John LaRocca looks at a possible way to get Keith Lee on that road to WrestleMania.
The road to WrestleMania has begun and a lot of fans are wondering what NXT’s involvement will be at this year’s event. Along with the rumored Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley match for the NXT Women’s Title, I am confident we will get an NXT Men’s Title match as well. My prediction for that match is a four-way clash for the title featuring the current champion Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano. But where does this leave NXT North American Champion Keith Lee?
WrestleMania is already a marathon affair and adding more matches isn’t what I’m wishing for. But, there is one event that Keith Lee would be perfect in; the seventh annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This match is often featured as the “main event” of the WrestleMania pre-show and the one pre-show match I feel most everyone at least watches. The battle royal is also one match nearly every year that WWE has failed to capitalize on. The reality is this match was created to get everyone on the WrestleMania card and get some of that nice WrestleMania money. I think winning the battle royal truly only helped Baron Corbin and Braun Strowman. If done correctly, and done with some follow-up, Keith Lee winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal would only help his rise in WWE.
For weeks leading up to WrestleMania, various different talents on the WWE roster announce they are entering the battle royal. Big Show and “King” Baron Corbin both focus on becoming the first two-time winners. Big Show specifically should be given an in-ring or backstage promo talking about how winning the match in 2015 was one of the biggest moments of his career, especially after he failed to win it in 2014. Big Show would also talk about how it is no secret his career is winding down, and winning this prestigious battle royal for a second time would cement his Hall of Fame career. Baron Corbin should also be given promo time talking about becoming a two-time winner, and even make sure to point out he will take much enjoyment in spoiling Big Show’s WrestleMania 36 dreams.
After the NXT Championship match has been announced for WrestleMania 36, Keith Lee has an in-ring promo live on NXT television. Lee states he doesn’t want to be left out of all the fun at WrestleMania and he announces his will be competing in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal.
At WrestleMania, The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal would come down to four men; Big Show, Baron Corbin, Keith Lee and Donovan Dijakovich. This final four gives you the main story build focus of Big Show trying to win for second time, Corbin playing spoiler, and Dijakovich as Lee’s rival and someone he can do cool spots with.
The finishing sequence should be Dijakovich hitting this “Feast Your Eyes” knee on Lee. Before Dijakoich can take advantage and throw Lee out, Baron Corbin sneaks up behind and eliminates him. Now it is down to Big Show, Baron Corbin and Keith Lee. After Big Show connects with his big right hand, Lee stumbles into the “End of Days” by Corbin. With Lee incapacitated for the moment, Show and Corbin start fighting each other. They fight to the ropes and both struggle to gain the advantage to throw each over the top rope. Keith Lee rises and powers both Big Show and Corbin over the top rope to win the seventh annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Cameras should capture Baron Corbin’s shocked expression in losing and also capture Big Show’s disappointment on falling short in one of his last career goals.
But, this story does not end there.
The next night on RAW, highlights of Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal are shown. Following that highlights, Big Show is being interviewed backstage for a comment on coming up short. Big Show is upset, he doesn’t comment, and walks away.
The NXT following WrestleMania, the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner and current NXT North American Champion Keith Lee comes out for an in-ring promo. Also in the ring is NXT General Manager William Regal to officially present him the trophy. During Lee’s victory promo, Big Show’s music hits and out comes the giant. Big Show and Keith Lee have a stare down, but Big Show picks up the microphone that Lee put on the table the trophy is on. Big Show congratulates Lee on winning the battle royal. Big Show also says with this win, he has earned the respect of the entire WWE locker room, but just not from him. Big Show sucker punches Keith Lee with his big right hand. William Regal is appalled at Big Show’s actions, and demands he leave the ring. Lee, groggy from the big punch that has knocked out many superstars in the WWE, struggles to his feet. An angry Big Show grabs Lee by the neck and chokeslams him through the table the Andre The Giant Memorial trophy was on. With help from security, William Regal finally gets Big Show to leave the ring. Before Big Show steps through the ropes, Keith Lee once again struggles to his feet. Big Show pushes through security and grabs Keith Lee and tosses him out of the ring. After knocking out some of the security and threatening to knock out William Regal, Big Show chokeslams Keith Lee on the floor. Finally, in his last act of disrespect, Big Show takes the Andre The Giant Battle Royal trophy and destroys it.
Highlights of this incident are shown on both Smackdown and RAW. The following episode of NXT television, Big Show comes out to explain his actions. Big Show talks about how Lee took one of his very last career defining moments from him. Big Show declares that Keith Lee hasn’t won anything, until he can defeat him. Later in the episode, Mauro Ranello says that the beating at the hands of Big Show was severe, and Keith Lee is still recovering from his injuries and there is no timetable for his return. Before the main event of that episode, Donovan Dijakovich storms into William Regal’s office and demands a match with Big Show next week. Regal signs the match for next week.
Big Show and Donovan Dijakovich ends after spirited effort by Dijakovich. Big Show defeats him with a chokeslam and follows up with a knockout blow. After the match, Big Show picks up Dijakovich for a second chokeslam, but before that can happen Keith Lee makes a surprise return. With his ribs heavily taped, Lee runs at show while Show runs at him and it looks like two bulls colliding. Security, referees, NXT officials and members of the NXT roster try and pull these two men apart. William Regal, from the crow’s nest a Full Sail Arena, tells both men to stop before they destroy the arena. After some order is restored, William Regal announces that next week these two can official battle inside the squared circle. With that announcement, both Keith Lee and Big Show continue to try and fight each other.
All the build-up leads to Keith Lee with his ribs taped up, finally getting his revenge on the Big Show. If I were booking it, Lee would have the adrenaline flowing and in control early on, but eventually the Big Show would connect with his big right hand. Big Show would be so arrogant to demand the referee give Lee a ten count. Lee would struggle and eventually get to his before the count of ten. I’d have Big Show follow that by hitting his big chokeslam finishing move and have Lee kick out for a great near fall. Eventually, I’d have Lee make a comeback, fight through the pain of the injured ribs and hit his big finisher for the one, two, and three.
With this booking of Keith Lee, you get him on the biggest WWE show of the year and a big win on the biggest show of the year. Follow up is key, and having the Big Show and Keith Lee program not only helps the Keith Lee brand, but also get more eyes on the NXT television show on Wednesday nights.