Keith Lee joined AEW following a spell in WWE where he had to deal with Vince McMahon’s inventive booking. Even when Lee rejected the nickname “Bearcat,” Mr. McMahon stuck with it. Then he sat on the shelf for a while until his eventual release. Now that Keith Lee has a bit more freedom in AEW, he did not shy away from bragging about his natural talent in the ring.
Keith Lee made a comeback to AEW on February 17th, 2023, episode of AEW Rampage after being written off his television in December 2022. Swerve Strickland, who had smashed a cinder block into Lee’s chest in December, was the prime target of Lee’s return.
The limitless superstar discussed in-ring training and the process of his return to AEW in a recent interview with Fightful’s Grapsody podcast. Keith Lee further disclosed that the only time he had ever prepared for a comeback was following his near-death experience in 2021.
You mean like in-ring training? I don’t do in-ring training. I’m gonna level something here. This is where you’ll really understand why I’m confident in who I am and what I do. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in training and believe it’s a good thing to do. When I came back form the almost dead situation, I did a lot of in-ring training, maybe five or six weeks before I returned. But it wasn’t enough time to get myself together and be back on a TV show, if that makes sense.
Because the after effects of that whole ordeal left me in a position where things like running and some of my favorite versions of cardio were extremely difficult and some just couldn’t be a thought because it was too taxing on me and the recovery was too long. So at that time I did a lot of in-ring training and a lot of training outside of that to try to get back into a position to be ready. That’s probably the only time where I’ve been out that I have put in that much effort into returning. Part of it was, at the end of the day, I was prepared to change my entire career.
For the entirety of those five or six months that I was out doing all of that, it was basically expected that if I did too much, I would die and wrestling wasn’t going to be a thing for me going forward. Coming out of that and learning otherwise, I was just excited to do this still in whatever capacity that would be. I was just happy to be able to take part and still be a credit to the industry.
Now outside of that, I’ve never been out for more than maybe two or three months, I suppose. I’ve never been truly injured. I’m very fortunate in that. A lot of times, and I don’t know why this is, but in terms of needing a ring to get myself ready has never been a thing for me. Movement in the ring is not something that is difficult for me. For what you see in the ring, particularly today, is a fraction of what I’m capable of. I like it that way ‘cause I am always a guarantee regardless of what happens.”
The former NXT Champion continued by modestly boasting of his ability to perform athletic maneuvers like moonsaults and dives without having ever trained for them.
“Here’s a great example. The time Dijak monkey flipped me in one of our first matches in NXT—even before then, we can take this back to the independents—a match I had with Raymond Rowe. People would know him as Erik today. Guy tried to monkey flip me and I flipped to my feet. I had never trained to do that. I never worked on doing that. I just said, ‘I’m going to do this,’ and then I did it.
The first time I ever dove out of the ring, I’ve never trained to dive out of a ring. I’ve never worked on diving out of a ring. I’ve never worked on moonsaults. If I choose to do a thing, I just go do it. That is not normal. I will tell you that right away. People hurt themselves trying to do these things on the regular. So in terms of what and physics itself I am, and I have learned this. I didn’t understand years ago, but I am an anomaly. I’m not the best person to ask, ‘What do I do to learn about this?’ ‘Cause I don’t know. I just go do it.”
Keith Lee has reigned as a former AEW Tag team champion in the past. We will have to wait and see if championship glory would once again knock on his door and if he would bask in the glory of another title victory in Tony Khan’s promotion.
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