Bizarre news broke on Friday via PWInsider when it was reported that Keith Lee was among the wrestlers Vince McMahon had ordered to attend more training sessions down at the WWE Performance Center to "work on refining and improving their in-ring skills." Fans were perplexed by the decision since the former NXT Champion has rarely shown any shortcomings in the ring. Several reports have since popped up regarding the situation.
According to Fightful Select, multiple wrestlers backstage were "baffled" by Lee's inclusion. The group of wrestlers McMahon selected included Lee, Otis, Omos (AJ Styles' associate), Dabba-Kato and Mace (fka Dio Maddin) of Retribution.
Dave Meltzer then addressed the situation on Wrestling Observer Radio, saying fans shouldn't see the training as a demotion but rather as a means of preparing them for bigger pushes.
"In Vince's mind, they're not ready," Meltzer said (h/t Cultaholic). "I don't know that it's so much of a 'demotion', though it could be, as maybe Vince just wants to get these big guys ready. Now if you're going to teach guys to work a way that's not to their strengths, I suppose you could still improve them in certain ways."
It's worth noting that the latest rumored card for WrestleMania 37 featured Lee taking on Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar in a triple threat bout. Lee first started wrestling back in 2005 and finally arrived in WWE via the NXT roster in early 2018. Earlier this year he became the first man to hold both the NXT and NXT North American Championships at the same time, and within a month he was a member of the Monday Night Raw roster.
Lee admitted in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated he felt as though he "abandoned" the Black & Gold Brand.0comments
"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," Lee said. "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," Lee said. "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."