The time is now. Soon the entire WWE locker room will bask in the glory of Keith Lee. The former NXT Champion got arguably the biggest win of his career Sunday when he defeated Randy Orton in just under 7 minutes. Not only did Lee beat The Viper, but it was as clean a victory as one could have - a monstrous Spirit Bomb and a three count in the center of the ring.
Many fans spent much of the past week concerned about the future of Keith Lee's main roster run, but those concerns should be 100 percent quelled. Forget about his music. Forget about his ring gear. Forget about his facial hair or any other trivial aspect of his presentation. Keith Lee just beat a 13-time World Champion as clean as a whistle in his first main roster PPV match. His future certainly has no limits.
A report out today from talkSPORT's Alex McCarthy indicates that Vince McMahon is very high on Keith Lee and wants to "push Lee to the moon". Randy Orton's job at Payback was to make Lee look like an absolute star, and to The Viper's credit, he succeeded. According to McCarthy, Orton is happy to help push the next generation.
That's fantastic. A selfless Randy Orton can do wonders for several up and coming Superstars. Thanks to a big assist from Orton, Keith Lee is now a made man. Awesome - now what?
Keith Lee should win the WWE Title at Clash of Champions
To quote WWE Hall of Famer Bubba Ray Dudley, if you're going to make someone, than make someone. If Vince McMahon truly is high on Keith Lee, that's great. He wants to "push him to the moon?" Then why wait? Do it right now. A win over Randy Orton is huge. There's not much higher Lee can go with his next big victory, which should be the WWE Championship.
If ever there was a time to hot shot an NXT "call up" his new brand's top prize, it's now. Keith Lee is white hot and has been since Survivor Series weekend last year. He has everything you want in a WWE Champion. He has size, speed, athleticism, confidence, the ability to talk, and most importantly - a connection with the fan base.
The WWE Universe is undoubtedly invested in Keith Lee. That was proven just in the sheer amount of tweets and retweets about the change to his dang theme music. On an even grander scale, fans were not too pleased when Lee relinquished the North American Championship, just to drop the NXT Championship in his first defense to Karrion Kross.
Keith Lee was obviously brought over to RAW for a reason. Far too often we've seen NXT stars come over to RAW or SmackDown with a ton of fanfare, only to find themselves lost in the shuffle just a few months later. If Keith Lee winds up in the same camp as say Aleister Black, Ricochet, and Andrade, that's a problem.
However, if Keith Lee wins the WWE Championship within his first month or so on RAW, then taking the NXT Title off of him so quickly suddenly makes a lot more sense.
The last WWE Superstar to win a World Title fresh off their call up to the main roster was Finn Balor. The Demon King defeated Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins within his first month on RAW to become the inaugural Universal Champion. Unfortunately for Balor, he suffered a labrum tear in his match with Rollins and was forced to relinquish the Title less than 24 hours later. He's not captured another World Title since then.
For most Superstars who make their transition to RAW or SmackDown from NXT, they have to start near the bottom and work their way up the card. Which four years or ago, that made sense. NXT was strictly a developmental brand. Stars had to prove themselves all over again to the main wrestling audience.
In 2020 however, the NXT brand finds itself on equal footing with both RAW and SmackDown. Or at least it's trying to get there. Treating main event NXT stars like a big deal when they move over to one the rival shows could be very good for the Black and Gold Brand in the long run. The more Superstars that make it huge, the more people are going to want to tune in to see what other gems are wrestling on the USA Network Wednesday nights.
Keith Lee is about as big a deal as they come. He has all the potential to be the next marquee WWE name, right up their with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Start it off on the right foot. Speculation is that after Keith Lee's win at Payback, WWE is setting up a triple threat match at Clash of Champions between Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton and Lee. I would not be shocked if they decided to pull the trigger and made Lee the Champion.
No offense to Drew McIntyre, but that would be the right call. McIntyre has been a fantastic WWE Champion, but this very likely won't be his only run. Sometimes you just have to roll with the hot hand. Right now, the hot hand's name is Keith Lee.Published 31 Aug 2020, 21:35 IST