During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Keith Lee commented on WWE changing his ring gear and music, his friendship with The Undertaker, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On how he would rate his WWE main roster run thus far: “I think it’s too early. I’m not even half a year into the main roster. There are things I have done that a lot of people have not, in terms of showing up and stepping right up to one of the best that’s ever done this. Those are things that make it stand out, but in terms of trying to rate, it’s too early. I don’t believe in the ratings systems and all the rest of that nonsense, people trying to be some sort of critic, especially for the people that don’t even do this. The way things have been going, it’s been a grind. At the end of the day, that’s all I need. I’m going to grind and make the best of anything I do. I don’t rate it, I just do it. That’s truly who I am. Take one thing and make it better than it was before. That’s all I can do, and I have to work within the confines of what is given to me. As long as I do those things, I’m OK with it.
On whether he would’ve liked to stay in NXT longer: “Most definitely. As monumental as it’s been to go to the main roster, I’m not sure it was so important to end that [NXT championship reign] as abruptly as it happened. I watch NXT, and obviously I have some friends there, and one that I’m fairly close to is Mr. Damian Priest, and I watch often to see how he’s doing. Kross went down in our match, then to have Finn [Bálor] as the new champion and he hurts his jaw, it’s hard. I like those guys, and I feel like I abandoned them.
“It’s difficult to think about. I’m proud of everything I’ve done, and I’ve hung with the top guys from Raw and some of them from SmackDown, but it’s been difficult to see the injuries. I don’t know what would have happened if I had stayed a little bit longer. At the end of the day, we’re not always in control of our journey, and that’s just how it goes. The main roster wanted me, and that’s where I ended up. All I can do right now is root those guys on and be there for them in whatever capacity I can be, while still focusing on what I’m doing.”
On WWE changing his look and music: “I am very happy with my music. There is one little tweak I intend to make over time, but that’s got to be a timing thing and it’s got to be well done for me to make it work the way I want it to. I have some evolutionary ideas for my current music that just hit. In terms of the song itself, I wrote that myself and a lot of it is very personal. I’m very happy with being able to express myself in that manner. Even the track, the guys that did it are brilliant. I’m extremely happy with the way the track sounds. I’m happy with the music overall, and I look forward to the little tweaks I intend to make down the road.
As far as gear goes, my gear is the same as NXT except I have to wear a top right now. Is that my choice? No. But I do what I need to do in order to also keep the people I work for happy. At some point, I will get so big that it won’t matter what other people want because Keith Lee knows what’s best. Someone will figure that out at some point, and then I won’t be wearing a top anymore. Until then, I have no problem with this.”
On his friendship with the Undertaker and biggest lessons he’s learned from him: “He’s a staple that has meant a ton to the business as a whole. It doesn’t matter what company you work for: That guy made an impact in some way, form or fashion. He’s someone that I respect, and I’ve definitely absorbed a lot of knowledge from him. I have spent a good amount of time with him, and the knowledge he imparted to me goes all the way back to 2008, way back when I was an extra [in WWE]. That was when I came across and introduced myself. All the way back then, from the point where he told me to make the things I do mean something, he’s had a huge impact on my career. He’s been a huge inspiration in terms of thought process and how my mind works for this business, but also a motivation to be different.
“This is someone I’ve looked up to, someone I’ve studied time and time again. Hearing him express his appreciation for how I present myself and how I wrestle, it means a lot. It reminds me of when I sat down with Mark Henry and Booker T. When I hear the things they have to say about me, it’s surreal. It’s hard to digest sometimes, but it makes me more thankful for guys like William Regal and Dusty Rhodes. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t still be doing this. Thanks to them, their guidance and lighting a fire under my butt, I kept going. Now I’ve found myself in a position where the guys I look up to are honoring me. That’s like magic to me, and I’m super grateful.”
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