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Santa Keith Lee was the highlight of WWE’s holiday

He knows who’s been bad and good, and he’s so damn good for goodness sake.

My biggest holiday surprise came days before Christmas. It arrived as I was sitting in Barclays Center last Friday night (Dec. 20) when, near the end of the SmackDown taping, it was announced the night would close with NXT matches - culminating in Keith Lee & Lio Rush vs Damian Priest & Tony Nese.

What followed was the latest round of evidence that Keith Lee is the man I said he was when I interviewed him after he signed with the black and yellow arm of WWE.

That Keith Lee’s ready to be That Guy.

Henry T. Casey

I don’t want to hype him at anyone else’s expense, but the two NXT matches that sat between the end of SmackDown and Keith’s tag match... well, you can watch them for yourself. When the crowd wasn’t slowly whittling itself out the exit, it was chanting “BA-BY! YO-DA!” at a guy in a Mandalorian mask who was holding up his young child who had Yoda ears on.

To say the crowd wasn’t engaged with the likes of Swerve, Gentleman, Dijakovic and Reed would be an understatement. The men involved in both matches pulled audience interest out eventually, but it took a lot of effort.

The fans who stuck around, though, clearly shared my interests. They also loudly voiced their support for The Limitless One.

Yes, the mood changed after the entrances of Damian Priest, Tony Nese and Lio Rush. We got the actual man of the hour.

Walking out in a Santa hat with a plate of cookies, Keith brought the holiday vibes that the audience needed. In case you have any doubt about how excited I was, that’s me in the bright yellow Untitled Goose Game shirt...

I wasn’t alone in the basking. We basked, and basked, with chants that practically left me voiceless. We even had to stop the chants to allow the match to start. Then Keith got into the ring, and seeing Keith Lee do his Keith Lee Lucha Things, the stuff that still breaks my brain? And seeing him pounce Tony Nese straight through Tom Phillips?

The basking kept happening, randomly throughout the match. The people love Keith Lee.

At some point, Keith rose from the side of the ring in the exact same way he did to Finn Bálor. Except this time, it was Santa Keith, arising from the floor to tell Damian Priest that the so-called Archer of Infamy was on the naughty list.

While I loved it in the moment, I don’t know how often they can run this spot before it becomes rote. Remember what I said about Orange Cassidy and Darby Allin’s sparing usage in AEW being a good thing? Great as it is, don’t let Keith do one of these “Rising Horror Movie Villain” spots again for a while.

Eventually, Keith brought Lio Rush onto his shoulders for a massive frog splash for the win. Lio and Keith then “closed out the show” at Barclays, shaking hands and taking selfies in the moment that WWE gives to stars it trusts.

It was a truly wholesome match, from Santa Keith, his cookies and the continuing ascent of Wichita Falls, TX’s favorite son.

After the past couple month’s worth of NXT, and his big night at Survivor Series, maybe we didn’t need a reminder. But after Triple H didn’t call an audible for the hot hand in the Triple Threat #1 contender match, maybe we did.

Either way, Lee’s holiday present refreshed our memories.

Keith Lee’s ready to be That Guy.

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