A lot of wrestling fans are rightfully perplexed by the booking of Karrion Kross in his debut match on Raw this week (July 19), which was a loss against Jeff Hardy. Hardy may be a former WWE champion, but his fleeting time on top took place a very long time ago. Now he’s just a guy who has a five match losing streak on Main Event. That WWE had the undefeated NXT champion lose so quickly against him was one of those “who booked this crap?” moments.
Kross’ loss is getting so much attention that another mind-boggling booking decision from Raw almost feels like an afterthought right now. Keith Lee’s disappearance from WWE television since February has been a big mystery, with little conclusive help from the rumor mill to confidently narrow down what was going on with him. That’s why his sudden return on Raw this week was an uplifting moment. Lee immediately returned to action, with WWE describing him as the hometown hero...and was easily beaten by WWE champion Bobby Lashley.
On the one hand, yeah, Lee shouldn’t be beating Lashley right now. But on the other hand, Lee should not be booked to look like a chump in his return match. With that in mind, here are actual sentences used by Raw commentator Corey Graves during the match:
“Maybe Keith Lee is buckling under pressure.”
“Keith Lee might be realizing moment-by-moment he is simply outmatched.”
“Honestly, I’m thinking maybe Keith Lee might’ve stepped into something he was not prepared for.”
“Keith Lee is barely moving at this point.”
“Keith Lee has been completely ineffective for the past several minutes.”
There are ways to make a wrestler look good in defeat, both in the ring and on commentary. This was not one of them. Keith Lee was presented like a low card guy who has no business challenging the top stars in the company. The match never should have been booked.
This is probably just a coincidence, but it’s also worth mentioning that Keith Lee has now been the setup guy on Raw for both of Goldberg’s returns in 2021. After Keith Lee lost against WWE champion Drew McIntyre on the Jan. 4 episode, he jobbed to the angle so that Goldberg could confront McIntyre for an eventual title match at Royal Rumble. After losing against WWE champion Bobby Lashley on this week’s episode, Lee vanished again so that Goldberg could come out and presumably start building towards another title match at SummerSlam. The monotony is staggering.
There are several things to be excited about with WWE programming right now, but the booking of Keith Lee (and Karrion Kross) on this week’s Raw was one of those soul-crushing reminders that WWE either has little interest or alarming incompetence in pushing the relatively newer wrestlers on the main roster.