Keith Lee’s AEW Debut Was A Mistake By Tony Khan

Hamish Woodward

Keith Lee debuted in AEW in 2022, months after being let go by the WWE.

He failed to get over as “The Bearcat” in WWE, a nickname that nobody really understood nor was explained by the company on TV.

Keith Lee’s AEW debut was a new start for him, but one that did not go without its troubles from the get go.

Keith Lee’s AEW Debut

Keith Lee made his AEW debut on the February 9, 2022 edition of AEW Dynamite.

Tony Khan had built up a “huge debut” for the episode, with many fans expecting a star from NJPW to be making their first appearance on the show.

However, it was soon revealed that former WWE Superstar Keith Lee was making his debut in AEW.

He wrestled against Isiah Kassidy in a qualifying match for the “Face of the Revolution” ladder match.

Keith Lee dominated his debut, throwing Kassidy around like a rag doll, showcasing his immense power and size, while also emphasizing his surprising speed and agility for a man of his size.

It was Kieth Lee who won the match on his debut, hitting him with his Big Bang Catastrophe and pinning him for the victory.

However, fans were nearly very disappointed by his debut, with Tony Khan hyping up the debut as much different than it turned out to be.

Tony Khan Mistakenly Labelled It A “Forbidden Door” Debut

Before the debut of Keith Lee in AEW, Tony Khan made a big mistake in hyping up his first match in the company.

Prior to the event, the AEW President hyped up a “Forbidden Door” signing to make their debut on AEW Dynamite.

The term (which was coined by Hiroshi Tanahashi) referred to a wrestling making the jump from NJPW to AEW.

Khan originally meant this to refer to Keith Lee, who had just been released from his contract with the WWE.

“I didn’t secure @JayWhiteNZ until Sunday. I realized after the fact that Friday night I butchered my own definition of Forbidden Door in hyping tonight. I heard the fans’ feedback, & wanted to ensure that tonight was a special #AEWDynamite for all. Thank you everyone who watched!”

Luckily, Tony Khan managed to get Jay White into the company for that week, appearing on Dynamite in a segment alongside The Elite.

Jay White then had his debut match against Trent that week on Rampage, joining Keith Lee as debuting in AEW in one whirlwind week for the company.

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