Keith Lee talks AEW Revolution chance, ‘wrongs' being rewritten

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Keith Lee feels like “a lot of wrongs” were already rewritten since joining All Elite Wrestling.

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The former NXT champion debuted on the Feb. 9 episode of “AEW Dynamite” — days after marrying former WWE superstar Mia Yim — and defeated Isiah Kassidy to earn in a spot in the Face of the Revolution ladder match at the “Revolution” pay-per-view on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, Bleacher Report). The winner will get a match for the TNT Championship. Lee, released by WWE last November, sees it as a critical step to quickly climbing the ladder in AEW.

Before the big match, the Limitless One caught up with The Post’s Joseph Staszewski for some Q&A:

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(Edited for clarity and length)

Q: When you debuted with AEW, there just looked to be this joy, peace and almost certitude about you. What were you feeling that night as that experience was unfolding?

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A: Joy, gratitude, happiness, purpose, quite a few things just felt right in that moment. Obviously it had been a while since I had been in front of a crowd just being who I am and so it was a very special moment. I think you can probably see it in my face in most cases, I was kind of reveling in the moment. Basking in the glory if you will.

Q: After watching the match and seeing you toss Isiah Kassidy across the ring, there just felt like, even from fans, that this is the Keith Lee that they wanted to see and to me this is the Keith Lee that you wanted to be. Is that the feeling you got after that match?

A: Yeah, it felt like, not even just for me but for wrestling in general, it felt like a void had been filled. There are a lot of disingenuous things that sometimes have to happen in this industry and are asked of us but I think that the difference in what I was doing (in WWE) versus what people know me for was a little too vast. And for a difference that big I think it has to be a gradual shift and so the things that felt abnormal felt normal again on that night and it’s like a lot of wrongs were rewritten. Now there’s a chance to move forward in a different way. It was almost like a breath of fresh air or a sigh of relief.

This sell from Kassidy and the toss from Keith Lee is so beautiful. I’ve probably watched this video 50 times! #Limitless

— ProWrestlingCentral (@WresCentral) February 10, 2022

Q: You mentioned this gap between what you feel you are and what you feel was being presented in WWE. Is that some of the “Bearcat” character where it was a little edgier, meaner or heel-ish in some ways that didn’t fit what you think you should be?

A: I wouldn’t go that far along. I just think that the difference was so stark that it confused people.

Q: From what they saw first to then go to that, you mean?

A: Correct. In my personal opinion — and we all have different opinions — there’s different theologies in this thing. When it comes to such a drastic thing, I think you either … with my time being out I could have come out with that and just been different altogether, or if you were going to present me as I was and then have this sudden shift, I think it’s better done if there is a story, a reason for said shift. I think it’s a fairly simple story to tell. It’s a very subjective situation.

Q: What characteristics do you want to present now that you’re in AEW, and how can the ladder match help you do that?

A: I don’t think a ladder match helps anyone do anything (laughs). I think a big part of me is just being myself because a lot of me wants to inspire others that maybe had questionable upbringings or came from questionable areas and maybe teach them something that they were unaware of, just something different. I think that’s a lot of who my character is. A product of his surroundings, not wanting to be those surroundings, wanting to be better than his past. I think that’s something that resonates very large with who I am as a person in general, let alone wrestling. Let’s start there and go forward.

all elite wrestling, pro wrestling, wwe

Keith Lee

AEW/Lane Walbert

Q: With this ladder match when you already have you, Wardlow, Will Hobbs mixed in with Ricky Starks and Orange Cassidy, it feels like just some big athletic guys who can maybe present a different type of style ladder match then we are used to.

A: You mean a ladder match of destruction? It’s going to be something different. It’s going to be something with a different flavor. I imagine, if they don’t have a lot of ladders then no one’s going to win the match because there’s not going to be a ladder to climb. At the end of the day, that’s how I feel.

