Interlude: Bask in the next big thing!

While I’m still trying to find the time to watch the latest EVOLVE show in its entirety I have decided to add a brief interlude to highlight one of the […]

While I’m still trying to find the time to watch the latest EVOLVE show in its entirety I have decided to add a brief interlude to highlight one of the up-and-coming stars on the independent wrestling scene.

EVOLVE has become known to most wrestling fans as one of the premier spots for wrestlers to make their names. Most of them have honed their skills all over the world, but Gabe Sapolsky seems to have an uncanny knack for finding them and highlighting them so that places like Ring of Honor or WWE take notice. Two of them being Apollo Crews and Kalisto, Uhaa Nation and Samuray del Sol respectively on the indys. The former was picked up straight from a Dragongate tryout and the latter sent away to improve his skills before returning to the promotion. Many emerging stars have called EVOLVE their home for a while, weather they have stopped in at ROH before moving to the big leagues. That has been the charm of the promotion for a long time and something that they wish to focus on again. One of the wrestlers, the current champion in fact, is Keith Lee.

Keith Lee was virtually unknown when he signed with EVOLVE in January this year, but has since then climbed to the heights of notoriety. Had become one of those worldwide travelers in order to make a name for himself, much like wrestlers like Bryan Danielson, Colt Cabana and CM Punk did before.  Since then he has been in PWG, Crash, Chikara and the wrestling world is taking notice. What is it that makes him so special?

At first glance one might mistake is size as a detriment to his in ring ability, but like Samoa Joe before him he has the agility to match his strength. His work in the ring seems effortless, or maybe limitless. He understand how to grab on to the audience and tell a story. This was truly evident in his Last Man Standing match with Matt Riddle. He adapts to his opponent no matter if it is Ricochet, Tracy Williams or Jeff Cobb. He also possesses a smile and a charm unlike any other wrestler. It is easy to sympathize with him, especially when he gives that smile and wink at the camera. He is also a gifted promo cutter. Every word he says is believable, trustworthy and interesting. And he comes with his own gimmick.

Bask in my glory is what he says as well as calling himself limitless. They are statements and encouragements all in one. As a crowd we do. We are lucky to bask in said glory. It’s a gift. That is why I believe Keith Lee will be the next big thing. I don’t want him to go to the fed. So many before him have taken that route and been used poorly. Keith Lee is a man that needs to be in charge of his own gimmick, his own brand. It doesn’t need to be changed or watered down. He is not a monster that needs to dominate those who are smaller than he. He is so much more than that.

It will be interesting to see where Keith Lee ends up in the future. He is already in his thirties and the indy scene is a harsh mistress on a wrestler’s body, but I see big things for him in the coming years. Many more years of us basking in his glory.

C. Marry Hultman runs the pop culture website W.A.R.G. – The Guild where he and his colleagues review books, movies and comics. He also runs the podcast The Wrestling Guild with his buddy Nick Anderson, where they review Impact Wrestling. Listen to hit here: