Anybody who is familiar with Pat McAfee’s WrestleMania 35 drama with Michael Cole will know that Vince McMahon is very strict about the presentation of WWE Superstars and personalities when they are in front of the camera.
Shortly before McAfee made his first WWE main-roster appearance as a member of the WrestleMania 35 kickoff show, he was yelled at backstage by Cole after he decided to wear tuxedo shorts at WWE’s biggest show of the year.
McAfee has since explained that he was specifically told not to wear jorts, which he previously wore on NXT kickoff shows, and Cole thought he might have ruined his chances of impressing Vince McMahon if he went against the company’s orders.
Fortunately, this story had a positive outcome – Vince McMahon approved McAfee’s shorts after seeing a picture of Lebron James wearing a similar outfit – while it also highlighted just how much attention the WWE Chairman pays to people’s on-screen appearance.
Although Vince McMahon decided to let McAfee keep that particular outfit, the same cannot be said for some other WWE talents over the years.
In this article, let’s take a look at five times that Vince McMahon changed someone’s look before they appeared on WWE television.
#5 Vince McMahon changed Keith Lee’s appearance
Keith Lee cemented his status as one of the most successful Superstars in NXT history when he defeated Adam Cole at the 2020 Great American Bash to become the first person to hold the NXT Championship and NXT North American Championship.
Within six weeks, Lee had relinquished the North American Championship and lost the NXT Championship to Karrion Kross, allowing him to leave NXT and move to Vince McMahon’s Monday Night RAW roster.
It had been speculated for a long time that Vince McMahon was a big fan of Lee, so it was no surprise that he made an instant impact by facing Randy Orton on RAW before defeating The Viper six days later at the Payback pay-per-view.
Unfortunately, while this was still a huge moment for Lee, the social media feedback to his official switch to RAW largely revolved around the changes that were made to his music and attire.
As for his ring gear, Lee switched from trunks and no shirt in NXT to shorts and a tight vest on RAW. Then, as Sportskeeda’s Gary Cassidy noted above, he kept the tight vest in his next two matches but began wearing trunks again.
The Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer said Vince McMahon made the decision to change Lee’s ring gear because he did not want the former NXT Champion to perform shirtless.