Q: What kind of tone would it set for you to come into AEW and earn a TNT championship opportunity right away and potentially be TNT champion right away?

A: That puts me on the fast track to any other goal that I have. You knock one out and then that’s one less goal you have to worry about. In my case, this was an opportunity presented upon entry just based on who I am. It’s an opportunity. I just want to take advantage of said opportunity.

Q: You went through a pretty scary battle with COVID-19 and heart inflammation early last year. How does going through that and some time away from wrestling change the way you look at the world?

A: I’ve always been a very thankful person. I’ve always been a very joyful person, but I think with personal experiences I have a certain level of gratitude now because I can even still do this. That’s something that means a lot to me in my heart, my soul, my mind. Because let’s be honest, 2021 was a fairly scary year and to be able to overcome that and continue to do that I do at a high level, what more can you really ask for?

Q: How do you look back your tenure in WWE?

A: Gratitude. There’s not a lot of people that make it there, man, and a lot of people that want to. I am one of the few that did. It has afforded me abilities to do things that many cannot. There’s a lot of things that maybe wouldn’t have happened had I never ventured there. There’s a lot to be thankful for.

all elite wrestling, pro wrestling, wwe

Keith Lee

AEW/ Lane Walbert

Q: When you see reports that “Keith Lee had an attitude problem, he was a little difficult backstage in WWE,” how does that make you feel when that’s out there being talked about with you?

A: At the end of the day, man, I’m very much like these old school guys like I really don’t pay attention to the internet like that, and half the time I don’t really pay attention to the apps. Like I may post a thing and someone who helps me with my account may post a thing that’s trying to be positive for other people or promote what I do here in AEW, especially now. I feel like this. If there’s no truth to it then why should I give it any credence? This is going to sound arrogant and I don’t really care. At the end of the day it is beneath me and I treat it as such.

Q: You just got married recently. Congratulations.

A: Thank you very much.

Q: As someone who was just married a couple years ago, I know things can kind of be a bit of blur, but was there something from that day or a moment that will be etched in your brain forever?

A: There’s actually two moments. Moment No. 1 was I lost my ring within a couple of hours of having it on, so that was an experience. Shout out to our day-of coordinator — she was spectacular in tracking in down for me. No. 2, there was a moment where I was standing next to my father and just watching everyone else. And there is something to me that is so special about putting together an event and watching everyone enjoy it. Man, that moment is one that I’ll cherish for a long time.

Q: Where did they find the ring?

A: Someone took it to the DJ. I had taken it off to wash my hands, which my father taught me I don’t have to to wash my hands (laughs). They returned it to the DJ, which was very kind of them.

all elite wrestling, pro wrestling, wwe

Keith Lee

AEW/ Lane Walbert

Q: Can we expect a return to wrestling for Mia any time soon and would you like to have her in AEW with you?

A: I know that she’s making a return to wrestling. She’s just taking her time with whole house stuff (move) and all that stuff going on. She’s been manning the house thankfully while I’ve been keeping busy. I don’t know where she really, truly wants to be. I don’t know all the places that want her and will serve what she’s looking for. I know that she will. I know that she’ll want to for quite some time.

Q: Who are the guys you haven’t shared the ring with that you are looking forward to get a chance with in AEW?

A: People are already getting things they asked for, time in the ring with Wardlow, Will Hobbs. But I think some of those other names that would be expected would be a Chris Jericho, a CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page. A return to my roots if I fought Lance Archer. There are a lot of people there that could be something special.

Q: I’m sure you had heard things about AEW and their locker room and how things work backstage. From the limited time that you’ve been there, were some of those true and what was just kind of the vibe you have gotten?

A: I don’t think anyone knows the true circumstances of what happens behind the scenes, but in the grand scheme of things I know a lot of people there. I’ve always heard that the locker room itself is a laid-back place to be. My experience thus far, it definitely is. It’s something that I’m enjoying and just trying to make the most of. We’ll see how it goes. I still have a lot of integrating to do.  

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