Keith Lee found his way to AEW, but it took a stint in WWE with Vince McMahon’s booking first. Lee was given the moniker “Bearcat,” and that was met with lot of mocking and memes. He was never able to get that gimmick over, and it never even got off the ground before Vince McMahon shelved the former NXT Champion. Looking back, Keith Lee can speak candidly about that portion of his career.

While speaking with Fightful’s Sean Sapp, Keith Lee revealed that he actually rejected the Bearcat nickname at first. In the notes from the interview from the outlet’s paywall, Keith Lee explained how his rejection was eventually overturned.

He said that he wasn’t in favor of the Bearcat Lee name, and actually rejected it at first, and they seemed cool with it. Within a couple of weeks, Lee was brought into a meeting with Vince McMahon who said “I need you,” and someone in that position saying that helped convince him to do it. It happened in the middle of Raw during a main event and made Lee feel like it was a big deal. Vince McMahon was off the headset for the meeting, which was very rare at the time.

It was also noted that, “He said if he could pitch some goofy, ridiculous gimmick of his own it’d be a dragon because they’re “majestic as fuck.” Lee wondered if him initially passing on the Bearcat gimmick affected him negatively. He spoke highly of the freedom to be himself in NXT.”


It’s unknown why Vince McMahon was so insistent that Keith Lee take on the Bearcat nickname, but it was his show to run at the time. Keith Lee did his best with the situation, but things just didn’t pan out. Hopefully, he is enjoying his booking in AEW much more.

Keith Lee is not currently booked for AEW Revolution, but they could always add another match or two to the card. Only time will tell what he does next in pro wrestling, but it’s doubtful that he will end up in another situation with that kind of nightmare creative once again.

For more on this, and everything else going on in the pro wrestling world, keep it tuned with us here at Ringside News.

What’s your take on this story about Vince McMahon’s booking? Sound off in the comments!

Felix Upton

Felix Upton is a seasoned writer with over 30 years of experience. He began his career writing advertisements for local newspapers in New York before transitioning to publishing news for Ringside News. His expertise includes writing, editing, research, photo editing, and video editing. In his free time, he enjoys bungee jumping and learning extinct languages.

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