Keith Lee (wrestler)

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Keith Lee
Keith Lee April 2018.jpg
Lee in April 2018
Born (1984-11-08) November 8, 1984 (age 35)
Wichita Falls, Texas, United States[1]
ResidenceOrlando, Florida, United States[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Keith Lee[3]
Kevin Paine
Billed height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)[3]
Billed weight340 lb (154 kg)[3]
Billed fromWichita Falls, Texas[3]
Trained byKiller Tim Brooks
DebutFebruary 2005

Keith Lee (born November 8, 1984) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand.

He is known for his work in Ring of Honor (ROH), as well as on the independent circuit, where he competed for promotions such as Evolve, All American Wrestling (AAW), and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG). He is a one-time PWG World Champion, one-time NXT Champion and NXT North American Champion

He signed with WWE in May 2018 and was assigned to the NXT brand, where he was a one-time NXT Champion and one-time NXT North American Champion. He is the first man in WWE history to hold both titles simultaneously. He was promoted to WWE's main roster in August 2020.

Early life[edit]

Keith Lee was born on November 8, 1984 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He was introduced to professional wrestling at a young age by his grandmother, who was a fan herself, and credits her with inspiring him to pursue a career in professional wrestling. Lee played college football at Texas A&M University, but quit to become a professional wrestler.[4][5]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Ring of Honor (2015–2017)[edit]

During 2015, Lee started making appearances in Ring of Honor with Shane Taylor, calling themselves "Pretty Boy Killers" (PBK).[6]

On August 27, 2016, during Field of Honor, PBK participated in a gauntlet tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship, but the match was won by The Addiction.[7] At All Star Extravaganza VIII, PBK wrestled against The All Night Express, War Machine and the team of Colt Cabana and Dalton Castle in a Four Corner Survival match to determine the number one contender for the ROH tag team championship, in a losing effort.[8] In January 2017, Taylor announced the he had signed his first contract with the Ring of Honor.[9] At a January 14 show in Atlanta, PBK entered into a feud with The Briscoe Brothers when Lee and Taylor attacked them and slammed Jay Briscoe through a table. Surprisingly, the next day, Lee announced that he was leaving ROH.[10] On February 3, 2017, they faced The Briscoes, where the match ended in a no contest. This was Lee's last appearance in ROH.[11]

Evolve (2017–2018)[edit]

Lee signed with Evolve in January 2017, and made his debut at Evolve 76, losing to Chris Hero.[12] He made his return on February 24 at Evolve 78, defeating Zack Sabre Jr.[13] The following night, at Evolve 79, he defeated Tracy Williams.[14] Lee received his first championship opportunity at Evolve 87 on June 25, when he unsuccessfully challenged Matt Riddle for the WWN Championship.[15] On October 14, at Evolve 94, Lee defeated Riddle to win the WWN Championship.[16] On April 6, 2018, at Evolve 103, he lost the title to Austin Theory.[17]

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (2017–2018)[edit]

Lee made his Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) debut on March 18, 2017, at the Nice Boys (Don't Play Rock N' Roll) event, competing in a triple threat match against Brian Cage and Sami Callihan, won by Cage.[18] At the Game Over, Man event, he lost to Jeff Cobb.[19] On May 19 at Head Like A Cole, he won his first match in PWG, defeating Trevor Lee.[20] He followed this up by defeating Lio Rush and Trent at Pushin Forward Back on July 7.[21] In September, Lee made it to the finals of the 2017 Battle of Los Angeles, where he was defeated by Ricochet.[22] Lee's quarterfinal match against Donovan Dijak was awarded a five-star rating by Dave Meltzer.[23] At Time Is a Flat Circle event on March 23, 2018, Lee defeated Chuck Taylor to become the PWG World Champion. On April 21 at All Star Weekend 14, Lee lost the title to Walter in a three-way match, also involving Jonah Rock.

WWE[edit]

NXT (2018–2020)[edit]

Prior to officially signing with WWE, Lee received a tryout in 2008, although this did not result in him being hired.[24] He appeared as an extra on the March 30, 2009 episode of Raw, playing a security guard.[25][26]

Lee made his WWE debut in April 2018, defeating Kassius Ohno

On April 5, 2018, during WrestleMania Axxess weekend, Lee made an appearance for NXT, defeating Kassius Ohno.[27] On May 1, it was announced that Lee had signed a contract with WWE.[28] Lee appeared in attendance for NXT TakeOver: Chicago II on June 16.[29] On the August 8 episode of NXT, Lee made his televised in-ring debut for WWE, defeating Marcel Barthel.[30] Throughout the rest of 2018, Lee wrestled sporadically on NXT, defeating the likes of Luke Menzies,[31] Kona Reeves,[32] but losing to Lars Sullivan.[33] On March 7, 2019, Lee suffered an undisclosed injury. The injury resulted in an early end to his planned feud with Dominik Dijakovic, who he was supposed to face for the next two months. Lee returned to action on April 18, at a house show in Lakeland, Florida.[34] On November 1, Lee was among the NXT wrestlers who invaded that night's episode of SmackDown.[35][36] At NXT TakeOver: WarGames on November 23, Lee was included in Tommaso Ciampa's team as they defeated The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong) in a WarGames match.[37] The next night, he made up part of Team NXT at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, where they faced Team SmackDown and Team Raw in a 5-on-5-on-5 Survivor Series match, which Team SmackDown won.[38] Lee’s performance in the match was heavily praised, with many saying “he looked like he belonged with top stars Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns”.

