WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: Colt Cabana’s “The Art of Wrestling” w/ Keith Lee on the legend who helped him with his gimmick, his WWE tryouts, making a name for himself on the indy scene (#360)

The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana

Release Date: July 20 2017

Guest: Keith Lee

Recap by: Josh Coulson


Newsworthy items

    • Despite his large frame, Keith Lee is actually one of the shortest members of his family. His brother is already six feet tall, even though he’s only 11-years-old.
    • Keith wrestled in Texas for 10 years before his career really started to take off.
    • He had unsuccessful tryouts with WWE in 2008 and 2013.
    • Dusty Rhodes gave him the idea for his bask in my glory gimmick.
    • He was trained by Tim Brooks.
    • Keith was talking to four NFL teams when he decided to drop out of college and pursue pro wrestling.

Subjects covered (with timestamps)

0:00- Start of show
6:30- Song of the week
9:21- Interview begins
20:38- Getting into wrestling
33:35- Wrestling training
42:42- Finding himself and his style
57:46- Close of show

Show highlights/rundown

Colt opens up the show and reveals he’s in New Orleans to perform a private show this week as opposed to sitting in his studio apartment in Chicago. The show is for wrestling promotion Lucha Vavoom.

While in New Orleans, Colt met ZZ from Tough Enough who didn’t seem to know who he was or where he was from.

Colt then reveals that the upcoming guest on this week’s show is Keith Lee, and the interview will include a lot of things that you probably don’t know about him.

Colt wrestled John Morrison at AAW this past week, a show that Keith Lee also performed on.

He talks a little about how Canada is currently attempting to replicate what is going on with the British wrestling scene.

Song of the week for the show is “Sputnik Monroe” by Otis Gibbs.

Interview begins

The first topic of conversation for Colt and Keith is their reluctance to take time off with the nature of their work. Keith says that you can take a week off, and has done that since WrestleMania weekend, but it’s rare as you need to keep your name buzz worthy by working as much as you can.

Keith discusses how people were telling him they were hearing his name everywhere during WrestleMania weekend, but he was completely oblivious as he was just wrestling and having fun.

The two of them then try to pinpoint what Keith’s ‘coming out party was’ and whether it was WrestleMania weekend or his matches with Donovan Dijak.

Keith tells the story of how Ethan Page taught him how to vanity search. Even though he says he doesn’t have the time, Colt says everyone has the time to vanity search. Colt adds that he never wants to vanity search though as he gets the urge to reply to all of the people saying bad stuff about him. Keith says that he has better stuff to do.

Colt then segues off into Keith’s size. He asks him if he does stuff to stay as big as he is like eating constantly and always going to the gym. Keith replies that it’s quite the contrary, and he’s actually scaled back on all that. His size is just who he is and all of his family are very big also. His 21-year-old brother is taller than him and his 11-year-old brother is already six feet tall. He’s actually one of the shortest people in his family.

Colt talks about his own height and imagined that if he had been bigger he would have played everything in high school. Keith says that despite being smaller than everyone, he can still pick them all up due to his strength.

Keith has moved a couple of times during his life, but has always lived in Texas. He hardly ever lives in Texas nowadays though, and says because of wrestling it’s more like he lives everywhere else and visits Texas.

Getting into wrestling/college life

Keith was introduced to wrestling by his grandmother at the age of five. She loved wrestling and would always watch it on TV and go to shows whenever they were close by. After she passed away he continued his love of wrestling and it became ingrained in him.

Even though his grandma would go to shows, she would never take Keith. Colt thinks that’s kind of cruel and jokes about her coming back with signed pictures and foam fingers but saying she had only been to the store.

The first person to take Keith to a wrestling show was his father during the Attitude Era.

Keith says that he wasn’t obsessed with wrestling because his family was very football orientated. He was also very into football and because his mum didn’t want him playing it he went to live with his dad so that he could.

He thought about wrestling, but for his family and for opportunities he stuck with football. He also talks about how he had no idea how you got into wrestling back then.

Colt talks about there being two types of wrestlers. There are the guys who stay in one place and wrestle there their entire lives, like Keith did for 10 years, or people who chase it and explore like Lee has discovered since branching out.

Keith Lee was trained by Tim Brooks. They both talk about how crazy it is that no one really knows who he is.

Keith was a preferred walk on at Texas A&M. He was also a computer science major. He had no idea he was into it until he went to high school and nowadays he builds his own computers in his spare time.

Keith admits that he loves math, and it’s a concept that baffles Colt. Cabana says he can’t even remember his passport number which Matt Sydal scolds him for.

Colt says that backstage politics in wrestling have got nothing on the politics that go on behind the scenes in college sports.

Keith said that he had a calling and made the decision to leave college. It was an easy decision for him to make because of his poor relationship with the coaches.

