after a Japanese wrestler. At the following event on September 25, Lee defeated Da Soul Touchaz (Acid Jaz, Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson) in a three–on–one handicap match, before repeating his threat of going after a Japanese competitor. Later in the night Lee set his sights on Yamato and chased him away from ringside, when he tried to interfere in a match between his ally Jon Moxley and Jimmy Jacobs. The following day Lee defeated Jimmy Jacobs, Kyle O'Reilly, Mike Quackenbush, Rich Swann and Silas Young in a six–way match. On October 29 at Dragon Gate USA's first live pay-per-view, Bushido: Code of the Warrior, Lee teamed with sumo legend Akebono Tarō in a tag team match, where they defeated The Osirian Portal. After the match, Lee and Akebono had to be separated from one another by the rest of Dragon Gate USA's locker room. Later in the night, Cima used his draft pick to name Lee the newest member of his Warriors International stable. At the following day's tapings of Freedom Fight 2010, Lee defeated Akebono in a singles match. On January 28, 2011, at United: NYC, Lee, now representing the heel group Blood Warriors, defeated Jimmy Jacobs in a singles match. The following day at United: Philly, Lee suffered his first loss in Dragon Gate USA, when he was defeated by Open the Freedom Gate Champion Yamato in a non–title match.
Dragon Gate (2010–2011)
On December 21, 2010, Lee made his debut for Japanese promotion Dragon Gate in Tokyo, where he, representing the Warriors stable, defeated Kzy. The Warriors stable turned heel on January 14, 2011, when they attacked Masato Yoshino and World–1, aligning themselves with Naruki Doi's group, though Lee himself was not present, as he was snowed in and could not make the show. The following day Lee made his return to Dragon Gate as a member of the new top heel group, in a match, where he, Gamma and Genki Horiguchi defeated Yamato, Kagetora and Diablo. On January 18 the new group was named Blood Warriors.
When FCW was rebranded as NXT Wrestling in August 2012, Harper made his television debut on the November 7 episode of NXT as a follower of Bray Wyatt, who introduced Harper as the "first son" of the Wyatt Family. The Wyatt Family later also came to include Wyatt's "second son" Erick Rowan, with whom Harper formed a tag team, with the two defeating Percy Watson and Yoshi Tatsu in their first match together on the January 9, 2013, episode of NXT. On the January 23 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan again defeated Watson and Tatsu in the opening round of the NXT Tag Team Championship tournament. Following a win over Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty in the semi-finals with Wyatt's interference, Harper and Rowan were defeated in the finals of the tournament by Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey. Harper defeated tag champion Neville on the March 20 episode of NXT. On the May 2 episode of NXT, Harper and Rowan won a triple threat elimination tag match by last pinning tag champion Neville. On the May 8 NXT (taped on May 2), Harper and Rowan defeated Neville and Bo Dallas, filling in for the injured Grey, to win the tag title. On the June 5 NXT, Harper and Rowan successfully retained their title against Corey Graves and Kassius Ohno. On June 20, Harper and Rowan lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to Adrian Neville and Corey Graves.
From the May 27 episode of Raw, WWE aired vignettes promoting the upcoming debut of the Wyatt Family. The vignettes showed the Wyatt Family's backwoods origins. On the July 8 episode of Raw, the Wyatt Family made their debut by assaulting Kane. Harper made his WWE in-ring debut on the July 26 episode of SmackDown, where he and Rowan defeated Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) in a tag team match. Over the next few months, Harper and Rowan went on a winning streak over many teams, until Cody Rhodes and Goldust handed them their first loss on the October 11 episode of SmackDown. After the Wyatt Family started feuding with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, Harper wrestled two singles matches, losing to Punk on the November 4 episode of Raw and to Bryan via disqualification on the November 8 episode of SmackDown.