Keith Lee has been off of TV for much of 2021 now. He originally disappeared after a tag team victory with Sheamus over The Miz & John Morrison back on the January 11th edition of Monday Night Raw. He would return on the February 8th episode of Raw – notching up an impressive victory over Riddle. However, very soon after this, things became quite murky and Lee would be off of WWE television for over 5 months. The WWE, quite rightfully, remained very tight-lipped on the status of the man dubbed “Limitless”. Whereas many websites and “dirt sheets” chose to speculate upon baseless rumors, we did not – it was clear that something serious was going on and Lee’s health should not be the subject of speculation, nor should anyone’s. More on that story later. He eventually returned to Raw on the 19th of July and was defeated by WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley, on a show which will be remembered for the beginning of the Goldberg/Lashley feud. After two matches with former NXT rival Karrion Kross in the coming weeks (1 win and 1 defeat), Lee would move to dark matches – where he has reportedly been dominating local enhancement talent. Whereas nothing is yet official, Keith Lee is apparently transitioning to the role of monster heel, per Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer. This would not be the wisest of choices for a number of different reasons. Let’s begin exploring why.
Keith Lee’s Health Battles
In a video titled “End of January to Now” posted to his YouTube channel, Keith Lee went into some detail to explain the situation which had kept him off WWE television for almost six months. In the video, Lee explains that almost immediately after his February 8th match with Riddle, he would see a doctor and learn that he has an inflammation of the heart – a very serious condition which can not only end careers, but lives. The threat of death was so high, that Keith admits he was in a life or death situation. When someone manages to return to wrestling, just six months later – after being put through hell – how are we, the audience, supposed to boo this man? When Roman Reigns returned to the WWE following his leukemia battle, he was rightfully hailed by fans upon his return – for having beaten the terrible condition into remission and being able to return and entertain us, as wrestling fans, once more. Keith Lee, without a doubt, will be treated the same; he is a natural, likable human being who people would find difficult to boo before learning of his health battles. Post-return, it would be impossible to boo him. For this reason, perhaps more than any other, the heel turn would not work.
WWE Does Not Have Enough Top Babyfaces
This goes without saying: there aren’t enough top babyfaces in the WWE right now. On Raw, there is US Champion Damien Priest, Goldberg, Drew McIntyre, RK-Bro (though don’t count on Randy Orton being babyface for too long) and the not yet cleared to compete Kofi Kingston, among the male superstars. The arguable biggest stars in the company right now, male and female, are Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair – all of whom are heel. There is a major gap to be filled by a guy like Keith Lee who absolutely – as demonstrated in NXT – has the potential to run as the company’s primary, top babyface. He is a natural attraction; a gifted athlete unlike any other the company possesses right now. Whereas Keith is more than talented enough to make the role of monster heel work, it would not be a correct fit for him and it is almost a certainty that fans will continue to cheer for him, especially those who know his story. Turning him heel, right now, would be a wasted opportunity. Now more than ever, the company needs to begin making top stars. They don’t need to try too hard with Lee; let him do his own thing in the role he is ready made for – the role of dominant babyface.
“Monster Heel” Role Too Generic
Lastly, the “monster heel” gimmick is simply too generic a role. Whereas it has worked many times in the past, it might not this time for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, it has been done so many times by superstars the size of Lee that it brings nothing new to a show crying out for something different. Secondly, and most importantly, Bobby Lashley is literally in this exact same role right now. If Keith Lee begins doing such a similar gimmick, his chances of winning the WWE Championship any time soon will be severely diminished as having two people in this role, on the same brand, in the main event, will not work. It will hold Lee back and limit him to the midcard. Booking him in the role of dominant babyface, however, provides something new – as well as a fresh, realistic, “big man” rivalry for Bobby Lashley. We are not a fan of the proposed change to Keith Lee’s character and whereas it would not be the worst thing in the world, the WWE should recognize and fully explore the absolute potential of Keith Lee as a babyface before making such a misguided turn.
Regardless, we are happy to see Keith Lee back and wish him the best upon his impending return to television. A return, so soon after such a scary, personal battle with health, proves what we have all always known: this man is Limitless.
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