The decision caused big problems with his family. Despite never playing a game he was talking to four NFL teams, so to turn his back on that potential made his family very angry. He says it was a very tense situation.

Wrestling training

Keith started his wrestling career training at Professional Championship Wrestling in Arlington, Texas. He says that a lot of people turn up there thinking they’re going to be a big star.

As a guy who likes to learn, he said his time there wasn’t fulfilling. While training there he met a guy who he would befriend and eventually got an invite from him to train with Tim Brooks. After one day with Tim he said his mind was blown and he was hooked.

The camps were only supposed to be once a week but they would let Keith attend two or three. He learned at a much faster pace about ring psychology and being able to put a match together.

Colt also claims that he caught on extremely quickly. His first match was seven weeks into his training and even then he was already trying to get matches everywhere he could. Colt questions if Keith was the same, why did he end up in Texas for 10 years?

Keith’s first ever match was two months in to his training. He says because Texas is such a big place when you’re going between Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston you’re actually considered to be travelling.

In 2008, Keith had his first opportunity to work as an extra for WWE and he got a tryout on the back of that. After returning to Texas, Keith was perceived as the WWE tryout guy. It also made him realize how much more was out there.

Colt talks about how once you’re an extra on WWE TV, you stupidly think that the whole world knows who you are. He also refers back to having to dress as a fairy during WWE’s ECW reboot.

Veterans in Texas saw wrestling in an old-fashioned way. Keith speaks of how they didn’t appreciate the fact that he wanted to be an athlete.

In 2013, Lee had another tryout with WWE and after being turned down again he considered quitting wrestling altogether.

Finding himself and his style

In the five years between tryouts he kept in touch with WWE and Dusty Rhodes would give him advice. At the time he was horrible on the mic and that’s what Dusty helped him with.

Before his tryout in 2013, he had taken some time off from wrestling and actually played some arena football. He was second guessing his wrestling career due to the lack of career growth. He then got an email telling him about Performance Center tryouts. He jumped at the chance but wasn’t in wrestling shape.

He describes how the drills he had to do were intense and he was not prepared for them in any way. He also says that it’s very rare that you would have to do something that tiring in an actual wrestling match.

At the time, Jim Ross told him he had a million dollar personality but was out of shape. Dusty Rhodes then told him he had a presence he could literally bask in. After that he came up with his bask in my glory gimmick. Despite all of that he got a hard no and was ready to quit.

After he sat down with Dusty, and also William Regal, it changed his mind. Regal told him to do what makes him happy and to be himself and that’s what led to him becoming the athletic big guy. Shortly after that he wrestled Donovan Dijak and his career changed.

Once Keith started wrestling more athletically fans began to notice him a lot more, and that’s what led to him getting more opportunities.

Keith sent a tweet to Beyond Pro Wrestling and during a back-and-forth said that if he could get himself there would they have anything for him. They said they had a show coming up called Gigantic and even though he wasn’t sure how he felt about that, he went there and he wrestled Dijak on the show.

Colt tells Keith that Chris Hero was a big fan of his. Keith says that he has a lot of respect for Hero and he ended his 2016 by wrestling him and learning a lot from him.

Keith said it was an honor to wrestle Hero and also to appear on The Art Of Wrestling with Colt.

Lee will be wrestling with WhatCulture soon and also with XWA in the U.K.. He hasn’t wrestled overseas much but is going to be a lot more. He hasn’t wrestled in Japan yet, but really wants to as he loves everything involved with Japanese culture.

The pair of them then start winding down by referring back to Regal and Dusty’s advice to Lee in 2013, and Colt also discusses working with Dusty when he was with WWE. Cabana then closes out in the usual way by asking Keith where he’s at on the internet and throwing back to himself in New Orleans to close the show.

During the close of the show, Colt says that Keith took a pretty bad chair shot this past weekend via Sami Callahan and that it’s lucky he did the podcast beforehand as he was knocked pretty loopy.

Colt then gets to some plugs and upcoming events.

Review (6/10)

Whenever you hear about an independent wrestling show, Keith Lee is one of those names that always seems to be on the card and people are always high on him. Now that I’ve heard his story I find that even more impressive. Only a few years ago Lee was considering throwing in the towel after wrestling on and off for twelve years, and thankfully he didn’t. His tales about how he was helped by Dusty Rhodes are terrific also, and evidence of yet another wrestler who was helped along in his career by Dream.

About the writer

Josh Coulson is a journalism graduate from Bristol, England. He has been a pro wrestling fan since the age of 10 and truly fell in love with the business during the build to WrestleMania X-Seven, citing the rivalry between Austin and The Rock as what really got him hooked. Other than wrestling he is a keen soccer fan and a long suffering supporter of his local team Bristol City. You can find him @BristolBeadz on Twitter.

For more, check out last week’s recap of The Art of Wrestling with DJZ

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