What is a push? It’s one of those wrestling terms fans like to use, but don’t really have an agreed upon definition of.
It’s understandable. As with most “inside” vocabulary, it’s language we weren’t supposed to learn in the first place. Sometimes pros don’t want to share the information with us; sometimes they don’t seem to all use the word the same way themselves.
This is coming up again because former NXT & North American champion Keith Lee may or may not be getting a push. That push comes along with additional training, ordered either because Vince McMahon thinks he has a ton of potential and just needs to fine tune his work, or because the Chairman isn’t sold on the Limitless One.
Yesterday (Dec. 14) was an eventful day for this story. We got a detail-free report that Lee’s push would continue on Raw. Then on WWE’s Monday night show, he essentially booked himself for a handicap match against The Miz & John Morrison...
... then lost to Miz & Morrison...
So where does all this fit into the debate about Lee’s push?
Despite the loss, he dominated the match. Lee brushed off almost everything Miz & Morrison threw at him, survived a double submission, and was even in the process of countering a crossbody from the parkour practitioner when he was felled by chop block by the A-Lister. It took a double cover to keep him down for three.
This also keeps the big Texan in orbit around the WWE title program. He had the champ’s back after his call-up, and Lee’s spoken for the many fans who think Sheamus will turn on Drew McIntyre at some point. Now mixing it up with Mr. Money in the Bank and his partner gives Keith a reason to get involved in AJ Styles’ TLC match for McIntyre’s strap at Sunday’s PPV.
A losing streak was also part of Lee’s rise in NXT. There are a few parallels to his black-and-gold brand narrative and his current one, including the guy in charge of booking thinking he needed to learn a few things before he was ready for prime time. NXT seemed to be teasing a heel turn for the Limitless One, but that was dropped when the man he would have turned on was released. We could be seeing what might have been on Raw, though. A Lee/Sheamus match certainly seems to in the cards; who will play the role of Drew’s loyal friend and who will be the bitter rival remains to be seen.
The turning point for Lee in NXT was a series of matches with a hard-hitting, athletic big man. It won’t be with his old rival Dominik “T-BAR” Dijakovic this time, but Sheamus should fit the bill nicely. Vince & company could just have a method to what looks like madness to many of us at this point.
Or... what we saw on yesterday’s show could just be more 50/50 booking. Keith wrestled on Main Event instead of Raw last week. If the follow-up to losing to Miz & Morrison is more of that instead of a run-in at TLC and a program with Sheamus, well, we’ll know a lot more about the status of Lee’s push.
Give us your read on this whole situation in the comments below.