Keith Lee is currently one of the most popular Superstars, not only in NXT but in the entire WWE in general. Lee’s tremendous performance in the Men’s Survivor Series match-up from last year has gained him quite the fame and momentum and rightfully so.
Lee appeared on Corey Graves’ After the Bell podcast and there he talked about his initial struggles getting into the WWE and what finally got him into the company.
Lee first talked about his primary inspiration to become a wrestler and how within three years of his wrestling career, a certain wrestler threw-in his name as someone WWE should look out for. Thanks to this, Lee recalls, that he received his first few pieces of interesting extra work:
Unlike most people I was inspired by my grandmother rather than a wrestler. About three years in (as a wrestler), some people would know him as Lance Archer, some people would know him as Lance Hoyt, so that time he was in the WWE and he kinda said to somebody that I should be one to look out for and then I got invited to do some extra work.
I did, in my case, get thrown into the barricade by one Mr. Triple H and also got poked in the eye by Shane McMahon and punched in the face by Vince (McMahon). (laughs) Yeah, that was my introduction to the bosses, uh, that are of today.
Lee then went on to talk about how he was rejected by the WWE three times and how it basically crushed his spirits to the point at which he was questioning his career as a wrestler:
But at some point, someone gained interest in that first meeting and I ended up with my first try out and that was in 2008, and I was turned down. And in 2011, I did another little piece of extra work and then I got asked to come back for another try-out and I was also turned down (then).
And I really wasn’t sure what I would be doing wrestling-wise going forward. In 2013, when the Performance Center first opened up, that fall, I was part of that first class. And then I was turned down the third time. So I really wasn’t sure if I was gonna continue wrestling.
Lee went on to state the impact of having a conversation with William Regal, Dusty Rhodes and Jim Ross and how without Regal and Dusty, he would’ve quit pro-wrestling. He also talked about taking a detour and heading to the indies and eventually gaining fame, enough for the WWE to themselves come looking for him:
Then I had a conversation with one Mr. William Regal and Dusty Rhodes and a brief few words with also Mr. Jim Ross. I think that without those first two (William Regal and Dusty Rhodes), I probably would not have continued wrestling, to be completely honest.
Then I pursued a different dream which was just making it on my own on the indies and building a name out of sheer willpower.Eventually, I did enough good deeds and turned enough heads and shocked enough people that eventually they came looking for me and it was completely different at that time. It took almost 14 years to get this. It’s a very long journey.
The road to this point in his career was long and harsh but Lee has finally made it. The big man has greatness written all over him and he continues to get more and more people to bask in his glory.