When Keith Lee wrestled prior to WWE Raw on Monday night, he was introduced to the Raleigh crowd as Keith “Bearcat” Lee.
Lee competed in a dark match against a local competitor before Raw on Monday. The “Bearcat” nickname that was used to introduce was the first time he has used it.
The nickname “Bearcat” has been used in professional wrestling in the past since Ed “Bearcat” Wright was a well-known wrestler in the 1950s through the 1970s. Wright was a big man at 6’7″ 260 pounds and was considered one of the most popular babyfaces of his era. Wright wrestled many big name wrestlers from his era including Antonio Inoki, Buddy Rogers, Bobo Brazil, Terry Funk, Freddie Blassie and others.
Here’s what WWE wrote about Wright on their website:
“The legendary Superstar was not just the son of boxer Edward “Bearcat” Wright, he became one of the chief African-American pioneers of the sports-entertainment world after crossing over from the world of pugilism. Battling the likes of The Sheik and Killer Kowalski, Wright often found himself at the crossroads of history during his in-ring career. He served a suspension from the Indiana State Athletic Commission after declaring he would no longer compete until wrestling had become desegregated, and competed in a high-profile World Championship match with Freddie Blassie just days before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.”
In 2017, Wright was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in the legacy wing that is a part of most WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Wright won many titles in his career including the WWA World Title and multiple versions of NWA titles. Wright passed away in 1982 at age 50.
Another “Bearcat” wrestler was a man named Bearcat Brown, who wrestled in the 1960s and 1970s. Brown was a multiple-time NWA Tag Team Champion mostly with longtime tag team partner Len Rossi.
Keith Lee has not publicly commented on the “Bearcat” nickname or if he’s using it as a tribute to Bearcat Wright or Bearcat Brown.
You can see the introduction of “Bearcat” Keith Lee below.
Keith Bearcat Lee pic.twitter.com/ZoE88i5AqC
— Colie Cashwell (@cashwellc) September 20, 2021
There have been rumors that WWE might turn Keith Lee heel with Adam Cole as his manager/assistant type, but Cole left for AEW. Cole denied hearing that was planned for him.
Lee’s last appearance on Raw was on August 2nd when he defeated Karrion Kross. Since then, Lee has wrestled in dark matches prior to Raw and Smackdown events.
Earlier this year, Lee missed five months of action. Lee revealed it was due to suffering from inflammation of his heart. He is doing a lot better now. We look forward to seeing him on Raw or Smackdown after the upcoming WWE draft in a few weeks.
Lee is engaged to Mia Yim, who recently stated that she is not injured and has been sitting on the sidelines due to WWE creative having nothing for her.