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Byrons Interviews

Exclusive interview: Keith Lee on overcoming failure, the advice that changed his life and how he developed his “Limitless” ring style

Since his NXT television debut earlier this month, Keith Lee has undoubtedly created his own unique buzz throughout sports-entertainment. Like many Superstars, Lee honed his craft throughout the world to earn his WWE NXT contract. But it is Lee’s story of family inspiration, advice from WWE Legends and a willingness to accept failure which has now given him a new platform to display his skills. This week, Lee speaks with WWE.com about his story and what it means to truly be Limitless.

WWE.COM: Tell us, who is Keith Lee?

KEITH LEE: Keith Lee is everything you see. A happy guy, positive man, leader, trendsetter, businessman, goal-chaser, always hungry for more. More challenges, more opportunity, more competition. But most importantly, he is a man who knows failure very, very well. And that is something that has shaped the person I am.

WWE.COM: We will touch more on the topic of failure later, but first, let’s talk about your life growing up.

LEE: I was born and raised for 12 years in Wichita Falls, Texas, until I moved in with my father in the Dallas area because my parents were divorced before I even have memories. The first time I recall meeting my father, I believe I was 9 years old, and I had no idea who he was. It’s a sad thing to consider, but also something that plays a role in who I am.

WWE.COM: At 6-foot-2, I understand you’re the shortest person in your family?

LEE: Ahh yes. My father is 6-foot-7, most of my uncles are 6-foot-5 or more. My father’s youngest brother is about 6-foot-11, and my mother is almost 6-feet tall. I have no idea what happened to me. (Laughs) The only one not taller than me is my 11-year-old brother Marcus, but he is already almost my height … the little, err, big Munchkin. (Laughs) I’ve got three younger brothers. Can’t really call them little because they’re all big, strong guys.

WWE.COM: You’ve finally made it to NXT. How are you settling in?

LEE: Wonderfully. There is so much to learn and a lot of training to be had. Being intellectually stimulated is something I enjoy greatly. I was rather imbalanced when I first came here. But the training has been efficiently bringing balance my way. I’ve regained a lot of strength that I was unsure would return, so I am more than grateful for that. I can’t wait to see how much further I progress.

WWE.COM: You’ve had quite the road to get here. I understand you had your first WWE tryout 10 years ago?

LEE: Indeed. It’s been eventful, long and educational. I had a five-day tryout in 2008, a three-day tryout in 2011, and in 2013 I was part of the first tryout group at the WWE Performance Center. I believe there were 32 of us there.

WWE.COM: What kept you motivated to keep trying?

LEE: For a long time, it was merely my own drive and wishes. Eventually, that would fade, and other inspirations would take place. Sometimes it was people I admired and would study. Kurt Angle, early Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens, Shelton Benjamin, AJ Styles, Cesaro, Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe were all people I watched and studied greatly. I also gained a lot of knowledge from William Regal. In 2013, if it weren’t for Dusty Rhodes and William Regal’s encouragement, I might have stopped wrestling. Since then, I’ve also befriended one of the big kahunas in fitness motivation, CT Fletcher, or as I like to call him, Pops. We have traded merchandise; I’ve signed his Wall of Fame, and he let me train in his gym. I cheer for him, and he kept me uplifted. He knew I’d be here before I did. Big shout-out to Pops; this grind is also for you! Time to #WorkForIt.

(more…)



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