Keith Lee Reveals How “Bearcat” Gimmick Started In WWE

keith lee bearcat wwe

AEW’s Keith Lee has revealed some information about the “Bearcat” nickname he had in WWE.

During his WWE career, Keith Lee had a lot of success on the NXT brand from early 2018 until he was called up to the main roster after SummerSlam 2020. In NXT, Lee was the NXT Champion and North American Champion at the same time.

However, when he got to the main roster, Lee wasn’t pushed in the same way as when he was in NXT. While Lee did pick up a big win over Randy Orton at one point, he also dealt with a heart issue that sidelined him for nearly half a year. As was evident with many former NXT stars, Vince McMahon’s vision for him on the main roster was not the same as Triple H in the NXT days.

Keith Lee was released by WWE in November 2021. Prior to that, he was given the nickname of Keith “Bearcat” Lee by WWE. It was a tribute to a former wrestler named Bearcat Wright. Needless to say, the moniker didn’t seem to work that well and WWE decided to let Lee go.

While speaking on the Fightful’s Grapsody podcast, Lee made it clear he wasn’t a fan of the “Bearcat” moniker and he thought WWE was okay with it. Within a few weeks, Vince McMahon told Lee he needed him and somebody helped to convince Lee to use the gimmick.

In February 2022, Lee debuted with AEW. While Lee hasn’t had a lot of success as a singles star at this point, he did have a lengthy AEW Tag Team Title run with Swerve Strickland. Lee is currently feuding with Swerve and has found an ally in veteran Dustin Rhodes as well.

Thanks to Fightful Select for the information above.