Article written by Dylan McGuire Devine (2/13/22)
Keith Lee was shockingly released by the WWE on November 8th, 2021, as apart of yet another round of their “budget cuts”. Now, after waiting out his 90 day non-compete clause Keith Lee is All Elite.
Lee first began gaining popularity during his time on the independent circuit mainly from 2015-2018 working for companies like ROH, Evolve, and PWG. In May of 2018, Lee signed a contract with the WWE. One month later, he was shown on NXT TV as a part of the crowd at NXT Takeover: Chicago II teasing his arrival. Lee had his first match on NXT TV in August and everything went up for him after that. He went on to have some of the best matches/feuds in the history of NXT, became a one-time NXT and NXT North American Champion, and represented NXT in a huge Survivor Series match in 2019.
In the summer of 2020, it was announced that Lee would be making his main roster debut on Monday Night Raw. This is where the downfall of Lee’s WWE career began. It has been blatantly obvious over the past few years that Vince McMahon doesn’t know how to handle calling up proven NXT stars to the main roster. They changed Lee’s look, music, and just pretty much the character he developed in NXT. To be fair, they did put Lee in some big matches on the main roster, but it just didn’t feel right, and he never won anything of significance. Before getting released, they attempted to have a gimmick change for Lee, but it didn’t even pan out as he was released shortly after the gimmick change.
Being released by WWE was the best thing that could’ve happened to Lee. He is now in the top professional wrestling company in the world and there are “limitless” possibilities for what he can do for AEW. He is a legitimate top guy contender as he is ready and already has all the tools to succeed and be a number one guy for the company. Lee is going to thrive in AEW and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see him as a champion real soon. We will all bask in his glory as he works his way to the top.