On the January 8, 2020 episode of NXT, Lee won a fatal-four way match over Cameron Grimes, Damian Priest, and Dominik Dijakovic to become the number one contender to the NXT North American Championship,[39] and defeated Roderick Strong on the January 22 episode of NXT to win the championship.[40] On January 26, Lee participated in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but was eliminated by the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar.[41] Lee then successfully defended his title against Dominik Dijakovic at NXT TakeOver: Portland[42] and Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: In Your House.[43] During the second night of The Great American Bash on July 8, Lee defeated Adam Cole to win the NXT Championship, becoming a double champion, and the first person to hold the NXT and North American Championships simultaneously.[44] On the July 22 episode of NXT, Lee voluntarily relinquished the North American Championship,[45] and started a feud with Karrion Kross over the NXT Championship.[46][47] At NXT TakeOver XXX on August 22, Lee lost the NXT Championship to Kross in what would be his final match in NXT.[48]

Raw and various feuds (2020–present)[edit]

At SummerSlam, it was announced by WWE that Lee would be moving to the Raw brand and make his debut the following day's episode of Raw.[49] On the August 24 episode of Raw, Lee made his main roster debut. His new ring attire and entrance music was met by heavy criticism from fans. He later went on to confront Randy Orton, then lost via disqualification thanks to interference from WWE Champion Drew McIntyre.[50] A rematch between Lee and Orton was made for the Payback pay-per-view, which Lee won.[51]

On the October 5 episode of Raw, Lee began a feud with Braun Strowman, facing Strowman in an exhibition match which ended in a double countout. Lee would remain on the Raw brand during the 2020 WWE Draft, and went on to face Strowman yet again on the October 19 episode of Raw, which Lee lost after Strowman hit him with a low blow. After the match, Lee attacked Strowman and hit him with a low blow.

Other media[edit]

Lee made his video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K20.[52]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2020 The Main Event Smooth Operator[53]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Exclusive Q&A: Keith Lee reveals how a Hall of Famer's advice changed his life and why failure is part of the "grind"". WWE. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "Keith Lee on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Keith Lee". WWE. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "Interview – Keith Lee – The British Wrestling Revival Blog". thebritishwrestlingrevival.wordpress.com. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "Keith Lee helping to change the game for big men in wrestling". March 9, 2017. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Keith Lee and Shane Taylor on the Future of Honor". Retrieved January 28, 2020 – via www.youtube.com.
  7. ^ "ROH Field of Honor Results 8.27.16". 411 Mania. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "Csonka's ROH All Star Extravaganza Review 9.30.16". 411Mania. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  9. ^ "ROH Contract News on Adam Page & Donovan Dijak. More on Keith lee's Departure". 411Mania. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/RealKeithLee/status/820716539380908034?
  11. ^ Laconi, Rich (February 17, 2017). "The Curious Case of Keith Lee". Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  12. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 76: A Hero's Exit – Tag 1 " Events Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 78 " Events Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  14. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 79 " Events Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  15. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 87 " Events Database " CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
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  17. ^ Elizabeth, Claire. "Evolve 103 recap & review: Injuries shuffle the card, Riddle uses a lack of rope breaks to retain, and Austin Theory wins the WWN title". Cageside Seats. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
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  27. ^ Currier, Joseph (April 6, 2018). "WWE AXXESS DAY ONE RESULTS: KEITH LEE VS. KASSIUS OHNO". Wrestling Observer. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  28. ^ "Keith Lee signs WWE deal, update on WALTER and WWE, Danny Burch signs with WWE -". May 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "Keith Lee appears ringside at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II". WWE.com. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  30. ^ "Keith Lee def. Marcel Barthel". WWE.com. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  31. ^ "Keith Lee def. Luke Menzies". WWE.com. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  32. ^ "Keith Lee def. Kona Reeves". WWE.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  33. ^ "Lars Sullivan def. Keith Lee". WWE.com. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  34. ^ "Keith Lee Returns From His Undisclosed Injury at NXT Live Event in Lakeland | Fightful Wrestling". www.fightful.com. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
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  36. ^ Powell, Jason (November 1, 2019). "11/1 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review the show featuring a makeshift crew caused by flight issues in Saudi Arabia following WWE Crown Jewel". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  37. ^ Moore, John (November 23, 2019). "11/23 NXT Takeover: WarGames results – Moore's live review of Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, a partner in a WarGames match, Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Kay Lee Ray in a WarGames match, Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
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  44. ^ Moore, John (July 8, 2020). "7/8 NXT TV results: Moore's review of the Great American Bash night two with NXT Champion Adam Cole vs. NXT North American Champion Keith Lee for both titles, Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae in a Street Fight, Legado Del Fantasma vs. Drake Maverick, Tyler Breeze, and Fandango, Johnny Gargano vs. Isaiah Scott". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
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  49. ^ Powell, Jason (August 23, 2020). "WWE SummerSlam results: Powell's review of Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, Braun Strowman vs. The Fiend for the WWE Universal Championship, Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville in a No DQ, loser leaves WWE match, Asuka challenges for two titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
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External links[edit]