NXT’s Moment Maker: Rise of Keith Lee From Overlooked To ‘Limitless’ Potential

Keith Lee-Roman-Reigns

A lot of questions surrounded NXT‘s move to the USA Network, and with it, the adoption of a two-hour show format as opposed to the previous one hour it occupied on WWE Network. Could NXT remain viable in the new format? Would the threat of TV production change the show fans had come to support with a fierce cult following? Would the extra hour allow those who were deserving of TV time but previously unable to get it, finally receive their chance to shine? All of those questions were answered, especially the last one, as thanks to the two-hour NXT, fans have become exposed to some great talent from the Performance Center pipeline. And the biggest beneficiary? The leader of the “Limitless Leegion”, Keith Lee, who in just two months’ time, has gone from overlooked to the future of not only NXT but perhaps even WWE as well.

For a long time, Keith Lee has been recognized as someone who fans around the world knew had the talent whether it was in the ring or on the microphone. Upon joining NXT, fans were excited to see what was next for one of wrestling’s best big men. In his first year with the black-and-yellow brand, Lee had a handful of losses and suffered defeat in the worst times just when it seemed he was finally making the next big step in his career. Something wasn’t clicking in creative to give this man a shot. With NXT moving to two hours, that all changed. Lee had a chance to earn his first singles championship on this week’s NXT but him coming up short does not end his chances, only stalls them for the time being. Let’s go down Keith Lee’s incredible two-plus months that has placed him as one of the company’s next top guys.

Limitless Moments: Keith Lee vs Dominik Dijakovic Rivalry

The match that put Keith Lee on the map in the eyes of television viewers was when he went one-on-one with Dominik Dijakovic. For those who may have been NXT fans from the WWE Network days, they saw these two have two matches prior, where the results saw a double count-out and a win by Dijakovic. This was the first time these two would be on television and boy did they show out. Keith Lee captured his first big win and first huge performance, resulting in a rubber match between the two with a North American Championship match on the line. Yet again, they were doing all they could as the heated rivalry took another deep step. For those who could have forgotten, the “Limitless” one and Dijakovic suffered as Roderick Strong broke up the match leading to a triple threat.

A triple threat on NXT TV would result in Keith Lee getting pinned after Strong managed to kick his head off following Lee’s Spirit Bomb to Dijakovic. Fans began to tremble as this push was possibly the end and he would go back to being held back, but NXT’s involvement in Survivor Series would turn out to be the official coming-out party for Lee.

Limitless Moments: Survivor Series Takeover

November 1st, 2019. NXT took over SmackDown and put itself at the center of the build to the “brand supremacy” PPV. Keith Lee had a small role but shocked the world as he showed off his athleticism on a second rope moonsault to Sami Zayn. But this wasn’t it, as week after week, Lee was in the middle of each brawl including one where he hit a beautiful tope onto the crowd outside as the show went off the air. It was not only clear that he was going to be a centerpiece in NXT’s push as the top brand in the WWE, but now, on the largest stage, people were noticing how talented he truly was.

Limitless Moments: WarGames

The month of November was unique for NXT as they had to worry about each other and SmackDown and Raw. Lee joined forces with Dijakovic and Tomasso Ciampa to take on The Undisputed Era and has continued to do so until this very day. But what he committed to do was put on a show in the most demonic match NXT has to offer, WarGames. And while Kevin Owens shocked the NXT crowd by joining them that night, it was Keith Lee who stormed down to the ring and brought his intensity to the match. As we know by now, it was a winning effort for Team Ciampa, but this was one of two nights on the weekend where Keith Lee was the favorite amongst the fans and showed he belongs.

Limitless Moments: “Big Dog” Respect

The men’s traditional Survivor Series 5-on-5-on-5 match between SmackDown, Raw, and NXT. Fans knew what both Team Raw and Team SmackDown were capable of as both were led by Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, respectively. But this stood as NXT’s chance to show what they were truly made of. It was not Tommaso Ciampa who stood as the sole survivor for Team NXT, but it was Keith Lee who looked across the ring at both Rollins and Reigns. The former Shield brothers tried to do their best and leave it down to those two but Lee would not be denied as a Ground Zero by Lee would allow him to pin the former Universal Champion, Seth Rollins. It was then down to Lee and Roman Reigns.

A match people may not have thought they needed necessarily, but following this knew they did now. Lee would hit a thunderous Spirit Bomb that would nearly put Reigns through the canvas and got the closest two fall of the night. He attempted to put down Roman Reigns and win the match for NXT, but a failed second rope moonsault would give Reigns the chance to spear him inside out and win the match for SmackDown. The look on “The Big Dog’s” face said it all, however, as he seemed in awe and then extended a fist bump of respect to Lee. It was a moment that will be remembered because this won’t be the last time these two share a ring, that’s for sure.

Limitless Moments: Pinning the NXT Champion, Bay Bay

“Limitless” Lee made himself a clear contender in NXT and just one week ago gained the opportunity fitting of his stature. As Keith Lee teamed with Dijakovic and Ciampa against The Undisputed Era one last time, he grabbed the biggest win of his NXT career. Finn Balor attempted to disrupt the match but Lee would not allow it. Lee rose from out of nowhere and planted Balor with a Spirit Bomb. This allowed the NXT Champion, Adam Cole, to get the upper hand and go for the Last Shot. Lee slammed the ground and planted Cole with the Ground Zero, pinning the champion and giving him the shot at becoming the number one contender. Keith Lee has utilized NXT’s move to the USA Network as an advantage for him leading to his rise to the top of NXT.

Reports have said that Vince McMahon himself has become a huge fan of Keith Lee, which will prove to be a huge advantage moving forward not only on NXT TV, but the day he is called to either Raw and SmackDown. “Top guy” status is something Lee has earned and it has especially showed in the past few months. As NXT’s newest “Moment Maker,” Lee is not only going to be at the top of NXT in the future but at the top of the WWE in due time. He belongs in the same breath as Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, which is why Survivor Series was only the start and his rise to top guy status is upon us.

This is just the start of many “Limitless Moments” to come in a career full of “Limitless” Potential. It’s time to officially “Bask in the Glory” of Keith Lee.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch NXT Wednesday nights on USA Network from 8-10 PM ET.


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