Keith Lee debuted a new nickname before this week’s WWE RAW from the PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Lee won a squash match over a local enhancement talent before Monday’s RAW, and was announced as Keith “Bearcat” Lee. You can hear Lee being introduced as “Bearcat” in the Twitter clip below.
It’s being speculated that the “Bearcat” nickname is a reference to Bearcat Wright, a popular African American pro wrestler from the 1950s and 1960s, who was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame’s Legacy Wing in 2017. The nickname could also be a reference to Bearcat Brown, an innovative African American wrestler who worked mainly the Memphis area in the 1960s and 1970s.
Lee has also been growing his beard back out as of late, as seen in the photos below. Lee was back on the road with the RAW brand this past weekend, defeating Akira Tozawa at non-televised WWE Supershow live events, and playing the heel. He defeated Shane Thorne before last Friday’s SmackDown.
Lee has not been seen on WWE TV since his win over Karrion Kross on the August 2 RAW. The week before that he took a loss to Kross, and the week before that he took a loss to Bobby Lashley, which was his first match since February. It’s been reported that WWE keeps booking Lee in RAW and SmackDown dark matches so that they can figure out what works best for when they decide to bring him back full-time.
There’s no word yet on when Lee will be brought back to WWE TV, or if the heel role and the new “Bearcat” nickname will stick. You can see related tweets below:
Keith Bearcat Lee pic.twitter.com/ZoE88i5AqC
— Colie Cashwell (@cashwellc) September 20, 2021
Keith Lee wins a squash match. The crowd was really into him tonight. pic.twitter.com/0WSwh0foYN
— Phantom of the Telethon (@angrymanbrandon) September 20, 2021
Is Keith Lee growing out the beard for the heel turn? pic.twitter.com/H2IqNKWdE3
— Wrestling News (@WrestlingNewsCo) September 20, 2021
People are confused about WWE calling Keith Lee ''Bearcat''.
Well funny enough on this very day we learned about the real first ever African-American World Champion from @AaronWrotkowski, Ed ''Bearcat'' Wright from the 60s.
Possibly the reason for the new nickname? pic.twitter.com/gncZAOjjtu
— Armbar Audio (@ArmbarAudio) September 21, 2021
This created controversy, but he got his way and became a big draw everywhere he went. He won the Big Time Wrestling championship from Killer Kowalski in April 1961. Many considered that a world title and this would make Wright the first black world champion, not Ron Simmons. 2/3
— Doc ‘Not Dr. D’ Diamondfire (@DrDiamondfire) September 20, 2021