Although he debuted on this week's Monday Night Raw as a babyface, former NXT Champion Keith Lee might eventually be turned heel and placed in a feud for the WWE Championship, according to WrestlingNews.co.
As recalled by the publication, rumors suggested in November 2019 that Lee -- along with eventual Friday Night SmackDown superstar Matt Riddle -- had received praise from WWE management, with company chairman Vince McMahon reportedly predicting that Lee had huge potential as a villainous character. However, PWInsider wrote on Monday that the promotion is supposedly planning on pushing the 35-year-old as one of the red brand's "top babyfaces" going forward.
Despite the expectation that Lee will initially play a heroic character as a newcomer on Raw, WrestlingNews.co's Paul Davis cited his own sources, noting that the eventual plan is for Lee to turn heel so he can be placed in a rivalry against a top-tier babyface, with the WWE Championship on the line. Drew McIntyre -- who plays a good-guy role on television -- currently holds this title, having defended it successfully on Sunday against Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
While Lee will be getting a high-profile match early on in his main roster run as he faces Orton at Payback on Sunday, August 30, some have opined that WWE committed several costly errors when introducing him as the red brand's newest talent on this week's Raw.
According to Forbes' Alfred Konuwa, many fans were unsatisfied by the fact that Lee was immediately booked to lose via disqualification to Orton on Monday night, as well as by the company's decision to change the entrance theme and ring gear he was known for on NXT. As he explained, this was another case of WWE micromanaging the careers of main-roster newcomers and taking away the things that helped them get over on the black-and-gold brand.
"[B]y the end of his debut match against Randy Orton, it was the same old song pertaining to WWE's tremendous struggles in creating new stars," Konuwa wrote.
Given the rumors that Orton is being built up for a possible WWE Championship match against Edge at next year's WrestleMania 37, it remains uncertain when Lee's rumored heel turn and title feud will take place. However, the big man had his share of notable moments with main-roster superstars during his time as an NXT competitor. These included the likes of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at last year's Survivor Series and Brock Lesnar at the 2020 Royal Rumble, as noted previously by The Inquisitr.